Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Wild and beautiful: seek out our spectacular orchids

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Spectacular orchids are ready to provide a splash of colour in Northern Ireland's meadows, dunes and gardens as they burst into bloom.

Over the summer months the National Trust is encouraging flora fans to take a closer look at the amazing wildflower meadows it cares for.

National Trust wildlife and countryside adviser Phil Davidson said: "During July, Portstewart dunes host an abundance of pyramidal orchids, northern marsh orchids and the rarer bee orchid in a few scattered locations.

"It is a delight to see colourful carpets of these orchids amongst the dunes and know that the grazing management regime which we introduced in 2009 to improve the dune habitat has delivered such fantastic rewards."

There are many different types to look out for – such as the common spotted orchid, which varies in colour from almost pure white to a deep lilac, and the northern marsh orchid, which can be seen at sites including Downhill, Ballyconaghan, Ballymacormick and Castle Coole.

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