In A Vase on Monday: A bowl of ‘bores

IMG_4900The name Hellebore comes from the Greek words for ‘injure’ and ‘food’ as the plant and its flowers are poisonous. But like many poisonous plants, they are also very beautiful (is there a connection to Helen of Troy?)

This week to join in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden’s In A Vase on Monday meme, I have taken flowers from the three hellebores I planted in our front garden last year. The plants are still quite small, so I could only spare one bloom from each, which I have placed in a delicate white porcelain bowl given to us for our tenth wedding anniversary last year by our lovely friend Oriana. Our anniversary fell in the middle of a heat wave, so it seems apt that I have finally got around to using the bowl on one of the coldest days of the year so far. Here it is again in front of a faded reproduction of Titian’s ‘The Bacchanal of the Andrians’, which reflects the fleshy beauty of the flowers.


As Sarah Raven suggests, before putting them in the bowl, I sealed the stems of the hellebore flowers in boiling water. I bought my hellebores from our local seasonal nursery Woodruff’s Yard, which will open again in the spring. I think they are Helleborus niger and Helleborus orientalis, the Christmas rose and Lenten rose, although I have lost the labels. Of course they are not related to roses at all, but are members of the buttercup family. ‘Niger’ means black in Latin and refers to the roots, rather than the snowy white flowers.

Vita Sackville-West writes that hellebores like a cool place shaded by shrubs and do not like being disturbed, adding that you will have to wait a couple of years before they do very much about flowering. Mine are planted underneath roses, a Phlomis russelliana and a Spirea, so quite shaded. Next year I hope for lots more blooms, and when the soil warms up a bit I am going to add some pale yellow primroses beside them and maybe some of the stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

To find out what winter wonders others have come up with for this week’s IAVOM, pop over to Rambling in the Garden.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. pbmgarden says:

    The delicate bowl is perfect for displaying the beautiful blossoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AlisonC says:

    They are always so precious and beautiful. I never tire of them. A bowl is the perfect way to show them off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the floating bores! My grandmother used to do that with Camellias.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. carolee says:

    Beautiful. I think my hellebores are too shaded. They finally bloom when the tulips are nearly gone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I took some baby Bores and planted them in my front garden but so far no flowers….the main plant though is one of the first to flower but that won’t be until April here….and the rabbits nibbled down my Christmas rose so no blooms there either…..making it delightful to see your beauties floating in the perfect bowl!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cathy says:

    These look so pristine in this pure white bowl and last so much longer when floated this way. Thanks for sharing, Ciar

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kris P says:

    I love hellebores and yours are very pretty. Only one of mine is blooming but, as it feels like summer here due to an untimely and extended heat-spell, maybe the flowers are afraid to make an appearance this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    A perfect display!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christina says:

    The perfect way to enjoy your perfect blooms.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Was Vita S-W also the person who used to go round the garden with a small mirror on a stick so that she could view the downward nodding hellebore blooms? Whether or not that was her, she was definitely right about moving the poor things. I had to move all mine this year and they are sulking like crazy. Yours are beautiful, but I think my favourite is the one on the bottom left.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I love that one too. Yes I think that was Vita S-W, a wonderful eccentric gardener!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.