From The Witch’s Garden

OK, I just love Hellebore.  I love that it blooms so early.  I love how the five petals (or “sepals”, actually) hold on for so long. I love the seed pods they make later on in the summer. I love that they bloom in shade and do well with a late frost.  I love the dusty, antique colors.  The ones I have are not showy, but have a subtle charm.

Some things of note about Hellebore…..It is also called “Lenten Rose” or “Christmas Rose”, but is not related to the rose at all.  It is from the family Liliaceae.  Hellebore is native to Europe and mostly found in southeastern Europe, in the Balkans, in addition to our gardens in the U.S.    The flower heads bow down and you have to lift them up to get a peek at their faces.

Poison!  Poison!  Hellebore is very poisonous and should not be ingested by any means.  It tastes bad so it is not the sort of thing that children or animals will be putting in their mouths, which is a helpful trait.  Supposedly, handling this plant too much is not a good idea either, although I have been handling mine and have not experienced any adverse effects that I noticed……at least not yet.  Medicinally, this is not a plant that really is used.

Once upon a time it was said that Hellebore could cure insanity.  I am not sure how that was accomplished.  Hellebore has been used in magic for exorcism and to banish someone, and supposedly is a must for the witch’s garden.  If you dry it, powder it and then scatter it around someone, it is said that you can make them invisible! Invisibility powder!!!  I imagine this could come in pretty handy.  Just think, if someone was making you crazy and you wanted them to vanish, you could take care of both issues with just one plant. Or maybe you could scatter it around yourself for a hasty retreat.  Drive out all those nasty vibes at the same time.  This could be helpful in dealing with the adverse affects of bad relationships……and very economical too!  Now there’s a business idea for somebody…..

Here are some pictures of my beautiful blooming Hellebore on this mild Sunday afternoon.

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4 Responses to From The Witch’s Garden

  1. planthoarder says:

    Very interesting folklore. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Diane says:

    They are one of my favorites too. I also love that they will gently reseed themselves. I have been taking advantage of this and gently moving the seedlings to other places. Most of the seedlings have made it and are doing well. They even handle dry shade. Do you have epimediums? These sweet things make wonderful groundcovers in the shade, love their little nodding star like blossoms in the spring and wonderful heart shaped leaves the rest of the year. Deer don’t like them either.


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