Flowering season 2015
info: in the northern part of the forest, called ‘Nootheide’, trees have been felled this year (wood extraction). Trunks and crowns are lying in various places in that part of the forest and there are piles of firewood along the trails. From 1 March to 30 June however, the wood extraction stops (“schoon” time) and the loggers are not allowed to continue their work. “Schoon” time comes from the German “Schonen” meaning ‘save’, ‘protect’. The “schoon” period helps to protect the vegetation (spring flowers), to ‘save’ and not to disturb the nesting birds.
An important day for the Hallerbos. The City Council of Halle has decided that from July 1, through traffic is not allowed anymore in the Hallerbos. This translates to the situation as it was on Sundays and holidays getting a permanent character from now on. The “Achtdreven” (P8) remains accessible by car, but only through the Nijvelsesteenweg. The parking area in front of the barrier has been adapted for use by disabled people. There is also a place to turn the car, but this can not be used to park your car. Parking 5 at the hunting lodge and parking 6 at the playground can not be reached anymore. Parking 4 between Dries and Vroenenbos has been enlarged. It is much quieter in the woods now. Both for the animals and the visitors this is a really big improvement.
Bear’s garlic (Ramsons) is turning the valley of the Steenputbeek completely white. Lilies-of-the-valley get a lot of leaves, but not a lot of flowers. Other striking blossoming herbs along the paths are Yellow Pimpernel, Herb-Paris, Bugleweed en Solomon’s seal with its typical inclining leaves. The morning is the real time to enjoy the wood, when birds give their extraordinary concert.
The canopy of beech and oak is getting denser and darker. On the sunny places along the paths, however, a lot of blossoming plants can be seen. There still is the rare beautiful bluebell, but there is also Yellow Archangel, Garlic Mustard, Herb-Robert (Robert Geranium, Mountain Geranium) en Greater Stitchwort (Addersmeat). Spiked Rampion is starting to blossom as well. The hotter spaces with a lot of light attract butterflies. Speckled Wood, Small White, Peacock and the swift Comma flutter from flower to flower, enjoying these sunny spaces, looking for the nectar of the flowers, or a place to rest and to get warm.
The beautiful flowering period for the bluebells is over. They are withering and forming fruits now. Only on a few more open places, they remain nice. There are some other flowering spring flowers at the edge of the forest, such as Yellow Archangel, Wood-sorrel, Common Dog Violet en Solomon’s seal. Bear’s garlic (Ramsons) is blossoming abundantly.
The sun does reach the flowers on some open spaces, but only for a short time of the day. Flower leaves are getting paler. Fruits are being formed. In the areas with a lot of light, Lady Fern and Male Fern can be noticed between the withering bluebells. If you come from far and you’re considering a visit to see the bluebells in particular, it’s better to postpone your visit to next year. It’s such a pity that people get off the main paths to get a good picture. When stepping next to a path, for only one footstep or sometimes even for some metres, bluebells are being trodden on, and these cannot make a new flower bulb that would make a new flower the next year. So next year and the years to come, these will all be barren spaces, no single bluebell there.
The sweet smell of bluebells is gradually making way for the garlic-like smell of Bear’s Garlic, that is, in the valleys where Bear’s Garlic has started blossoming abundantly on the wet, calcareous soil. The colour of the bluebells is fading. The bluebells that blossomed first, have started withering. The sun can hardly get through to the flowers, due to the many leaves from beeches and oaks.