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Sunday, April 19, 2009

hellebore: the flower I love but never plant because it's best as a surprise

--

The plant that may have been used to poison and kill Alexander the Great before he reached age 33 is a joy to me in early spring since I don't eat it. When daffodils, God bless 'em, are everywhere and looking monotonously prolific, if I see these growing in someone's garden I get excited and bend down close to the ground or sit and get that wet spring bum you see on stupid photographers who forget how much it rained a couple days ago.

Oh it was a long week at the university. I always think universities would be such nice places to work if it weren't for the students.

Just kidding! I love 'em! (The way I love daffodils. Beautiful, sort of different if you look closely, but who planted so dad-blamed many?)

But yes, it was a very tiring week, so after work Friday, seeing as Don had an engagement at school until late, I drove from the office to the horticultural gardens to see if anything had sprouted. It was sunny and warm for the first time this spring.

There was a couple talking intently on the rocks by the lily pad pond. Over in the children's garden a young pop was watching his pink toddler entertained by climbing the little stadium seats with a pacifier in her mouth. Then there was me wandering aimlessly, bored with daffodils, which were everywhere and seemingly the only thing blooming. I could see clippings and weeds lying around not yet tidied up from the slave labor of horticulture students.

But no! Wait! What's this? The grey-chartreuse leaves of one drooping hellebore, next to the grey-maroon of another. Ahh, jackpot. I was down on me bum in a flash, know why? These flowers are a bit melancholy if you take them at non-face value. I mean you can't see their faces if you look down at them. They hang their heads - I should have taken a picture from above to show you. You have to get underneath them to see the sun inside.

Kinda like the twenty-first student who walked through my door Wednesday afternoon. I lifted my face, and she lifted hers, and there it was - the sun!



helleborus orientalis, or lenten rose

57 comments:

Sally's World said...

lovely...

CottageGirl said...

Helleboris! I always forget them when looking to plant new things in my little woodland garden!

Sorry about your week, but what a lovely way to wrap it up!

Glad you finally had some lovely weather!!!!!!!!!!!!

laura said...

I think I've mentioned before I'm gardening-challenged, to my eternal chagrin and disappointment ... but I love hellebores, and you photos are, as usual lovely.
Speaking of which, the photos of your daughter are stunning. Of course, as with the flowers, you have a lot of innate beauty to work with there, but somehow you touch the essence!

Oliag said...

The photos are beautiful...especially the first...I will have to start looking for hellebores...
So nice that you could find some beauty in your week...

I enjoy your new blog! A great idea that I may have to copy some day:)

Susan said...

Oh, you are a sneaky one! A new blog, eh? And how clever of you to have it comment free! Of course, how would you ever keep up with three? It's very sweet and I love it.

Your hellebores are simply beautiful after your 'helle-ish' week. Glad you found somewhere to unwind those shoulders, even if you did get your bum wet!

And, yes, I keep forgetting to tell you how beautiful Lesley is. She looks so happy in the photos. And why shouldn't she be? She's getting married to a wonderful guy and she has the world on a string. Lucky girl!

California Girl said...

I am sending your post to my friend, Joelle, the artist. She has painted the Hellabore but I don't know if she knows the story behind it re: Alexander the Great. I didn't. Your photos are lovely and so is your prose! Another enjoyable post.

ds said...

How interesting about Alexander the Great--felled by the Lenten Rose. Like the new blog, too. It is the little things that matter.
Glad you found an uplifting end to your week.

Anet said...

They are so sweet with their sunshine centers.

There are buds on my yellow lilac this year! I can hardly wait...I've been waiting for three years.

I saw Pam yesterday she is doing great! We talked about you, cause our neighbor got 4 baby chicks, in the city! They told Pam as long as they don't have a rooster they can keep them in the city.
Urban farming.
I want some chickens too!
Anyways that's why we were talking about you and your cutie chickens. Pam says "Hello!"
I love your Small blog. Wonderful concept!

m good said...

It is absolutely wonderful to see colors popping up in Michigan again. The fields are greening up and we have phlox showing their purple blossoms.

I like your Small blog, also. A few months back I started The Ville for Fowlerville and I post a "squint shot" everyday -- something in and around our village from my squinty-eyed view. It has turned into a great experience for me because I am looking at our village in a whole new way.

:) Marion

Wrensong Farm said...

Ah, hellebores....I have always love and admired them. Haven't planted any because I've always been afraid that one of my goofy dogs would eat one!! Thanks for reminding me of their beauty!!

carl h. sr. said...

Hello Ruthie!
Sunny and warm huh,glad you got to enjoy that.
Miracles are everywhere,if you look through the eyes of a child.
Sorry so short.
Peace to you and yours,
carl

Loring Wirbel said...

Hellbores and Alexander the Great? I always learn something from your posts. And oh those colors...

Leena said...

I just wanted to say hello and goodbye for a while!
We are leaving Joensuu tomorrow for
Beijing (4 days),then Xian - Guilin -
Hangzhou ( 2 days in those every cities ) and finally Shanghai (4 days )
I read your posts and I felt so proud, that you are my "little sister" :)
But I know also, that I am not belonging to a "group" because of my poor English and I am not able to discuss here, how I would like.
Trying to speak or write by a language, what one can not do, makes feel stupid and that is not a good feeling, who would like to feel herself stupid even . . . ;)

Greetings and happy waiting of weddings to beautiful Lesley !

See you after three weeks!

Peter said...

I wonder why these beautiful flowers "hide" from the sun, they have nothing to be ashamed of! :-)

Fortunatley there are some hellebores and student no. 21 around! :-)

So, I also discovered a new "small" blog! Curious to see how it will grow!

shicat said...

I just clipped a picture of the Heleboris from a magazine and then I spotted them at a flower shop. Expensive. I don't know much about them. Must be spring bloomers? Are they hardy in our zone? Fun night for you going to the gardens on campus? Must be just beautiful. We had a beautiful conservatory on Belle Isle, not sure if it is still open. I know they closed the aquarium,which was stunning.Have a good week. I head back this week 7 more mondays.

carl h. sr. said...

small=very nice

Judy said...

huh? I've never seen them before.

Ruth said...

Sally, aren't they?

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, Saturday I hung 3 loads of wash on the line, and they dried in 5 hours. It was a perfect combination of sun and breeze for the laundry joy.

It's ok about the week - the semester is almost over. I will survive (hear Gloria Gaynor).

Ruth said...

Hi there, Laura, so good to see you. I guess with photography, painting and food, when you have good materials to work with, it ain't that hard.

I wonder if you've painted hellebores . . .

Ruth said...

Thank you, Oliag, they are not too easy to find, hope you can locate some.

Heh, the new blog. I was trying to sleep the other night and this came into my head. Already it has helped me improve my picture taking eye.

Ruth said...

Hi there, sister Susie. The hellebores are a comfort today, I came down with a cold and spent today in bed. And sweet Lesley is a comfort too. And Peter, and Don. And blog friends.

Aren't you a witty one, you little helle-ion. Let's see how long I keep up with a pic of something small. Sometimes I get excited to design something new and it doesn't last. But as you say, no comments. I love them here, but I like a comment-free one too.

Ruth said...

California Girl, ohhhh Joelle's paintings - what a gorgeous style she has. I would love to see her hellebore. If you locate one, please send me a link.

Ruth said...

Thanks, DS. I got a cold on the weekend. I just have to push through the rest of the semester. I stayed home and rested today.

Ruth said...

Anet! Yellow lilac! I've seen them in flower catalogs but never "in person."

Oh, how is Pam?? Please give her my love next time you see her. I have been a terrible friend not to stay in contact with her. I am very pleased to hear that you have some urban chicks over in your neck of the woods. We wondered about Lansing. So as long as no cockadoodledoo, they're fine? Pam is such an animal lover, I wouldn't be surprised if she got some. But Beau the Rottweiler probably wouldn't leave them alone. Does she still have Beau?

Ruth said...

Terrific, m good, when you start looking for interest, you find it. I used to have a daily photo blog for East Lansing, and it was a real challenge. I lasted for 3 months.

Ruth said...

No, please, Tammy, don't plant any of these or hemlock. Your poor dogs, llamas, chickens, sheep, etc., etc. I can't remember if you have goats.

Ruth said...

Carl, and maybe it is already hot in Florida? I hope your bamboo is doing fine, ours is starting to green up. I also hope you're back to normal after your ill health.

Ruth said...

Ah, Loring, back from the DMZ! You must be tired, but at least no illness, that's good! That Kim Chee nearly killed me this morning, with hunger pangs, so I had to eat some leftover dumplings.

I look forward to about five posts, at least, about Korea.

Ruth said...

My sweet sister, Leena, language doesn't divide us. Nothing does, but I do wish we could sit and talk about many things. Science for one. I have everything to learn, I was a terrible science student. You would have been ashamed of me if you'd had me in your biology class. :|

Bon voyage to China!! You will no doubt have a stunning time, can't wait to see and hear about it.

Ruth said...

Peter, they are very delicate looking, their sepals are paper thin. And they come in very early spring, even while there is snow sometimes, so I guess they are tougher than me to stay outdoors.

Ruth said...

Cathy, it is a beautiful garden, along with Beal garden too, but that one is not so much for beauty, more for experiment. Yes there are hardy hellebores, they are perennial. And yes, they are expensive. I always think if I planted them and they died, I've just lost $6.95 or something.

Seven Mondays at Belle Isle? Lesley used to go hang out there when she was at art school in Detroit.

Ruth said...

Ha, thanks, Carl. Glad you found it.

Ruth said...

Now you'll see them everywhere, Judy. Isn't that how it goes? I wonder if you have them in Kansas.

freefalling said...

I can't keep up!
My brain is still thinking about your treadmill post from over a week ago!
It's slowly forming a response.
I should be able to get back to you, say...Mayish...

You and Don have way too much energy than is reasonable!
I think I must be incredibly lazy - I seem to spend my days bumping around, scratching my bum and daydreaming!

Oh yeah - I love the font on your title at "small".

shicat said...

Silly girl, 7 mondays until summer vacation. 7 more monday morning wake-ups.

Ruth said...

Letty, Don is the one with all the energy for real stuff. My energy is for ideas, images, making new blogs. He planted seeds on the weekend, he raises chickens, well, you know.

Thanks about the font over there. I had fun on PhotoShop using five different fonts to create "small." Thanks for noticing. I could do stuff like that all day.

I suppose if our survival depended on it, I would have to find energy for the stuff Don does.

Ruth said...

Cath, oh, yeah. Duh. You teachers and your summers off. Wonderful.

CottageGirl said...

Ha! Ruth!
Gloria Gaynor's little ditty has been playing in the back recesses of my mind, too! The end is near!

Moi said...

Oh that color and core is lovely......I know what you mean about daffodils..they are everywhere...even on my blog ;DDDD

I love the dash of color they bring to the surroundings, they sure are harbingers of spring but honestly how come every single person who owns a bit of land plants them?????

hope you have been good, Ruth..i had gone missing for soem time lately..thanks to a lot of changes that are going on in my life currently..but am back now......I did go through some of the posts that I had missed while I was gone....nice to catch up here again with you :)

Alicia M B Ballard said...

beautiful
we are just beginning to see them and along a few overly impulsive tulips :)

photowannabe said...

This is a beautiful flower that I don't think I have seen before or at least never noticed. I really like your thought in this post Ruth. Always a pleasure visiting here.
Sue

Anet said...

Hey Ruth,
Pam has no Beau, she has a Maggie and Angus.
She really is doing well and I will be sure to pass on your love to her:)

rauf said...

My observation is very poor Ruth, i have seen flowers looking like these and i am not good with names eeder.
There must be some specific order, mathematics when comes to anther - filaments, some rules i wonder if its the number is same for all the flowers of this kind.

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Ruth
may I please "borrow" a few pics for a diptych I will begin working on for my next (international group) show?
theme: interconnectedness

animals... laundry, too many to sort right now - I remember seeing some of them

let me know pls

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, just have to post those lyrics:

At first I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
Without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

And so you're back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here
With that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I've have known for just one second
You'd be back to bother me

Go on now go
Walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I

I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
And I'll survive
I will survive, hey hey

It took all the strength I had
Not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend
The pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh so many nights
Just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high

And you see me
Somebody new
I'm not that chained up little person
Still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in
And just expect me to be free
But now I'm saving all my loving
For someone who's loving me

Go on now go
Walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I

I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
And I'll survive
I will survive, oh

Go on now go
Walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I

I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
And I'll survive
I will survive
I will survive...

Ruth said...

Dear Moi, I have wondered about you, I hope all those changes were pleasant ones, or at least have brought more hope.

You may have daffodils at your place, but that first image you posted is stunning and anything but ordinary.

I'm so happy to see you.

Ruth said...

Hi there, Alicia, I really am happy to see them, even though I am being a brat about them here. I'm happy to see you too.

And yes, yes, borrow away! I'm honored by you, an artist.

Ruth said...

Hi, Sue, I'm surprised, because you know a lot about flowers. But maybe they aren't common on the west coast. They aren't that common here either. I found them in a garden book a few years ago and fell in love with them.

Ruth said...

Oh thank you, Anet, Beau must have passed. It was a long time ago anyway, early '90s! I remember her getting Maggie now you mention her - a Scottish Terrier I think. She had always wanted one.

Ruth said...

You must be right, rauf, some regularity in flower parts among genuses.

May I object though and observe that your observation is not poor? Your photos prove that is not true. You may not remember names of flowers or colors, but I think you notice a vast amount out in nature or on a city street.

Ginnie said...

Students who are like the sun surely make your job totally worth it, Ruth! Thanks for sharing that.

dutchbaby said...

I adore the hellebore - hey that rhymes! I tried planting them several times with no success. I love your image of the daffodil students. Are they as cultivated?

Anna said...

Ruth what a beautiful and attractive flower. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Anna :)

Ruth said...

Boots, if I take care and see each student as an individual when they walk in (as if he were Peter or she were Lesley) I do fine. It's when I let the accumulation of all the problems and procrastination get to me that I'm in trouble.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I adore the hellebore - that will be what I hear in my head when I see them now.

Ruth said...

Anna, thank you for your good visits.