These nodding beauties make me smile!
Have you looked around your garden closely and noticed what’s growing, in flower or hasn’t even gone to ‘sleep’ yet for the winter? I sowed some Calendula, Pot Marigold seeds last spring and they are still in flower. It’s amazing isn’t it? After walking around what I call my woodland/wildlife garden I was feeling very happy when I noticed one of my Hellebore hybrids in flower too. It has pink, nodding single flowers and looks very pretty. Now I’m waiting for the others to flower as well; they’re white with reddish speckles and have an exotic look about them, wish I could spur them on a bit. I’m not a patient gardener!
Hellebore hybrids grow well in a partially shaded spot, and prefer moist but well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. They do retain their dark green leaves over winter and these should be cut off when the flower buds appear so as to show off the new flowers. They are wonderful winter to early spring flowerers with single or double flowers in a variety of colours from white to dark purple. Another great feature is that they self seed well, but it will take a few years for them to flower and know what colours the new plants will turn out to be. Worth waiting for if you want to save money.
There’s an interesting collection of Hellebores that are a mix of varieties of Helleborus niger and hybrids, guaranteed for their variety identity and uniformity because they are propagated by division and not seed, they are are now being grown in the UK and have breeder’s rights, so watch out for them if you’re interested in these great winter performers.
There are lots different species of Hellebores, so the next time you’re thinking about some winter or spring flowering plants see if you’ve got a little spot in your garden for any of these beauties. If you’re not sure what to plant with them, some good planting companions are Epimediums, Cyclamen hederifolium, Polemonium reptans and some Euphorbias.