Monday, May 29, 2017

Bluebells


If I had to choose an overall favourite flower (which would be tough, because I love so many), it would probably be bluebells. I find them utterly enchanting.


They emerge at my favourite time of year, they have beautiful blue and purple hues, and there is a magic to them that is hard to match.


Native bluebells are a marker of ancient woodland, and their presence indicates the age of forests.


It's easy to see why they have so many associations with the world of faeries (an old name for them is "fairy flowers"), because they really are rather bewitching. In fact, patches of bluebells are said to be surrounded by faery enchantments. They are also highly poisonous, perhaps another reason for the fae associations.


There are a lot of stories around the use of bluebells as bells. According to folklore, hearing a bluebell ring means you are soon to die, or will soon be taken away by the faeries, depending on the specific myth. The faeries are meant to ring bluebells to summon each other to gatherings. Humans can also supposedly summon faeries by ringing the bluebells. The blooming of bluebells is also meant to signal the beginning of the faery dance season.


Picking bluebells can cause contact dermatitus (every part of the plant is toxic, including the sap) and also risks incurring the wrath of the fae- it is said that an adult who picks a bluebell will wander astray and alone, tormented by faeries forever, while a child that picks a bluebell is meant to disappear altogether, taken from this world into the world of the fae as punishment.


On the flipside of these rather dark associations, the bluebell is a symbol of rebirth and renewal. It is a component in love spells, and spells for peaceful sleep, and in the language of flowers stands for humility, constancy and everlasting love. A folkloric belief was that anyone who wore a wreath of bluebells would only be able to speak the truth. Bluebell sap was historically used to make a glue for bookbinding. Muntjac deer like to eat bluebells, which I think is a rather charming thought.


Bluebells are very fleeting, filling the woods with a stunning carpet of blue for a few weeks before disappearing again. It's something I look forward to every year, and I'm really glad I managed to catch so many of them this year.

You can find out more about bluebells on The Woodland Trust website, and you can see my previous year's bluebell posts here, and here

2 comments:

  1. I love that bluebells stand for everlasting love because they're such beautiful, gentle flowers and as soon as they start to appear in spring I know that warmer days are ahead. They're my Mum's favourites too so they'll always have a special place in my heart. A beautiful post here Polly! - Tasha

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  2. Bluebells are so enchanting! I love that they only grow in ancient woodland.

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