Blossom XVIII: Tough



“We have not journeyed all this way

because we are made of sugar candy.”


Winston S. Churchill





“Anyone can be tough for a season.

It takes a special kind of human

to rise to life’s challenges for a lifetime.”


Chris Matakas




“If you’re looking for the easy challenge,

you’re not cut out for success.”


T Jay Taylor




“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face

conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”


Greta Garbo


Helleborus argutifolius 'Snow Fever'

Helleborus argutifolius ‘Snow Fever’


Do you often think of flowers as ‘tough’ ?  Likely not.

And yet look at these beautiful Hellebores blooming in our garden today.  So fragile looking, but tough enough to bloom in January.  These sheltered under the deep  snowfall when temperatures here dipped into the single digits two weeks ago.  That is extremely cold for coastal Virginia, but the Hellebores kept  on growing and even blooming despite their environment.

There is a lesson there for gardeners; perhaps for all of us.  Such beauty is an expression of itself.  It fulfills its own plan and promise.

Hellebores fill a special niche in our garden.  They are one of the toughest perennials we grow.  Their graceful evergreen leaves maintain a presence year round, through summer’s heat and drought as easily as through frigid winter days.  Their delicate veins and subtle shading express the same sort of athletic beauty as a ballerina.   And just when it looks like the garden has suffered defeat at winter’s hand, these wondrous flowers emerge from the frozen Earth.

And they last.  The cut flowers last a long time whether left growing out of doors or cut for a vase.  These plants will still be blooming when the garden has filled with Daffodils and Azalea next April.

A new neighbor and I were chatting today, and she asked me what perennial I would recommend for her front garden.  She has a wide sheltered bed near the street; an inviting  bed and breakfast for every rabbit and deer in the neighborhood.  It is shaded with a thick growth of native hollies and young hardwood trees.

I’ll be you know what advice I offered…. Hellebores.




Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017


Blossom I
Blossom II
Blossom III
Blossom IV
Blossom V
Blossom VI
Blossom VII
Blossom VIII
Blossom IX
Blossom X
Blossom XI
Blossom XII
Blossom XIII
Blossom XIV
Blossom XV
Blossom XVI
Blossom XVII
Blossom XX


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “Blossom XVIII: Tough

  1. A lovely gift to gardeners. Yours are looking so fine!

  2. I agree. My sweetheart’s garden in Mississippi went without water all summer and his three hellebores came through unscathed. This year they’ve already been frozen but they’re doing fine. Tough plants indeed.

  3. This is a winter and an election season to test our mettle.

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