08 March 2012
Let me know which view of the Hellebore is your favorite.
The same day that I took photographs at my alma mater’s Botanic Gardens, I walked to the woodland area of my backyard where the Hellebore proudly nestle near my pond. At the Botanic Gardens I found a White Hellebore that complements the Lenten Rose variety that grows next to my woodland area. Before I visited the gardens, I pledged to immortalize my own Hellebore.
These perennial forecasters of spring are one of my favorite early bloomers. Every year I react with such glee that I stand in hesitation at their presence–the sheer surprise of their flowering. Their clusters hang with heads downward where their fully-spreading beauty cannot be seen. They seem to be watching as the earth transcends. With little effort I can raise a blossom to spy on their delicacy and elegance. Reward is long-lasting.
One of the pleasures of its early seasonal flowering is its staying power, and the round of leaves that remain as reminders of their role in the revitalization of the landscape. Maybe its popularity has increased, because it’s an evergreen and never really disappears from view.
Even though the Lenten Rose is a non-native, it’s adaptable and low maintenance. And, if kept in the understory, the plant will continue to spread and act as a gorgeous naturalizer. I think of mine as rings growing inside the trunk of a tree: as the tree ages, its girth widens. In my garden the Hellebore gathers its momentum in a circular pattern of multiplying groupings. They’re a few feet in circumference, and it pleases me as I watch their happiness.
Throughout the world Hellebores are used in homeopathy and traditional medicines, which adds another bit of interest to this stunning plant. The colors range from (almost) snow-white to deep reddish-purple, and give gardeners a range of choices to cultivate. If you’re searching for an early foreshadower of the shift from the monochromatic glow of winter to the sparkling colors of spring, you just might fall in love with the irresistible Hellebore.
Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any others on my blog. If you want to view Part One of “Foreshadowing Spring,” please click here.