BLUEBELL JOY

The bluebells in the UK were stunning this year so I thought I would share with you my favourite images from a wonderful walk at Arlington in East Sussex, followed by an excellent afternoon tea. I have joined a Meetup Group in Brighton called Dog Lovers Dating who arranged this walk, as well as many other lovely get togethers with or without our dogs! 

Not looking my most glamorous. Dog walking in the Bluebells!

Not looking my most glamorous. Dog walking in the Bluebells!

I am so time short that this Meet Up kills two birds with one stone: Jack gets great walks and meets lots of new doggy friends and I meet lovely people, both men and women.  So much nicer than trying to talk to people in a noisy bar, although we do that too, and easier than joining a dating site.  I thoroughly recommend a Meet Up group wherever you are in the world to meet new people who may have more in common with you. And I have rarely met a male dog owner who isn't kind and considerate. Will keep you posted!

Meanwhile, as a photographer, (triple whammy!) this walk through the carpets of bluebells was so creatively inspiring I just couldn't stop taking pics, and there was always someone to hold my dog, who, for obvious reasons, had to stay on his lead. Hope you enjoy.

And in case you want some more information about this precious English flower, here are some interesting facts about bluebells courtesy of the Woodland Trust.  Makes a fascinating read.

Bluebells only flower between mid-April and late May.

This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade. Millions of bulbs may grow closely together in one wood, creating one of nature’s most stunning displays.

Where: almost half the world's population of bluebells grow here in the UK. You'll find them in broadleaved woodland, along hedgerows and in fields.

Value to wildlife:
Bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects feed on the nectar of bluebell. Their flowers provide an important early source of nectar.

Bees can 'steal' the nectar from bluebells flowers by biting a hole in the bottom of the bell, reaching the nectar without pollinating the flower.

Material: gummy bluebell sap was used to bind pages into the spines of books. Bronze Age people used bluebell to set feathers upon arrows, known as fletching. Bluebell bulbs were crushed to provide starch for the ruffs of Elizabethan collars and sleeves.

Medicinal: though little used in modern medicine, the bulb has diuretic and styptic properties.

Folklore: according to folklore, one who hears a bluebell ring will soon die! Legend also says that a field of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments.

Toxicity: All plant parts contain glycosides and are poisonous. The sap can cause contact dermatitis.

Threats
Although still common in Britain, bluebell is threatened locally by:

habitat destruction
collection from the wild
increasing hybridisation with non-native Spanish bluebells.

So there you go.  Fascinating stuff. Who knew they were used to make a starch for Elizabethan collars!

I hoe you enjoyed my romp through the blue bell woods and please let me know if you love these wild flowers as much as I do and if you've been out and about enjoying them in our intermittent sunshine!

See you soon,