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February 2019



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Flower of the week: hellebore


This is a new idea, which I’ll see if I can keep up. It’s easy now, but what about later in the year when there will be lots of flowers to choose from?

The garden currently has plenty of snowdrops, primroses and pulmonarias in flower but my pick is this hellebore, for its triumph over its surroundings. It’s an absolutely bog standard hellebore such as you might find anywhere, unlike these. There were two or three plants in the garden when I moved here. They are either on the bank, and therefore covered by giant ferns for most of the year, or nestling up against the trunk of a giant berberis. I do nothing at all for them except to cut off all the leaves very early in the year; this helps prevent a horrible disease they can get which turns all the leaves black. Every year they flower again. Wanting more hellebores, I bought a lovely white one, planted it in my shady bed, stood back and admired. The next year it had completely vanished. A mystery to me as I’d never known such a thing happen before. It just makes me more appreciative of these old, semi-wild trusties.

Flower of the year, really, as there is hardly a week when you can’t find a plant in flower somewhere in the garden. They grow like weeds in this heavy soil, just as they did in my old garden.



I adore my hellebores. I love that every year the first flowers in my garden are pink. I love that they manfully survive despite the bullying clematis which hides them throughout most of the summer and autumn.

I do need some primroses, though.
Oh, and I didn't know about cutting off the leaves. After they finish flowering?
Pink is always good. Primroses are wonderful! And so easy, if you have the right soil. In some places people need to protect them from sparrows pecking them to bits.

Hellebore leaves: cut them off as early as possible in the year, before the flowers but when you can see stems and buds. It probably wouldn't hurt to do it later if you forget. A plus is nice shiny new foliage.
Oh, okay. I will try to remember for next winter.
Great post!

Hellebores are lovely. I wish I had more space to plant some but I have only a tiny patch of soil to myself. I suppose I could find a spot for some in the communal garden. I do have two primroses and daffs in bloom and bleeding hearts are pushing through!
Thank you!

Hellebores take up little space but they're not much to look at when not in flower so perhaps they would be a waste of a small area. I like the idea of having them in the communal garden.

My first miniature daffodil was out yesterday! No sign of my white bleeding heart. Soon I'll be prowling round looking for signs of life, saying, 'Where are you? Come on!'
That's why I was so surprised to lose the white one I bought!

I have seen those nasty black leaves but perhaps you don't get that particular disease in CA? Anyway, enjoy your nice old plants.