Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Botanical Day

Arboretum hellebores

Have you noticed that as soon as you learn a new word, one that you have never heard or read before, you come across it again at least three times within the next few days?  This is a very common phenomenon, and now I see that it applies to plants as well as to words.  I had never heard of hellebores – not even in Miss Marple books.  Miss Marple is, of course, famous not only for her detective skills, but also for her herbaceous borders.   Her stories are a compendium of the modi opperandi of clever murderers, rare and mysterious poisons, and also of her favorite garden species – especially flowers. 

The Twins, in their fabulous blog, noted the Lenten Roses around the Cathedral.  That was the first time I had heard of a Hellebore, but now, they seem to be everywhere!  Was I walking around all these years, completely oblivious to my helleborical surroundings?  Apparently so!  I immediately checked out the Cathedral hellebores, then, on a walk to the Arboretum with Samos, saw meadowy masses of them everywhere, and later, on my way to work, noticed that I had been walking by huge beds of them every day.

Violets and Hellebores
It seems that in the past, they were considered to have medicinal properties, helping with such problems as gout and insanity, but as they are quite toxic, the cure was probably often fatal.  (Patient dead - problem solved!) No doubt Miss Marple knew all about this.  They were also useful in witchcraft for summoning demons.  A most versatile plant!

When I told my dear friend Martha about my new acquaintance with hellebores,  she promptly prepared me one to plant in my own garden.  It is doing nicely there, as you can see.  Thanks again, Martha!

My gift from Martha


I. F. said...

And don't forget the ceramic hellebore by the Mary statue in the Cathedral!

Laura said...

I'm going to keep my eyes open while walking today to see how many hellebores I can spot!

Marta said...

I'm so happy that your plant is doing so well.
It is very difficult to get a photo of the blossom..good job.