Sunday, 8 July 2012

Orchid Hunting

Over the past 3 weeks I have been to a few plant rich sites, including Kenfig NNR, Cae Blaen Dyffryn meadow and Elan Valley meadow- an SSSI. They are like oasis's of life amidst mostly barren farmland.
 Kenfig NNR is a large sand dune system with lake in south Wales. I found bee orchids, all the marsh orchids, twayblades and Pyramidal orchids. I also met a couple there who were looking for the rare fen orchid so I went along but I gave up eventually as I had to get back to work for the evening.

I quickly sketched the bees in situ to get the dimensions right and painted them and added dunes and sea in the background at home in graphite pencil. This adds another dimension and shows the habitat where they grow. The footprints in the sand tell a story; could be an intrepid orchid hunter or just a sole walker.
I have plenty of colour notes on bee orchids at home from previous works.

Cae Blaen Dyffryn is a 9 acre, traditionally grazed, neutral to acidic grassland. It is full of
butterfly orchids,heath spotted and common spotted orchids.

My sketches of greater butterfly and common spotted orchids.

Beautiful beech trees enclose the meadow on one side.

Elan Valley meadow is packed full of many species of plants some rare like the wood bitter vetch. I found my first Fragrant orchid here; it has a beautiful, sweet scent.

I will have to revisit this site to do some sketching, if the weather allows.

I am definitely hooked on orchid hunting now and may have to travel further afield to find other species!!


  1. A fun activity, Claire ...
    hunting beautiful orchids :you take pictures, you do beautiful work such as those that you show .. and you increase my knowledge!

  2. Hello Claire, beatiful work!!!, saludos.

  3. Beautiful work and an outstanding knowledge. The Greater Butterfly orchid is especially lovely.

  4. Oh wow! Orchid hunting, that looks like fun. Your sketches are beautiful.

  5. Wonderful work, Claire. I think you've really captured the allure of the orchids.

  6. Claire, I love your habitat studies--I am in the midst of one for the SBA course, and find your work inspiring. You have a wonderfully light touch.

  7. Thank you x; Janene,hope your assignment goes well-I'm sure it will xx