With summer now in full bloom, there are a whole new mix of native orchids springing to life out there in the bush. Keep your peepers peeled for these delicate beauties on your next hike.
With only 5km of space to explore during the hard lockdown in Melbourne, I quickly became very aware of and grateful for the beauty that surrounds me very close to home. My bubble included two beautiful nature reserves brimming with my favourite thing to photograph, native orchids.
The first few weeks, which prohibited recreational exploration, were used to walk for exercise and see what was popping up around the place. As soon as recreation was allowed again, I was out there with my camera, ready to go.
In the warmer months, we finally start to see some of the brighter, more colourful and strange-looking blooms among our native orchid species. These ones are much easier to spot, though you might not easily identify them as an orchid if you didn’t know what they were.
They rely on a special fungus that lives in the soil to germinate their seeds (and some have no leaves and never photosynthesise!) which makes them a super interesting oddity, almost impossible to just grow at home.
From star-shaped bright purples and pinks, to the donkey-faced hues of yellow, white and purple, beautiful neon green spidery shapes and the absolute aliens of the plant world, the flying duck, the beard, and the sun orchid, there’s a vast array of colours and shapes to capture the eye and the imagination.
Remember, the warmer months tend to bring out the creepy crawlies. Carrying bug spray, sunscreen and a compression bandage (at the very minimum) can literally be a life saver. If you do encounter one of our very beautiful (but very venomous) snakes, it’s always best to stay very still and let them pass by, or slowly and quietly back away from where they are.
I highly recommend getting out into nature with your mates and looking for these strange, alien-like creatures close to home. You never know what you’ll find!
Please remember that all native orchids are protected, so take all the photos you like, but please don’t pick the flowers.