We would love you to join Orchid Summer author Jon Dunn for a specially designed day exploring the orchid Garden of England – the woods and meadows of East Kent!
May is the perfect time of year to dive into your very own orchid summer, as our native orchids are at their absolute peak, and there’s nowhere better in Britain for a day of orchid-hunting than the botanically rich East Kent countryside – and no better host than the friendly and knowledgeable author of Orchid Summer, Jon Dunn.
Before moving to Shetland, Jon lived in the heart of East Kent for over ten years – he knows the countryside like the back of his hand, and knows where to see all of Kent’s orchid specialties at their very best.
During our day of orchid-hunting with him we could see as many as fifteen different orchid species – depending on the weather in the preceding days and weeks, there’s the possibility that we may find early examples of orchids that flower later in the summer, and late examples of earlier flowering species too. On our quest we’ll explore sheltered valleys, deep woodlands and chalk downs overlooking the English Channel.
Particular highlights will be two magnificent and dramatic orchid species that we should see in good numbers – Kent is the heartland of the British population of Lady Orchids, and hosts two of Britain’s three Monkey Orchid sites.
We would hope to see examples of several orchid genera during the day, so we’ll also see insect-mimicking Ophrys orchids, graceful Platanthera butterfly orchids, promiscuous Dactylorhizas, and subtle Neottias.
The day will have a relaxed pace, with plenty of opportunities for photography. Jon is an accomplished all-round naturalist, so we make no excuse if your attention is drawn to other wildlife we encounter during the course of the day – for example, it would be very wrong indeed if we ignored newly emerged Duke of Burgundy butterflies!
We’ll enjoy a delicious pub lunch in the heart of orchid country, and will maximize our time in the field – there will be short drives of no more than twenty minutes between sites. The emphasis is very much on enjoying Britain’s wildest flowers, in the company of a guide armed with an inexhaustible supply of colourful orchid stories.