Thursday, February 12, 2015
I listen to the radio in the car when running errands, this is not helping me to get through my goal of listening to my whole iTunes collection sometime this year. I think I have something like 35 days of music.
I typically listen to the local NPR station and was fortunate enough to get to listen in on the Gardening Panel a few years ago. The subject of hellebores came up and how to grow them. I have to admit, I listened closely. At one time in my life, the hellebore was my holy grail plant. I thought only expert gardeners could grow them, they were mysterious and so gorgeous. They are one of the first things to bloom in the early winter garden and if you are lucky, their gorgeous seed pods will see you through until June. They are both delicate and hard as nails depending on the kind you have growing in your garden. Some of the more fleshy varieties, such as the Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius) look down right alien depending on the size and placement in the garden. I suppose it is partially due to the climate in Corsica and CAM metabolism, but let's not go down the plant photorespiration cycles of my misspent youth.
The more delicate forms (Hellebore niger) Christmas Rose and these are the kind I and many other gardeners cherish. They flower stalks pop up in early January (or earlier) and wow you with amazing displays of flowers ranging from clear whites to dark purples with all sorts of strange crossings that occur. They emerge right when we are starting to lose hope that anything will emerge from our damp soil. These hellebores are not difficult to grow, just find a few smallish plants you like at your local plant sale, put them in the ground in a location with partial shade and remember to water while they get established.
Here's the thing about hellebores - they older varieties of Hellebore niger are really really shy plants -with flower stalks full of gorgeous flowers that spend most of their lives looking down at their feet. In order to take in their beauty, you have to lift up their chins and give them a good look. They remind me of someone who just can't seem to get it together and summon the courage to say "HELLLLLOOOO WORLD" look at/to me."
It takes an persistent person to keep lifting up these flowers to see their beauty and qualities. The other option is to cut the flowers off and float them in a dish of water to get a good look. In both cases, you see all the beauty, variation and details of the hellebore.
The newer hybrids that are being bred for their lovely flowers that tilt upwards to reach the sky or look you right in the eye. Pow. There is nothing shy about these beauties. While the ones I have seen seem to lack some of the delicate grace of the Hellebore Niger, they still are lookers that last for months.
I realize that there is something aloof about not showing off your colors, spots or petal count. I wonder if this is such a good way to go on the world - remaining quiet and retiring and letting others capture the glory, the spotlight, the credit, when you may have spots, color or some other feature that deserves attention.
It might not be such a bad idea to start breeding in new habits into your life.