Bridget Ozanne Orchid Fields
In the Les Vicheries lane can be found a series of small meadows, 13
of which are owned, leased or managed by La Société Guernesiaise. They
are easy to see by walking down the lane, and one or two cars may be
near the abreuvoir (cattle watering place) towards the south end. If
you have more or large vehicles you will need to park on the coast and
walk inland. When in full flower (middle of May to middle of June) paths
are cut around the fields so that you may easily see and photograph the
In the past, the meadows were too wet in winter and spring for cattle and at any time for crops, so were cut for hay when dry enough, perhaps end of June or beginning of July, after most of the wild flowers had set seed. Cattle would then have grazed during the autumn, until the weather deteriorated.
Nowadays we attempt to replicate this, by cutting for hay, and occasionally having access to some cows for grazing. The Hemlock Water Dropwort has to be controlled, which would have been done by the cows' hooves in the past. We have to cut it by hand (a rather unpleasant job!) You may find a field where it is not controlled to see how it takes over.
Copyright © La Société Guernesiaise 2011. All rights
Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.