April is nearly over although it seemed a quite long month to me. It has been getting greener every day and the chestnut trees are already in flower despite being very cold for the last few days. We have showers, thunderstorms and hailstones accompanied by very chilly winds almost daily. I have put my gloves back on when outside.
The flowers though seem to keep going and this month bluebells started to bloom all over the country. Last year it has been voted the Nation’s Favourite Wildflower in England according to PlantLife and this year Botanical Society of British Isles named it a wildflower of the month April.
I have spotted my first bluebell or to be precise, a Spanish bluebell at the end of February. There are generally two types of bluebells, a native English one Hyacinthoides non-scripta and Spanish bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica. They look quite similar but distinctive at the same time. Here is a picture from PlantLife explaining all the differences.The English bluebells carpeting the woodland floor are indicating the ancient woods dating back to 1600. The Spanish bluebell was introduced in the UK where is has became a quite invasive. Both types of bluebells hybridise quite easily producing Hyacinthoides × massartiana. Personally I like all of them and can’t get enough of those pretty flowers. Seeing them in the woods, parks and gardens means spring is in full swing, despite the hailstones.
I planned to wake up early on Sunday morning as the weather app promised a sunny start of the day. I was up at 7.30am, cycled to River Thames then locked the bike to the railings and went on a stroll along the river heading West. There is a very nice path going along and in few places there are steps which take you down to the gravel”beach”. I have not been on this side of the river for a while and there has been lots of trees cut down and cleared away from the bank. It made the view wider and more open. You can easily spot Fulham Football Club stadium. Further down the banks get wilder and more exciting with all the greenery. Lots of trees are still quite bare but horse chestnuts and weeping willows were shining with fresh green leaves in the morning sun. I have spotted some lovely spots filled with spring wildflowers like cuckoo flowers, three cornered leeks, ground ivy, alexanders, some type of wild cabbage plants and they all will be featured in the next wildflowers post. There is quite a lot of them now and the list is getting longer. I will combine March and April wildflowers so stay tuned.