Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The beauty of the Bluebell woods

Britain is home to more than half of the world's population of Bluebells. I didn't know that while I was growing up and playing in the Beech woods near my home and marvelling at the carpet of blue that looked like the sea and went so perfectly with the fresh green of the new beech leaves.I just thought they were beautiful. We would pick them and take them home and arrange them together in a big earthenware vase. Now they are a protected species and no-one would dream of picking them. There are hundreds of Bluebell woods all over Britain. Last week my cousin told me that she had been on a beautiful Bluebell and cowslip walk. Cowslips had all but disappeared but are now thriving again due to a ban on picking wild flowers and re-introducing them to woodland areas. Bluebells and cowslips are two of the flowers that my mum loved best and I associate them so much with her.She was like them. When I came to live in Italy I missed that wonderful two weeks when they are in full bloom and make you so aware of the wonder of creation. When my daughter got married our new Italian relatives came to Britain  and marvelled at the bluebells. Actually they really gasped in wonder as they walked through the bluebell woods, breathing in their scent and looking up at the shafts of sunlight piercing the new foliage. Then my daughter's mother-in-law told us that she had got some in her garden back in Italy.Her father-in-law had been a prisoner of  war in Britain and had bought some bluebell bulbs back to Italy with him.He'd probably get a fine today. Now every year she makes a point of me going to see them while they are at their best. Earlier than in Britain, as the warm weather starts earlier,so they are over now. The beautiful show of the Bluebell woods only lasts a couple of weeks and seems to me like the crowning glory of spring before she waves her hand to us and makes way for summer.
On Sundays we would often listen to Kenneth McKellar a Scottish singer, we all loved Scotland and we all loved being reminded of the heather and the highlands. My mum sang this song called the Bluebells of Scotland to me. It has a haunting melody and the words must surely reach the heart of any lassie that has had to bid farewell to her laddie, and sought solace in a bluebell wood.
Here are the words as my mum sang them.

The Bluebells of Scotland

Oh Where? Tell me where is your Highland laddie gone.
Oh where? Tell me where is your Highland laddie gone.
He's gone with streaming banners where noble deeds are done
And he's so in my heart, I wish him safe at home
Oh where? tell me where did your Highland laddie dwell.
Oh where? Tell me where did your highland laddie dwell
He dwelt in Bonnie Scotland where bloom the sweet bluebells
And he's so in my heart I rue my laddie well
Oh what? Tell me what should your Highland laddie slay.
Oh what? Tell me what should your Highland laddie slay
Oh so though love will be his guide and bring him safe again
And so my heart would break if my Highland laddie were slayed
He's gone with streaming banners where noble deeds are done
And he's so in my heart, I wish him safe at home.

Bluebells are also known as wild hyacinths, here there is also red campion

A bluebell wood where I grew up

Modified with my I phone to look even deeper blue

Cowslips, now flourishing again

No comments:

Post a Comment