the joy of the hellebore…

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Oh the joy of the Hellebore - it offers such a sunny little face in the depths of winter and goes on smiling until March when overtaken by the full pelt of spring…

I have a small pot either side of my front door and I feel my heart lift every time I pass.  Mine are Helleborus 'Verboom Beauty’ which is a new hybrid I bought a couple of years ago when it caught my eye in a local garden centre.  One of those impulse purchase as I was instantly smitten - densely held, simple white flowers that gradually turn pink and with an interesting evergreen leaf.  The fact that it flowers before Christmas was just a bonus.  I bought two and I love them still.

To be honest, I usually like to source my Hellebores in person if at all possible as there are so many varieties and colours - specialist nurseries are the best place if you have one near you - I don’t sadly though was lucky enough to buy at Myddleton Hall in Hertfordshire many years ago when they had a specialist sale - I still remember the atmosphere and slight competition to get the specimens I wanted! 

Those were Helleborus x hybridus which is another, deciduous form with varieties available in many beautiful colours.  They are perfect for shady spots in a heavier soil where they will bulk up over the years and keep you very happy.   I like to plant the deciduous varieties a bit further from the house where I don’t need the interest to be so fully year round and so I am inspired to go and see what is happening at this time of year.  I never fail to exclaim the first time I see them and love to pick a very few for a vase.  Just make sure you sear their stems in boiling water for 30 seconds or they will flop.  

If you don’t have a specialist nursery nearby check out Beth Chatto which has a good selection as well as  Ashwood Nursesries which also offers Hellebore tours… Crocus is worth looking at too.  

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Easy to enjoy in the garden, Hellebores are versatile and reliable.  Just cut off the hard dark leaves close to the ground (to prevent disease) early in the new year (I did mine this morning) and reveal the tantalising buds and it won’t be long before you too are revelling in their sunny smiling faces.  

Enjoy folks…