Blue for bluebells

Starting our walk with Nova, the collie-dog, we turned out of our gate and on to the lane to be met with faded, dying bluebells. Not the “oh the bluebells are finished”-type dying, rather the dried-out, dehydrated-type dying.

We haven’t had proper Cumbrian rain for over 8 weeks now. Maybe the shallower soil and more exposed position in the narrow border at the edge of the lane just can’t hold up against the drought. Other bluebells, resting and bobbing under the shade of the trees in the broader green slope further along the lane look more alive.

I wondered how long until this drought would effect the trees. How far down are they having to reach into the Earth to find what they need? The longer grass and shade under the trees helps to keep water in the soil for the shallower-rooted plants.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. It was supposed to rain all day, so they said. Now they say it’ll rain overnight for a short spell, then rain in the afternoon. Will it be enough? I hope the plants get to drink deeply, swell their green leaves and budding flowers again. Feed the bees, the butterflies, the moths, the birds.

Oh, it’s raining now.

Water is a gift. The bluebells wait patiently for it to arrive. Or, wither and wait for another Spring to come.

We aren’t always so patient. As the lakes dry up, we use bore holes and forget groundwater is a gift that won’t give forever. Of course, we need it to survive. We can’t go dormant and wait til next Spring. Maybe though, we can learn from the plants and use water as though it’s a gift and not flush fresh, treated water down our toilets and plugholes.

We care for our gardens, water them. Feed the birds, plant flowers, build soil. We create sanctuaries in our places and spaces. Without the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers, we can have wondrous, nurturing relationships with our plants, gardens, landscapes. Even with those chemical additions, we might enjoy our gardens, but I doubt the soil and wildlife appreciate it. Nature is diverse and resilient when it’s allowed to be, when we work as part of nature.

It’s stopped raining again.

I hope the bluebells get what they need and our lakes refill soon.

Published by hannahelizabethfield

I'm an artist, scientist, Permaculture Designer, gardener and nature connectedness guide. I'm currently a 1st year PhD student at the University of Cumbria in the Lake District. I'm researching the commons, how they are valued, governed and how decisions are made through Action Research and Ethnographic methods. Being in the fells, on the beach, in the landscapes is my home and I love to work here.

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