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St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

With winter behind us we look forward to seeing snowdrops closely followed by spring flowers but I think the special magic is kept for the appearance of the first bluebells. 

For the past few weeks I have been aware of more and more bluebells coming into bloom, sometimes in quite unexpected corners in local gardens.  I was enchanted to find one growing near my patio; I didn’t plant it so it must be a present from a visiting bird.  I was glad to see that it has proved to be an English bluebell of a rich, dark blue colour.  It is very welcome and I hope it feels at home and is the first of many more.  Unfortunately if they really like their surroundings they can become invasive but any unwanted plants are easily pulled out.

Much as I love to see both single and small groups of plants to get the real impact of these wonderful flowers you really need to see them in their natural woodland setting, where they are free to carpet the ground as far as the eye can see.

We are lucky in this area to be quite near to Ashridge where it is possible to wander through the trees surrounded by a haze of blue.  The colours range from near navy to the palest, most delicate shades of blue. The combination of colour and perfume make for an unforgettable experience.  No matter how hard we try there are times when we gardeners just can’t compete with the natural world.

Another advantage at Ashridge is the visitor centre where it is possible to get a welcome cup of tea, and cake if you are in the mood, before returning to your car.  These woods are beautiful at any time of the year but just now they are really special.


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