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The Picos de Europa in late May – Tama Meadows

July 3, 2019
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A Late Afternoon Walk in the Tama Meadows

Our friend and botanical enthusiast was there to greet us with his infectious enthusiasm and no sooner had we dumped our bags and ‘freshened up’ than we had agreed to accompany him on a short stroll up the river valley towards Potes. The view back north from the bridge was spectacular – the bank of cloud was starting to break over the top of the mountains. The north side of the bridge was thick with ferns – I don’t know what they were.

Our path led us along the river, between meadows of drying grass heads, including wild oats, blowing in the wind.

Meadow Flowers

There was still a haze of colour across the meadows – the pink of mallow (I don’t know which), mixed with the contrasting blues of Wild Clary (Salvia verbenacea) and Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare). All beautiful in the late afternoon sun. I thought I would see more of the Salvia in better condition later on in the holiday, and higher up, but we saw it in relatively few places. The Echium, by contrast, was everywhere but these backlit closeups of it are still some of my favourites.

With my camera in my hand, it didn’t take long before I was straying behind the rest of the group, finding more and more to capture – an unfamiliar beetle crossing the path, the painted leaves of the Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) or the wild roses along the river.

Lizard Orchids

Our objective on this short excursion was a small group of lizard orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum). Somewhat stunted, as a result of the long dry spring, these were not as spectacular as the ones I have seen at Sandwich in Kent and the rest of the party were rather unimpressed by their first wild orchid. For me, it was evidence of the richness of the land around us and I was excited at the prospect of seeing what riches higher, cooler and possibly damper meadows might hold.

From here, some of our party continued the walk into Potes for a first view of the town and a drink. Helen and I decided to conserve our energy for the exertions of the morrow and returned to the Posada.

The adventure had begun.

Image of Jon Evans Jon Evans

Jon lives and gardens on the north side of the Hogsback on the border between Hampshire and Surrey, on a heavy clay soil. He is a long standing member of the AGS and has been treasurer of the local group in Woking for many years. He is especially interested in bulbs of all sorts, particularly those from South Africa, and is progressing slowly towards his Gold Medal at shows, at the rate of roughly one first per year.

However, he is best known within the AGS as an enthusiastic amateur photographer. For about 10 years he was responsible for organising the artistic and photographic section of the AGS shows around the country, and also for organising the show photography. During this period, he set up and ran the AGS Digital Image Library. He is still actively involved in plant photography, both at shows (he visits many shows each year to catalogue the extraordinary achievements of the exhibitors) and in gardens both public and private, and he makes regular outings to view and photograph wild flowers in the UK.

If you have any comments or queries for Jon, you can contact him direct at