Got the Blues

Oh Boy! May has come and the garden and countryside is full of blue…. I stopped the car and photographed the bluebells in the hazel coppice and beech wood nearby.


Mells Estate Woods, May 2016

What the photographs can’t capture is the serene stillness in woods like this…. The dense woodland completely encloses you: no noises from outside intrude…. A shriek of a disturbed blackbird… Then a return to stillness and a deep peace.

It isn’t just the silence that’s compelling; it’s the smell too. A light floral musk that mixes with the damp-moss smell of the wood.


I planted 3,000 bluebells (Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta) in my garden last November… Now they’ve come up… A lot of them look Spanish or part-hybridized. (Spanish bluebells are paler, do not droop or nod and have little scent).


Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta, Mells Estate, May 2016


Woodland/ Hedgerow Garden, May 2016

Our English bluebells are threatened by habitat destruction, illegal collection and the rise of the Spanish Bluebell: an invasive species that hybridizes easily with our native variety. If we are to keep our English bluebells we have to eradicate the Spanish.


So it looks as though I am going to have to do a lot of digging 😦


Still, there are lots of other blues in the garden to marvel at. The Camassia Leichtlinii in the Walnut meadow are out – putting on a wonderful show.


This meadow is a mix of native meadow and cultivated bulbs. The idea is that it is a show of flowers from February until the end of June….. It is cut in July and kept cut until the following spring….


It is hot and dry under the Walnut until mid May … Then the dense canopy of the walnut throws the meadow into shade.

The Camassia is related to the Asparagus family and comes from the American Praries. Apparently it was a food source for many of the native peoples in the US and Canada. I was worried about putting it in the garden, thinking that the badgers/ squirrels/ deers might dig it up and eat it… But so far…. (Fingers crossed).


Pentaglottis sempervirens, May 2016.

This is Alkanet – the other blue in the garden….. This was here when we arrived at the farm…. There is no point in trying to get rid of it… I suspect that this is indigenous to this place… There is so much of it it’s probably a keystone species!

I keep it in check by strim-ing it before it goes to seed… it’s a bit like Rosebay Willowherb… A beautiful thug.

Alkanet is a member of the Borage family. The blue flowers of Borage do well on our poor limey soil: we have Borage (Borago Officinalis) and also Vipers Bugloss (Echium Vulgare) in the summer months.


Borago Officinalis, May 2016


Echium Vulgare, July 2016.

But May is the bluest month by far….

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