Aylesbury environmentalist hits out at Bedgrove Park vandalism that destroyed rare orchids

A local environmentalist has said he has been left 'heartbroken' by 'botanical vandalism' in Bedgrove Park last week.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 10:28 am
Green-winged Orchids

Bedgrove Park is home to the extremely rare 'Green-winged Orchids' which have been maintained by no small effort from the Aylesbury Vale District Council Ecology and Parks Teams and local conservationists.

They arrived in the Bedgrove Park Wildflower Meadow five years ago, and can only grow in the 'highest quality wildflower meadows'.

That the rare plants have taken root in the park is a testament to the hard work from AVDC and local volunteers.

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Former AVDC ecologist and local botanist Matt Dodds, who was involved in establishing the meadow and has counted the spikes for the last 5 years, alerted us to the incidents.

He said: "One of the most gratifying conservation successes of recent years in Aylesbury has been the colonisation of the Bedgrove wildflower meadow by the extremely rare Green-winged Orchid.

"These beautiful flowers occur in only the highest quality wildflower meadows and arrived in the park 5 years ago. The seed is as light and small as dust and could have blown in from many miles away, then spent another 10 years maturing until it was ready to flower.

"From a few plants 5 years ago, flowering spikes have gradually increased in number, reaching 30 flowering spikes last year. The spring brings the expectant anticipation of waiting to see how many spikes will appear and if there will be more than last year.

"This has been the case in each of the last 5 years.

"This year the spikes were just starting to appear when 2 separate acts of awful vandalism took place over the weekend.

"7 spikes have been picked and removed from the site. If this continues these actions threaten the flower with local extinction. This is all the more tragic given their miraculous appearance and 10 year struggle to flower.

"The actions of a selfish few cannot be allowed to threaten their survival and deprive the general public of the joy of seeing them each year."

Matt is imploring people who visit the park to please just enjoy looking at the Orchids and other wildflowers.

He said: "I really hope that people reading this can leave the Orchids alone in future so they can continue to survive and thrive.

"Enjoy them of course but please please do not pick them.

"It may be that people do not realise their importance and are picking them through ignorance.

"If this is the case, park users can help protect them by explaining to anyone approaching the flowers that they are botanical jewels that should be left to grow in peace so that everyone can appreciate them."