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Wednesday, 30th April 2003, West Yorkshire

bluebellTwenty years ago these bluebells were no more than a few plants growing in the border by the hedge. They've spread to form a dense arc of glossy green foliage four feet across with smaller colonies starting along the bottom of the hedge along a twelve foot stretch and the odd plant reaching the edge of the pond. They're almost growing like weeds and it makes me realise that our garden, if left unattended for long enough, would revert to woodland, merging into the bluebell woods of Coxley Valley if human beings ever faded away from these parts.

There's some concern that our English bluebells are being ousted in parts of the country by the Spanish variety which has been grow in gardens for many years but which is increasingly becoming established in the wild.

(Looking at the bluebells in the wood the next day I realised that our garden bluebells must be the Spanish variety. The flowers of our local wild bluebells are shaped more like sausages compared with these bell-like blooms).

red-tailed bumble beeAs I'm painting there's a buzzing beside me. A large red-tailed bumblebee, which I take from its size to be a queen, is investigating the lawn. For many years in the middle of the lawn there has been a vole hole. The queen flies down into it and emerges two minutes or more later. Perhaps she is establishing a nest there. next page

Richard Bell