photo by Granville Sharp


Spring is here, with bluebells blooming all over Cumbria.
This month we’ve chosen these gorgeous pictures of bluebells from our photography collection – unfortunately they are unnamed and undated, but they show the beautiful colour of the flowers in spring.
Bluebells are perennial wildflowers that usually bloom in the UK from mid-April to late May. They spend most of the year as underground bulbs. They have a distinctive bell-shaped head of six petals in a light blue colour.
There are two kinds found in the UK, English or Spanish varieties. English bluebells have a sweet scent, a drooping stem, and narrow leaves that are about 1-1.5cm in width. Spanish bluebells are unscented, with broad 3cm leaves and upright stems. Some Spanish bluebells are pink or white in colour.
Bluebells are native to western Europe, with the UK being a species stronghold. They tend to be found in ancient woodlands, hedgerows, and fields. Historically, they have been associated with fairies – bluebell woods were thought to be traps set by mischievous fairies to capture humans! It is also said that if you hear a bluebell ring, you will be visited by a bad fairy, and will die not long after. If you are to pick a bluebell, many believe you will be led astray by fairies, wandering lost forevermore.
During the nineteenth century, floriography, or the language of flowers, became incredibly popular in Europe and the United States. In floriography, bluebells are thought to symbolise humility, constancy, gratitude, and everlasting love. Apparently, if you turn a bluebell flower inside-out without tearing it, you will win the one you love, and if you wear a wreath of bluebells you will only be able to speak the truth.
Bluebells are not as popular as daffodils or roses, but they do occasionally appear in poetry. Sisters Emily and Anne Bronte both wrote poems about the famous flower. Anne claimed that “There is a silent eloquence/In every wild bluebell,” while Emily writes “Its blossoms have the mightiest power/To soothe my spirit’s care.”

Rannerdale Knotts near Buttermere is the most famous spot in the Lake District for bluebells, but if you’re looking for somewhere closer to home, Skelghyll Woods in Ambleside and Loughrigg fell between Grasmere and Rydal have gorgeous banks of flowers in April and May. Just remember to stick to the path and avoid trampling the delicate blooms, so everyone can enjoy them for generations to come.

The Armitt
  • Collection (photos undated and unknown photographer) – Five best places to see
Differences between Spanish and English
Emily Bronte’s
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