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.

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

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

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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.

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Then anther common spotted orchid – possibly…

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

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Someone on Facebook suggested this could be a southern marsh orchid

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

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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.

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

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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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