Ancient English Bluebells

This morning I watched the recording of the final match of this year’s Women’s Six Nations rugby tournament – certainly a fitting contest to bring up the end of the series.

Later I posted

and converted from Classic to Block edit, recategorising as Garden

after which, we drove out to Church Lane to visit

our favourite English bluebell wood which must have been producing descendants of the original plants for centuries.

The ancient verges and banks flanking the road sport swathes of the blooms, mingling with such as stitchwort, ferns, and sticky willies, dandelions, and even a solitary mushroom.

I exchanged greetings with a cyclist on the tarmac and enjoyed a longer conversation with the family walking towards me. Naturally we exchanged information about babies in slings.

On Rodlease Lane two women and a dog anxiously peered in both directions seeking safety while taking their alpacas for a walk.

Gilpins, on Undershore Road, is an eighteenth century house in private ownership, so I am not sure about the age of the beautiful brick wall offering a backcloth for seasonal primroses.

This evening we all dined on roasted chicken thighs; creamy mashed, and boiled new, potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli, and tasty gravy, with which I finished the Shiraz.

Resisting The Spanish Invasion

This morning Jackie and I drove to our annual pilgrimage to Boldre’s

Church Lane, with its high ancient hedgerows and its

private bluebell woods.

Banks and verges are now adorned, in addition to the bluebells, with white stitchworts, and yellow celandines and dandelions.

Jackie and and I saw differing images in the gnarled bark of an aged oak.

Rodlease Lane forms a T-junction with this first ancient thoroughfare, and also hosts this native variety of the blue flowers. When taking these pictures I was careful not to disturb

a bee pollinating a dandelion.

The reason we regularly visit this little area is because it continues to be populated by our own native plants as here

photographed and described by Jackie. The long, slender stems bear dark blue bells bending down one side. The leaves are long and narrow.

The Spanish variety is an invasive plant having largely replaced our home grown examples. To illustrate the difference our Head Gardener

photographed these interlopers when we arrived home. They are larger, more upright, plants with clusters of blooms all round the stems which rise from larger strap-like leaves.

I photographed these hybrids in our front garden. Their bells do hang down, but cluster all round the top of their stems. They also have larger leaves than our natives, none of which, sadly, are to be found on our plot.

This evening I dined on spicy pasta arrabbiata while the ladies enjoyed the chilli free version with Bolognese sauce. We had planned on Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen coming for Easter, but Covid put a stop to that, so tonight we all had the same Easter pasta in the shapes of chickens, eggs, and bunnies. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.