This post is for Tish Farrell who visited English orchids near the windmill at Much Wenlock and shared them with me
Each year we make a spring pilgrimage to Nerrigundah Ridge when the rock orchids are flowering. Armed with a stick and sturdy boots, we walk up a rocky ridge through spurts of flowering grass, past bright yellow guinea flowers, stepping on conglomerated and broken rocks, many covered with lichen and moss: doubly cautious because the rocks are loose and it’s the beginning of snake season. We find a clump of rocks with healthy-looking orchid leaves but no flowers. But the Ridge doesn’t disappoint us. There they are, three sprays of creamy-white orchids with their maroon striped and freckled throats, “white girls flowering out of stone / and leaning on the green air” as Douglas Stewart describes them.