As herbaceous perennials die back and the last of the autumn leaves fall from deciduous shrubs and trees, there is a plant of delicate floral beauty that can lift the heart through the coldest, darkest months. Helleborus, commonly known as hellebore, are a genus that offer evergreen colour, and beautiful flowers, in shades of pink, red, white, yellow and lime. Helleborus enjoy moist, well-drained neutral to alkaline soil but they are hardy plants that will tolerate a much wider range of conditions. Forming low mounds of attractive foliage, they are a fantastic choice for the front of the border or as a companion to a range of woodland spring bulbs such as iris, fritillaria and crocus. The wonderful, usually nodding flowers, are displayed to great effect when planted upon sloping banks and beds and they are also a winning choice planted beneath deciduous shrubs. If you are looking for ground cover, this mound forming plant, which freely self-seeds, is also a fabulous option.
Helleborus have a long flowering season with varieties such as Helleborus ‘HGC Ice Breaker’ and Helleborus Niger ‘Praecox’, also known as The Christmas Rose, flowering from November onwards in mild winters. Both varieties offer beautiful, white, cup-shaped flowers and evergreen foliage. Helleborus Niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’ is a new, strong growing hybrid of the Christmas Rose, with light green leaves and large, striking, white flowers that face the viewer and mature to a delicate green shade.
A large number of Helleborus flower from December through to March including fantastic varieties such as Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Double Chocolate’ with its beautiful, nodding, double flowers in shades of chocolate brown, and Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Double Cream Speckled’ with its nodding cream flowers and delicate purple speckling. If you are looking for attractive shades of yellow and lime greens, then Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Double Yellow’ and Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Limes’ will offer fabulous colour from December through to early spring. Dusky shades of dark purple to blue-black flowers are also achievable through the winter months with Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington Shades of the Night’. Plants blooming in early spring include Helleborus Orientalis ‘Smoky Blue’, a rare plant with beautiful, saucer-shaped, smoky purple-blue flowers and leathery, deep-green foliage. The flowers emerge in February and will continue into April, offering a long period of early interest. Helleborus ‘Snow Dance’ bears dusty rose buds that open to cream flowers and mature to a rosy cinnamon from January through to April.
To appreciate the wide range of our Larch Cottage Helleborus selection then visit our website, or pop along to the nursery, where you will find a large number of varieties on offer.
(Blog post written by Jo Chamberlain)