Jubilee Bells

Every May I look forward to the bluebells appearing along Jubilee Drive in Malvern. Actually I start looking forward to them in April and find myself doing drive-bys on the off-chance that they’ve arrived early and the fear that I might miss them. Waiting for the bluebells is like waiting for the first strawberries in the garden or the first Orange Tip butterflies in the hedgerows. They’re all such pure pleasures, nothing showy, no monetary value, no prizes. And none of them ever disappoint, they all just make me happy! So please excuse me gushing over them, they are just so damned lovely.

They have been pretty much at their best over the last few weeks, so my drive-bys have turned to desperate hunts for parking spaces, as I make my now annual attempt to get decent photos of them. They grow in great swathes along Jubilee Drive and you’d think it would be easy to take photos, but somehow the pics never seem to do them justice. I can never seem to capture their full glory. I guess like so many things in nature they are best just witnessed for yourself. I usually give up after a while and just stare at them, enjoying the spectacle and the smell of thousands upon thousands of bluebells.

Inevitably I take hundreds of photos, most of which are rubbish, but here are a selection of some of the slightly better ones. There’s not a lot else I can say, other than if you get the chance to go and see bluebells where you live, then make the most of them before they disappear for another year.

A Grizzly Day Out

Yesterday we went out on our first butterfly bagging expedition of the year – our target the Grizzled Skipper. Using the excellent        Butterflies of the West Midlands book as our guide we headed down to the Doward in South Herefordshire. The woodlands of the Doward are part of an Area of Outstanding Beauty – always a good starting point for any day out!

The butterfly guide book had described the best route to take to see the Grizzled Skippers, start at the main entrance to the White Rocks Nature Reserve. In our usual disorganised way we managed to head off in completely the wrong direction and somehow started at the other entrance. This was no great disaster though as it took us into the woodland which was carpeted with wild garlic (you could smell it in the air) and looked stunning.

Our accidental route also meant that we stumbled across King Arthur’s Cave. The Doward lies on limestone rocks and the cave goes deep inside them (not that we ventured very far ourselves). It has apparently been used by humans since Palaeolithic times, with everything from flint tools to mammoth bones having been found in there.

We carried on our erroneous path and came to a stunning view point looking over the River Wye.

By this time we’d twigged that we were on the wrong path, so tried heading back up hill, stumbling upon a large quarry as we did. It was baking hot in the quarry, so I stayed at the edge while Chris (who had been sensible enough to take a hat to keep the sun off his head) ventured in to look around. While I loitered by the gate, I spotted what I thought was a small moth darting about.  Closer inspection revealed it was actually a Grizzled Skipper – we’d found one by shear chance after all! I’d never realised that they would be so small, or so fast – it could disappear very quickly.

Out first ever Grizzled Skipper wasn’t unfortunately a pristine specimen, looking a bit ragged at the edges, but it was what we came looking for, so I took loads of pictures.

He or she looks a bit more respectable from the side as you can’t see the missing bits of wing.

Flushed with success (and the heat of the quarry) we decided to head back to the car and start again on the proper route. Not too surprisingly on the proper route it was a lot easier to spot the skippers. We quickly found about half a dozen flitting around a sparse area of ground. They were so quick though it was difficult to track them – I think all 3 photos below were of the same slightly slower specimen.

It is still relatively early in the “butterfly season”, but we did spot a few other species around the bluebells – a female orange tip and a large white.

The Grizzled Skipper is a delightful little butterfly, but it unfortunately becoming increasingly rare.  There are not many sites around us where we could have seen them, so we were very lucky to be able to add this species to our butterfly tally. Species number 39, only 20 more to go, but I have the feeling they are going to become increasingly difficult to find!

Simply Beautiful Bluebells

This post is going to be big on photos and for once not much rambling on from me – when you’ve got bluebells this beautiful, there’s really no need to say very much.  I went for a walk this week on the Malvern Hills to see the bluebells, which are approaching their peak right now. They grow all over the hills, but there is one area where they have really formed a beautiful dense blue carpet. They were, as always, simply stunning.

Bluebells on Malvern 4

Bluebells on Malvern 5

Bluebells on Malvern 3

Bluebells on Malvern 2

Bluebells on Malvern

Bluebells on Malvern 6

We went to the same spot last year too. We were a few days later in May and I think the bluebell show then was possibly even more spectacular, so I’ve included a couple of photos below from 2015.

Bluebells 2015

Bluebells 2015 2

We are so lucky to live in this beautiful part of the world.

Out and About – Tiddesley Wood

The Two Lazy Gardeners went crazy today, got off our sofa and went out and about! It’s the beginning of Bluebell season here in Worcestershire, so we headed out to some woods in hope and expectation. The wood of choice for today was Tiddesley near Pershore – a Wildlife Trust run reserve.


Bluebells were of course the main target, but lots of other spring flowers were about, such as these Lesser Celandines, Wood Anemones and Cowslips.

Lesser Celandine

Wood anemone


But of course the Bluebells were the stars of the show. Although they’re probably not quite at their peak yet, they were still stunning, carpeting areas of the wood in a beautiful purply blue. Photos never seem to really do them justice, but here are a few of our attempts.

Bluebell close up


Bluebells (10)

Bluebells (7)

The spring flowers brought out the insects too – sadly no butterflies yet, but the bees were making the most of the bluebells.

Bee on bluebell (1)

Red tailed bee on bluebell


Birds were of course abundant too, although very definitely camera shy. We saw and heard a lot (including woodpeckers in the distance), but the only one we managed to get a recognisable shot of was this Tit on a nesting box.

Tit on nesting box

The wood was exceptionally muddy underfoot after all the recent heavy rain. This had one unexpected benefit – we came across loads of tadpoles in waterfilled footprints on the paths.


For all the bluebells were fantastic, the highlight for me was seeing a deer (a female Roe Deer I think) jumping through the wood right in front of us. Needless to say I was so surprised I didn’t even manage to raise the camera, let alone get a decent shot, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!


Baby Blues (hopefully)

In the last couple of weeks the posts seem to have been colour themed, first red, then yellow and now blue! The big blue news is that the Blue Tits are nesting!! So excited to see them using the bird box (the old one of course – they’ve turned their beaks up at the new deluxe one!) The brief video clip below shows both adults flying in and one exiting again. I think at this stage they were still making the nest as we saw them with nesting material.

The photo below is a still taken from the film. Hopefully things will go well for our pair and we can give updates on their progress – fingers crossed for a successful fledging and baby blue tits.

Blue Tit on Bird Box

The other big blue news is that our bluebell is flowering. It is bluebell singular and has been since it appeared in the garden a few years ago. The Malvern Hills themselves will soon be ablaze with  blue, but our garden has to make do with this lonesome individual each year.


The blue tones seem to be spreading round the garden too, with the emergence of several other blue hued flowers. These pretty little Violas are springing up all over the place in the shadier areas.Viola

And today I spotted these tiny Speedwell flowers hidden amongst the grasses. Not the easiest to photograph as they are so damn small. I didn’t realise they were so hairy either until I downloaded the photos.


And finally, no blue post would be complete without Forget-me-nots. These bright little flowers have been a favourite since I was a child (many moons ago) and are a sort of unofficial totem for Too Lazy To Weed. They spring up wherever we haven’t weeded – so pretty much over the whole garden!

Forget me not