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Sunday, 15 April 2018

The joy of English bluebell woods.

 Ancient woodlands in England, like these in Surrey (Shabden park and Chiphouse Wood) are a real joy at any time of year and especially now - in spring.
 Today the bluebells are just starting to flower with the promise of the blue spectacle to come next week.

Bluebells starting to open among wind pollinated Dog's Mercury flowers.

Native bluebells
By the way, our native bluebell is threatened from hybridisation with the Spanish bluebell (a gaudy relative) which, if already in your garden you may wish to get rid of responsibly to protect our native woodland ones.
Wood anemones are spectacular now ahead of the bluebell extravaganza.   With attractive petals and a heady scent (in bluebells) insects are rewarded to visit and pollinate these flowers.  These wood anemones are alongside the footpath to Chipstead Bottom from Outwood Lane.  Chiphouse Wood also has a good show.

Male Dog's Mercury plants in flower
 What of the carpets of Dog's Mercury though?
Close up of Dog's Mercury male flowers just opening now.
 These are devoid of colourful flowers.  They have no need of colour or petals, relying on the wind to blow pollen from the male plants to the female ones. 
Grasses too are wind pollinated: like these below in my Sussex garden yesterday.
My lawns are allowed to grow "weeds" (i.e. wild flowers) and the grass is left to grow long for pollen eating beetles to feast on them.  This policy brings rewards.  Please see for The evolution of a formal garden to a nature reserve, my latest talk.
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