I was ticked off this week by a Laroque friend in an email conversation. I’d been waxing lyrical about the woods here in the UK which are starting to be carpeted in that rich blue which indicates that bluebells are in flower. She pointed out, rightly, that she has a clump in her own garden. I can’t deny it of course. But I’m still delighted to have been in England long enough to catch this very special sight of bluebells flowering in such profusion that the whole woodland floor becomes an almost violet-blue which no camera ever seems able to capture accurately.
Their presence apparently is a sign of ancient woodland. Adapted to this territory, the young shoots are good at piercing thick leaf mould before the deciduous leaves of the woodland canopy close in late spring. They’re native to Atlantic Europe: apparently somewhere between 25 – 50 % of all common bluebells are found here in the UK. That’s an astonishing statistic for our small island, since the bluebell can be found in so many other parts of Europe, and has been introduced to many parts of the United States as well.
It’s a shame it’s turned rainy and a bit cold. We need the rain, and lots of it. But there’s something very special about a walk in the woods at this time of year, with the mild sunshine penetrating through the newly-leaved branches to reveal the bluebells as they march unhindered as far as the eye can see.