Plants in the Garden: Hellebores
Started by: John Humphries
Unsung heroes, Hellebore Species please add to this chainGo to latest contribution by John Humphries, 03 February 2007, 09:43. Go to bottom of this page.
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With so many H. Hybridus available today the specie Hellebore are often forgotten, however I am sure that many members have a few in their gardens, so why not share them here.
From Southern Italy on rocky wooded and scrubby slopes where it forms a dense ground cover.
Good one John. I think that several of the species have a delicacy not seen in the hybrids. Here is H. odorus flowering with me at the moment. A relative of the Greek H. cyclophyllus which I can't manage here in Northumberland, but from further north-west in thee Balkans and with fewer leaf segments which are partially fused as are the follicles.
I had already featured this dwarf very early flowering species in 'Northumberland Diary' but it is now fully out.
Discovered at the same time as the Giant Panda this plant was described by Franchet back in 1885, however it has remained almost unknown for over a hundred years until in the mid 90s it started being imported from the Kaichen and other nurseries in China.
It is often described as being "Red" but a deep pink is as dark as you are likely to get. This plant is in full flower at Wisley right now and can be seen in the next month in the Alpine house.
This is as deep a pink as I've seen so far and is marginally deeper than some of thoise in Kew's Davies house(Sorry Katie).
The plants themselves are relatively easy, however being so early in the season they tend to suffer a little in our weather and the flowers are susceptible to frost, I've lost mine twice this way but the plant lives on and when it does flower it is quite willing to set seed. These germinate without visible cotyledons and will persist with a single leaf for the first year.
They also seem quite tolerant of winter wet but do need to have early spring sun as they very quickly go dormant after flowering, leaving you to think that you've lost the whole plant.
I think this is a real beauty and worth seeking out. No doubt the nurseries will have some at the Early Spring Shows.