Orchids at the Bank
After the long, sunny days of August Sark is looking a little parched and autumnal with the first leaves changing colour and the bracken on the cliff tops turning gorgeous shades of rusty red. The hedgerows are bursting with blackberries, sloes and the bright red berries of honeysuckle and among the grass at the HSBC Bank I have spotted my favourite seasonal wildflower. Rising from the camomile lawn are the delicate spikes of Autumn Lady’s-tresses, an orchid that produces leaves in spring that die back in June before the blooms spring up several months later. The tiny white flowers grow in spirals around the slightly furry stem and, although very small, are well worth getting down on hands and knees to appreciate. Like most orchids they can grow in abundance one year while the next not a single flower may be seen due to the varying activity of the soil-borne fungus which infects the plant’s roots producing the mineral salts essential for their growth. This botanical treasure grows at a few other locations in Sark including in the old graveyard next to the Methodist Chapel.
Pictures by Sue Daly L – R; Orchids at HSBC Bank, close-up of Autumn Lady’s-tresses