Saint Valentines Day…..No Red Roses here!


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Well not the traditional Valentine Red Roses…. but some rather colourful Hellebores (also known as Christmas Roses)….. a small selection from our garden.

Not that Valentine Greetings are anything new…here is a Victorian Valentine Card.


Though I have to say that the intentions of this devilish fellow are probably far from honourable.

14th February

(C) David Oakes 2020

Hellebores are Back……




The Christmas Rose or maybe the Lenten Rose

They have been hiding away in a shady corner over the winter, snuggling down in the snow and somehow impervious to the frosts and heavy rains. Hellebores often flower around Christmas whilst other varieties wait till Easter approaches…hence the two names for what is essentially the same hardy plant.

Our Hellebores must obviously favour the Lenten variety as they are just starting to flourish.  Long stems with leaves at the top that hide the buds of new flowers till they are ready to pop…flowers that are also surprisingly delicate, despite the harshness of the season, draping over to protect a mass of yellow stamen. The Petals on our Hellebore are either white (as above) or mauve. But whatever their colour they remain a welcome reminder that winter passes and spring will soon be here.

6th March

(C) David Oakes 2018

Thoughtful Thursday……..In the City


It has been another glorious day but one which has kept me at the desk.  But despite that I was till able to manage a walk in one of our City Parks.  Less than 1/2mile from the City centre and you would think you were miles away from urban sprawl and noise…indeed we are very lucky to have a choice of ‘green lungs’ in our City, free for all to enjoy.

It was that last thought that provoked further thinking about our good fortune. In fact it was other families ‘Good Fortunes’ from which we have benefited.  This is Darley Park, Darley Abbey, Derby and was donated to the people of Derby in 1922 by the Evans Family.  It is one of several Parks in Derby that were given to Derby by various wealthy Benefactors.  In fact, much earlier in the early 1800’s  the first ever Public Park in England, ‘The Arboretum’,  was donated by another local business man Joseph Strutt.   I am not sure that todays ‘wealthy and good’ would ever be prepared to act so generously without receiving some major recognition in return.

Still best not to ponder on that rather sad reflection of today… but reflect on the previous generations generous donations and enjoy the Park’s they gave us and say Thank You. 


A cluster of Hellebores in a secret corner of the Park

13th March

© David Oakes 2014