Dienstag, 21. Mai 2013

Native orchids in northern Italy

...cur! ;-)

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Some time ago I took a break from the job, from telephone, from Internet, even from TV and radio, 
but (of course) not from photography. 

Taking photos is a kind of  meditation and relaxation for me, especially if I paddle my own canoe!

We found a nice and quiet haven amidst a great olive grove, a small B&B hotel high above Garda Lake. 

What enchanted me most on the hotel grounds (aside from the fantastic view on the lake) was the fact that we found native orchids right on the grassland above the building we lived.

So please follow me on my orchid tour through the olive grove; 
the five different native species I found end of April flowered in the sunshine next to the olive trees,
but not directly in the shadow of the trees. 

This white beauty is Cephalanthera longifolia, known as 
Sword-leaved Helleborine or Narrow-leaved Helleborine in English.

Der deutsche Name ist Langblättriges oder Schwertblättrige Waldvöglein.

The most frequent orchid species on our grassland was of the genus orchis - 
known as Knabenkräuter in German.

More precisely: Orchis simia, the Monkey orchid (Affen-Knabenkraut)

Crimson red or nearly white - it's the same species:
orchis morio - Green-winged orchid - Kleines Knabenkraut

Now we chance the genus: Ophrys - Ragwurzen. Most of them small but colourful floral gems.
The characteristic "H" gives the right hint: it's a Ophrys sphegodes,
the Early spider orchid, in German "Große Spinnen-Ragwurz".

Last but not least the ophrys gem you only find in northern Italy, mainly around Lake Garda:

Ophrys benacensis - the Lake Garda orchid/ophrys - die Gardasee-Orchidee!

I hope you enjoyed my little tour through the hotel garden on top of beautiful Lago di Garda.

Cordiali saluti, Uwe.


  1. oh these native orchids are gorgeous Ewe, wow so beautiful! Thanks for guiding me here... Now go to sleep:-) zzzzzz

  2. I don't know if my message came through... these orchids are so beautiful... thank you for gently guiding me here... I hope you have a peaceful night of rest:-)

  3. It did... ;-)


  4. I agree and like your words “Taking photos is a kind of meditation and relaxation for me, especially if I paddle my own canoe.” I love a solitary walk with the company of my camera.

    The wild orchids and others are so beautiful: each looks standing tall and proud for its own unique and attractive form and colors. By the telescope lens effect, I felt like that I was a dwarf wandering around the garden. Leaving the modern gadgets behind and walking into nature and history is one of the things I long for, so I’m envious somewhat but I’ll be content with watching over the angel in disguise at my home for the time being. Can we expect more from your trip?


  5. Thanks a lot for your kind words, Yoko. I really hope that I manage to rework some more of my photos from Italy although the next photo project is standing right in front of my door: the wedding of friends.
    So let's wait and see what springtime will spawn.


  6. Wow, so beautiful!! <3 I would need some time without FB and mobile phone too. :D We have lakeside summer cottage without running water and outdoor toilet and ofcourse sauna near the lake. That's very relaxing place to spend some time with my family and my Nikon (+ mosquitos). :D

    I had to Google that orchid thing. We have those Sword-leaved Helleborines only in Åland and it's protected.

  7. Thanks for your kind words, Pieni!

    That's what we miss here in Germany - a lakeside summer cottage. We don't have too much lakes, so we don't have too much lakeshore. As a result out of this lakeside residences can be afforded mainly be rich people.
    But we like to spend some of our summer time on an island on the North Sea coast, there we can live without many "mainland conventions", too... :-)

    I want to find out if you have more native orchids in Finland, too. But obviously you don't have them in the region where you live - otherwise you would have found them already.

    Enjoy your day,

  8. Here's a list from Finnish Wikipedia of orchids that we have:


    We have thousands of lakes here so we not so rich people can hang out at lakeside too..(cottage is in law's cottage, not our own..) :D

  9. Hard stuff for me to read the Finnish website! :-)
    Of course the Latin names are there to identify the orchids even for a German.
    Now we have to find out if there are some of the orchids flourishing in the region where you live...
    ... but please don't send me a photo of a Phalaenopsis you bought in the garden market! :-)

  10. All these gorgeous orchids in one garden?

    I only have one wild orchid in mine, which I purchased, quite by accident, as a stowaway in another plant. It’s the purple flowered, black spotted leaf one. I don’t know its name. But I am taking good care of it.ualsonb and
    Are you a botanist, Uwe?

  11. Good morning Friko,
    all the orchids in my post I took on one single meadow. Good chance that I would have found even more orchids there if I returnd two or three weeks later to the same site. Because not all species start to flourish at the same time.
    And - no - I'm just a curious and versatile person. When taking photos of plants I do not know I try to find out their names with the help of the internet when editing the photos.

    Have a great day - and watch out for the orchids which certainly flourish even in the region where you live!


  12. I have NO idea what orchids we have here at west coast. :D I'm lousy with flower names..well I know what's Dandelion. ;)

    Have to go for a walk some meadow later in the summer with my Nikon and flower book. :D

  13. That's the way many passions begin, Pieni...

    ...you see/find/explore something new you haven't seen before, you take a photo or two or one hundert of your new object of desire and later you wanna find out everything, at least more background information about it. Cause you are a nosy, a openminded person.

    That's how my passion for native orchids ( and many other passions) began years ago. Today I'm definitely no expert for orchids - therefore I have simply too much different other interests - but nowadays I know much more about this little and beautiful gems. An the search of beauty is part of your photographic work and presentation as well as every of our followers can see. Right?!

    One day you post native orchids from Finland as well (I assume) ... :-)


  14. Great flower shots! And the doggy is so cute!

  15. This is the perfect place to relax and take wonderful pictures. Lucky you :)

  16. The "doggy" was in my understandin a yappy cur, far away from being (what you call) cute, Michaela. But this depends, of course, on everybody's individual point of view. The cute little doggy started barking mad everytime we had to cross its territorial boundery. Despite the fact it lives in such a wonderful landscape. But all it was doing the whole year round was jealously defending its territory. It could have gone swimming, drinking an Italian caffė, attending a yoga course...
    ...but, no, it's passion was barking at bloody tourists... :-)

  17. Weiße Minze, you are absolutely right: Lucky me...
    ...I liked the April rain with short periods of sunshine at Lago di Garda; who wants to risk getting skin cancer because of too much sunshine... ;-))

    Uwe, owner of an umbrella.

    (The location was absolutely fantastically and silently, the right place to take a break from everyday life... :-)

  18. Thank you for your comment, I am a bit confused though, as everywhere I read, an external flash seemed mandatory for low/light photography, hence I took it with me and used it quite a lot.. I definitely have to read more and experiment!

  19. When taking photos during an event, I normally use a monopod in combination with my NIKON SLR to get a much better stability (= less camera shake, longer exposure time), especially in combination with the telephoto lens it's mandatory! I adjust the ISO speed in that way (bewteen ISO 200 - 2000) depending on the amount of light on my main motif that I get at least a shutter of 1/50 to 1/80s), especially if I take portraits of the speaker.
    And not to confuse the speaker and not to disturb the event, I normally don't use any flashlight!
    When using the wide angle lens the shutter speed can be much longer. Sometimes I use the tripod, too. Especially when taking panorama photos (put together later with Photoshop) out of two to five singe shots.
    The first photo in this post is such a pano - put together from five single photos:
    May you do well!

  20. Hi

    I've finally caught up with you. Thank you so much for those beautiful photos.
    The wild orchids are so lovely and I found all your photos exceptionally delightful! It looks like you had a wonderful time in Italy. I wish I could visit the place someday.

  21. What a relaxing break that must have been, lieber Uwe!!!
    Amazing orchid photos!