Tuesday, 26 April 2011


There are few more eagerly awaited sights or scents than that of bluebells (hyacynthoides non-scripta) in woodland or in hedgerows.
En masse, their violet blue glows and children, in days gone by, would collect their flower stems in huge armfuls. Not any more.

The British Isles are believed to hold 50% of the world population of bluebells. They are typically seen in deciduous woodland but will flourish in gardens. They have very deep bulbs that defy the gardeners' longest garden fork to remove!!

The loss of woodland habitat is a reason for their being under threat. The second, more insidious reason is the introduction of the pretty but invasive Spanish bluebell (h.hispanicus) with which our native bluebell too readily hybridises.

So, it was especially pleasing to find one solitary clump of our native English bluebells near the newly planted hedge on our site. It was Jill who spotted them.

We have written a landscape management plan and intend to introduce native bluebells (bought 'in the green') when we have managed the areas under the trees to take away competition from nettles and brambles. We have been told that bluebells do grow in the adjacent woodland but it is illegal to remove wild plants.  Buying 'in the green' means buying the plants when in leaf - this is a more successful method of introduction than buying dry bulbs.

Bluebells are the preferred nectar source for brimstone and pearl bordered fritillary butterflies and are also enjoyed by bumblebees.

The sight of wild bluebells, even in a small group, was really encouraging.

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