There’s a patch of bluebells amongst trees at Chorlton Meadows, others at Alexandra Park and Platt Fields Park. None of those places are forest. It was years since I’d seen bluebells like this in a wood. Possibly you find them in Scotland, although they may prefer the warmth of the south like these in Kent.

I don’t know how British spring time compares to other countries. In France I suspect it’s very pleasant. In parts of Spain I suspect it’s luxuriant. In Japan they celebrate the cherry blossom which is my special favourite. It’s a soft, pastel experience in Britain which seems quintessentially lovely. That’s partly because it follows what is typically a gloomy winter, when I feel starved of colour and light.

First it’s the snowdrops, then crocus, daffodils, celandines, buttercups, cherry blossom, green alkanet. Shakespeare is good for this, describing flowers and plants which often had folklore meaning. There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, says Ophelia. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.

A few days ago I saw my first forget-me-nots, another favourite, at Mersey Vale Nature Park. They also like shady marshland below trees at Fletcher Moss Gardens. I haven’t seen them yet this year. Bluebells are not part of my usual spring beyond a small patch and straggling few. They would be if I lived in Kent. For Shakespeare, woods were a place of magic and dream and love. They were the opposite of the court where you found the scheming and lies of politicians.


Kent Photography: Darenth Valley Bluebells

Thursday May 21, 2015