A Hellebore Bore

March 20, 2012

I know pictures of other people’s hellebores are rather boring but they are so tough, reliable and beautiful I can’t resist sharing them. How grateful one is for such large flowers when everything else flowery in  Northamptonshire  is exquisite but tiny at the moment.

Harvington’s Red


 Harvington’s Speckled White to the left and below, Ellen’s Double Picotee

A rather blurred photograph that is self-explanatory. Well, Annegret, a little helleborean challenge. I LOVE your poems. Thank you.



This is the most beautiful cheese made by Elizabeth Fraser-Davies who lives at Cwmglyn Farm, 36 Morgans Road, R.D. 2 EKETAHUNA. 4994, New Zealand. She  has three cows whose milk is turned entirely by hand, her hand,  into these objects of gastronomic wonder. It is approx 20cm high by 20cm diameter. I say approx because actually we’ve already eaten it and it was absolutely delicious, creamy, buttery, crumbly, full of flavour, yum, yum, and I can only say if you’re lucky enough to live in New Zealand do get one.  Elizabeth (Biddy) so kindly sent it all the way to England because she likes my books and I only hope she likes them half as much as I  like her cheese.


6 Responses to “A Hellebore Bore”

  1. Annegret said

    Dear Victoria,

    having subscribed to your blog & hence received notice of your newly-posted entry as soon as you clicked on whatever tab one clicks on, I am promptly tempted away from duty into the land of flowers, gardens, marvellous architecture … cats & hens & foxes … a writer & her wonderful novels … and … a challenge! Now who doesn’t love a challenge, particularly when poetic? Alors, Madame …

    While the very beginning is a very good place to start, one may also profitably begin at the end. Here is the first of FOUR planned poetic responses (oh dear). It is one of the shorter poems by James McIntyre (1827-1906), a Scotsman who immigrated to Canada in the mid-Nineteenth Century and who is best known as the Chaucer of Cheese. As one can read in the public domain, McIntyre is most famous “for his poetic musings on the theme of cheese. It was here that he plumbed the very depths of literary form. The cheese poems transcend mere mediocrity, banality, or doggerel; it is on the subject of cheese that James McIntyre has won his crown as Canada’s Worst Poet and has become a serious contender for worst poet of the English language.” Et voilà:


    The farmers now should all adorn
    A few fields with sweet southern corn,
    It is luscious, thick and tall,
    The beauty of the fields in fall.

    For it doth make best ensilage,
    For those in dairying engage
    It makes the milk in streams to flow,
    Where dairymen have a good silo.

    The cow is a happy rover
    O’er the fields of blooming clover,
    Of it she is a fond lover,
    And it makes the milk pails run over.

    From : Oh! Queen of Cheese: James McIntyre, the Cheese Poet (Cherry Tree Press, 1979).

  2. Annegret said

    And here is poème numero deux, dedicated to an, alas, unnamed (Puritan?) hen doing good work in a flower bed.

    The Hen

    Alas! my Child, where is the Pen
    That can do Justice to the Hen?
    Like Royalty, She goes her way
    Laying Foundations every day
    Though not for Public Buildings, yet
    For Custard, Cake and Omelette.
    Or if too Old for such a use
    They have their Fling at some Abuse,
    As when to Censure Plays Unfit,
    Upon the Stage they make a Hit,
    Or at Elections Seal the Fate
    Of an Obnoxious Candidate.
    No wonder, Child, we prize the Hen
    Whose Egg is Mightier than the Pen.

    Oliver Herford (1863–1935)

  3. Annegret said

    … le troisième, c’est suprême … well, it’s perhaps a waste of Emily Dickinson who has written better verse than this, but the poem, in honour of your Grecian windflowers, is mercifully short.

    Summer for thee, grant I may be
    When Summer days are flown!
    Thy music still, when Whipporwill
    And Oriole—are done!

    For thee to bloom, I’ll skip the tomb
    And row my blossoms o’er!
    Pray gather me—
    Thy flower—forevermore!

    Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

  4. Annegret said

    No. 4 at last. Not poetic, as only Dryden came to mind and that would have been – very much unlike your hellebores – truly boring.

    So here without any further ado the final selection:

    Carolus a Lorme, amongst other questions discussed for his degree at Montpelier in France, hath this, An amantes et amantes iisdem remediis curentur? Whether lovers and madmen be cured by the same remedies? he affirms it; for love extended is mere madness. Such physic then as is prescribed, is either inward or outward, as hath been formerly handled in the precedent partition in the cure of melancholy. …. Amatus Lusitanus cured a young Jew, that was almost mad for love, with the syrup of hellebore, and such other evacuations and purges which are usually prescribed to black choler: Avicenna confirms as much if need require, and bloodletting above the rest, which makes amantes ne sint amentes, lovers to come to themselves, and keep in their right minds.

    From: Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III

  5. Liz Collinson said

    You pictures of your hellebores have delighted me Victoria. Thank you for sharing them with us. And yes, that cheese looks LOVELY!

  6. Dear Victoria,
    How kind of you to mention my cheese – it is mid winter here in New Zealand and, at the moment, cold and uncomfortable and in an effort to stay warm inside instead of doing the things I ought outside, I’ve been enjoying your blog and the comments and poetry thereon! I have a new very dark brown Jersey cow and I’ve called her Patsy Broun after a friend of my youth!

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