“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things
I have been anticipating picking a jugful of hellebores since mid January and finally, here in the first week of March, I have fulfilled my desire! So this week I am very happy to be linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in with her ‘In A Vase On Monday’ challenge with this jug of beautiful hellebores.
Back in early January I wrote a post called ”For The Love of Hellebores” looking back at photos from previous years as I waited for these much anticipated flowers to start to bloom. Today I was able to wander through my winter bed and finally pick freely from the hellebores that are now flowering prolifically.
Spring is starting to take hold in my garden – the first of the daffodils are brightening the borders and as you can see from the background to my jug my early little reticulated iris’s are already going over. After the long slow months of January and February the annual floral roller coaster ride is gathering pace as the flowers start to come and go all too quickly.
The hellebores however have a long season to enjoy. Although undoubtedly beautiful they are an understated flower – nodding heads and muted colours sing quietly of the approach of spring, rather than shouting its joys like the daffodils and tulips will.
Do not under estimate their subtle beauty though. Hellebores come in many different colours with stunning marking and both single and double forms. Their long stems mean they stand tall in the border and they can survive wind, rain and snow. They are without scent so when I bring them inside I like to combine them with a stem or two of a scented shrub whenever possible – today I have used viburnum bodnantense “Dawn” which is pumping out the perfume in my spring shrub border. A little of this shrub goes a long way inside.
Many of my hellebores are still quite immature with only 3 or 4 flowering stems, so these I will leave these untouched this year and enjoy their blooms by lifting their downward facing heads whilst kneeling in the mud on my winter walks around the garden. The hellebores that are into their 4th year or more however have plenty of stems to spare and it is from these plants that I cut todays blooms. I followed the stems back to their base and cut at ground level to give maximum stem length for this arrangement. Whilst these flowers look lovely as the star feature today, I am looking forward to being able to use their understated elegance in a supporting role with the later more vibrant cast of spring beauties that includes tulips, ranunculus and anemones, so expect to see these hellebores popping up on a regular basis throughout March and April.
Each stem was re cut and seared for about 20 seconds in just boiled water before placing into the jug. The jug contains a ball of scrunched up chicken wire to provide support for the long stems.
Once these hellebores start to droop I will cut off their heads close to the top of the stems and float the flowers in a shallow bowl of water – that way I will be able to enjoy their beautiful faces for at least a week.
Viburnum bodnantense “Dawn” has been flowering for some time now. My shrubs (3 planted together in a clump) are still quite young and this is the first year that I have really been able to catch the scent in the garden, or pick any stems to bring inside.
As often happens when I decide to photograph my flowers outside, Ruby decided to join in the fun and get herself into the centre of the shots.
Today has been momentous for another reason also – for the first time all 3 of my children will be across the oceans leaving me watching my phone for calls and shared photos and videos. I am so very proud to be the mother of these 3 confident adventurous young adults, but it is a very quiet house with them all away and will take some getting used to. Like the annual rollercoaster of flowers, I feel like their childhood has rushed by without there always being time to fully appreciate the joys of life with a young family. We all have so many ‘To Do’ lists, outstanding jobs and pressing issues that prevent us from taking time to just make the most of what is happening in the here and now – to sit in the garden and smell the roses.
So this weekend I took time out from my long ‘To Do’ list to spend a last few days with my eldest daughter before she headed off to work abroad for 6 months (I know it will go by very quickly but tonight her return feels like a life time away). We shopped, went out to dinner, enjoyed seeing the film ‘Hidden Figures’ at the cinema and cried over ‘Saving Mr Banks’ and ‘Call The Midwife’. A lovely few days in our busy lives the memory of which I will treasure in the coming months. For now I have 3 children in 3 very different time zones and I am going to make the most of a little free time to enjoy my spring garden.
So this week I leave you with a stunning view from Laos and an adrenaline packed film from Canada – I am assured that no one was hurt – apart from a few bruises!