Algy’s American friend mdeanstrauss loves the wildflowers of the Iowa prairie. Many of you will be familiar with his beautiful photographs and the interesting descriptions and histories which accompany them. Recently, Algy and his friend have been discussing bluebells, because it seems that the flowers known as bluebells in the USA are not the same as the British bluebells.

May is the month when the bluebells flower in the West Highlands, and they cover large areas with a beautiful, fragrant blue carpet. The funny thing is, these native wildflowers (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are usually known in Britain as English Bluebells, but nowhere in England do they flower as prolifically as they do on the west coast of Scotland… They are also commonly thought of in England as a woodland flower, but in the West Highlands they revel in sunny open spaces, if they are allowed to spread freely. Later in the summer, some very different bluebells will flower around Algy’s home: known elsewhere as harebells (Campanula rotundifolia), these flowers too are called bluebells in Scotland, which can be a wee bit confusing at times.


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