Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Summerhouse - Orchids and Hedgehog - Denmark - Part 6

The summerhouse has quite a few features that adds to the joy of going back home. It delivers extremely quiet nights (and days), which results in some top quality sleeps - I could cut an hour of my standard sleep and still feel more refreshed than I would after a night next to the bus stop in Coogee :-D ... but why cut when there is no need? ;-) The quality of BBQ equipment is another big plus, and in combo with someone volunteering to steer the machinery and a series of lovely Danish summer evenings, we could in no way complain about our countryside accommodation.

During the last ca. 5 years we have had an orchid growing in an area close to the summerhouse - a wild one that is, we did not plant it and we are not giving it any special treatment - except for a visit once and a while when we are out for a walk. Nevertheless it consistently manages to flower every summer and even deep into the Danish winter you will still be able to spot the dead flower stem standing tall above the snow - if you know where to look.

The little beauty is from the Dactylorhiza family (Gøgeurt), a good guess would be D. purpurella (Purpur Gøgeurt) since the flowers are distinctly more blueish than red, but variation in color is very common and the D. purpurella was indeed for a long time considered just another color variant of D. majalis. All orchids in Denmark are protected and all of them are in trouble - extensive use of the land, drainage, use of fertilizer etc. have made these fantastic flowers rare, which spurs the next level of treats - "collectors" removing them from their natural habitat and placing them in their gardens, where they slowly deteriorate and die do to badly matching soil composition not providing them with their needs. In reality I do not think many are "stolen" from nature, the big culprit is the loss of idle land being allowed to just be there without human intervention.

As if it was planned we managed to convince one of the most lovable dusk loving Danish mammals to perform a little show for our international visitor. Despite of the spike look, no one can help falling for the hedgehog (pindsvin). Indeed Little G. took charge of the camera and managed to immortalize the little feller below.

Great stuff! The holiday was slowly coming to an end and it was time to leave Jutland. Before getting airborne, however, there would be a couple of days in Copenhagen - probably a good idea, since Sydney can be a bit intimidating when you arrive straight from the dark end of Jutland :-D

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