I only spent 8 days away in England yet the difference in the Normandy countryside over that time was amazing. I came back to such greenness and so many wild flowers. Dominant amongst these at the moment is the bluebells (jacinthes des bois) carpeting the verges and woodland floors with the nodding blue beauty. They really are stunning.
However did you know there are 2 different types of bluebell, on that is native to the UK and northern France and one to Spain? For ease of tying I will refer to the former as English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and the latter as Spanish (Hyacinthoides hispanica).
The native English bluebell has all the "bells" on one side if the stem causing the head to dip over and nod in the breeze - the pictures above are all, without doubt, English bluebells. With Spanish bluebells they are bigger anyway and the bells are on all sides resulting in a taller and very upright flower:
|Spanish Bluebell - Image with consent from Schnobby at Wikipedia|
In many parts of the UK the Spanish Bluebell, (introduced as a garden plant) has taken over and whilst in itself this may not cause huge problems it is a more invasive species and gradually take over from the more delicate and, in my view, much prettier English bluebell. This is made worse by the fact that the two can hybridise giving a cross between the 2 plants - a semi upright bluebell which was what we saw in parts when we visited Knightshayes Gardens last week. Overall the risk is the English Bluebell will be last and we will be left with just the Spanish bluebells and the hybirds. That would be a sad loss.
Are your local bluebells in flower yet ... and are they English, Spanish or a hybrid?