Preparing for hellebore glory
Amateur Gardening|January 23, 2021
Ruth clears the way for some late-winter border colour
Ruth Hayes

ON a cold, dank day a couple of weeks before Christmas I was tidying up the garden muttering ‘come on spring’, when I stopped in my tracks and peered more closely at the ground.

Spring had obviously heard me because nestled among a collapsing crown of tattered old foliage was a cluster of new hellebore shoots pushing up from the soil. On the other side of the garden I found another crown of shoots, this time with a more exposed flower bud, a blob of deep pink against the surrounding brown mud.

Helleborus niger, also known as Christmas or Lenten rose, are one of the earliest and most reliable of spring flowers. Sturdy perennials, they grow to be sizeable plants with innumerable hybrids, so they flower in a stunning range of colours and styles, from deepest maroon to the most delicate cream and white.

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