From ancient lore to sci-fi futurama, the stories of plants have captured my imagination for as long as I’ve been reading seed catalog copy. Today, desperate for that hint of Spring not yet happening in the real world, I visited Canada Blooms with my mother-in-law.
Hellebore is so named because of its toxicity when eaten. Poison to cure poison: there was intricate ritual involved in uprooting the plant from the fields, and French sorcerers would toss it into the air to pass unnoticed through a village. According to Burton, it was commonly used as a purgative for melancholy—an early precursor to insulin-shock therapy, I suppose. My favorite story about hellebore, though, is that 17th-century farmers used to thread it through a hole made in a cow’s ear as a cure for the animal’s stomach troubles.
Taking the timeline in the opposite direction, here’s the plant-show version of The Jetsons:
Add fertilizer to the water in this fountain, and you could grow veggies in it, the booth attendants said. The spec-fic version of plant tales!
My garden never looks as good as all this greenhouse-grown stuff, and the plants never live up to their catalog descriptions. But then, as I was reminded today, the reading is half the fun.