All across the lower slopes a soft spring breeze is playing silvery songs on the fresh green leaves of the silver birches. It’s notes fill the air, dazzling the ears with its shifting shingle waves, mingled with the scattered calls of cuckoos and excited sparrows. The woods have burst into life and Spring has spread a carpet of bluebells across the dark earthen floor.
The deep vibrant blue of the bells shimmers in the sunlight, offering a stream of petals through the trees. Dancing delicately in the breeze they lure you onwards, ever deeper into the spring enchanted woods. The sweet soporific honey scent of the flowers invites you to rest and linger a while among these fairy flowers. But if you stray too far from the path into a bluebell ring you are bound to fall asleep for 100 years, stolen away to fairyland to dance and sing till your shoes wear out. You have been warned, but the lure of these blue beauties is strong, and the songs of Spring tinkle like fairybells confusing and entrancing the senses here among the silver birch.
If we lie down for just a little while, the sweet scent of the bells and the silvery songs of the birch will soothe our busy minds, opening our hearts and breath out into the abundant beauty of Spring on earth. The sunlight glints lime green through the sparse newly burst canopy of leaves and the whole of the kingdom of the birds has flown here to entertain us as we rest among the busy drone of the bees. The song of Spring has sprung across these low slopes of the Scottish Highlands and a smile slides slow and unbidden across our lips, we’ve been enchanted for sure. Lost to fairyland among the bluebell rings.
But wait, we’re saved by our faithful hound, who pulls us back into this time and space. Her wet nose a gentle reminder that tea time fast approaches and all the supplies are back at the house. Time to head back out of the magical birch woods and the bluebells and into normal life again.
True British Bluebells are a protected species and it’s illegal to gather any parts of the plants, but in the past the sticky sap of the stems was used to fletch arrows, to bind books and even to starch the stiff frilly Elizabethen collars of old.
The British variety with its vivid deep blue, it’s wonderful honey scent and its narrow curled flowers is under threat from the non-native Spanish Bluebells, which people often plant in their gardens. These hybridise with the native species and threaten its survival. Choose the native stock if you plant to plant bluebells, and you might even get some fairies into the bargain!