Spending time in nature is a wonderful thing. I walk the same route often with Radley, so I get to see the bush change through the seasons. One of the highlights of the tail end of Summer is starting to see the second flush of native orchids in all their varied beauty.
This year I added a new one to my list: the hyacinth orchid.
Once we started seeing them, I don’t know how we’ve missed them in the past! They are just so obvious! My husband came home after his walk one night (we take turns after bubs goes to bed), excited that he’d seen a new orchid blooming on our walk. Armed with the good camera and Chief Mole Cricket Silencer Radley, we found the purple flagpole. Along with another further down the gully. Most orchids we’ve seen bloom only a few centimetres the ground, maybe a handspan at most. These ones though were as tall as Rad.
What fascinates my about our native orchids is that they seem to grow on absolutely nothing at all. Many prefer newly turned soil, and so are often fond on the edge of pathway. Hyacinth orchids have a symbiotic link with a certain fungus, which gives them the nourishment they need. They can’t survive without each other.
Some orchids only flower after fire. Some rely on their single leaf getting just the right amount of everything. Each has a unique relationship and require that specific thing to be in place before they thrive. All of these orchids also look so very different from one another. Some are easy to spot, and some require a keen eye.
There are the very low three-horned bird orchids, hiding amongst the leaf litter and only a few centimetres across…
To the flying duck orchid who hides under the bracken…
Also in my thoughts is the passing of the Autumn Equinox. This is a time of year in many cultures where we assess the balance of light and dark in our lives: we give thanks for what we’ve achieved and the gifts we have but then take time to accept we we need to rest and rejuvenate in order to shine, to understand that we need to nourish ourselves first before growing, and that introversion can be a good thing.
After the height of crazy busy Summer we are often over-extended, so this assessment at Equinox each year comes at a perfect time. The cycles of the Earth are wonderful in that way.
The constant turning of these wonderful cycles all got me thinking further about these intricately balanced relationships between orchid and environment, evolved to perfectly suit each other. We’re like that, too. We’re beautifully suited , evolved over many successful generations, to suit our environment perfectly. But that’s not generally the environment we live in today. When we take the time to connect with the earth we’re stepping into the exciting stuff of life which will see us truly blossom: eating seasonally, spending time outside, getting enough sunlight, playing, looking after animals and plants, socialising with positive people… We suffer when we are disconnected for our earth: spending too much time inside, sitting under artificial lights, all of those things which cut us off.
For me, eating seasonally has been a wonderful awakening. We’ve really tried over the past three years or so to eat what is in season. This does mean that for some parts of the year we are without berries, some fruits, some vegies… but it does mean that we eat our fill of those things when they are available. I’ve noticed in myself huge changes in what I crave at what time in the last year. Right now, I’d be pleased not to see another apricot for a year. But APPLES!!! Oh, delicious in season beautiful apples!! Not only do I enjoy those foods so much more, but the flavour and varieties we’ve encountered far surpass anything on the mass market.
So what’s your fungus or fire, you beautiful unique orchid that you are? What makes you thrive? And can you get enough of it before the quietening down of the cooler months? Are you making sure that you are connected and nourishing yourself? I promise you’ll find a big dose of happy and a lighter heart.
If not, take a walk in the quiet and bliss of the trees and feel how wonderful it is to be part of something amazing. And if in Tassie, keep your eyes down as you may see some of these wonderful wildflowers.