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Author Topic: Acid, alkaline or other foibles? Your experiences  (Read 982 times)


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  • Country: fr
Acid, alkaline or other foibles? Your experiences
« on: May 22, 2010, 08:54:22 PM »
I've been giving myself a crash course in terrestrial orchids to see what might grow here naturally, and have come across quite a bit of conflicting info. For example, species listed in some places as calcicole are listed elsewhere as liking alkaline or very poor free draining slightly acid soil.
I have a large range of conditions here - approx 10 acres in two parcels, mostly slightly acidic, some very boggy, almost stagnant, both dry and wet woodland (oak, ash, silver birch, beech, sweet chestnut, wild cherry, alder, mountain ash, willow), both poor and rich soil, sunny and shady dry banks, unpredictably freezing (some years -5, some 25C) or wet winters - sometimes 5 weeks of snow, sometimes no snow at all - several weeks of hot dry 35C+. The soil is sandyish, derived from granite, but with lots of leafmould in the woody bits. Any part that isn't boggy is free-draining. It sounds like it should be an orchid heaven!

This is a list of what used to grow in this department historically, many of which haven't been seen for 30 years. Also the department has a wide range of conditions, not all found in this specific area:
orchis mascula and dactyl. maculata (which already grows here. Apart from platanthera, I haven't seen any of the others in the 6 years I've been here)
orchis morio
epipactis helleborine
listera ovata
anacamptis palustris, coriophora & laxiflora
dactylorhiza fistulosa, viridis, sambucina & incarnata
epipactis palustris
goodyera repens
gymnadenia conopsea
hammarbya paludosa
himantoglossum hircinum
neotinea ustulata & nidus-avis
ophrys apifera, fuciflora, fusca
orchis purpurea
platanathera bifolia & chlorantha (one of which is possibly still around)
serapias lingua
spiranthes aestivalis & spiralis

I'm pretty sure most of the species loss is down to farming practises, and our land is largely unaffected by local farming (high enough not to be affected by leaching of fertilisers, and generally neglected land), most probably why it still has o. mascula d.maculata, and platanthera.
I know it sounds obvious that I should try any of the species listed above (if I can actually get hold of any!), but I'd love to hear anyone else's experience of any of these and the conditions they grow in, or any others that might like it here.

Creuse, France
-8C (occ.lower) to +35C. High rainfall except for summer.
Free draining gritty acid soil.


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