The Gargano, Puglia with a like minded blogger in search of orchids

Last Wednesday saw us leave home early for the drive down to the Gargano in Puglia to meet with Chloris of The Blooming Garden who was spending a holiday there. We are both posting about the experience at the same time so you can overdose on orchids by reading both our posts.

The Gargano is known to be one of the top sights in the world for wild flowers and this is the season.  For those unsure where the Gargano is situated it is the spur that sticks out from the Italian boot; at one time it was an island and so there are several species of plants and animals that are special and only found there.

Chloris and her husband were waiting for us when we arrived and so with the impatience that only the passionate plant hunter will understand we set off almost immediately.

We saw many wonderful wild flowers, but I’m going to share with you just the orchids today.  Chloris is a very knowledgeable plants woman so I felt especially lucky sharing time with her; our respective partners were relatively tolerant of our constant squeals of delight as we found a new (or possible new) flower.

Before we even arrived at the hotel, on a road that only Goggle maps would use, my husband said “you should start looking for orchids now” – actually I had been looking already but within about 1 minute of him saying this I could hardly believe that we were driving past a small field with tall stems of Orchis purpurea, The Lady Orchid.

Orchis purpurea, The Lady Orchid

This was the tallest orchid we found standing at about 75 cm.

Orchis purpurea, The Lady Orchid macro

As I’ve shown you the Lady Orchis, I’d better show you the Man Orchid; we saw these in each of the sites we visited.

Aceras anthopophorum – Man orchid

Aceras anthopophorum – Man orchid

It isn’t so obvious why the Man Orchid is so called but for the Naked Man Orchid it is blatantly correct as a name.

Orchis italica – The naked Man orchid

Orchis italica – Naked Man Orchid group

One of the things that made the Gargano so special was that in places where we found orchids there were hundreds if not thousands of them.

The example below appears to be a cross between Orchis italica and Anacampis morio, I must say he does seem particularly well endowed!

hybrid of italica and Anacampis morio we think

The problem with all the orchid species is that the book I have states at the beginning of almost every description that there are many hybrids that some people believe to be separate species; given this and the fact that some species have very wide variations in colour and even to some extent in form I think that unless you are an expert it is almost impossible to be positive about any identification, so please if you think any of my names are incorrect please leave a comment.  Chloris is very good with her identification and also she bought a book about orchids specifically in the Gargano, so I am indebted to her for most of these id’s.

Anacampis papilionacea – Butterfly orchid

We saw many different-looking butterfly orchids but cannot reliably identify them. Below are some of the variations.

Anacampis papilionacea – Butterfly orchid

Anacampis papilionacea – Butterfly orchid

Anacampis papilionacea – Butterfly orchid

Orchis provincials

Gymnadenia conopsea

Anacamptis morio white variation

Anacamptis morio white variation

Anacamptis morio pink variation

Anacamptis morio

Anacamptis is the most infuriating species as it comes in many different colours which when you find them you are sure they are something completely different.

Then come the bee orchids; all very distinctive but again many hybrids or different forms are listed as different species; I imagine that Chloris will enlighten us more about this in here post so don’t forget to follow the links to here post.

Orphys passionis pollinated by spiders – you can see some webs around the flower

Orphrys garganica

The above two are a good example; they might be distinct species or maybe the second is Orphys passionis sub. sp. garganica.

Orphris lutea

Orphis sicular

Orphys tenthredinfera pollinated by Saw flies

Although all the bee orchids are similar they are pollinated by different insects.

You can imagine the grasps of delight when we saw this field.

Anacamptis morio for as far as the eye could see

If you’d like to see how I got the above image go to Chloris’s post here.

In a vase on Monday – very pink

Life has been busy, but in a good way; I missed the Easter Monday IAVOM, although I had made two vases one as a gift for our hostess for Easter Sunday lunch and a basket of spring flowers for a Pizza lunch I hosted for ‘Pasquetta’ – Easter Monday. Continue reading

In a Vase on Monday – truly it is spring

I missed joining in Cathy at Rambling in the Garden‘s Monday Vase meme last week.  Firstly because I was busy working in the garden but mainly because I have a new computer, and it is taking me some time to get used to how everything works!  It is a new operating system to me and although I am assured by everyone that it is completely intuitive, it isn’t to me!!! Continue reading

In a vase on Monday – Treasures of spring

I’m sure everyone will find some lovely spring flowers this week to share with all the participants of Cathy at Rambling in the garden‘s weekly meme.

My little vases of joy have had triple use; I prepared them on Saturday for a very special friend’s Hen Night.  Fifteen little Campari bottles stuffed with spring flowers; what could be more fitting for a spring bride.  They were placed on the tables and if I say so myself added a very special something to the delicious array of food.  My friend chose a couple of the bottles to take home as did one of the other guests. (Sorry no images at the event, I didn’t take my camera).

How the flowers ended up in the Orangery

Yesterday, Sunday I’d invited some friends to come to see the spring bulbs in the garden and enjoy an English tea party; it was also one of the friend’s birthday so a good excuse to celebrate.

The little bottles were on the table when everyone arrived but it soon became clear that with all the extra food brought by everyone there was no space for all the flowers so they ended up on the cubes that cover the wall over the ‘outside’ kitchen; luckily fully visible from the table.

Narcissus Thalia, Rosemary and Iris

This morning I decided to bring all the flowers into the house so that they now adorn the kitchen, the sideboard and the sitting room.

In the Kitchen

Today the vases were moved into the house, some added to a tray of candles on the coffee table

On the sideboard

Viburnum burkwoodii adds some gorgeous perfume.

I think I almost like a selection of small vases more than one large arrangement.

Have a great week!


10 good things for March

Chloris at The Blooming Garden writes a monthly roundup of the best things in her garden in any given month and has decided to make the day the 23rd of each month so that others may join her.

There is no shortage of choice this month as spring has come to My Hesperides Garden and it is such a pleasure to walk around each day to see what is newly flowering and watch progress on buds that are slowly opening.

One thing I can see from the kitchen table is the progress of the Wisteria, extra special this year after loosing all the blooms last year to the Beast from the East!

Wisteria ‘Prolific’ 18th March

Wisteria Prolific today 23rd March

Wisteria ‘Prolific’

It is as if the colour was waiting for today to show. in another couple of days I think it will be open completely.  There are so many buds, I’m so excited to see it flowering.

Viburnum burkwoodii

Usually Viburnum burkwoodii is the first to flower but this year carlessii beat it by a couple of days.

Viburnum carlessii

Narcissus Thalia

Thalia are gorgeous, I need to pick more to bring into the house as they have a delicious perfume.

Clematis armandii

Another white spring flower and another that is delicately perfumed.

Magnolia stellata

There is Euphorbia rigida and E. myrsinites all around the garden

Both these Euphorbias seed prolifically in the gravel so I’m able to lift them and place them where I want them.  They have been the most obvious statement of spring’s arrival; luckily they work well as a back drop to all the spring bulbs and then continue to look attractive even in the heat of summer.

Hyacinth Miss Saigon, Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide and Euphobia

More Hyacinths from a mixed pack

A little mix of spring colour from bulbs

Muscari and Hyacinth Delph Blue

Suddenly the foliage of the bearded Iris is growing too, another month and they will be flowering too.

Hyacinths Berry Fruit mix

Just behind the Hyacinths you can just see Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’, which has been a great success this year.

Muscari with Euphorbia

There has been blossom in profusion from the fruit trees but I only have an image of the miniature flowering peach (I think that is what it is but each year I forget!!!

Dwarf flowering peach


Then of course there are tulips

Tulip Miami Sunset

Tulip White Triumphator

I love how the sun shines through their leaves

Tulip ‘Negrita Parrot’ and Hyacinths

Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’

Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’

I’ve rather lost count, but I think that is ten!  Spring is here now in Italy, the cold wind we’ve been experiencing all month has finally dropped and it is wonderfully warm.  Do visit Chloris and perhaps find ten things you’d like to share from your garden too.

In a vase on Monday – suddenly there’s more choice!

The garden and the countryside are looking very spring-like – that moment that suddenly arrives when there are clouds of blossom everywhere, vying for our interest.  Again I was able to give a bouquet to our hostess for Sunday lunch as well as have several vases at home.

I used a jam jar with a smaller bottle inside to hold the flowers for my hostess yesterday

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr Fokker’

Hyacinth from a mixed pack which added some amazing perfume

The cold autumn combined with the warmth of the last week or so has encouraged my Narcissus to flower earlier than usual.  I love the multi-headed Thalia and picked some for the classic blue jug/Narcissus combination

Blue jug with Narcissus Thalia and a single stem of Tulip Exotic Emperor

I ordered Alstroemerias when I was at the Hampton Court Flower show last July; they were delivered in September.  The plants were very small and not looking in great shape as the carrier had been rather slow, however after putting them into larger pots and then placing them in the cold greenhouse for the winter they have grown on exceedingly well and there are buds on most of the plants, this is A. ‘Avanti’

Blue jug with Narcissus Thalia, Alstroemeria and Tulip Exotic Emperor

I had intended creating a vase full of the white froth of blossom; but the wild plums were already shedding their snow-like petals; but I wanted ‘white’ so I instead I used Viburnum tinus with just a few stems of ‘true’ plum blossom (the tree is covered with blossom this year building up my hopes that there may be a mass of plums this year); these were joined by Narcissus Cheerfulness, N. Thalia, Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’ and tucked in but not very visible in this image Tulip Exotic Emperor.

In a vase on Monday

Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’, Narcissus Cheerfulness, Tulip Exotic Emperor and Viburnum tinus blooms

Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’, Narcissus Cheerfulness and Plum blossom

Do visit our hostess for the best Monday meme, Cathy at Rambling in the garden for more vases from around the world.

Happy gardening!