May 13, 2012

bluebell time

I have come perilously close to missing my annual wander in a bluebell wood.

Staggering through a second weekend full of lurgy, but then suddenly with the sun shining I knew it was probably the last chance this year to see that amazing combination of bluebells and young beech leaves - and it is as much about the trees as the bluebells for me.

We usually have our annual bluebell moment in woods and forests near my inlaws' home (amazing displays in Ashridge Forest and a wood conveniently near the Alford Arms pub, both near Berkhamsted), but this year I remembered there is a small wood not far from us, about a 15 minute drive, that is a little bluebell haven. It is so easy to forget the places nearby isn't it? I know the landscape and couple of villages around my home like the back of my hand, but the places a short drive away - I tend to let them slip my mind as we head further afield for weekends or holidays away from home. Nina from Tabiboo blog, recently encouraged us to enjoy and discover places close to home, so with that in mind, we headed off.

We were not disappointed. Hitch wood may be small, but it is perfectly formed! The bluebells were slightly beyond their best, but the wonder was still there.

The bluebells look so beautiful in the soft light that we get in England - the flowers that are native seem to look their best in this gentle, muted sunshine we get, in the same way that Mediterranean flowers like bougainvillea look so wonderful in brighter sunlight and more uncompromising blue skies.

I do love the nodding bluebell flowers with their gorgeous, beguiling scent,

but man, I really love the towering, limegreen leaved beech trees!

The combination, of course, is the absolute business, especially in the slightly misty early morning light.

 And especially with my favourite peeps walking through, putting the world to rights and making dens!


  1. How funny that I blogged about bluebells today too! I also made an effort to visit closer to home to see bluebells - ours were at my Mother in Law's! She has a huge carpet of them across the bottom of the lawn and they looked beautiful in the sun today. Really uplifting.

    Gorgeous photos here and I LOVE the photo of Rolo and your littlest having a cuddle!

    Nicki xx

  2. Beautiful. Hope you're finally feeling better.

    Spring is an awful time to be sick.

    xo Jane

  3. Glorious. One of my treasured childhood memories is bluebells in the woods by our house.

  4. Oh my what absolutely gorgeous photos Belinda...........

    Feeling somewhat envious, but enjoying your post. I have always loved the combination of purple and green.

    The photo of your lads walking along the path is my favourite......

    So glad you made it to the woods to wander amongst the beauty. I never knew they had a scent, can you describe it? Hoping the fresh air and beautiful scenery sent that lurgy packing once and for all!

    Claire :}

  5. They are just lovely, Belinda. So peacefully blue. thanks for sharing.

  6. Beautiful pictures. I haven't managed to get back to our local woods again. I was a little early in April, but it was still a lovely sight.

  7. Fabulous photos, the combination of that zingy green with the blue is just beautiful isn't it? I have always wanted to own a little woodland, there are many for sale in Norfolk, but sadly, way over budget, so it will remain a pipe dream and I shall content myself with walking the woods at the edge of the village, a five minute walk away.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. I adore Blue Bells, My friend Colette bought me some for my birthday. I swiftly planted them up in my garden. Each year I will be remind of my friend when they arrive.
    Super Super Super!

  9. Yay! I got a walk in a bluebell wood yesterday too. As you say, the vibrant blue/green combination really sings.

  10. Lovely post Belinda, and gorgeous photos. I really must get out and enjoy the last of the bluebells here. Thank you for reminding me :D

  11. The fresh, limey green of the beech trees are a great backdrop for the brilliant blue of the bells. What a heavenly wood.

  12. You are so right about the lovely muted light and how it suits our native flowers and trees. There is nothing more special than a bluebell wood with the fresh green young leaves bursting into bud and, if you are really lucky, a clump of pungent wild garlic

  13. Those bluebells aren't our native ones, they're spanish bluebells, an invader here in Britain. The spanish ones are more upright, our lovely native ones have the very distinctive curve. The spanish bluebells are invasive and gradually killing our native species.

  14. Anonymous, I am not an expert, but I am suprised with your view on the bluebells, they were in an ancient woodland, well managed and locally well known for the English bluebells. The lack of strappy leaves, the darker, purpley colour and the lean over without blooms equally on both sides make me think they are English, but maybe some Spanish interlopers have integrated in? Looking more closely, I agree photo 2 and 3 are a possibility but the last photo shows English ones I think? I find the lean over is more pronounced when all the florets are fully out, I guess the weight. We can agree to differ, although maybe you know more about it than me. Thanks for the heads up.

  15. Unfortunately we (plantlife in woodlands research) found that 1 in 4 of our native woodlands are now widely colonised with Spanish bluebells. They crossbreed with our native bluebells and the hybrids are widely found. As hybrids they can show characteristics of both varieties which makes it more difficult for an untrained eye to differentiate between the two. Research on how to eradicate the invaders is still ongoing but we fear it's already too late.