Green winged – propagation success and mowing mistakes

Green winged orchid

The Green winged orchid Anacamptis morio is having it’s moment now at the end of April. I visited Winks meadow in Suffolk this week and it was dotted across the field, splashes of deep purple (a few are pale pink or white) interspersed with the bright yellow cowslips. Where you find Green winged you often find them in large numbers and they look spectacular.
I have been growing them in the lab for a few years now, very successfully symbiotically and asymbiotically, but they are very popular so they tend to sell out before they flower.

Pale pink Green winged orchid

This week I have my first flowering A morio in a pot. It was too small to sell earlier in the year, so I’m surprised it has flowered. I will have some more for sale in the autumn, which is the best time for planting out.
When I was away at the weekend The Husband called me to say he had mowed over an orchid in the lawn, he spotted it just too late. It’s a place that has never had orchids before, so I was pleased to hear that they are spreading and assumed it was a Common spotted. When I got home and looked I found it was a Green winged and it wasn’t one orchid it was eight.

Green winged orchid pot

Yes he mowed them all, but two of them have a couple of flower buds remaining and the group is now marked to prevent further destruction. I am chuffed to bits that A morio has decided to grow there – I have thrown around lots of spare seed and orchid chaff for years and this is the first sign of anything apart from the Common spotted. Our soil is slightly calcareous but quite fertile, so not ideal, but we have a couple of areas of wildflower meadow which are improving year on year. The A morio has chosen to grow in a part of the lawn that is cut regularly and it is in a very poor, mossy area close to a retaining wall – it’s the worst bit of soil in the garden.

A mowed Green winged orchid

So if you want self-seeding orchids all over your garden, you need very poor soil, rubble, grit, builders waste and very low fertility.