Kind of Blue

In the magical bluebell woods

Whatever else is going on on my life, this is the time of year when I slip away to the magic of bluebell woods.

Deep in English bluebells

It feels amazing to be in the wildflower ocean! And while Spanish bluebells are pretty, they are less delicate and their hue is not so deep nor do they have the sweet fragrance of the wild English bluebells which are often found in places where they have existed undisturbed for centuries, perhaps even planted by medieval monks.

The root sap of bluebells has been used through history. The starchy liquid was a precious product to stiffen sleeves and ruffs, to bind the pages of books and to fix flight feathers to archers’ arrows. Yet the whole plant is poisonous, the roots, stems, leaves and flowers, and bluebells may cause serious skin irritation.

These precious English flowers are protected by law. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is a criminal offence to uproot the wild common bluebell from land on which it naturally grows and any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds is also an offence, carrying immense fines of up to £5000 per bulb.

Immersion in a wild English bluebell wood is a gorgeous sensory experience. Sweet perfume rises, birdsong dances on the breeze and intense waves of blue shift as soft light filters through trees slowly dressing for Spring; it is a joy!

In Scotland these delicate flowers cascade down hillsides spilling and splashing blue like paint from a tumbling tin. Scots often refer to harebells as bluebells, they too are pretty, but not the same.

In the traditional language of flowers, where a meaning is assigned to a bloom, the bluebell represents everlasting love. Here’s a glimpse of how it feels to be surrounded by that gorgeous experience!

In just a few weeks, all this blue will be gone, to return for more magic next year. It’s always worth the wait.

And while under the spell, I sometimes imagine how amazing it would be to experience that other ‘kind of blue’ gently drifting through the wildflower ocean!

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