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.
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