17 May 2006 BLUE-MING MARVELLOUS!
The Natural History Museum is making a nationwide plea for people to find, identify and record wild hyacinths in every corner of the country. The beautiful bloom is at risk as its native woodland habitat falls victim to climate changes, agricultural demands and coniferous planting.
Natives interbred with their Spanish counterparts - introduced to British gardens in the 17th century - creating a hybrid which escaped into the wilds in the 1900s. A third of all Britain's bluebells are now Spanish or cross species.
The Lake District National Park is promotiing its own bluebell mission by pointing visitors in the direction of the Natural History's bluebell survey. Online media adviser Helen Reynolds said Lake District woods were currently "a carpet of dazzling blue" - especially at Birkett Wood at the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole, on Windermere. Helen appealed to anyone venturing into the countryside to tuck a questionnaire print-out in their rucksacks.
Natural History Museum (bluebells)
Lake District National Park