We made the decision to get married in a bluebell wood, many moons ago, so the wild bluebell has fond associations for me. I grew up in Buckinghamshire, a county of England that was once nicknamed ‘Beechy Bucks’ because of its extensive beech woods. There was a beech wood opposite our house and each year in Spring the woodland floor was carpeted with bluebells. It was on a visit home as an adult that the matrimonial plans were made, so this flower is special.

I have been noticing bluebells in the city, right in the heart of Durham. This one (a cultivated variety) has a wide-open flower shape.


The wild variety of bluebell is rather different in shape and in colour. It has a narrow bell of a deep blue-purple colour.

Bluebell plant.JPG

I’d heard of some bluebell woods near where we live now, so last weekend we set off to find them and were not disappointed:

Bluebell wood.JPG

There are a few bluebells growing wild around the cricket ground in our village so I picked a few (a very few) and spent some time drawing and painting them. You have to work quickly as they droop in captivity and are best enjoyed in the wild.


I did a spot of research on butterflies, in order to determine which species feed on bluebells and discovered that the Large British White is a candidate. This particular butterfly is unloved by gardeners because it is a great destroyer of cabbages! Nothing can detract, however, from their beautiful markings. They have a dusting of blue on the white of their wings, which also have charcoal grey spots and borders.

This watercolour painting led to a fabric design on a background of pale spring green. The proof of the fabric has just arrived in the post today, so the fabric is now for sale (click here to see it).

Butterflies and Bluebells.JPG

While I am writing about woodlands, I will also mention last week’s design, this time featuring blackberries. Once again, this brings back strong childhood memories:  we used to go to the margins of those same beech woods to collect blackberries in baskets lined with newspaper. As a teenager I used to make blackberry and apple jelly, still one of my favourite foods. This is the design I created. Click here to find the fabric.


And as for other signs of Spring, which tends to arrive late in the North-East of England, I have been enjoying seeing leaf buds opening on the horse-chestnut trees:


and cherry blossom on a tree near Durham station.   Lovely May!


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Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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