Spanish Bluebells with Japanese Azalea

Spanish bluebell with azalea

Some plants are so companionable, it’s rare to find one growing wild without the other. Daisies, clover, dandelions and buttercups would be one example from Lancashire; nettles and blackberries, another.

While azaleas and bluebells can flower together, it’s not considered a classic pairing. They remind me of a friend who, on learning that my sweetheart and I were a couple, observed that was “a cosmic joke on the universe.” Continue reading “Spanish Bluebells with Japanese Azalea”

A Peek into an English Bluebell Wood

Bluebell wood

Bluebells woods have a mysterious air. To get the full effect, you have to imagine everything moving in the lightest breeze, bees humming in the bells, birds singing as they attend their nests, and the odd grey squirrel bouncing around.

Bluebell wood

Light dapples through the tender young beech and chestnut leaves, moving across one patch then another; brightening or fading as clouds float between the woodland and the sun. Continue reading “A Peek into an English Bluebell Wood”

Memories Of Dad

The rain has been beating down hard against the house in such rage that I went to inspect: it was a hailstorm, on the 2nd of May. My Dad, Jack Rushton, was always in tune with nature, more so than he sometimes was with people. He’d have known if the hail was unusual at this time of year or par for the course. He would have been 90 today. He died too early by any standards: my sister and I never got the chance to relate to him with truly adult minds. Of course some of his messages stay with me.

Bluebells growing on a woodland bank

His love of plants, animals and nature placed the natural world at the centre of things. He knew that English bluebells were the delicate ones, with flowers that hung from just one side of the scape.

He helped make sure my sister and I had the kind of childhood where climbing trees, inspecting stones in streams, crossing moorland, hanging around other people’s allotments, collecting horse pooh for roses, growing plants from seeds, cramming the yard full of so many pots you could hardly wind your way through it, and dissecting owl pellets to see what they had eaten would always seem normal. Continue reading “Memories Of Dad”

English Or Spanish Bluebells

Bluebells at Sunnyhurst Wood

I’m very fond of bluebells. I’ve been teased for smiling away tears when, spotting two or three in flower in the USA, my mind turned to the hundreds of thousands I was missing back at home.

My first memory of bluebells was seeing a mass of flowers covering a hillside in Sunnyhurst Wood, in my home county, Lancashire. My Dad – the kind of person who’d bring home owl pellets to show his kids what the bird had been eating – would have known they were in flower and had taken us out exploring.  Continue reading “English Or Spanish Bluebells”