Petal & Pins

Tag: hellebore

Hellebore Happiness

hellebore flowers

petal & pins dress in progress

hellebore rufflesToday is the last day of winter in the southern hemisphere and I couldn’t let it pass without a post inspired by one of my favourite winter flowers!

Hellebores have become one of my favourite flowers to design with for my Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe and I couldn’t resist buying a new variety recently when purchasing some hedging plants to cover a side fence, so you can expect to see more of them appear in the petal & pins range of cards and prints!

If you love hellebores as much as I do and are on instagram I have started the hashtag #helleborehappiness and invite you to share your favourite photos.

The Spider & the Snake

hellebore vasehellebores and cobra head lilybeaded spider & cobra head lilyI love the painterly petals of the crimson hellebores in my garden and they have provided inspiration for many a Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe dress.

The word I would use for the cobra head lilies though would be intrigued!

Moving to a house with an established garden unveils many surprises through the seasons and even over several years and the cobra head lilies were certainly one for me.

I had not come across them before and was slightly startled when I glimpsed one out of the corner of my eye when weeding one day.

I’ve added one to my hellebore posie with some cyclamen leaves in an old brass vase which is the ‘sister’ one to that which I used in my In A Corner post.

My beaded spider bought from the little craft shop on Magnetic Island seemed the perfect addition to the arrangement – the only kind of snakes and spiders I like to encounter!


After the Solstice

winter vase

vase of bergenias, hellebores, jonquil and camellia buds & leaves


For a couple of weeks before the winter solstice my garden seems devoid of flowers and then after it seems like each day something new appears in bloom.

It starts with a smattering of jonquils and then a patch of snow drops. I can begin to gather tiny bunches of violets and the hellebore buds start to open.

But it’s the bergenias and swamp iris that make a real statement with their pink and purple splashes of colour throughout the garden. They invoke an air of anticipation although there is a good two months to go until Spring.

When the sun’s out and the temperature agreeable it’s a great time to be in the garden which is just how I spent my Saturday with Mr Petal & Pins.

swamp iris garden fairy's wardrobe dress by petal & pins

swamp iris dress for My Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe


© Sandra Alcorn

© Sandra Alcorn   2013

Same flower, different hue –

Roses of Winter

Petal to Cloth

Hippy Chic

Ugly Chic

From Petal To Cloth

Spring/Summer  2013/14 © Sandra Alcorn 2013

Spring/Summer 2013/14
© Sandra Alcorn 2013

In my previous post Roses Of Winter  the flowers of the hellebores were just starting to appear and now they’re out everywhere.

I’ve been sketching wedding dress ideas for Summer brides in the last few weeks and I think that’s influenced this Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe design.

I can imagine it reinterpreted in silk gazaar – a fabric that was developed for the couturier Christobel Balenciaga who used it in his collections in the 1960’s. Like a heavier silk organza the fabric has a crisp hand and a smooth texture – perfect for the ‘petal’ layers. The green ‘blush’ would be hand painted and the cream stamens and magenta speckles a delicate scattering of caviar beads.

Roses Of Winter

© Sandra Alcorn 2013

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

Hellebores have many names – Christmas roses, Lenten roses and Winter roses – which is the name that makes most sense in a southern hemisphere winter garden.

Mine are just starting to show their colours and a favourite is  the speckled petals of the pink with just a hint of green that I’ve used in this Garden Fairy’s Wardrobe design.

I also love the deep aubergine and green ones which I created designs for in two posts last November – Ugly Chic and Hippy Chic – take a look and let me know your favourite.

Ugly Chic

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012


I would have loved to see ‘Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations’ at MOMA in New York earlier in the year but when you live oceans away the next best thing is delving into the book that accompanied the exhibition, it’s a fascinating read with wonderful images.

In the chapter ‘Ugly Chic’ Miuccia Prada says an important part of her work is exploring what beauty means today and deconstructing conventional ideas of beauty. She gives her Fall 2010 collection as an example – an analysis of women’s obsessions with feminine details such as bows and frills but using colours that might be considered by many as ugly.

The French have an epithet  – jolie laide, literally pretty/ugly  the dictionary definition being ‘a good looking ugly woman’. The book describes a jolie laide as “an erotic alchemist whose potent allure – an elixir of nerve, will and ardor – transcends her homeliness”. The examples given being Maria Callas and Schiaparelli’s muse Maria Casares.

I would say the fabulous Diana Vreeland was a jolie laide. Working at Harper’s Bazaar from 1937 to 1962 and then Vogue from 1963 to 1971 her work and style often challenged and expanded ideas of beauty.

One of the exhibitions I did get to see this year was ‘Diana Vreeland After Diana Vreeland’ which was on at Palazzo Fortuny when I was in Venice. A new documentary  movie about her has also been released – Diana Vreeland:The Eye Has To Travel – so I’m looking forward to seeing that.

Hippy Chic

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

© Sandra Alcorn 2012

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