Hi everyone!

I’m back and ready to go after a tough weekend working at Castle Stuart for the Scottish Open. As you all know the weather was not on its best behaviour which caused a few headaches for the green keeping team, but overall a great experience. I promise I will share all the details and pictures with you in my next post, this week I would like to share some good news with you.

We recently received our orchid survey report which showed some rather exciting findings. It was noted that The Duke’s has a high biodiversity value with over 140 plant species recorded. The diverse flora will in turn support a wide range of insects, birds and mammals.

The report drew particular interest towards the “outstanding” number of Northern Marsh Orchids or Dactylorhiza Purpurella to give them their proper name! These orchids grow well in damp herb-rich grasslands, they were also spotted growing in the short rough beside the fairways, in particular the 18th.

The (not-so)Common Spotted Orchid

It was also noted that there was number of Common Spotted Orchids and most interestingly a hybrid between the two orchid species. This means we have to pay particular attention when maintaining these areas.

Northern Marsh & Common Spotted Orchid Hybrid

Possibly the most significant finding noted in the report was the discovery of two very unusual flowering plants. The Common Fleabane (Pulicaria Dysenterica) was found growing beside gorse in an area of orchid grassland. There are no recent records for this species in Fife. While around 20 plants of Yellow Bartsia (Parentucellia Viscosa) were found in orchid grassland. It was interesting to note that growing alongside the Yellow Bartsia was Common Centaury (Centaurium Erythraea) a relatively rare species in this area of Fife and most commonly found near the sea.

I believe that the high numbers of plant species is a testament to the high level of care taken when maintaining not only the fairways but also the rough. Most people think that a green keeper’s job is cutting grass and digging bunkers however as this report shows it is vital that we know and understand the science of different plant and insect species.

Common Fleabane (Pulicaria Dysenterica)

Foxgloves by the 2nd tee

If you would like any more information on the different plant species here at The Duke’s then do get in touch. And remember to take a look at Ayden’s latest golf lesson on YouTube, this week Ayden shows us how to avoid a bad back position.

Take care

Derek