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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bluebell Honeymoon

Long before the christening of Bluebell Halliwell, I developed a yen to see bluebell season in England. I'd I read about the phenomenon of the bluebell wood somewhere ... or maybe it was those dreamy scenes of the hapless Leonard Bast walking through the trees with swaths of bluebells underfoot in the movie of "Howards End."

Daniel and I have been to England together before, and both love it there. We decided the most relaxing honeymoon for us would be visiting a place we already know we like, and discovering more about it together. (Kind of like when you decide to marry someone you've already been liking and getting to know for five+ years, just as a random example.) So imagine my delight when I discovered we'd be there in time for bluebell season.

I was a little concerned about where to find them, exactly, as in England the bluebell often indicates the presence of an ancient woodland area, which is not necessarily something you can look up in a guide book. Happily, my research indicated that the fantastic Kew Gardens has its own bluebell grove on the grounds, so we made a journey out there on one of our days in London. Kew is pretty awesome in itself, with several Victorian conservatories and a towering pagoda, plus extensive gardens.

When I asked the ticket agent if the bluebells were still blooming and where to find them, he looked pained and told me regretfully that they'd started "quite early" this year and were past their prime, but he pointed out the area on the map for me all the same, and off we went. Along the way were rewarded by this rogue patch of stalwart indigo, our first bluebell sighting, complete with picturesque bicycle abandoned alongside it.

And then, wandering further, a full carpet of them, perhaps a little wilted and not as richly blue as at their peak, but for the bluebell novice, it was enough.

Yet England was generous with me, and though I said I was satisfied, she kept throwing more bluebells in my path throughout our visit. Up in York, so much farther north than London, they were freshly emerging and bloomin' everywhere.

Now that we're home again, I'm noticing Spanish bluebells all around our neighborhood. I've read that this variety is a threat to English bluebells in their native soil, but over here I think I can safely admire them. And just this morning as I finished up an issue of In Style left over from my airplane reading, what did I find but a mention of Penhaligon's bluebell fragrance. My eyes have been opened: everything's coming up bluebells.

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At 5/25/2007 8:56 PM, Anonymous Claverack Weekender said...

Congratulations and welcome back. Besides being a lovely flower, Bluebell is also the #1 selling ice cream in Texas.

At 5/26/2007 10:58 AM, Blogger Chrissa said...

I saw a reference to that somewhere in my bluebell research, but assumed it must be a brand name rather than flavor. What does it taste like I wonder, and does it have any relation to the ambiguously flavored "Blue Moon" ice cream of my childhood summers in Michigan?

At 5/27/2007 7:56 PM, Blogger Christina said...

Watch out for a "Secret Ingredient: Bluebell" feature in an upcoming issue of Lucky! It's only a matter of time now.

At 5/28/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Chrissa said...

You are so right!

At 5/30/2007 10:37 AM, Blogger RBG said...

Congrats again and welcome back! Along the lines of floral flavored foods, I recently had a cupcake with lavendar infused frosting (in London, incidentally...we tend to follow you guys, first to Mexico, then to Boston, and recently to England). I assumed the "lavender cupcake" referred only to the color of frosting but it did indeed, oddly, taste like lavender. It's a strange experience - familiar because the scent of lavender is so familar, but odd because you're not used to the taste of it.

At 5/30/2007 1:21 PM, Blogger Chrissa said...

I know what you mean - floral as a flavor doesn't seem like it would translate. There's a Tunisian restaurant called Baraka in Central Square that serves rose petal lemonade, a rather intoxicating combo!

I'll be interested to hear where you had that lavender cupcake!


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