A NEW orchid has been named after the Silsden street where it was grown.

Paul Redshaw has been cultivating the hybrid orchid in his Westerley Crescent garden for the past decade.

Now Dactylorhiza x grandis Westerley Charm is going through the process of being trialled in Essex, ahead of sale and marketing.

Paul, who was a Royal Botanic-trained horticulturalist and environmental consultant, says the plant originally grew "by mere chance" in a pot of primulas given to him by his father.

He adds: "Although my father grew one species of Dactylorhiza he never grew the plants needed to create this hybrid, so between us we have no understanding of how it came to appear in a pot of primulas!

"At the time I wasn’t growing any other orchids, as I didn’t want the commitment of all the watering and attention that they require.

"But since then I have been growing the hybrid orchid, and eventually amassed quite a few of them.

"It is a summer stunner; not only does it have an incredible, tall flower spike comprising an array of individual rich magenta flowers, that last nearly a month, but it has striking maculated leaves which are also attractive.

"Many people don’t grow orchids, but these hardy orchids are happy in most good quality garden soil. You can grow them in full sun but partial shade is even better, as it means you don’t have to water as much – which has to be a good thing!

"Hybrid plants, especially those of unknown parentage, are hard to identify and at first I thought the plant was a Western Marsh orchid. But later identification revealed it wasn’t a Western Marsh.

"I could have named it more or less anything, but ultimately decided to call it after the street where I grew it because in summer the showy orchid brightened up my garden and everyone who happened to see them commented on how striking they looked. To have the plant accepted under its name, it had to be published by the Royal Horticultural Society."

Paul, 57, is currently writing a book about orchids, which has a strong Silsden connection. And he plans to give a talk on the subject in the near future.

He also has a keen interest in the environment and combines that with a passion for photography.

"Through the lens urban expansion is rural contraction in disguise," says Paul.