From the wasteland a rich carpet of orchids

From the wasteland a rich carpet of orchids

orquidea

Bee orchids can thrive on thin soils associated with old factory sites and fly ash tips Photograph: Alamy

Paul Simons

Industrial wastelands sound like grim places but many of them are refuges for some fascinating plants. A recent survey in north-east England found far more variety of plants on brownfield sites than moorlands, which you might imagine would be wilder and more natural. Read more.