For 20 years, this retired English couple has roamed Europe hunting for wild orchids. My wife sits and paints them while I explore the surrounding fields, woods, slopes or marshes to photograph what I find. We never cease to marvel at the beauty of the flowers and the great diversity of forms they take. Our travels take us into the glorious landscapes of Europe, often to places so remote that you wonder if anyone else has seen what we have seen. The ultimate joy is to find the rare orchid jewels that few others have seen before.
The purpose of this website is to share that joy and beauty in the hope it will inspire everyone to protect these natural treasures before they disappear. In fact some of the photographs were snatched just seconds before herds of sheep or goats trampled or ate them.
The plant names used on this website follow Pierre Delforge in his book Orchids of Europe, North Africa and Middle East (Third Edition) published in 2006. Other popular names are given where they are still in wide use. We will amend them as the plant geneticists define the differences more precisely.
We are occasionally surprised to find species in areas not on M. Delforge's list of countries. This leads me to say that, as amateur botanists, we can never claim that every identification on this website is correct. We think we are right but we may be wrong, for which our apologies. Orchids' ability to interbreed, added to the natural variation within many species, can confound even the experts. We have done the best we can using the careful descriptions in Pierre Delforge's book, other more regional or national guides and very helpful websites such as John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe and Guenter Blaich's site. Our grateful thanks to them for all their excellent trail-blazing work. Our thanks also go to the real orchid experts we have met, purely by chance, out in the field in the past 20 years, notably:
Dr Hans Joachim Blech in Baden-Wurtemburg, Germany,
Dr Christos Georgiades in Cyprus,
Tony Hutchinson in Northern Cyprus,
Jan van Lent in Lesvos,
Nicola di Novella in the Cilento National Park, Italy,
Giovanni Quitadamo in the Gargano, Italy,
Lennart Vessberg in Vasternorrland, Sweden
Gareth Bareham and farmer David Arrell in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland
I have taken virtually all these photographs on the same small camera, a Fujifilm FinePix F40 operating at 8 megapixels, to ensure consistency of colour and clarity. It is lightweight and very portable in difficult terrain, offering high definition even in darker situations. The flash has never been used. Photoshop has been used as sparingly as possible so what you see here is what we saw there.
Many more years of orchid-hunting lie ahead of us -- we hope -- so watch this website as I add more delights.
If you have any comments or questions, please email me on email@example.com