Saturday, 29 June 2013

In and out those dusty... spent bluebells

Well, what do you expect to do of a Saturday afternoon?

Me? I have a nice job to do and that is clearing out the dead foliage and ‘blown’ stems of my bluebell plants. They grow in many places in my garden and I love them for more than one reason. When the first leaves begin to appear they tend to fight for space with the yellow aconites. This can be good and bad. The good being the aconites tend to flower first but some years, depending on the late winter/ spring season, they flower concurrently. Then the contrast between the strong yellow and the vibrant blues and lilacs is very pretty.

They both have a ‘good’ factor in that they prevent other weeds from flourishing in those spaces but the bad is that both aconites and bluebells are very invasive and have to be ‘culled’ quite drastically some years.  

Again, depending on the spring weather, my bluebells might have a spell contrasting with my yellow ‘Welsh’ poppies (Meconopsis Cambrica) and my spectacular large red poppies (Papaver).

Hyacinthoides non-scripta (formerly Endymion non-scriptus or Scilla non-scripta), the common bluebell has been in my garden for decades- possibly even since the 1820s. It is the bulbous perennial plat that is found in woods all over the UK and parts of mainland Europe (northern Spain)
It is protected under UK law in the wild and I would never completely remove it from my own garden, though I do have to limit its growth at times.

Unless I really investigate my species (possible plural in my garden) what I have may be a hybrid version - Hyacinthoides massartiana - which is a cross between the H. non-scripta variety and the Spanish variety (H. Hispania)

Whatever it is/them – I like it/them.  

So, the task today is to remove the considerable still slightly fleshy leaves and the spent stalks and dump them on my overfilled compost heap.


If I’m not writing anything else for a while today you’ll know why! 

However, I'll leave you with two bluebell poems by two of the famous Bronte sistes, Anne and Emily. 


The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.

There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildly, sadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath,
But fragrance will not cheer,

The trees are bare, the sun is cold,
And seldom, seldom seen;
The heavens have lost their zone of gold,
And earth her robe of green.

And ice upon the glancing stream
Has cast its sombre shade;
And distant hills and valleys seem
In frozen mist arrayed.

The Bluebell cannot charm me now,
The heath has lost its bloom;
The violets in the glen below,
They yield no sweet perfume.

But, though I mourn the sweet Bluebell,
'Tis better far away;
I know how fast my tears would swell
To see it smile to-day.

For, oh! when chill the sunbeams fall
Adown that dreary sky,
And gild yon dank and darkened wall
With transient brilliancy;

How do I weep, how do I pine
For the time of flowers to come,
And turn me from that fading shine,
To mourn the fields of home!

Emily Bronte

The Bluebell
A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

Yet I recall not long ago
A bright and sunny day,
'Twas when I led a toilsome life
So many leagues away;

That day along a sunny road
All carelessly I strayed,
Between two banks where smiling flowers
Their varied hues displayed.

Before me rose a lofty hill,
Behind me lay the sea,
My heart was not so heavy then
As it was wont to be.

Less harassed than at other times
I saw the scene was fair,
And spoke and laughed to those around,
As if I knew no care.

But when I looked upon the bank
My wandering glances fell
Upon a little trembling flower,
A single sweet bluebell.

Whence came that rising in my throat,
That dimness in my eye?
Why did those burning drops distil —
Those bitter feelings rise?

O, that lone flower recalled to me
My happy childhood's hours
When bluebells seemed like fairy gifts
A prize among the flowers,

Those sunny days of merriment
When heart and soul were free,
And when I dwelt with kindred hearts
That loved and cared for me.

I had not then mid heartless crowds
To spend a thankless life
In seeking after others' weal
With anxious toil and strife.  

'Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times
That never may return!'
The lovely floweret seemed to say,
And thus it made me mourn.

Anne Bronte

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