Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com
It’s bluebell time! The picture below was taken a few weeks ago before the bluebell flowers had appeared.
I wonder what I was saying to Zeph?!
Living in the Surrey Hills, surrounded by extensive woodlands, I have probably taken for granted the beautiful carpet of bluebells that appears in the Spring. I’ve always appreciated the sight of bluebells peeping through the trees, particularly when I was driving all over Surrey, visiting schools, but I rarely had the opportunity to go on a designated bluebell walk!
Last week, a friend who lives in Capel, a nearby village, invited me for a bluebell walk in her local woods, followed by coffee in her garden. We were lucky to have chosen a beautiful morning which was perfect for bluebell viewing. As these flowers are protected in the UK, so mustn’t be picked or trampled, I didn’t take Zeph on this walk as I wanted to protect the bluebells!!
Below are some photos I took on our walk. I did take my camera, as well as my phone, but I found it quite tricky to zoom in on the bluebells without trading on them.
This last photo was actually taken in my garden, not on the walk!
Did you know …?
- The bluebell has lots of different names, including fairy flowers, witches thimbles, ring-o’-bells, wood bells and wild hyacinth.
- Bluebells are sometimes called ‘fairy flowers.’ This is because an old myth says that fairies liked to use bluebells to attract and catch people passing by in the woods – especially children.
- Half of the world’s population of bluebells can be found in the UK. However, native bluebells are under threat from the Spanish bluebell. The Victorians introduced the Spanish bluebell to the UK as a garden plant but it ‘escaped’ into the wild.
- The native bluebell is a deep blue colour and is scented. The flowers are on one side of the stem which gives them a drooping bell like appearance. The Spanish plant is pale blue and has no scent. It has . flowers on all sides of the stem, giving it a more upright appearance.
- Bluebells depend on warm ground temperatures to help them grow and are normally, but not exclusively, found in old woodland, thick hedges and on bracken-covered hillsides.
- As bluebells are perennial plants, they flower every year.
- All parts of the bluebell plant contain toxic glycocides that are poisonous to humans, dogs, horses and cattle. If any part of the plant is eaten, it can cause serious stomach upset, and if consumed in large quantities, may be fatal.
- Bluebell bulbs contain a starch that in Elizabethan times was used to stiffen ruffs.
- Bluebell colonies take between 5-7 years to develop and can take some time to recover if damaged. It is very important to avoid trampling bluebells in bloom to protect the delicate flowers and allow the colony to spread naturally. The native bluebell is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
- In French the bluebell is called ‘la jacinthe des bois’.
Are you a fan of bluebells?