You may wonder where I encountered this beautiful flower. Kew Gardens? Some place in the subtropics?
Neither are accessible to me for the moment, and I’ve not ventured out of the lanes near my house today, let alone out of Cornwall.
This is Stachys sylvatica, the Wood Woundwort of the family Labiatae, to which a lot of culinary and medicinal herbs belong: mints, marjorams, thymes and sages.
And close-up, their flowers really do look as exotic and beautiful as any orchid (but much hairier).