This is my mother’s property in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia, where I grew up and for most of my 62 years have mown the lawn and tended the garden. However, two years ago following a period of many months when I had not mown the lawn due to COVID restrictions, I was visiting mum when I noticed a most unusual sight.
To my surprise and instant delight, there were uncountable small flower spikes in a patch of lawn quite near her front door. Dropping to my knees I was amazed to see a field of hundreds of Pterostylis erecta orchid flowers, densely filling a triangular area of lawn around 4 squ. metres. These beautiful green and maroon hooded flowers were standing singly atop stems up to 20 cm high arising from the centre of a typical rosette of leaves, and this year they are back in profusion. As previously, there were no others to be found elsewhere on this block or anywhere I could see up and down the road. I have been a keen orchid grower for most of my life and the thought that these beautiful creatures had eluded my notice, possibly for decades, is simply beyond belief, but that’s exactly what happened.
Editors note: Jim mentioned there has been some discussion in the Facebook group about the identification as P pedunculata, with some saying it is P erecta or P oblonga. We welcome any comments or ID suggestions! This shows the value of sharing information amongst other enthusiasts and experts.