Bee orchids stage a free show near Carrow Road

Bee orchids growing at Big Yellow Storage on Carrow Road where sales assistant Helder de Sousa has been keeping an eye on the rare plants. 
Photo by Simon Finlay. Bee orchids growing at Big Yellow Storage on Carrow Road where sales assistant Helder de Sousa has been keeping an eye on the rare plants. Photo by Simon Finlay.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014
10:00 AM

Dozens of unusual orchids are back growing in the shadow of Carrow Road in Norwich – and the weather could be the reason.

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Bee orchids growing at Big Yellow Storage on Carrow Road. 
Photo by Simon Finlay.Bee orchids growing at Big Yellow Storage on Carrow Road. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Several bee orchids first popped up at a plot of land on the Big Yellow Storage site in Canary Way five years ago.

Since then, a temporary wildlife oasis has been created in the heart of the city.

The flowers, each of which looks like it has a female bee or wasp resting on it, were back two years ago, but they failed to show last year because of the poor weather. But they have returned, and are flowering earlier than in previous years.

Chris Durdin, former RSPB press officer at the Norwich regional headquarters, said it was unusual to see bee orchids in areas not normally associated with unusual flowers.

He said: “They are flowering well. Bee orchids are not that rare, but they are always stunning to look at and it’s the location opposite the football ground that makes these newsworthy, to my mind - even if they are overlooked by most people as they walk past.”

Helder de Sousa, sales assistant at the Big Yellow Storage, said people could appreciate the flowers for a while yet.

He said: “The grass was cut just before they started flowering, which was good timing. They don’t last very long but we won’t be cutting the grass again for a month, so people will be able to see them.

“The orchids are very impressive, but I’m sure many people don’t know they are there.”

Steve Rowland, public affairs manager with the RSPB, praised Big Yellow Storage for going that extra mile to ensure that the orchids could thrive. He said: “Orchids are great and people always associate them with being something special and exotic. They can pop up on a site one year, and then not reappear for several years. They don’t need a great deal of looking after.”

John Milton, head of nature reserves with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said the bee orchids were flowering particularly early this year.

■ Do you have a story about an unusual plant? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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