It has been many years since I was given a small clump of cultivated bluebells. I was sitting on a bus and two men, both gardeners were sitting across the aisle opposite to me. They were discussing various plants and I couldn’t help but overhear that the nearest man said ‘I have dug up all of my bluebells and thrown thrown them all away.’ Well – my garden was new with so very few plants in it … I couldn’t help myself and so innocently inquired ‘I wonder if I could be cheeky and ask if I might have a few of your bluebells?’ The man very kindly arranged to be on the bus the very next day and bring me some. The were a little ragged around the edges. The leaves were somewhat bruised but I planted them and kept my fingers crossed and I have had bluebells in my garden ever since. These are the cultivated version and are really more like hyacinths but they smell beautiful and sickly sweet when they are in bloom and their perfume wafts throughout the whole of the garden and the house. Who needs aerosol sprays when the real thing is so much more effective and certainly 1000% better?
You do have to be responsible when you incorporate cultivated plants into your borders though. As you have a duty to make sure that none of the cultivated versions escape and become cross-pollinated with the wild versions as this ruins the genus which is always best kept pure. Now many might think that – what does it matter if cultivated plants breed with wild ones? Well, for one thing – many plants are potentially great healers and we are constantly finding out new illnesses that can be cured by using them. In practically every case, it is the wild version that has the healing property … so it makes sense to keep wild flowers pure. It was alleged to have been reported many years ago of a *wild pansy that cured cancer. What the pansy was is still a mystery to many but hopefully, one day a botanist will re-discover it – if the wild stock hasn’t become contaminated with various garden strains.
The bluebells are very late this year. The cultivated versions are usually coming into bloom by now.
* It was alleged that the wild pansy with curative healing powers pertaining to cancer, came from the county of Devon on the South Coast of England.