A long gap, a beautiful hellebore, and some unexpected news …

Firstly, the hellebore. We had a good collection of hellebores from single to double, dark to light, in our old Surrey garden. When we bought our French house we never imagined they would grow well here. How wrong we were. A friend gave us a few clumps and we went from there. We now have quite a number, and they are beginning to self-seed. We are excited to see what new strains propagate here. This flower is rather a good one isn’t it?

You may have noticed that its been a long time since I wrote a blog post. Everything suddenly seemed to go wrong back in November 2021, and be beyond challenging around the time I last posted. The pandemic was still raging, travel restrictions abounded. I was in France, my closest loved ones weren’t. I will probably update about some of the things that happened between then and now, certainly as far as the garden is concerned. BUT … other things have happened and I would like to share here a post I put on Facebook last week as follows:

“I’ve just watched a programme on iPlayer, “Inside our Autistic Minds” presented by Chris Packham who you may know is autistic himself. Apologies to those of you who cannot get access to iPlayer, perhaps you can find it via some other medium.


It is an outstandingly beautifully written and presented programme (first of two), and very informative. If you watch nothing else ever again please watch this.

We would like to take this opportunity to share more publicly that I have recently received a diagnosis of autism after a long, rigorous, and gruelling assessment process (conducted according to NICE guidelines by a multi-disciplinary team).

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition/disability; it is not an illness or disease. It can bring many strengths as well as difficulties and challenges. Remember, “once you’ve met one autistic person … you’ve met one autistic person”.

One of the ways I have always made sense of the world is to write and I expect to write much more extensively in coming weeks and months, probably via my blog, about my experiences as an autistic person.

It is unusual to receive a diagnosis so late in life but by no means unheard of and indeed it was the sharing of her own recent diagnosis by a friend in her 70s last year that was the final trigger for us to decide to explore the issue further.

Autistic girls/women present differently from autistic boys/men and often learn very early in life to camouflage/mask in order to try to fit in. It is now understood that many autistic females have struggled undiagnosed through life for this reason. There is some change, and some increased understanding, but there is still a very long way to go before the world accepts neurological differences in a positive unjudging way.

My closest loved ones are of course being wonderful as we process this new discovery and my undying love, admiration, and gratitude goes to each one of them. Also to those people in whom I’ve already confided, whose responses have been (almost all) loving and affirming, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.”

There’s a lot to process. A lot of questions are already being answered, much that didn’t make sense now does, and there will be many more questions and thoughts ahead. I shall be sure to write about the impact this new discovery has. One thing I’m sure of, I’m very thankful indeed that my primary “specialist interest” is plants and gardens which give so much solace.

Stay with me, I’d like that. And please sign up for notifications by email each time I publish if you’d like to keep up with our story. Till next time.

5 thoughts on “A long gap, a beautiful hellebore, and some unexpected news …

  1. I look forward to your posts about autism and if course garden. I too have watched the marvellous Chris Packham’s documentary and have now begun to consider investigating an ASD diagnosis for myself at 56. My partner is on the spectrum and he has often hinted that I may be too. I have been always been “insightful”, “other”, “different”, “gifted” and it is clear that I experience the world entirely differently from anyone I have ever encountered, but as I my experience is “mild” and non-disruptive, I have always “fit in”.

    Now purely for the sake of curiosity, I think it would be nice to know why, not in terms of hanging a label on myself, but I guess, for some clarity.

    Thanks for writing your post.


    1. Hi, Nick, thanks for reading and commenting. I wish you well as you consider further. One of my motivations for wanting to be very open (so far as I’m able to – still processing some very hard things personally so going gently and slowly …) is to help others who might be struggling through life in the way I was for so many years. We must remember always that autism brings many strengths as well as challenges. If society, and many individuals, would only be kinder …


  2. I had a few Hellebore in Uk , they grew on me as I got older! I planted several in “ my new garden in Castillonnès “ however when the unexpected decision that the house should be sold I dug them up and have moved them
    To My “new and hopefully forever home “ so surprised at the change in them over the past week! I am
    Normally rushing past the pots with bags , baskets, armfuls of indoor stuff that is also being transplanted in our “ to be new home “ ( next week🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼) but today I was able to stop and enjoy and hopefully give them a “ forever home”
    We have finally signed away that little house that I loved but quite understand and have had to accept G family dislike of it , theNotaire was 30 mins late for todays appointment and went on and on and we were over 2 hours in her office and so missed tonight’s Cantabile practice. I will miss next week rehearsal as my younger daughter Zoe arriving on Tuesday afternoon to help Us relocate ! We only have our bedroom furniture left to move , Adrian is repaying a favour to George to help us with the lifting on Monday . Almost everything else I have moved daily bit by bit in the car . Very happy with this house , bigger than I wanted but probably the size we need . It’s such a sunny house , such an improvement on this house .
    Keep in touch when you are up to it
    Love Jackie

    Liked by 1 person

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