Helleborus Hardly Ever Boring
by Christine Breen
Borage and hellebore fill two scenes,
Sovereign plants to purge the veins
Of melancholy, and cheer the heart
Of those black fumes which make it smart.
-Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy
Cheerful as the buttercup, another of the Ranunculacea family to which Helleborus belongs, Hellebores in the garden make me wonder why I don’t have more of them. Not buttercups! That would be mad. Speaking of madness Hellebores were thought to cure madness and counteract witchcraft. Planted by the front door it was said they could ward off evil.
They bloom outside of the natural rhythm of things, blooming in the winter. Perfect individuals! Non-conformists. Not boring at all.