Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Diary Pages covering the 2018 Atrorubens/Helleborine orchid season

Saturday 14th July 2018 - Hutton Roof "Checking out the Helleborines"

I did my final check out yesterday, just to see if any of the "helleborines" had survived, but it turned out just has I had imagined and not one of the 160 approx in my recent study area have made it.  There were three that did manage some of their lower flowers, but even these plants were still showing bent over plumes (stage 2).  The remainder had or were all suffering from the recent severe dehydration problems encountered. It was very depressing to see just how things have turned out with both the Atrorubens and the Helleborines.

A glimmer of hope was seeing a couple of atrorubens specimens at the 9s area that did show very fat ovaries (see photo below), sadly this was not to be repeated throughout the study areas but just occasionally.

 This is showing 9b and one of the few atrorubens with a good full ovary.

I did notice that quite a few of both atroruben and helleborine specimens were lent over as though they had been trampled on, but on closer examination you could actually just pull them away from the ground and the problem was that they had died from the ground level due to severe dehydration or burn at the point where the stem just starts to leave the ground.

Aphid infestation with brown ant farmers (Click over to enlarge)

I thought we had got away with aphid infestation this year having not seen any prior evidence until today that is! And today I noticed at least 3 plants suffering from this. Mainly we see black ants although on occasions it is the brown ants.

This was the best it got! with just the few flowers at the bottom of the
stem (Click over to enlarge) and this was only seen on 3 specimens in total.

This has been the 40s atrorubens (Click over to enlarge)
They have held this position now for 3 weeks and are slowly receding back to the ground,
 in fact this sort of end has been apparent in almost 25% of all atrorubens and up to 75%
in all helleborines. They have never got past stage 2 with drooping heads

Over the last few days I have found it quite interesting when friends have posted images of atrorubens from over at Bishop Middleham.  1) the specimens over there maintain the true dark red in comparison to ours being almost anything but true dark red, of which ours lend themselves to many varieties, with just the occasional true Dark Red.  2) Also the Bishop Middleham specimens look like they have faired much later than ours.  I often wonder whether or not Carboniforous versus Magnesium has anything to do with this! 

Monday 9th July 2018 - Hutton Roof  "Summary of 2018 outcome" in regards to the Orchids on my study area:

Area 33

(Click over to enlarge)
Area 33 is a special area and most of the plants have succeeded to flower this year. 
This includes the main No.33 specimen and its spin offs 33c and the two
 light and dark back to backs 33e and 33f. There have been four caged
 specimens this year and no predation grazing to my knowledge. 
Sadly all specimens have gone over early because of the extreme weather
conditions  this year. I have yet to establish the fertilization outcome 
and whether the ovaries will succeed in any plants! It is my intentions 
to remove the cages in the next fortnight to save any leaching
 from the cages during the late summer or
winter months.

Area 55

(Click over to enlarge) 
Area 55 is a fabulous area which produces some of the best Orchids
with 55b the lemon-petalled with light green stem, also a really tall
No.55 lemon-petalled. A superb Palans and 55a2 which is a lovely
plant with white epichile and boss.  Also the area has in the past
offered the rare albiflora. Most of the orchids have done OK with
no predation recorded. 4 caged items. Obvious dehydration showing
throughout and will need to check how well fertilization has been
over the coming weeks. Removal of cages shortly to save any

Area Variagated

(Click over to enlarge)

This is the "variagated" area which holds the rare "variagated"
 helleborine found three years ago, it also has a very strong helleborine.
 Also one Schmalhauseneii to the right of the variated and also several
 small weak atrorubens to the left area of the variagated.
Sadly this year (2018) the varigated never succeeded
 with just showing a couple of basal leaves before dieback
 at around mid to late June.  The specimen was caged however 
at sometime over the winter the cattle had disturbed the cage
 and whether this had something to do with the a disturbance.

Area Cove near 40s

(Click over to enlarge) The small cove area holds a fabulous "Purpurea" helleborine
 to the LH side at the base of the trees, although this one
 this year is suffering from dieback because of dehydration 
(about the 3rd week in June), the second helleborine to the right 
hand is a lovely "white" almost chlorantha specimen which went 
down to deer predation (mid June) and the small helleborine
 to the LH front also went down with dieback (again about
 the 3rd week in June through severe dehydration). Most of the atrorubens
 came through OK and did flower, but quickly went over

Area 40s

Very difficult terrain by Area 40s (Click over to enlarge)

The most beautiful lemon-petalled duo on purple stems, 
both marked xx to the centre rear of the photo suffered
for a further year, this time NOT deer predation, but dieback
from about the third week in June due to severe heat. They got
to stage two with drooping heads and that is how they have
remained since but obviously receding by the day. The atrorubens
to their left did well and produced some really nice light purple
flowers, other atrorubens like the ones in the front have been hit and miss.
A nice "Helleborine" shown by the side of my notepad sadly
 went down with dieback. The 40s are caged which will be removed
in the coming weeks. 

Area 15s

(Click over to enlarge)

This particular area 15 is associated very much with hybrid (Schmalhauseneii plants), 
unfortunately this year in particular has been a disaster for most of the strong
build plants for obvious reasons of them needing far more water than the
nominal plant and subsequently they have suffered greatly from die-back.  15,15a,15b
which I think are the influencing schmals for the local area stopped
 in stage 2 with drooping heads and started to recede. 15g which are a duo again
presumed direct from 15 just remained stunted from the start and dieback from
about the middle of June. 15c was successful and raised flowers but in a very much
stunted fashion with a height reduce of some 8" and also instead of 62 flower/buds
like last year, this year you only got about 15 ish! All others in the area did
suffer from dieback in one way or another - NO predation this year.

Area - Just after 15s and start of Escarp

This is the small area following on from 15s and before the escarpment.

Always productive with both good helleborines and atrorubens.
  You can see to the right just at the edge of Juniper is a beautiful "Chlorantha"
 but sadly this year the plant never got going and has only thrown 
up the basal leaves which eventually started to recede.  A good helleborine
 to the left of my bag seems to be OK (to say it is out in the open)
 and has just reached stage 3 so hopefully a little bit of rain
 might just allow it to continue growing.  The odd atrorubens have
 been OK although obviously gone over now. No predated monitored in this area.

Area: Escarp 1 (7,10,12,13 etc)

This is the start of the Escarp 1 area with our most significant specimens showing
the 7 and 7a were taken down very early by deer predation. The three 10 specimens
all failed because of severe dehydration and remained in stage 2 with bent over
heads and now receding back to earth. 11 was OK but weakened down this year, 12 
did fabulous has it always does, but eventually predated by Roe Deer . All 
Heleborines suffered with dieback caused through dehydration. We did have a
few atrorubens that did make it but soon went over.

Area: Escarp 2 (Palans Esc8 and grouped atrorubens)

This is a nice area Escarp 2 which does have a lovely Palans specimen
which I call Escarp 8.  This year sadly it never made it and had some damage which must have
occurred at lower ground level and the specimen only grow to the basal leave stage before
dieback occurred - think it must have been predation by slugs or maybe the base of the
plant had been slightly disturbed or something.  Where you can see all the dotted
atrorubens was a fairly good area this year compared with most when its usual for the 
roe deer to take them all down but this year just got one or two.

Area 17 (part 1) (Triple light)

This is part of the Area 17 (Click over to enlarge)
The light trio d,e,f, have been caged and this year survived throughout although f never showed
any flower head, but d and e flowered magnificent. One specimen took down with deer,
but several taken down with dieback because of the severe dehydration and this included
several of our larger hybrids in this eg: 5 specimens. Some of the smaller regular
atrorubens did OK. 

Area 17 part 2

This is the other part of Area 17s (part 2) and shows the larger hybrids 17o,p.q.n
which all have been lost by dieback at stage 2 with drooping heads. However we do
normally lose these anyway to Brown Hare although this year I have had them
caged and so its been won predation lost to dehydration. 

Area: 9s (central)

This is part of Area 9 (the main part but only 1/5th of the total area) (Click over to enlarge)

You can see from this it is a superb area with Schmals, Palans and some straight forward
lovely specimens of atrorubens. 11 and Palans 9 were taken down by Roe Deer. But most
of the others remained OK, All plants survived the weather and flowered and on 
checking the ovaries it looks like they are doing well. Really surprising to say they are
in the complete open and would have got the brunt of the sunshine.


Saturday 7th July 2018 - Hutton Roof - Recording Orchids etc 0900hrs to 1400hrs

Sweltering temperatures as usual, but decided to do a bit of recording this morning to check how the status of the Orchid fields were doing, but before that I did manage to take one or two more photos as shown below:

Atrorubens suffering from "Burn" (Click over to enlarge)
One of the 9s family "taking on shade" whilst all others around have gone over
Click over to enlarge

Just a nice atrorubens still coming through near to Specimen 8
By the way I do need to report that the beautiful specimen No.8 has now gone down due to severe dehydration.

This was the beautiful 40s Atrorubens duo which went into "dieback" at stage 2


Thursday 5th July 2018 - Hutton Roof - Lancelot etc- found 1st flowering Helleborine

Epipactis Helleborine (Click over to enlarge)

Found this little beauty today whilst on my way back down through Lancelot.
 I have photographed this particular specimen before when it showed compensated
 growth caused through deer predation.  But can't believe just how early this one is!

A nice lighter specimen found on Lancelot Clark Storth

Tuesday 3rd July 2018 - Hutton Roof checking out orchids with photos etc 0900hrs to 1100hrs

There can't be much left now to be honest, these may well be the last photos of decent atrorubens.  I will go out over the coming days just to make sure and also to take photos of just how the specimens have faired for the records.  Here is todays:

This is 9b, a absolute stunner! which I caged about 3 weeks ago and really glad I did,
and this is the result today (also see next photo in situ)

 and I have always reckoned this particular plant to be a probable
 direct-descendant of schmal 9/10 (see photo next but one down)
after all it not only looks of similar but is growing exactly on the very spot

 of the predecessor.
(Click over to enlarge)
This is 9b in situ (Click over to enlarge)

This is the original Schmal 9/10 from 2014 (Click over to enlarge)
Now then the new plant seen above 9b is growing in exactly the same geographical position, 
and also it showing similar colours in the build.  The original plant went down back in 2015 
and has never showed since.  Although the new plant seems a far weaker plant I am sure
it is the same plant come through yet again, or alternatively it is likely to be a plant related
to the original (eg: 9s family) 

This is Specimen Schmalhauseneii No.8 as seen today (Click over to enlarge)
This specimen was last seen in its glory back in 2014 (see next photo below). Each year
since 2014 the plant has been predated and so we are lucky that at last it is managing to
come through OK, although much stunted and a far weaker specimen we are just so
pleased its coming through even under these severe weather conditions.
This is how Specimen Schmalhauseneii No.8 looked in 2014

This is 17p showing today which is considered a hybrid - along with its close neighbours
17q,17o,17n and stopped growing during the last week in June, like many more
of our hefty hybrid specimens.  The plants will remain like this and just wither away
over the next few weeks 

I am well pleased with this new "Palans" found yesterday which is a rather weak specimen but
certainly worth keeping a eye on for next year.


Monday 2nd July 2018 - Hutton Roof checking out orchids with photos etc 0900hrs to 1100hrs

Again sweltering up there and the heat is bouncing back off the limestone, but did a simple check out of the regulars at 33,55,15, all escarpment specimens etc and here are some of the photos today:

This is yet another of newly found Specimen 55 - A1 (light form)(Click over photo to enlarge)
If you were to take out the red boss colours you would think that
you had yet another rare "Albiflora" with inner transparencies showing.
Maybe it's strange that "albiflora" lives only 8 yards away from this plant
Specimen duo 40 (Click over to enlarge)
Sadly this is the state of affairs with what should have been the lovely 40 duo
which this is as far as they go and in fact are receding as you see them
they began stunted right from the start, but have obviously given up the
ghost have been like this now for over one week without growth!
reason: severe dehydration. The same is happening with countless specimens

This is Specimen Escarp 12 which is considered a Schmalhauseneii (Click over to enlarge)
This one always seems to do OK its sort of hidden 

Again Specimen 12 close up (Click over photo to enlarge)

Just found this one hiding behind a hazel (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful little specimen but struggled to get focus.


Sunday 1st July 2018 - Hutton Roof checking out orchids with Mr and Mrs. Alan S. 1000hrs to 1400hrs

Beautiful 9L
Today showing a lovely dark lower petal and sepals

the Lovely 55a No.2
Recorded for the first time, shows beautiful coloured epichile. It has
arrived from the 55 family which has plenty of Lemon - Petal in its makeup


Saturday 30th June 2018 - Hutton Roof checking out and photographing atrorubens etc
(0600hrs to 1000hrs

Some real beauties today:

A lovely contrasting plant from area 9 (Click over to enlarge)

What a beauty! from area 55 (Click over to enlarge)
Lies within 2 metre of Specimen 33 

This is the beautiful 55b which got burnt at the tips a week or so ago and surprisingly
all the burnt tips are making a "sort of" recovery as you can see in this photo
(Click over to enlarge)
(Click over to enlarge)
This is poorly 15c which is well stunted at about 9" tall with very few flowers so
let me now show you what It looked like last year when it had 62 flowers and stood
at about 15 1/2" tall - this sort of thing has happened with quite a few of the bulkier
specimens (eg: hybrids) CAUSE severe heatstroke!!

And this was the same plant 15C last year bearing 62 flowers/buds and standing at about 15 1/2"
Lets hope it goes back to this next year!! (Click over to enlarge)
Two cracking side by siders from area 55 and guess what? both actually looking fresh!
(Click over to enlarge)

Another beauty from the area 55 (Click over to enlarge)
This is a cracker called Escarp 13 and has been took out every year but this year it has been
awarded the best protection cage on the market!! and also it gets the little drink of water
which none of the others get!

This is 17d out of a trio (Click over to enlarge)

The beautiful 70 (Click over to enlarge)
normally a little more cherry red in the flower but all can be forgiven this year!!

Our rare Lutescen No. 1 still doing OK but getting more red on the epichile!
(Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 28th June 2018 - Hutton Roof and coming back via Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) 0900hrs to 1430hrs

Spent most of the time checking out our wonderful Orchids and everything else.  I had the following beautiful Chaser in Lancelot.

"Lets get it together and create a "schmalhauseneii"

I have several photographs which show similar situations as in this photo of both species Broad Leaved Helleborine (top left) and Dark Red Helleborine (bottom right) and it's no wonder we have so much going on up on Hutton Roof eg: HYBRIDS!

Specimen 69 (Schmalhauseneii) 
showing today on 28th June 2018 - which 2 years ago was at about this similar
 stage of development (a fortnight later) on 13th July 2016, and last year (2017) it was at
this simlar stage of development on 27th July 2017, which makes this plant in 2018
between two to four weeks earlier than the norm

Specimens 17 g and 17h
This is 17 g and h and part of a past trio.  They are very good looking plants and do have
a very light green stem and true atrorubens looking flowers - this sort of build and look
is very familiar with the Numbers 11 population which lies approx 200 yards to the SE
of these particular plants (eg: 11,11a,11b)
One from the Escarpment block. Very light coloured and stands
next to a dark red specimen. Interesting on the Epichile/boss which
always come through light pink to light purple side
A lovely dark atroruben which lies on the escarpment and is already showing lots
of lemon petalled features - should be a stunner when this comes out (a couple of days)
Another splendid "Escarpment" specimen

Our beautiful 55b now showing well, and even the burnt buds at the tips have somehow
miraculously come through in a reasonable state
A specimen which lies directly behind 33

Wednesday 27th June 2018 - Checking out orchids on Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1130hrs with Martin and Eleanor

Checking out a section of the orchids. Thankfully although 55b (was 66) got burnt on the edge of the plume the plant is coming through OK and here is a photo:

Specimen 55b (was originally 66) is doing well and is yet again coming through
with a creamish epichile and bosses with flecked red. You can also see just a hint of the
apple green showing through on the tip of the epichile.

Here is yet another photo of the rare "Red Ribbed" plant which I refound yesterday.

What I would call "a little beauty"
The plants in general are coming through now thick and fast with quite a lot already in flower, so I would confirm that everything (atrorubens wise) will be at its best over the next few days.  And with this weather how it is (immense heat) I don't expect them to last much longer than a two day period at their best before the flowers start drying up and going over.

Another one of our best "Palans" variety got the chop today having been nipped off by Roe Deer.  Again it had managed to get it through the large openings within the cages.

Specimen 33


Monday 25th June 2018 - Checking out orchids on Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1100hrs

Managed to find the "Red Ribbed" specimen which was out in flower

Much Red Ribbed specimen - it comes through the same every year and the only one
of its kind showing on  Hutton Roof (to my knowledge), Snipped at head by predator

Schmal 10 - now both been predated, This is whats left of Schmal 10 duo which have been predated by Roe Deer - through our cage (somehow!)

15g duo - which shows one predated and the other receding (stunted atrorubens)


Monday 25th June 2018 - Hutton Roof Orchids

2018 - Early Orchid review for Hutton Roof
It has now become apparent that the orchids are suffering this year with the prolonged dry intense (at times) heat and that sadly it has had its negative consequences on advancement in growth for many of the orchids.Quite a lot of the more heavily bodied orchids eg: Hybrids or strong build orchids seem to be suffering from:

“burn evidence to the last 1” tips of the unflowered bud plumes” so far recorded on approx. 6 specimens. (Mainly in the areas of the 55 population and the 15 population). Obviously spread between the group and perhaps in localities more prone to sunlight than others, but I would have thought if anything they were in more sheltered areas than most!!

“stunted growth” in both the main stem and the flowerhead.  Although the plants started off alright and took advantage of the early good weather. It’s as though after a prolonged period they halted and have either stayed at that size of growth with no further advancement.

“bleaching” some of the plants are showing bleaching to the flowerhead

"drying out"  signs of dehydration throughout with some specimens drying out even at the plume stage and others that have managed to flower will go over within a couple of days

Also the following undermentioned “notable” Orchids will not survive to full maturity because of the following reasons, 1) because of halted growth in early part, 2) through predation of deer, hares and slugs.

Palans No. 8 (Escarp) has completely died off. It showed early growth but long before mid development just keeled over and withered away. Can’t determine for sure but could be down to “slug predation” or underground problems.

Westmorlandii  (abberant E. Helleborine or E.phyllanthes) Although at first we were perhaps slightly eager and thought we were getting some sort of early growth from specimens in the nearby areas which looked different to the normal “helleborine leaf development”, each of these three turned out negative and have not advanced with further growth – denticulation samples will be checked in due course.

Schmal 11 Was coming through nicely until about the 20th June when it was noticed that it had been predated by Roe Deer.  Surprisingly the specimen had been caged over the past couple of years and somehow the predator had managed to get in and take the top off the plant.  The plant is one of our strongest “hybrids (schmalhauseneii) originals from 2012.  There are a couple of nearby plants which are thought to be related to this schmal, eg: 11a,11b and a couple of others not yet classified.

Schmals 15,15a,15b (trio), 15c, 15e (duo) are coming through with far stunted growth. I am not sure at this stage whether they have stopped growing and whether their reduced flowerhead size will mature further or not. (still in stage 2 with bent heads and a lot of dryness, shrivelled lower large basal leaves)

Schmals 15g (duo) Never did get going properly, always stunted at about 4”. Checking 25th June shows that one has been predated and the other seems to be receding – definitely out for this year.

Chlorantha No. 1  (E. Helleborine) As come through and grown to about 6” with leaves and no flowerhead and no further advancement since about the mid-June period.

Variagated or humbug (E. Helleborine) has come through to a few inches but with no flowerhead. It has remained in this state since mid June and obviously is not going to advance.

Trio 17d,17e,17f  - All three have come through, but only 17d and 17e have produced a flowerhead and considered to be normal growth, 17f has grown to only half the stem size of the others and with no flowerhead and appears to be failing to grow any further. Last year it seemed the most immature of the three but did have a flowerhead.  

Schmal 74 – Stunted to a 3” size (were now should be at least 18”) with what appears to be a bleached flowerhead.

The majority of atrorubens this year seem very dull and browny in colour with very few of the specimens showing what you would regard as standard atrorubens colour with a nice deep purplish. This dull colouring seems to have taken over the main population with perhaps 90% showing this way. I have watched this development build over the years now with more and more going like this every year. With most of the specimens also taking on the lemon-petalled as well.


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)