Outside the Backdoor

Observing what can happen in your own garden even in suburbia!

Bluebell month

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Is it me, or has it been an exceptionally good year for bluebells?  We had more clusters around the garden than usual and out on our recent travels, it felt like the bluebells travelled with us – slightly past their best in the South, amazing vibrant carpets of blue in the Midlands, and just emerging in Scotland!

Are they English or Scottish?  Was a question I was asked recently about our own garden bluebells and, with an air of disappointment, I was forced to admit that most of them are probably Spanish!  The Spanish bluebell has been invading the South East for a good many years now and so I fear our proliferation is in this direction rather than in the deeper, richer coloured and more elegant English variety.

In fairness, when I look at the cluster in this photo, I’m heartened to see that there may be a mix of English and Spanish.  The Spanish variety are paler and more upright whereas the English are darker and have a tendency to arch, with the flowers displayed on one side of the stem only.  Looking at that stem on the far right of the photo, that looks more English to me!

The only downside to this excess of bells is that they now need deadheading!  I took a good bag full of stems down to the compost bin one warm afternoon this week.

And whilst the Spanish may be a troublesome invader, I have to admit that I do still quite like them.  After all, who can resist the depth of blue in this clump?  True blue flowers are few and far between and these looked stunning complimented by pink blossom and purple tulips and have even given me an idea for planting next year – so watch this space!

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One thought on “Bluebell month

  1. Most of ours are Spanish but they can be hard to tell as they cross breed in different ways and apparently it’s almost impossible to tell just by looking with some amd only genetic tests can prove hey are pure native. Mark wanted to pull all ours up but I am not convinced it will make a difference to the native ones as they are already so compromised a dthe forestry commisson seem to think it’s too late. I have to say I too love the spanish ones colour and beauty too and they are so similar that I find it hard in this case to mind about the native ones being under threat from their more prolific cousins!

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