Love is a funny thing. It can strike when you are least expecting it. You can have seen something loads of times before, you can even own something similar, but have never really appreciated its beauty. Maybe it was the sunshine that did it, or the bright blue sky or the fact that it was our first trip out this year to visit some gardens. Maybe it was the planting plan, the way the garden sloped upwards from the pretty, low, redbrick cottage nestling in a Northamptonshire village. This garden was created from scratch a mere eighteen years ago and it was a joy to walk around, especially because, for virtually the first time in months, we could discard our coats, gloves and scarves.
The garden comprised a stream leading to a small pond, borders bursting with pink and lemony yellow primroses, a shrubbery interspersed with little winding paths which my granddaughter would have loved. The greenhouse was filled with the delicate scent of pink blossom from the peach tree and at every turn were pots planted up with clematis. It is too early for the clematis to flower and although I have one clematis in a pot I hadn't considered planting any more but I am inspired to do so.
But what I really fell in love with on that day were the hellebores, their delicacy, their modesty, their variety. I had deliberately left my camera behind so that I could concentrate totally on the garden itself rather than looking at it through a lense. Maybe this is what made the difference. There were dark chocolate coloured hellebores with single star- shaped petals, lush, exotic double petalled deep purple ones and the most beautiful pale pink and cream one with the lightest tracery of green veining on its bell shape. This was a double hellebore and, when you lifted it up, the underside was like a froth of petticoats.
Hellebores like to grow in rich, well-drained soil in dappled shade. Depending upon the variety they flower from late winter to early spring and prefer a North or east facing aspect. I love the fact that to discover their true beauty you have to pause, to bend down and gently upturn the flowers. Wait, they seem to be saying, take your time, look properly, the most beautiful things are not always on the surface. That is what we need to do as writers too, to look properly, to take time, to absorb. I already have a couple of hellebores in my garden and although they are not as spectacular as the ones on our Easter Monday visit, I am seeing them in a new light and planning to buy a couple more.
Thank-you for dropping by and have a good week.