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Her Hair

Hare Bell

Hare Bell

I’ve always thought that Harebells are much nicer than Bluebells, Bluebells do look nice as a large drift of blue, in the dappled shade of woodland glades, but as soon as you look too closely, that clunky stem destroys the illusion. Harebells have enough common sense to not try to compete and seldom grow in that sort of density. They know it is their individual delicacy that sets them apart. And anyway, they like their elbow room.

The Harebell is dedicated to St Dominic, St Dominic founded the Order of Preachers, popularly known as the Dominican Order. During his life he did his best to punish himself, walking miles without shoes and sleeping on the floor to prove something, probably to himself. Perhaps this is why he became the patron saint of astronomers.

Flowers so delicate and fragile, yet of such vibrant colour, must obviously be magical, and Harebells do go a bit over the top in the occult. You see, they represent the veil between human and faery. I’m not quite sure how you do it but using a Harebell you can improve your chances of seeing a fairy. Now, before you all rush off to, illegally, pick wild flowers, I must stress that there is a greater chance that you will be unlucky enough to catch sight of an irate imp than a fortunate enough to find a frolicsome fairy.

Just remember, if you can see them – they can see you.

Stick Around

Bluebell

Bluebell

When Hyacinthus died and Apollo’s tears fell on the plant that he turned into, the tears wrote “Alas!” on the petals of the flowers. Naturally all this happened in Greek and the Greeks have a word for it. Which saying loosely translates as, English has pinched more than a few words from Greek. The Bluebell belongs to the same family as the Hyacinth but no one has ever suspected it of being involved in the sorry saga of Hyacinthus and Apollo. Its Latin name is ‘Hyacinthus nonscriptus’ roughly translated as ‘a hyacinth with no writing on’ so, you’ll be glad to know that, as far as all that carry on with the discus goes, bluebells are in the clear.

They like to grow in woodland and the deeper the leaf mould the better. Their roots have an interesting trick of contracting and drawing the bulb deeper into the ground. This means that they don’t do well in thin soils. They spread by putting out suckers so, if they are left to their own devices, they can easily become a large clump. This is how we get the ‘Bluebell Woods‘ all over Britain. There are estimates that put as high as thirty or forty percent, the proportion of the worlds bluebells living in our bluebell woods.

The bulbs are poisonous but the sap is really good for gluing feathers in arrows. Oh, and some bluebells are white.

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