Orchid fever: hot and bothered in a wildflower meadow

Early summer means wildflowers, and in our household, it heralds the start of the ‘trying-to-get-the-children-enthused-about-pretty-pink-white-or-yellow things’ season.

This year, we decided to drag them, not quite kicking and screaming, to Clattinger Farm, a beautiful wildflower meadow in Cotswold Water Park, some five miles or so south of Cirencester.

Things started well – Mungo found a map.


Then, one of the highlights of our trip – a burnt-out car. “What’s that doing there?” asked Sam. “Good question,” I said.


Sam and Mungo seemed quite happy, but they hadn’t reckoned on being forced to walk through the meadow.


But worse was to follow. That idiot father of theirs started to show an interest in, and take pictures of, the flowers.

First, a common spotted orchid – or so he believed.


Then anther common spotted orchid – possibly…


And what were these infernal, though admittedly rather beautiful, white orchids…


Someone on Facebook suggested this could be a southern marsh orchid


This rather pretty, if dandelion-esque, flower looks remarkably like a mouse-ear hawkweed from my ID guide:


By now, the boys were getting increasingly grumpy. Sam complained that the grass in the meadow was coming up to his knees. “It’s takin’ a long time,” wailed Mungo.

At least there was a gate to climb.


And even the boys had to admit that the sea of ox-eye daisies offset the burnt-out car in a rather original way.


Well, no, they didn’t. “What was the best thing about that walk?” we asked them at the end.

“Getting back to our car,” said Sam without a hint of irony.

Ah well, you win some – and you lose some. Still, we had a nice day.


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