There are still large numbers of bluebells about – true most have lost the deep blue they had when they first burst into flower, but even as the colour drains away and they become pale shadows of their former selves, glimpsed through the trees, a large spread of flowers carpeting a glade, or perhaps just a patch of sunlight, can catch your breath. Bluebells are one flower that definitely improves with quantity. As a single flower the individual blooms are an attractive enough bell shape, I suppose, but I’ve always felt that that great chunky stalk rather spoilt the effect. It’s no wonder that, over the border in Scotland, they chose the far more delicate Harebell for the Bluebell of Scotland.
Flowers, in general, do seem to excite the senses more when we perceive then en mass. Think of a carpet of primroses for instance and the more delicate violet is absolutely lost individually but quite eye catching if you come across them dominating a patch of roadside verge, short grass or moss.
A clump of bluebells on the roadside, is interesting enough – the first time you see them but, really, you might as well pick a bunch to take home and put in a vase. They are just not ‘full on’ flowers, they don’t have the size or texture to make a coffee table or sideboard their own. Buy a bunch of dahlias or chrysanthemums if you want flowers in a vase, cut flowers have been bred for the job. Bluebells come into their own when seen out of the corner of your eye through dappled light filtering through leaves. It’s that stab of beauty, that millisecond surge of emotion so beloved of poets. That’s where bluebells come into their own.