This year (2011) the magic has arrived to Britain two weeks earlier than usual. This photo was taken in my local countryside on the way to Burnham Beeches Nature Reserve.
Also known as: wild hyacinth, wood bell, fairy flower, bell bottle.
The nodding blue heads of these flowers arise from bulbs, which prefer to grow in undisturbed soil and need plenty of light in early spring. Their rich nectar provides food for many butterflies and other insects. Hyacinthoides non-scripta grows only in the British Isles and is being diluted by the Spanish bluebell (H. hispanica). Spanish bluebells differ by having vertical stems rather than the drooping habit of the English plant.
“I met her in the greenest dells
Where dew drops pearl the wood bluebells
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye
The bee kissed and went singing by”
Song of Secret Love
John Clare (1793 – 1864)
Bluebells are indicators of British ancient woodland. Every spring they fill the woods with an ocean of colour best seen when the sun is low.