The Bluebell is the sweetest flower, that waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power to soothe my spirit’s care…
(Emily Bronte – The Bluebell)
I promised a blog post on bluebells, an indulgence on my part as they’re my favourite flowers.
Blue, pink and white bluebells © Lisa Shambrook
I have clear memories of bluebell woodland walks when I was a little girl, running through the woods, jumping over tree roots and dancing through swathes of blue.
We didn’t live far from the Bluebell Railway, and a school trip saw me daydreaming out of the steam train window at the banks of bluebells. The verges and railway banks near my home were also strewn with the flowers during spring and I used to bring home bunches of wilting blue, pink and white bluebells for mum on the way home from school.
Bluebells never lost their appeal. That splash of colour, a carpet of blue from afar, delicate nodding bells, with barely there stripes, close up, and the air of mysticism…
Bluebells © Lisa Shambrook
Bluebells are symbolic of gratitude, humility and constancy – all virtues that ring true to me – and they are closely linked to the realm of fairies, appealing to my love of all mythical and fantastical, ‘tis said that bluebells are rung to bring the fairies together.
As a child I adored Mary Cicely Barker’s Flower Fairies, my favourites were all the purple flowers, but her bluebell fairy disappointed me. I wanted her to look like the lavender fairy, so I spent many hours drawing and making up my own bluebell flower fairies. I only wish I’d kept the pictures!
It made sense that one day bluebells would burst forth within my own writing, and they did becoming a theme throughout my current series. The first book benefitted from a photoshoot in our local bluebell woods, Greencastle Woods, and became the cover of my first published novel ‘Beneath the Rainbow’. That’s my daughter in the picture, recreating a scene from the book where Freya finds herself in her own heaven. Her favourite place in her heaven is sitting amongst the bluebells, where she finds peace and calm. Bluebells also become a source of both grief and comfort for Freya’s mother, a way of showing the passing of time, and become a recurring theme in all three books.
© Lisa Shambrook
In my own life, bluebells are a source of joy, heralding a season of growth and new life, and they always ignite memories encouraging gratitude and introspection. Bluebells inspire me and make me happy, maybe it’s their colours. My favourite colour is green, closely followed by all shades of purple and lilac. Green offers calm, soothing, restful tones of growth and inspiration, and purple is the passionate, harmonious, meditative colour of creatives and the mysterious. These colours are me, so the bluebell becomes a signature flower, a representative of my own personality.
Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook
This year I have made time to walk our dog through our local bluebell woods as much as I can…enjoying the beauty, the swathes of blue and the quiet of nature. In Wales, the bluebells are at their peak, and if you can go seek out your own woods…see if you can hear the tinkling bells and fluttering of wings…
Are there bluebell woods near you? Let me know, and if I’m ever up your way in the spring, I will check them out!
If you want to read
‘Beneath the Rainbow’ and
‘Beneath the Old Oak’
all links are on my website.
Beneath the Rainbow:
“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let death stand in her way. When she dies Freya knows she needs to move on, but is caught within her mother’s grief and the discovery of terminally ill Old Thomas. Beneath her Rainbow…Freya needs to reach her mother, wait for Old Thomas and be ready to move on.
Beneath the Old Oak:
“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her Mum’s erratic behaviour, she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape, she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. A storm descends, and Meg needs to survive devastating losses.
Bluebells, Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook