Bluebells and archangels

One of my favourite walks is to follow the edge of the copse at the back of the house, down the hill, across a little stream and a meadow, and up a hollow lane. At this time of year, bluebells carpet the floor of the copse punctuated here and there by the spires of yellow archangel. Both wildflowers are indicators of ancient woodland: the bluebells content in the shade of the trees; the yellow archangel popping up around the edges where a hawthorn hedge has been laid. It belongs to the dead nettle family, but doesn’t sting. Each tiny flower has red markings in the shape of an angel, which help to guide visiting bees down to an abundant source of nectar. It’s fun to watch the bees wriggling their way underneath each flower’s hairy hood.

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As I kneel and watch, a faint perfume drifts from the blue, adding to the magic of the colour-shifting carpet beyond. The flowers here are our native bluebells with their elegant drooping stems.

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If you are out enjoying the bluebells this month too, why not take part in the Woodland Trust’s Big Bluebell Watch. It’s easy to log your sightings online and you will help to the Trust to build a picture of the UK’s bluebells over time so that they can secure the future of native bluebells and their woodland homes.

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