Spanish Bluebell

Spanish bluebellSpanish bluebell10.45 a.m., 50ºF, 10ºC, cool breeze, 90% cloud: As I draw there’s only one brief visit by a pollinator – a bumble bee – to these Spanish bluebells, so perhaps there’s not much in the way of nectar this morning.

bumble beeWhen we revamped the border earlier this year we took out a dense clump of Spanish bluebells by the hedge that never produced much in the way of flowers. They were already here when we moved in over thirty years ago and since then they have multiplied vegetatively by producing offset bulbs. I’ve seen no evidence of them spreading by stolons (creeping stems), which some websites say is possible. The bulbs are able to pull themselves down into the soil by shortening their roots, so the clump went down to about a foot below soil level, one bulb piled on top of another.

Spanish bluebell Unfortunately this introduced species is capable of crossbreeding with our native bluebell to produce a vigorous hybrids which can spread into woodlands. The bumble bee that visited our garden bluebells could easily make its way into the wood a hundred yards away where native bluebells are starting to flower.

I need to remove all our Spanish bluebells as I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the decline of its woodland relative.

bee on violet2.00 p.m.: A bumble bee visited all the dog violets in a group amongst the grasses but paused only briefly at one or two bluebell flowers next to them, which suggests to me that, today at least, they’re not offering much of interest to passing pollinators.

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