This is definitely one of my favourite times of the year when the bluebells are out, there’s greenery everywhere and there’s no doubt at all that the Earth is coming back to life.
There seem to have been so many of them around this year too!
I love that first haze of blue as the flowers begin to open.
And even within a week, there are more and more of them …
And the scent of them, it’s fabulous! My sense of smell has diminished over the last few years to the point that it has to be a certain type of smell for me to notice it (nothing at all Covid-related, I’ve decided I’ve squashed something in my nose by wearing my reading glasses on the end of it for years – definitely not a medical opinion! 😀 ) but even I am bowled over by the scent as soon as I step into the woods.
The bluebells in these woods are native British ones (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and I have some of them in my garden too. The leaves are narrow, the flowers are a deep violet blue and the tips of the flowers curl back.
I’ve also got plenty of these too …
These are Spanish bluebells, a more vigorous variety which are taking over some of the native habits in the wild and are also hybridising with the native bluebells. I have to say, I hadn’t really noticed that there was much difference between the numbers of each that I had in my garden, but this year I did. The native ones in the top picture are pretty much the only ones I could find whereas I’ve got plenty of the others.
You can spot the Spanish bluebells as their leaves are broader, their flowers are paler blue and often white or pink as well, and they don’t have a smell like the native ones do. This website has a good description of the differences if you want to check for yourself.
If I’m honest, it wasn’t until I was putting the photos together for this blog post that I really stopped to look at the bluebells in the photos, and I realised that not only do I have the Spanish bluebells in my garden, but they were here in these woods too.
They look so pretty all together, don’t they?
But there are very definitely white, pink and bluebells here in these woods which means that they’re not the native variety.
It’s a bit sad now that I know as there will have been masses of native bluebells here once and now they’re gone, but I guess this is how Nature is. The custodians of the woods will need to take a view as to whether they want to leave them or try to encourage the original bluebells back – and of course that all take resources and effort that isn’t always available.
It’s made me think that once the Spanish bluebells in my garden have finished flowering, I’m going to dig the bulbs up. They’ve really spread in the borders so I don’t mind the idea of thinning them out anyway, but I would like to encourage my little patch of native ones to recover. It would be a shame to think that they might disappear completely, and it would be lovely to have enough of them to produce a scent that even I can smell!