Southern Marsh Orchid; Dactylorhiza praetermissa

One of my favourite local parks is Beddington Park, and this offers a fantastic range of plants and wildlife to enjoy on every visit. One area of Beddington Park is lucky to have a healthy population of Southern Marsh Orchids, and I was asked to paint one of these by the Friends of Beddington Park.

Painting the Southern Marsh Orchid was going to be a challenge as I had to work from observation in the field (I was not able to take a specimen), and so I carried out sketchbook studies before attempting the botanical plate.

I always really enjoy this stage of the process, and I had to visit the plants regularly to look at the flower head in various stages, from bud to seed pods.

I also spent time thinking about the composition and the arrangement of the leaves, with many sheets of tracing paper being used to try out different versions.

Southern Marsh Orchid

The final painting was similar to those in my diploma – quite a traditionally laid-out botanical plate – and I am hoping to be able to add to my portfolio of local orchids by studying more in future years!