By this time, we all have lots of Hellebore in our shade gardens. Lots of Hellebore orientalis. Mine has even started to self-seed.
The thing i like about niger is that it looks straight at you. Orientalis hangs its head, and it's hard to really see it. But it does come in many shades of white through pinks all the way to burgundy.
The next time you express gratitude to someone, try looking them straight in the eye. The neuroscientists tell us this eye contact releases oxytocin, a bonding hormone.
Yes, it's much easier to mumble "Thanks" and look down at the floor or anywhere else but directly into someone else's eyes. Eye-to-eye contact is so intimate. It's the direct route to our heart.
I'm going to go look my new Hellebore niger in the eye and express my deep appreciation to it.
Photo from freshbynorthwest.com