Bluebells at Chatsworth

 In Derbyshire walks, Environment

I set myself a number of objectives each year, not written down but purely cerebral. Seeing some bluebells is one of these and here they are shown in a wood above Chatsworth. Flowers are a great joy but you sometimes need to work quite hard to find them. For these, we parked by the house at Chatsworth, and climbed. And climbed. Up above the animal farm, we found the waterfall above the old aqueduct. A belvedere path headed south so we followed it into dense woodland. The park is fascinating with some of the oldest looking oaks I have ever seen. Pensioners, like me, they were clinging on to life but may well last another 100 years, longer than me I suspect. Then, in a plantation of beech trees, the Chatsworth bluebells themselves, in all their glory.

The garden

We followed the path further south, a right turn and a descent back to the farm with more bluebells on the route. However, many of these were perhaps declining. As trees grow larger and shade the ground, so the flowers retreat. It might never be terminal as, often, the trees are removed before the flowers completely die out. Consequently, the bulbs recover even though the planting of the new trees causes initial devastation. This is natures remedial power, the way in which plants cling on, waiting for better conditions. Ann and I, also in need of restoration, had a coffee in the stables. Then, a walk around the garden, now a perk as we are Chatsworth Friends. We took out membership to enable us to walk the gardens at least monthly if not more. The higher levels of the garden also displayed many bluebells.

Bluebells at Chatsworth

The garden is a magnificent place. It is a perfect example of how nature can be integrated into an otherwise artificial setting, which is what a garden really is. However, you cannot ignore the indicator species, the creatures that prove that this is a good environment; the birds. Blackbirds were singing everywhere and various birds were scuttling into the undergrowth. It is a bird paradise. It is also a tree paradise, particularly as we spent quite a while in the pinetum. The evergreen pines loomed above us and there were even a number of ancient oaks hiding beneath them. It is the sort of environment that would make an ideal natural burial ground, which you would expect me to say. What a place to be interred, beneath great trees and with birds singing into eternity.

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