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I realise the start of a new season by seeing spring flowers, like forsythias, azaleas and cherry blossoms when I lived in Korea. Here are some of the spring flowers in the UK bringing this news when I walk in town or the woods.
The first snowdrop encounters of each year cheer me up to get over the long winter. They also nudge me that I should get on with the new year’s resolutions. Although I like winter for family events like Christmas, this season sometimes makes me feel down because of the weather. Daylight is still lacking after the first day of the new year; rainfall is more common than snowfall or sunlight; and walking paths are thick with mud… Then one day, I see the delicate but brave snowdrops breaking through the cold! They instantly encourage me to feel positive about what might be ahead. This feel-good vibe seems to be quite effective even if the same bitter winter weather stays.
Apparently, snowdrops are not native spring flowers in the UK, despite their widespread range. The Woodland Trust explains that snowdrops were possibly introduced in the (early) 16th century as an ornamental plant. The first record of them being seen in the wild wasn’t until the late 18th century.
Once the peak of snowdrops turns, masses of crocus flowers come out as if they had itchy feet. I snapped this photo as the last snowdrops were with crocuses, as seen at the bottom of the photo. I suspect crocuses on the grass bank at the back of the photo spread over time to the garden next door. Thanks to their ability to flourish, I always appreciate ‘spring is coming’ every time I walk along this road.
Daffodils in my town flower almost at the same time as crocuses. Crocuses may be a bit earlier, but daffodils have certainly been in full bloom at most 1~2 weeks later. The view of daffodils joining crocuses is my favourite townscape in spring. It’s quite exciting as various colours are thrown into the otherwise dull background! In addition, some early bees, brave enough to face the precarious weather, fly busily between these flowers, which gives me a good impression of spring. On a side note, daffodils are Wales’ national flower!
English bluebell (must-see spring flowers in the UK!)
When it comes to spring flowers in the UK’s woodlands, what I’d love to see every spring is bluebells! Almost half of the world’s bluebells grow in the UK, so it’s fairly easy to see bluebells in woodlands here. Although I also see lots of bluebells in town, most of them seem to be non-native Spanish bluebells. This means I need to visit the woods to see the native English bluebells.
English bluebells are protected by law in the UK, so it’s illegal to uproot or harvest wild bluebells in the woods. Fortunately, I learned that garden centres sell cultivated English bluebell bulbs, which are fine to buy. I’d love to have English bluebells in my garden (if I had a garden)!
I couldn’t quite capture the awesome landscape of bluebells in the woods. I like this photo, but this isn’t nearly as amazing as the immersive experience in person. If you happen to be in the UK between mid-April and early to mid-May, I strongly recommend you have a bluebell walk in the woods!
‘Cute’ and ‘adorable’ come to mind when I think of primrose flowers. One of the native spring flowers in the UK, primroses can flower as early as December, hence being one of the first flowers displaying spring has come to the woods. I learned that ‘prim rosa’ in Latin means ‘first rose’, so its own name is also self-explanatory. In addition, according to the Woodlands Trust, primroses are an indicator of ancient woodland, which is pretty special!
Like bluebells, the view of wood anemones en masse is impressive, to which no photo can do justice. When I see wood anemones appearing under trees that still very much look wintery, without any new shoots coming yet, they look as if snowflakes have covered the leaves on the ground. It was also really pretty when bluebells and wood anemones were out together in the same patch of woodland.
Periwinkle is one of the spring flowers in the UK that I learned about recently (and finally remembered its name!) I like the cute name and light purple petals. The petal shape of the periwinkle reminds me of paper windmills I used to make as a child. 🌬️💜
Periwinkle and celandine bloomed together here. Though fresh leaves make it a little harder to spot in the photo, a couple of gentle purple flowers are among the vivid yellow celandines. I took this photo on our second outing to the nearby woods, and while periwinkle was already keen to say goodbye in about a week, celandines were still cheerful. Yellow is my favourite colour – so I might be biased – and celandine’s vivid yellow is so striking among the leaves, brightening the area where the ground was rather muddy!
I’m sure there are loads more spring flowers blooming across the UK, but these are what I typically see in my town and can identify. Each day feels more and more reinvigorating, with various colourful spring flowers appearing, especially after the extended periods of cold and rainy winter this year… (I had to wear a padded winter coat till April!) What kinds of flowers bring the spring news in your area (or country)?