Tag Archives: Poison

Hellebores… what are they good for?

I received my recently ordered hellebores this morning.  Cue much excitement.  They are lovely little plants, and need to be grown on a bit before I put them where they are actually going to live in the garden.

double ellen picotee

A couple of Fridays ago I received an email which gave me an excellent deal on these lovely, lovely plants.  After due consultation with the husband, I ordered 9 lovely baby hellebores.  There are three plants of three different sorts of Double Ellen varieties – Pictoee, Pink and White Spotted.  They are going to go in the front garden in an area I have named the Helleborium.  I am hoping to find and relocate another couple of hellebores I think might be lurking in the back garden as well, so there should be some rather lovely colours over in that forgotten corner of the garden come spring 2 years from now.

Anyway… it got me thinking… are hellebores good herbal plants?  Quite often in the past, I have found that the plants I really like are actually really useful medicinally.  So I thought i would do a bit of research and find out.


After my research, my take away lesson is that Hellebores (both the white and the black varieties) are really poisonous and should not be messed around with in terms of self treatment.  So… no, they are not really good herbal plants.  I have also filed away the fact that historically white hellebore was used to create a poison in ancient Rome and other cultures have used it as an arrow tip poison.  Useful information for potential mystery novel plots, or if my neighbours really wind me up.  (That last bit is a joke.  Honest.)

Apparently even though hellebore is really, really poisonous, people do still use it.  White Hellebore is used for cholera, gout and high blood pressure and black hellebore is used for nausea, worms, kidney infections, colds and constipation.  Black hellebore can also help to regulate menstrual periods.  Still.  I am not going to suggest anyone plays around with it, and I am certainly going to steer well clear of it.

double hellebores

I shall keep hellebores in the garden as flowers where they belong.  It will add a burst of colour to the front patch and will make me smile when I look up from my desk.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Extreme garden revamp required…

One of the odd things we have discovered about the adoption process is how obsessed they are with child safety.  Please do not get me wrong, I am not an advocate of having saws and sharp knives littered around the house for children to run into and fall on, and nor am I going to get the children to run full tilt into table corners and such like.  However… I was slightly alarmed to hear the Social worker tell me that he will have to do a garden survey before we are approved for having children.  I am unlikely to allow a child to wander in the garden and scoff the border plants, but again, whatever hoop we need to hop through, we will hop through.


It got me thinking.  What plants do I know we have in the garden which will be poisonous to a potential adoptee?  Cue some judicious research online.  And yet more things added to the to do list.  Holy Moses.  There are a lot of potentially poisonous plants and I am going to have to take them out of the new garden and either give them away or get rid of them.


Wisteria, that lovely climber that scrambles up pergolas and house fronts all over the place, is apparently one plant that will have to go.  It is also known as the Kidney Bean Tree and all parts of it are toxic.  Luckily, we do not need to get rid of any as we don’t have one.


Unfortunately, we do have a lot of foxgloves.  My Mother in Law likes to nurture those plants which have self seeded in the borders and basically, we have something of a foxglove plantation.  I think I will be digging them up and offering them to my Mum in Law for her new garden which is basically a lovely shady coppice, where Foxgloves will THRIVE.  The Foxglove is very, very poisonous, and although it is a source of the heart drug Digitalis, it is deadly if eaten.  Bye bye lovely cottage garden plant.  We will see you from afar instead of in our garden.


Hydrangeas are also poisonous.  I have never had much success with hydrangeas in my garden at the moment, but I have one in the new herbaceous border, so I need to yank it out as well.  Apparently, to an imaginative mind, the balls of flowers can look like candy floss and if eaten, then it could cause vomiting, weakness and excessive sweating.  Again, I think I will be offering it for the coppice or a big planter.  Such  shame.  I would have liked to try to grow one.

lily of the valley

According to our social worker, lily of the valley is one of the worst to have in the garden.  They cause nausea, vomiting, mouth pain, stomach pain, diarrhea and cramps.  It can also slow your heartbeat or make it irregular.  Spring colour and interest, perhaps, but away they go.  I know we have a lot of them in the front garden, so I shall have to make a point of marking them out and removing them.


One plant that is causing me anxiety is the Weeping fig or ficus.  I know we have a proper fig which grows in front of the kitchen window, jutting out of the patio.  I hope we don’t have to get rid of it.  It is a gorgeous plant, and I love to eat figs.  Maybe we can convince the social worker that we can keep it?


Anyone else know of any poisonous plants I need to remove from the garden?  I would like to present a poison free haven for our prospective child (and possibly impress the social worker!)