Today was the annual Perivale Wood bluebell open day. Most of the year the wood is closed unless you are a member, but in April each year thousands of people come to enjoy the bluebells. This year a record 2023 visitors came to see their beautiful blues.
The Perivale wood website says “Perivale Wood is a typical English bluebell wood, with some 4-5 million flowers in spring. On a calm day in late April or May, the scent of the massed blooms is delightful. Bluebells are long-lived plants, lasting for 20 or more years, as long as the leaves are not trampled in spring, and each year the bulb grows larger; they only flower after several years, when the bulbs are large enough.”
Bluebells are not always blue!
Not all bluebells in the UK are our native bluebell. Some are Spanish or a Spanish/British hybrid. The Natural History Museum website explains:
“The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen.
If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is a native. If it is any other colour, such as pale green or blue, then it is definitely not native.
When the pollen is shed, the empty anther can be a pale cream colour, so make sure you look at the most recently opened flowers at the top of the spike, to find the true colour of the pollen.”
The Perivale wood bluebells are native – a sign of an ancient woodland.
Popping up here and there amidst the bluebells were Greater stitchworts, a white flower that grows in hedgerows and woodland edges from May to August.
There are even a few pink flowers – red campion?
Thanks to the organisers of the Perivale Wood open day for a grand time. As well as the bluebells, very good value food and drink was available, plus stalls and events like archery and morris dancing. It must have taken a lot of work to put together.