Thursday, June 14, 2007

Name that Wild Italian Orchid

One of my loves in this world are flowers, any and all kinds. I found myself after studying horticulture in my college days, (although my main interest was vegetable production and not floriculture) moving to the mountains of Colorado as the pull of the mountains was very strong for me, and still is. I found myself staying in the mountains because the promise of summertime high country wildflowers was just too alluring, although most people came to those mountains for the skiing. That love came to me later after sticking around for many years. I have not been able to resist mountains or wildflowers ever since. As I find myself living in slightly lower mountains than the Rockies these days, the vast array of wildflowers every spring and summer keeps me smiling and enjoying just poking around in my backyard. These purple ones are everywhere at the moment, and bring a smile to my face whenever I see them. We didn't really have wild orchids at almost 10,000 ft. Ladyslippers were as close as we got to orchids and they are very shy and elusive. Since coming to Europe I have enjoyed the vast array of wildflowers that the Alps meadows offer up, that is until the time comes for cutting those meadows for the cows. I remember one fine day when my group of walkers were oohing and aahing over a particularly abundant display of wildflowers on our way from Slovenian to a lovely Italian lake just over the border. When we returned later that day the whole field had been mowed and it was indeed a shock to the senses. Oh well, must be why the cows here are so contented and the farmers are able to make such wonderful cheeses in our region. Wonderful cheeses make for contented walkers at some other point. Contented cows munching on wild orchids and other yummy wildflowers. Nice image huh?

So although I love wildflowers I still don't know a lot of their names. I have also learned the hard way that whenever I casually call mother nature's gifts by name, someone usually comes along and names it much more specifically and accurately. Tramping around in the Slovenian and Austrian alps during my stint as a walking guide for a British tour company with lots of UK "Munro" baggers and other keen walkers and stalkers of nature for a few summers, I learned to wait until the group identified the discovered wild gentian or orchid before showing my ignorance. So I am hoping that someone will come along my blog here and give these beauties their proper name and if not, well then, we'll all just enjoy them as they are. This last photo is one I haven't found often. My neighbor brought it over for me to enjoy. These delicate tiny blossoms give off an intoxicating fragrance reminiscent of jasmine. An exquisite sweetness when you get up close and breathe deeply. I highly recommend it.
So if anyone cares to share their knowledge, name any of these orchids and we'll all be the wiser.

7 comments:

TorAa said...

These flowers are very beautiful. And hiking in the mountains to find them is such a wonder.

Excellent pictures.

btw. I'ms sorry I have not visited your site for a while, due to very unstable internet connection from our summerhouse. I've made some posts, but the from work - and there time is very limited to do anything private.

Josh said...

It is a "purple people eater." Rarely seen because few survive to tell the tale.

rowena said...

Those are gorgeous! I've never seen wild orchids here so this is simply pleasant to discover. Certainly looking forward to walking in the mountains sometime this summer but at the moment I am obsessed with catching fireflies. We've been seeing them glowing about in the late, late evenings!

Pasticciera said...

Tor, I'm happy you enjoy stopping by and glad that it's only the internet connection that is unstable.
Josh, you must realize that I survived only by promising not to reveal their name.....
Rowena...not quite the Island variety, just in miniature, but wonderful to discover. We saw our first firefly the other night also, it was kind of lonely on its own...

Josh said...

Guess it would have been more appropriate for my comment to say, "Rarely named because few survive to tell the tale."

Anonymous said...

The picked orchids are "Greater Butterfly Orchids", a protected species, that should never be picked. They take about 12 years to come to flowering maturity, and only get one chance to set seed.

Graham

Pasticcera said...

Thank you Graham. My neighbor picked them out of their own yard here in the mountains and I'm sure they would be sorry to hear that.

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