Beauty parade

Rolling along a quiet country road on the Madone this morning, I noticed an old canvas-topped Land Rover pulled over a few hundred years ahead. Nothing so unusual in that. As I drew closer, though, I noticed a large object on the grass verge beside it. It was a body.

Happily, it was still alive. It turned out to be a bloke in a beard and a Barbour, lying down to get his SLR as close as possible to a group of Early Purple orchids. Like all Britain’s orchids, they’re protected by law – although they’re actually quite common round here – and bring a pleasingly exotic touch to our woods and hedgerows. As the name implies, their flowers are a bold, imperial purple that sticks out a mile among the ubiquitous bluebells and stitchwort. They’re the supermodels of the vegetable world: cue a short nature poem.

NEW COLLECTION

They pose, soaking up the sun

And men’s admiration,

Heads held high,

Wordless and aloof,

Accepting the camera’s love

As no more than their due,

Disdaining the bluebells:

They’re so last-month.

May’s must-haves

Are purple.

Snap them up before they’re gone. 

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