Friday, March 18, 2011

Hellebores on the Promenade

These beautiful hellebores are growing on the Brooklyn Promenade, the peerless, broad, blue stone walkway that balances above the three layer cake of the thrumming BQE where it separates into tiers, three lanes this way, three lanes that way on two levels, both above the street at ground level whose name no one knows (it is Furman Street).

On the wide, pedestrian promenade the traffic is hidden. The big old locust trees have recovered from their defoliation caused by the saline spray from the East River Waterfalls of 2008 . They are waiting for warmer weather, when they will push out their first ferny leaves. I have never seen them in bloom. Beneath them are planted viburnum, forythsia, magnolia, a lone cherry, perennials and bulbs. There are dozens and dozens of wood and wrought iron benches, occupied at any time by men reading paperbacks, men smoking cigars, young couples wrapped around each other, old couples wrapped around each other, people from this hood and from hoods far removed,  tourists posing against the distant backdrop of the Empire State Building and the nearer Brooklyn Bridge, photographers and their tripods, dog walkers, serious runners, mincing joggers, tracksuited walkers, strollers, and me.

I would like to know what cultivar the hellebores are. The flowers are fat and wide, relative to stalk height, and are pure white before turning pink and chartreuse with age. I never knew hellebores, growing up, though I am sure they would be suited to Bloemfontein's cold winters. To the wet green winters of the Cape, not so much. They are lovely things.


  1. The foliage, bloom color, and flower angle suggest Helleborus niger or one of the niger hybrids. A slew of niger hybrids have recently been released by Heuger in the "Helleborus Gold Collection". Many of the cultivars appear identical to me, but vary in bloom time.

    I'm glad you're back on your game :) We all benefit from the beauty you share in this blog - especially when the world is full of terrible things. You are a bright spot.

    Hey to Vince.

  2. Everywhere,it seems, nature's hand restores(or at least tries!) our artless meddling. Over in East Village, the willow is fighting back!

  3. My uncle moved to the heights when it was cheap, and we visited when we were kids. He married around his late 30s and his wife insisted that people of their caliber lived in Manhattan. And he begrudgingly left Brooklyn after 20 years.

  4. I think Paul W. may be right. The flower looks a lot like Helleborus Gold Collection Cinnamon Snow, but that one has red petioles, unless that really is not quite as pronounced in your picture as compared to the marketing pictures.


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