Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Diary Pages covering the 2018 Atrorubens/Helleborine orchid season

Saturday 23rd June 2018 - Hutton Roof - Checking out orchids etc 0930hrs to 1400hrs

Some of our little beauties today.

Epipactis atrorubens today on Hutton Roof (Click over to enlarge)
9b - light green stem with very dark flowers (thought to have come from parent No.9)
A close up of 9b today 23rd June 2018 - Click over to enlarge

This beautiful atrorubens is on the escarpment very close to 2 schmals.
This is 33 which this year shows darker epichile and bosses which would normally be
far lighter, but interesting that you can still see the apple green flush on the tip of the epichile
This specimen is regarded as a schmalhauseneii and it must be another factor of the
helleborine parent coming through. 
This is the rare "Albiflora" today and its becoming quite obvious it is again not going to do
anything this year with no flowerhead forming.


Thursday 21st June 2018 - Hutton Roof - Checking up and photographing etc 0930hrs to 1400hrs

One of today atrorubens

A few of the plants starting to flower, but it will be another week or so before the majority are in flower. Quite a few of the atrorubens have been predated including one of the best schmalhauseneii specimens No.11. The specimen was caged but obviously it was not enough!  Moved cage from Chlorantha No.2 which is obviously not going to do anything, and placed over a lovely light specimen coming through nearby.  Here are one or two of todays photographs.

Specimen 11b

Specimen 11b

This is Schmalhauseneii Specimen No.1 today and is on a totally different pavement to the rest.
First found in 2012 and has come up every year since. It is protected in a deep 18" grike. 
This specimen is coming from the family No.9 and looking just how pale it is today is likely
to turn out a "palans".

These are Schmals 15g (duo) and they stand at about 5" tall where by now they should stand at
about 18" tall, and this is what I mean about the stunted growth for the heavy duty (hybrid) 
specimens (not all) I can only think that this maybe down to the long period of warm dry periods

This is the most beautiful Specimen 74 (see photo below), and as you can see the plant is only just at about 3" tall where by now you would have expected it to be about 18" and is obviously suffering from some sort of stunted growth.  I wonder if we will miss out on this splendid view this year:

Specimen 74 taken on 17th July 2016 - the same specimen as above


Tuesday 19th June 2018 - Hutton Roof - taking up 4 cages and setting on large helleborines and checking out 1000hrs to 1300hrs

This is 33f (the light green one on the left) and always comes through as a duo with this standard? plant growing alongside it (to it's right), and this example is again replicated with a similar pair which grow about 4ft away.  In both examples the plants never seem to grow much above 10" in height, but very interesting that you get this mixed combination so close together (eg: twice tandem). I am of the strong opinion that the plants themselves do hold "hybrid" genes and probably would be candidates for schmalhauseneii, or even moving on a stage further and that they could even be F2 breed backs.  And with their being two almost identical pairs within the suspected family group, I suppose the area could be considered for a "swarm" area.   I do suspect the main plant (possible parentage) comes from Specimen No.33 which is a tall Schmalhauseneii and shown in this next photo. This plant is approx 5ft away from the above pair. Although I suspect 33 is the parent there are other possible candidates in the same given area especially 33c and possibly 33b. Why I mention this is that these two specimens do not hold the cream epichile and bosses as we have got with 33 and this by the way is not replicated in the 33f specimen which will come through with a light pink outcome.

This is Specimen 33 and considered to be a schmalhauseneii.  It has just gone into stage 3 or straightening up and stands at approx 3ft (as at 19th June 2018).  The past two years it has produced both epichile and bosses as a cream feature. There is also close by yet another plant considered to be a schmal and named 33c which is caged and doing extremely well (this one does not have any cream features).  The whole local area of approx 15ft diameter radius holds some very interesting plants. The cream feature (eg Epichile and Boss) is very interesting and rare and seen only in three separate plants in total on the whole of the Hutton Roof study area. Although I call it a "cream feature" which predominately it is, you can see traces of a light pink flush and also to the lower section a light green apple colour flush, which could well be taken as yet another "helleborine" influence.  Also of interest is that in all three plants they all have the lemon petalled affiliation. I am sure I will be returning to the 33 family very soon.

   This photo was taken on the 24th June 2017 - Click over to enlarge

This beautiful example of a schmal (specimen 8) above was photographed in 2014 and was later predated in 2015 by a large swarm of Black Aphids which sucked the plant dry, killing it off.  Since then the plant has tried to make a annual re-appearance in follow on years but has failed with just the two bottom leaves forming.  But this year (2018 and 3 years on) the plant is doing OK and coming through well.  So hopefully we may just have a photo to share at a later date.


Monday 18th June 2018 Hutton Roof - taking up 4 cages and setting on large helleborines and inspection of others 0900hrs to 1100hrs  "First flowers showing"

A couple of atrorubens starting to flower

Very windy, cloudy with odd intermittent sunshine.  A rather disappointing morning on checking out lots of the helleborines. A couple are now starting to come through as you can see in the above photos, but it will be about one more week to ten days before most of them are showing.

I took up a further four cages and set them all on Broad Leaved Helleborines. Already I have noticed that one (uncaged) really splendid specimen has been taken down by deer in the last day or two, also had a atrorubens taken down through a cage!

The most disappointing thing was to note that 3 of our top specimens (all residing in the same area) are already showing burnt tips to their plumes and I can't really see them making anything this year. This applies to 55,55b and 55c - (see following photos below). I am sure that this must be something to do with the prolonged hot weather we had during both May and early June, other things are also coming to light such as "OK at first but now gone into a stunted growth within our bolder/larger specimens (mainly within our suspected schmalhauseneii hybrids, but not all hybrids), neither am I seeing this within our more standard or frail specimens, all seems OK and on target with those.

No.55 today 18th June 2018

55b today 18th June 2018
55c today 18th June 2018
Actually 55b suffered from a burn condition last year.  Let me show you first of all how the plant looked back in 2015 and then how it looked only last year with the burn:-

55b At its best in 2015

55b last year just before it collapsed with

Its now becoming more and more obvious, especially within some of the larger hybrid specimens that they are giving the appearance of being stunted growth in both plume and general build.  They started off very strong plants with plenty going on within the build, but more recently this seems to have changed and I can only put it down to the prolonged hot weather we have had.  It seems to have made the plants far more stunted!! let me show you this particular specimen 15c which had no less than 60 plus flowers last year, but as you can see this year we will be lucky if it produces 30.

Specimen 15c Schmalhauseneii taken on 18th June 2018 (stunted!)
Let me now show you how the same planted looked back in 2017

This is the same plant 15c on the 24th June 2017
when it had no less than 60 plus flowers in its plume

Here are the newly caged today Epipactis Helleborines (Click over to enlarge):

Now moving on to today's predation:

Just shows you the Brown Hare will take plants occasionally from caged specimens - this was a great plant our Schmalhauseneii No.10. but he has not taken the partner.

Roe deer predation on a stunning superlarge helleborine on 18th June 2018

and finally today a photo showing the state of the variagated (humbug) this year and unfortunately its becoming more obvious by the day that it will do nothing this year.


Monday 11th June 2018  Hutton Roof - taking up and setting 3 new cages 0900hrs to 1100hrs

I first went back to 15c and gave him a upgrade which you can see below, then came across to both 55 and 66 and gave them also upgrades with the better cages, then went across to area 17 and caged 17t, 17n and 17o, and then across to the large copse and caged a trio of helleborines which fall victim every year.

17c in his new upgraded cage (11th June 2018)
55 in his upgraded cage
Specimen 66 in his upgraded cage
Close up of Specimen 66
17n Schmalhauseneii
17o Schmalhauseneii
17o Schmal - note the really purple basal and then the wide lower leaf
17t caged
3 large Helleborines caged - always predated so we will see if a cage helps

Thursday 7th June 2018 - Hutton Roof - checking out rare Epipactis 0930hrs to 1400hrs

Schmalhauseneii specimen no 33 is coming on leaps and bounds, just like most of them. This weather is bringing them on sooner but also we are lacking water up there and the ground crunches as though parched!  I reckon the specimen now stands at about 12" or maybe a little taller.

Specimen No.33 (schmalhauseneii) now standing at about 12"

Monday 4th June 2018 - Erecting cages on rare orchids Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1100hrs

Schmal 33 grounds (Click over to enlarge)
A great place which has at least two strong large plants coming of No.33. Also we have
several smaller interesting plants especially 33e and 33f which are very lemony stemmed small
flowers which have extremely light petal and sepal.  Could well be Schmal breed backs 

Schmal 33 - main plant
This is the main plant of the area and considered to be the parent

Schmal 33f
Its come up this year as a duo which is regular

Schmal 33c
considered to be a schmal and taken directly from the 33 parent
55o a strong atroruben specimen, taken down last year with "burn"

superdaddy or supermummy 15,15a,15b schmal
These are the strongest plants on Hutton Roof, always have been and considered to be schmalhauseneii
we have only had two until last year when this advanced to 3 bunched, sadly since 2015 each year the plant tends to
get predated (Brown Hare) and in two years in succession one of the plants cut and gone missing presumed eaten
and one of the plants snipped and left dangling (thats two years on the trot), this year it gets a cage.
These plants are considered responsible for the following two spectacular specimens shown in photos.
15c - a very special plant
This plant last year produced 62 flowers/buds which is a fantastic record and the
build of the plume followed exactly the same build has the presumed parent 15. The
plant was taken down last year at prime (brown hare), so this year it receives the largest
cage we have.
15g is again considered a offspring from 15, you can tell with the build of the plant.
Here we have a pair which come up in a nearby gryke, so although it does have some
protection it still gets predated, so here we go with the additional protection this year.
Chlorantha 1
A beautiful plant Epipactis Helleborine - viridflora or chlorantha which ever name you may wish to chose,
but it is a very light phase of just white and green all showing well on 4th June 2018
Chlorantha 2
A small version of the light phase helleborine and showing well as of today 4th June 2018
Escarp 7
Escarp 7 is a suspected Schmal, in fact all the good specimens in this area are also suspect.
This year again this particular specimen has come through as a duo. Within a couple of metre
we also have Escarp 10 and 10B which are also schmals.
Escarp 8 pallans variety which is green and cream
Epichile and bosses are cream, but if you look close you will see red dots and dash
Escarp 8
to the left is a straight atrorubens, to the right is the rare Pallans
Escarp 10 - another great schmal which has come through this year as a duo
Escarp 10b - new this year and thought to have come through from 10
which should make it a schmalhauseneii
Escarp 13 - large lemon-petalled taken down last year - really tall beautiful plant
Schmal 8 stone cage
Schmal 8
Schmal 8  (Schmalhauseneii)

This is just fantastic news to see this beauty coming through again after 3 years.
Back in 2015 this flower (as shown in the next photo) got infected with Aphids
which sucked everything from the plant of which it died and has never recovered until now. 
Schmal 8 in its prime back in 2014

Thursday 31st May 2018 - Erecting cages on rare orchids and checking out others etc

I can't believe how quick everything is moving along and lots of our atrorubens are now at stage two and showing their drooping heads just like this photo taken today:

Atrorubens entering stage 2 and now showing their drooping heads
I have managed to cage even more atrorubens today which included 55c (a lempet) and 55e (small green stemmed specimen - poss schmal, also went across to 15c and caged nearby 15g which is a duo specimen and thought to have come from 15 family. Also one cage left for reserve.

Specimen 55e - Light green stem possible schmalhauseneii
Specimen 55c - another lempet and interesting
A quick check on "Albiflora"
Spec 15g duo and thought to be from the closeby 15,a,b and 15c family
Here is the "Varigated" Helleborine coming through on its third year - NICE ONE!
I don't normally bring other species into the atrorubens blog but thought you would like to know that we found lots more spikes of Fly Orchid today whilst on Hutton Roof.  Checking one of the regular sites increased to 13, then at two other "new to me" sites we had a population of 28 and had another new population of 37 and that was just skimming counts. So in total that was 78 in only 3 of our sites. DOES THIS MEAN THAT FLY ORCHIDS ARE DOING REALLY WELL THIS YEAR? I think so.

Tuesday 29th May 2018 - Erecting Cages on rare orchids (0900hrs to 1130hrs)

This morning was set aside to take more cages up on Hutton Roof to erect around 15c, 11b, plus two others. All cages kindly supplied by Alan Gendle

15c gets it's cage - It suffered predation last year. This plant had over 62 flowers and buds in 2017
 which is by far the highest count ever recorded on Hutton Roof (and probably elsewhere as well!),
 The build of this plant is almost identical to the suspected parentage of No.15
 which lies approx 20ft to its North.  
The next cage went to cover this small shoot which could go 50/50
between a straight Epipactis Helleborine or what I am sure could well be something
really special - but very early days! - the coming fortnight will give the answers -I hope!

This is 11b which did well last year - considered a possible schmal and did have a fully light lemony green stem. The
plant sits directly across from its suggested parent plant No.11 - both parent and offspring are now protected with cages.
The fourth protection cage has been put in reserve in the area marked 17 and will be used over the coming days.

More photos of some beautiful specimens on their way which I took this morning.

This is a beautiful large "Helleborine" which shows quite close to the
territory of Schmal 69 and a area with quite a bit of "hybrid swarming" with
over 7 schmal suspects.  This could well be one of the parentage Helleborines
which lies directly within that swarming area. Looking at the large lower leaves
they are already formed to a size of 4". It will now go into "slow state" of growth phase
whilst the small nearby atrorubens populations will take over and flower, then
the helleborine will come back into full flower approx 3 weeks after the atrorubens
have finished. 
Looks interesting

Monday 28th May 2018 - Erecting Cages on rare orchids (1400hrs to 1600hrs)

The early atrorubens has of today at about 8" and it wont be long now before it enters
stage 2 when you will start to see the "drooping head". This specimen example was also
shown has the very first of the year on 22nd May 2018

Four more of our special plants have received protective cages today, which have been kindly supplied by Alan Gendle.  Specimens 33f, 55, 66 and 40s duo - photos below

Specimen 33f believe or not is a schmal and a straight atrorubens next to it.  You can already see the marked difference
in colour etc. Received a protection cage today

Specimen 55 - Large Lemon Petalled - received a protection cage today 

Specimen 66 Lemon-Petalled on green stem - received a protective cage today
Specimens 40's duo - received a protective cage today

Friday 25th May 2018 - Hutton Roof "Caging off four plants" (0900hrs to 1100hrs)

Today the weather had changed a bit with far more wind about and very dark clouds overhead, but I managed to get my bits and pieces done before it actually started raining at 1130hrs.

My main intention was to get back up on the fell to place some protective cages over four of the plants which you can see the photos below.  All cages kindly supplied by Alan Gendle

Protecting a new shoot (Click over to enlarge)

Now a cage protecting 17d,e,f - a light phase Atrorubens trio with cream epichiles and bosses

A cage now around the stalwarts 15a,b and c which the Hares have got at every year!

Escarp 13 which is one of the tallest and strongest lemon petalled which gets taken down
every year, so lets see if a cage will make the difference.

So that was the main work this morning but also now a couple of shots of other stuff I had this morning.

Specimen 11a
A nice fresh specimen - up near the 40's duo
Escarp 7 which is showing a additional this year (eg: 7a) (Schmals)
Escarp 10 (Schmal)

It might be early days yet it looks bad for my specimen 40 which does not seem to be showing this year, It seems to be constantly predated by Hares for the past two years, but this is how it used to look several years ago

Specimen 40 a few years back
Also I checked up on our new "superplant" No. 15c which again does not look like its going to appear this year, no shoots, nothing.  This one just came out and was again predated by Hares. This plant had a record for Hutton Roof of both flower and buds totalling 62! phenomenal. This is the plant showing last year.

Specimen 15c last year with 62 flowers

Other than these two hiccups most of the other plants are showing really strong shoots and it looks like we might just do well this year. This plant only came through for the first time last year and is without doubt a spin off from nearby (20ft away) 15,15a,15b you can tell by the build of the plant and its characteristics it is very similar (below is a photo of the others from about 4 years ago) If you look at the plume build you will even note the similarity of alignment from the top of the plume to the lower with both the original (seen below) and the new 15c (seen above) you notice the kink to the LH at the top then straight then slight bend to the left and then straight down and then to the right which is almost replicated in both examples

All renamed to: 15,15a and now a 15b
(Click over to enlarge)
This was Schmalhauseneii No.1 yesterday, it is now
in it's 7th year for a schmal which perhaps
could well be a record


Thursday 24th May 2018 - Hutton Roof "Several first showings both Atrorubens and Helleborine"

I was surprised to see just how things had progressed in the last couple of days, with most atrorubens now starting to show with some much bigger specimens than others.  But also pleased to see this year my first helleborine and also to see that the mega rare albiflora has got some growth this year, although I am wondering if it is reverting back to atrorubens with all the "red" colour showing, we will have to see just how it turns out!

Specimen 33 - A schmalhauseneii today 24th May 2018

Specimen 33 - A schmalhauseneii (lempet) 7th July 2017)
Specimen 66 lemon-petalled on green stem today 24th May 2018
Specimen 66 lemon-petalled on green stem taken 24th July 2015
Specimen 55 as of today 24th May 2018
Specimen 55 taken on 2nd July 2017
Specimen "Albiflora" as of today 2018
July 7th 2016 - specimen Albiflora

First Broad Leaved Helleborine to show and out before some of the nearby atrorubens,
but this plant will go into a sort of limbo with slowed down growth
whilst the nearby atroruben will quickly take over with high growth and then this plant will
eventually spring back showing its maturity at about a fortnight to 3 weeks 
after the atrorubens have finished. A sort of delayed action, but in turn is probably
another way of introducing a cross over with the atrorubens time period and in some
cases could result in ensuring the "hybrid" (E. Schmalhauseneii) is successful

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 - Hutton Roof  "Very first Atrorubens shoots"

This is a example I found yesterday (22nd May 2018) of the very first Epipactis atrorubens starting to come through.  I have had up to 3 showing and they are at about 4" high.  I can't be sure but expect perhaps they could be up to 10 days earlier this year. (a update of the same plant is also shown on the diary pages of the 28th May 2018)