Orchids grow abundantly in our region at this time of year. We have good and bad orchid years – no doubt a reflection of the weather we’ve had. This year is a good one. Our walking group took a route last Wednesday starting from Lavaurette, a pretty village on the last outcrop of the Massif Central. The soil around there is particularly favourable for orchids and we saw many different varieties.
Here are some photos of a few of them – taken only with my small point and shoot camera, so not brilliant quality. I haven’t been able to identify them all, so if you know what they are – or if I’ve got any wrong – please leave a comment below.
The consensus (well, two anyway) seems to be that the following is probably a yellow bee orchid, Ophrys Lutea.
Any suggestions for this one? Maggie below has identified this one as violet limodore and, having looked it up on various websites, I can confirm I agree with that.
Thanks very much to everyone who has helped me identify these orchids.
Every month I post an update on how the weather has been in our corner of southwest France, based on the statistics we have kept since 1998. To see the other weather posts, please click on ‘Weather’ under the Topics tab in the right-hand sidebar.
Weather assessment for April
A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In April, we had:
Pluses – 8
Zeros – 11
Minuses – 11
The chart below shows the percentage of plus days each April for the past 15 years (the line is the trend). This April was one of the worst, continuing in the tradition established at the beginning of the year. Two Aprils have been the same; only last year’s was worse, when it rained nonstop. It really has been a grim and miserable year so far.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. Bucking the trend for the year, we had less than average rainfall in April – 77.5 mm compared to the average of 92.4 mm. But it rained on 12 days as opposed to the 11 we would normally expect. Despite having less rain, April was generally cool and grey, punctuated by the odd sunny, warm day.
The total rainfall for the year to date is about 30 per cent higher than average – 397 mm compared to 306.7 on average.
We had no frost nights in April this year.
We still have the Saints de Glace to come: the 10th (Saint Mamert), 11th (Saint Pancrace) and 12th (Saint Servais). It’s not uncommon for the temperature to drop around those dates and even for frost to result (although we haven’t recorded any frosts in May here). Farmers used to invoke the three saints to protect their crops from the cold weather.
Avant Saint-Servais, point d’été, après Saint-Servais, plus de gelée. (Before Saint Servais’ day, no summer; afterwards, no more frost).
To finish, here’s a couple of shots of deer grazing in the field behind our house. The buttercups were magnificent this year and the deer took full advantage. Our area has been a réserve de chasse for the past four years, meaning that hunting is not allowed. The animals can clearly read the signs and have all piled into our garden. I have had to surround my shrubs and roses with cages to stop them nibbling at them.
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