Two essential plant catalogues 2: Cotswold Garden Flowers
The Communist Lilacs

Hellebores at the airport

Helleborus,foetidus,stinking,hellebore,Stansted. Image © (all rights reserved)It’s not often you find hellebores growing by the side of the road in Britain, least of all by the entrance to one of London’s major airports. But on the way to lecture in Essex on Sunday, I rounded a corner by London’s Stansted Airport and came upon this drift of British native stinking hellebores, Helleborus foetidus, growing right by the side of the road (click to enlarge).

Quick look in the mirror, screech to a stop, take a quick snap through the passenger side the window and on the way without disrupting traffic or getting hit by a truck. The point-and-shoot is always ready, just in case.

The plants are growing amongst the British native dogwood, Cornus officinalis, with its dark red stems and really light up this shady bank. Even though the flowers are not yet open – it’s the pale leafy bracts that are so bright.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Catherine Horwood

What a lovely combination - hard to believe it happened 'naturally'. Do you think those people from Langthorns Plantery up the road had anything to do with it?

Graham Rice

Yes, it is hard to believe they just arrived naturally. But there's nothing else very horticultural there as far as I could see. The cornus is quite common but I suppose it would be easy to stop for a moment and throw a few hellebore seeds out of the car window. And yes, perhaps the good people at nearby Langthorns Plantery ( had a hand in it.

Nigel Colborn

With so many garden escapes, it's hard to know which are genuine Brit ones, and which not. But who cares? And with the Cornus, what a cracking combination. I've always though nature does it best!

Graham Rice

You're right, Nigel, it's a great combination. And perhaps we might think about using our native cornus in our gardens more often.

Fiona Gilsenan

I like the sign for 'Soft Verges'. Think I have a few of those around here...

Graham Rice

Yes, Fiona, me too. Better make yourself a little badge... Never thought of soft verges in that way before, they sound good to me!

The comments to this entry are closed.