The Bluebell is said to bloom on St George’s Day, which we celebrate today April 23. I thought it might be nice to learn a little something about this beautiful ancient flower in today’s Garden blog.
In the Northeast America’s, we share a climate with areas like Scotland and England. A climate perfect for woodland blooms of bluebells in the spring. These sweet-scented flowers grow in carpets along ancient woodlands. These beauties are a protected plant in the British Isles and in many European counties.
Bluebells are grown from bulbs. And interestingly enough they are a kind of bulb that contracts which leads to deep roots sometimes 10 -12 cm long. This makes this bulb less successful in thinner soils. But the bulbs are know to split and multiply from year to year which produces the carpet like effect that we often see in the woods.
There are 2 main species of bluebells. There are the H. Hispanics which has dark blooms and the H. non-scripta with a lighter bloom. The darker variety is more scented than the lighter version. These two species are the two parent species for all other combinations of the bluebell we enjoy today.
The Bluebell is a native plant to the Western parts of Atlantic Europe. It has been introduced into the Americas and can become invasive in some areas, especially the Non-Scripta species.
Although it is in so many areas it seems to have reached its greatest density in the British Isle. These blue beauties thrive in open forests before the canopy closes down in late spring. It is fascinating that the appearances of bluebells have become an indicator that the forest is an ancient woodland. An ancient woodland is one that has been around since 1600.
Their high pollen and sweet scent make them great for pollinators and are most often pollinated but bumblebees. With the value of bees growing every day and their future being unknown, I am glad there are still bluebell filling woodlands to help.
The sap from the plant is very sticky and has been used through the ages as an adhesive. It made a great adhesive for bookbindings because it tended to repel insects and was very strong. The other uses have been limited since it is poisonous in every part. Some scientists are looking at uses for cancer and HIV but it is still in the testing processes.
Bluebells are an ancient flower that has been part of folklore as far back as the early Greeks. The Early Greek myths included a story of Endymion a youth, who was put to sleep for eternity by his lover a moon goddess. So that he would never grow old and lose his youthful beauty. Endymion was the original name for the Bluebell.
In British lore, it is said that the bluebells call the fairy folk to prayer time. And that if a human hears the bells a malicious fairy will visit them and they will die soon after. The common belief is to not tread through a bluebell growth for you disturb the fairy folk who live among the blooms. And never pick a bluebell and bring it back to your home because the fairy curses will enter your home with the flowers.
Also if you were to wear a garland of bluebells around your neck, it would induce you to tell the truth. Can you imagine this being used throughout the ages as a means of forcing the truth from those who have done wrong. What a different approach to interrogating a suspect!
Bluebells symbolize gratitude, constancy, and humility all worthy values to survive in our world today.
Enjoy this charming story set among the Bluebells.
Share your favorite story or memory of bluebells from your family.