The Arrival

hellebore slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

hellebore slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

hellebore slimpaley.comSlim Paley photo


Slim Paley Photos

Much like the highly anticipated arrival of le Beaujolais Nouveau in Europe every November, I happily await the sprouting of my helibores.  A humble little flower, not unlike the Beaujolais in that regard, it still has earned a soft spot in my heart for it’s sheer consistency, not to mention that it takes literally only moments to throw together a pretty bouquet- they practically arrange themselves.  Well,  lo and behold,  le helibore est arrive’! There is hope for Spring people!  I took these photos in my severely sodden garden yesterday morning as we enjoyed a brief (so they say) respite from El Nino.  It is supposed to return tomorrow.  I will be double checking my kitchen gutters you may be assured.  And for those of you inquiring after Rachel U. the spider, she appears to have forsaken her spot in front of my desk window, at least for now. As I said, she never seemed to catch anything there anyway.  In the meantime, during these hot chocolate and Wellington boot days, I have the pretty little faces of my helibores to enjoy while the rains continue to throw us into a complete tizzy here in Southern California.

hellebore slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

Recommended reading with your hot chocolate;  Any of the gardening books by Beverley Nichols.  A friend gave me some for my last birthday and I just love them.  Like having Noel Coward in the garden.  All available on Amazon.

Down the Garden Path has stood the test of time as one of the world’s best-loved and most-quoted gardening books. Ostensibly an account of the creation of a garden in Huntingdonshire in the 1930s, it is really about the underlying emotions and obsessions for which gardening is just a cover story. The secret of this book’s success — and its timelessness — is that it does not seek to impress the reader with a wealth of expert knowledge or advice. Beverley Nichols proudly declares his status as a newcomer to gardening: “The best gardening books should be written by those who still have to search their brains for the honeysuckle’s languid Latin name … “

(from the dust jacket)

Beverley Nichols

Beverley and Whoops



  1. Well, spring seems a long way off here in the Chicago area, but you’ve inspired me to try hellebores next year. For now, checking out those books will have to do as the snow continues to fall. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing the tip about Beverley Nichols! Off to – you never fail to be informative and entertaining!

  3. I love Beverly Nichols and have all of his books set on a side table in my living room, on display because of the beautiful covers but also to remind me of him. What a fun and interesting life he lived.

  4. Hi Slim-

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and love it! You really are a delightful writer and such a talented photographer. I just put Down the Garden Path on my Amazon wish list. I’m not much of a gardener, but even if the book ends up unread it will be worth it for the charming cover. Thanks for sharing.

    I thought your post titled The Bolter was going to refer to the Nancy Mitford books Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, either or both of which I would recommend reading or rereading as an antidote to the awful sounding book you just forced yourself to finish. Life’s too short to read horrid books!

  5. Dear Slim—you just solved my present giving quandary. I now have the perfect book to give my friend who is an ardent gardener. I knew Beverley Nichols wrote a wonderful book on cats, but was unaware of his other books.
    Might I also suggest Katharine White’s classic ‘Onward and Upward in the Garden, with the introduction written by her husband E.B. White. It is considered one of the most beautiful crafted essays ever put to page.
    So, you won’t get up close and personal with Miss Rachel Spider, but snail poop is no problem. I see.

  6. Hmm. Top photo has me rethinking this sweet little flower…shade, n’est-pas? Gorgeous photo, great burst of color after the last few days of drudgery (in damp Northern California). Thank you. Trish (Trouvais)

  7. Gorgeous flowers! Would they grow in a rainy ( freezing at times) climate like Normandie? My father ( un amoureux des fleurs) would love them!

    • Chere Grenouille

      “The best-known feature of the hellebore is the winter blooms that appear through winter and very early spring, often with snow still on the ground. ”

      This is why it is also often called “The Christmas Rose”!

  8. I love reading your posts before going to bed. They always put me in a good mood. The pics today are so beautiful. I am going to ignore snail poop and imagine the flowers smell like fresh rain.

  9. I love Beverley Nichols’ books so much since I discovered a couple in an old dusty book store in Pasadena a couple of decades ago. I have used illustrations in them and made scratch pads that I sell in my little stationery shop. People love them.

    Katherine White (E.B. White’s wife) wrote “Onward and Upward in the Garden.” It is also delightful garden reading. And if anyone wants a fun garden primer, “First Garden” by renowned 60’s/70’s socialite C.Z. Guest is fun and makes a great first home gift with some exotic plant.

  10. Pingback: Long live the Hellebores!

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