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Orchid Summer

The new book by naturalist Jon Dunn, released on 8th March 2018 by Bloomsbury. 

 

A heady celebration of the beauty and history of the wild orchid species of the British Isles, embraced in one glorious and kaleidoscopic summer-long hunt by naturalist Jon Dunn 

From the chalk downs of the south coast of England to the heathery moorland of the Shetland Isles, and from the holy island of Lindisfarne in the east to the Atlantic frontier of western Ireland, Orchid Summer is a journey into Britain and Ireland's most beautiful corners. The flowers that are the focus of this treasure hunt are exquisite and diverse. Some resemble insects and develop scents that mimic the smell of a virgin female wasp in order to lure male wasps to sample their unsatisfying charms. Some tower above the surrounding vegetation; others are vanishingly small and discrete. Some are sweetly scented; others smell of ripe billy goats. Some can be readily found but some will prove more elusive – none more so than the last to flower, the rarest of them all, the ghost orchid… 

Capturing the intoxicating beauty of these rare and charismatic flowers, Orchid Summer is also an exploration of their history, their champions, their place in our landscape and the threats they face. Combining infectious enthusiasm and a painterly eye with a deep knowledge that comes from a lifetime's passionate devotion to their study, Dunn sweeps us up on his adventure, one from which it is impossible not to emerge enchanted and enriched. 

Useful links

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) 

The BSBI is for everyone who cares about the wild plants of Britain and Ireland. Since 1836, we've been promoting the study, understanding and enjoyment of British and Irish botany. 

We support all botanists - beginner or expert, amateur or professional - as they identify, record and map what grows where: our data and knowledge underpin the conservation of the British and Irish flora. 

 

Hardy Orchid Society 

The Society’s aim is to promote interest in the study of native European Orchids and those from similar temperate climates throughout the world. The varied aspects covered include field study, cultivation and propagation, photography, taxonomy and systematics, and practical conservation. 

 

The Ghost Orchid Project 

The home of the annual, ongoing coordinated search for, and research into, Ghost Orchids in Britain. 

 

Plantlife 

Wild flowers, plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes. But without our help, this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost. 

Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi . We own nearly 4,500 acres of nature reserve across England, Scotland and Wales where you can find over 80% of the UK’s wild flowers . We have 11,000 members and supporters and HRH The Prince of Wales is our Patron. 

Our team of dedicated conservation experts work with landowners, businesses, conservation organisations, community groups and governments, pushing boundaries to save our rarest flora and ensure familiar flowers and plants continue to thrive. 

 

The Wildlife Trusts 

No matter where you are in the UK, there is a Wildlife Trust inspiring people about the natural world and saving, protecting and standing up for wildlife and wild places near you. We believe that people are part of nature; everything we value ultimately comes from it and everything we do has an impact on it. We reach out to and empower people of all ages and from all walks of life to make a positive change for wildlife and wild places near them. 

Supported by our 800,000 members, together The Wildlife Trusts care for 2,300 diverse and beautiful nature reserves, from remote woods and rivers to inner city nature parks, and most people live within a few miles of one of these special places. We run marine conservation projects around the coast and campaign for protection of our seas. 

 

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) 

Reserves are at the heart of what we do. They're vital to our conservation work and priceless spaces for everyone to get close to nature. 

 

Wildflowerhour 

We are a site that isn’t run to make money but to spread the love of plants. 

At 8pm every Sunday, we all share pictures of flowers we have found growing wild in Britain and Ireland over the preceding week. Of course, if you’re busy at that time, you can always post something during the week – but 8-9pm is when we have a proper party. 

You can do this on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever else you fancy. We have a Facebook group for you to share pictures in, or on Twitter make sure you use the hashtag #wildflowerhour.