Hellebores and Hardenburgias Galore

Camera in hand, I stroll the grounds of my little patch of northern California dirt and am astonished to discover that suddenly, when I turned my attention momentarily to other, indoor-type pursuits, the garden absolutely exploded with early spring blooms. White, pink, and burgundy hellebores bow their heads toward the ground as if they are terribly self-conscious about their adorable freckles: if these plants had feet they’d be scuffing the ground in an “Aw, shucks” manner.

Photographing them in their natural faces-to-the-ground position after nearly two weeks of rain is quite a trick. The ground is wet-sponge sodden; the knees of my jeans soak through in an instant as I bend and twist trying to capture the hellebores’ faces. I’d need a heavy tarp if I wanted to lie down on the grass and get a really good angle on them.

The hardenburgia is in full bloom, like miniature wisteria only not as messy and without the heady fragrance. These were planted exactly a year ago, and a killing frost burned them right back to the ground. Not a single flower opened last spring, so this year’s display is most welcome. I just hope they don’t get too attached to the fence, since as soon as our next-door neighbor’s renovation is complete (yes, that’s still in progress. The siding is up, the roof is on, and the hammering and pounding is – thankfully – mostly inside at this point) we will replace that section of fence with a taller one.

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