Walking around a garden the other day I found myself prostrate on the damp cold ground taking pictures of a plant I’ve never liked – the Hellebore. The act was rather illicit. Their flower heads always seem to face downwards like they’re nodding off, and I felt like I was looking up someone’s skirt. This feeling was compounded by the fact that they are the most Victorian of plants with their petals in muted silky damson colours, much like the heavy dresses of the time.
Gazing upwards at them I couldn’t get past the fact that to me they look like sinister clumps of hair growing out of the bald earth. But I was with friends who love the plant, and the sun was shining, and then as I lay underneath I realized that this incredible scent was coming from the heavy blooms. To top it off a massive bumble- bee came to sup from them and suddenly these flowers, pioneers in late winter, took on a new dimension.
They turn out to be a native of the Western parts of the UK, which makes me like them even more since it’s important to claim as many things as ‘ours’ against the tyranny of mono-culture. But then I made the fatal mistake of researching the plants ‘values’ and discovered it’s particularly poisonous, causing vertigo, stupor, and swelling of the tongue and throat topped finally by death from cardiac arrest. I now find myself reverting to my original feelings towards the Christmas Rose…….
Shelley Castle muses on the humble Hellebore in her blog for March - CLICK HERE to read more...
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Haye Farm, Holbeton,
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