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A walk with the bluebells.


Ever since everybody went back to work after Easter Monday the weather has been beautifully sunny here – and at times quite hot. Lovely! And yet… and yet… is this how April is really meant to be?

This morning I woke up to another bank holiday weekend, and so another rainy patch and there was the answer to my question. No of course April isn’t meant to be fine and dry and the compensations are amazing. The grey sky and fine rain today makes the garden zing with greens so fresh they are almost frightening and blues to make your soul swim.

The bluebells in my garden were looking lovely, but surely not as good as they are meant to, having to put up with a ridiculous amount of sunshine.

I had no immediate jobs to do in the rain so I went for a walk to the local Bluebell woods: Butchers Wood and Lags Wood in Hassocks. By garden standards these woods are quite basic – a couple of handfuls of plants form the structure for the whole wood, but what an inspiring effect. No photos taken outside today because of the rain, but tomorrow is meant to be fine so I will go back then. Watch this space.

The top storey of these woods is composed of mature Oaks well spaced. From outside the wood the Oaks dominate the scene, but within wood itself they are very much a backdrop. Their leaf canopy, which will make life such a struggle for the smaller plants later on, has only just started to open out in the rather lack-lustre way that Oaks have, so the main effect is provided by the deeply scored trunks clothed with the moss that us Brits despise and the rest of the world admires.

Below these giants is one of the main stories of the piece, an understorey of Hazel. The Hazel here has been coppiced: its around 10ft at the moment and really brilliant in its fresh new cloak: each leaf opening its own personal concertina! Its one of my personal favourites for really lovely spring colour.

And then below that, not even reaching 18 inches from the floor, is the most wonderful part of a Sussex spring – the Bluebells, just beginning to open. I remember as a child gathering armfuls of flowers to take home – often wrenched up by their roots – only to find that three hours later they were all dead. Scandalous behaviour for which I am heartily ashamed.

Bluebells demand to be seen in their own setting: here in the wood, intermingled with the Wood Anemones, yellow Archangel and Celandines, or boldly marching across the floor with scant regard to the dangers of monocultures, then thrusting out into wet meadow, nudging up against the red Campion before retreating in the face of bright sunlight. Close up their graceful bells droop from the slender fleshy stems and they seem so very fragile, so easy to crush. Step back and the dark blue haze shows just how resilient they really are.

No narcotic cloud for me today, the rain had reduced their heavy scent to a most delicate hint, but I shall be back tomorrow – and the next day and the next.

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Reminded me of my childhood when we used to go for country walks on Sundays looking out for wild flowers. Oh to have that kind of space in my life now. I'm in Sussex too so shall look out for those woods when I get the chance and hope there's somewhere nice for tea nearby!

2 May, 2010


We used to go every year and pick the bluebells,in fact it was a bit of a competition at school to see who was the first to find them, your woods sounds lovely Sarah,lets hope you get your photo`s..........

2 May, 2010


We discovered the most amazing Bluebells, quite by chance, last year, complete with Deer roaming through the woodland. I'm not telling you where in West Sussex though, my secret ... lol

2 May, 2010


I spotted some Bluebells today on the roadside, just budding. I have some woods near here where they carpet the ground, when I have time I will have to go and see if they are flowering yet.

2 May, 2010


I love Megan's wood complete with deer. I only hope that the deer keep to the path and pick up their feet daintily as they trot along so that they dont damage anything.

2 May, 2010


: o ) ) ) )

2 May, 2010


a lovely blog sarah. we are so lucky here in Sussex, with fantastic countryside, great gardens to visit and now a National Park. On my way to work I walk a small part of the Worth way and the wild garlic and bluebells are just begining to flower. It really lifts the spirits and sets you up for the day.

3 May, 2010


We walked the dog through local bluebell woods this afternoon Sarah and they looked lovely, though there are far less of them than there used to be. In some places where there used to be masses of them, now there are none. The true English bluebell is a beautiful flower and it would be such a shame if they were lost to us.

3 May, 2010


Labdancer I am really scared by what you say - they are a natural world wonder and it would be awful to lose them.

4 May, 2010

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