Meet the Hellesbores
By Edith Morgan
Spring seems early this year: warm days, interspersed among the colder ones we expect, have led the the early birds of the plant world to come up. In my yard, the crocuses have bloomed, and the hyacinths are two inches above the ground. The tulips too are showing buds, and the forsythia buds are ready to open. Strawberry leaves are coming to life, and the trees have a slight yellow halo where leaves will soon appear. And, of course, the yearly City of Worcester spring street sweeping signs have appeared in our neighborhood, and we are all keeping our cars off the street in hopes that soon the sweepers will come and remove all the sand and salt that has accumulated along our curbs from winter time.
So, truly, all the signs of spring are all about us. One of my spring rituals, before the novel corona virus hit us, was to learn some new way of displaying plants every year or using natural materials to create something natural and beautiful.
This year, after having kept to myself for the whole previous year, my best friend and I ventured out to Spencer, to Bemis Nursery, for one of their wonderful workshops. I had really missed them, and since I got my COVID vaccine and still wear my facial mask, I decided it was safe to attend the workshop to learn to plant and care for a plant I really did not know anything about: the hellesbore.
There were about 15 of us in the workshop, standing out doors and listening to the instructions – and then moving into the clear plastic green house where all our materials had been set out so we each could create our own arrangement.
There is something very satisfying about getting your hands dirty – and learning to avoid at all costs calling the planting medium “dirt” – it is SOIL!!!
Working in the green house, surrounded by hundreds of very colorful and artistic arrangements ready to go out to be sold for Easter, was greatly tempting. After we completed our own arrangement and cleaned up after ourselves, we wandered through the aisles of plant arrangements, each different from its neighbor, each tempting, colorful, beautiful. Dozens of pansy flats of all colors, with their little faces looking up at us, sat in rows just waiting to be bought … And so many different arrangements, each with numerous spring plants, growing in happy companionship in a variety of planters, decorated with sprigs rising above them, adorned with butterflies or small birds.
And the country air was pure and clean.
We took home several, to keep indoors until danger of frost is past – or to give away. It was a great way to spend a half-day accomplishing so many goals at once.