The Nation’s Favourite Flower at Helsbury Park
The beautiful Bluebell tops polls as the nation’s favourite flower and we really know spring is here when the woods at Helsbury Park turn a deep violet blue. Unlike the invasive Spanish variety, the native Bluebell has an incredible, sweet perfume which is quite intoxicating on a woodland walk. There are many common names for this humble flower which perhaps shows how much it is part of our history. Crowtoes and Cuckoo’s Boots are fun and some of the names such as Fairy Flower and Wiches’ Thimbles reflect how often folklore, art and literature link Bluebells with fairies and magic. Don’t nod off in a Bluebell wood or you may wake up in Fairyland.
Around half of the worldwide Bluebell population is found in the UK and they are protected under British law. Bluebells don’t like to be disturbed, they can take years to recover if trodden on and it is a criminal offence to dig up or sell wild Bluebell bulbs (unless you are a badger, they seem quite keen – digging, not selling). Bluebells were once used to make a kind of starchy glue used in fletching, bookbinding and for stiffening Elizabethan ruffs.
The bluebell is an indicator species for ancient woodland, as is its companion the Wood Anemone, which is thought to spread at around six feet every 100 years. If we didn’t already know our woods here at Helsbury Park were ancient, the proliferation of these two plants would let us know they are over 400 years old at least.
Walking in woods with your dog at this time of year is a chance to share in the magic, and we do have some vacancies at Bluebell time this year. Check our latest availability here.