The Hellebore is my favorite winter flower. There is no more welcome a sight in a barren, frosty winter garden than the ever so subtle shy glimpse of a Hellebore. It is an absolute treat to have such a seasonal beauty in a time where little else blooms. Florists and gardeners alike are captivated by something so delicate and temperamental when cut, that can also withstand the hardest ice and snow.
The name is derived from ‘Helein’ and ‘Bora’, which translates as ‘food of death’. The roots, if consumed are potentially fatal and there is much folklore with the intention of keeping children away from these poisonous plants. I am truly fascinated by this winter bloom, its poetic contradiction in death and beauty.
It is hugely important that a Hellebore is cut from the garden at the right time in its growing cycle. If cut as a relatively new flower it’s days, even hours will be fleeting and nothing seems to revive these mysterious creatures. There have been many desperate and disappointing times at our shop tenderly cutting, changing water, controlling temperatures, giving pep talks, all to no avail. If however, they are cut when the flower has gone to seed, when the centre becomes more of a bulbous seed head they can last weeks cut in a vase.
For this arrangement I used a number of different varieties of Hellebore, of which there are so many to choose from. Peaches, pinks, plums, double and single petals. I included Helleborus Niger, Micha Pink Beauty, Purple Price, Helleborus Argutifolius, Black Swan and my favorite, Anna’s Red. –Anna
“As the leaves of Hellebore
Turn to whence they sprung before.
And behind each ample curl
Peeps the richness of a pearl”
Photographs by India Hobson