Hellebores — Anything but Boring

 by Ann Chapman

Hellebores - Anything but Boring
Hellebores – Anything but Boring

A joy in the winter garden are the Helebores — unpretentious and appearing uninvited. They will happily infiltrate your garden with seedlings in various hues, different to the colours in your original plants.

I would call them an ‘antique plant’. They have the simplicity of ancient flowers and have been grown for hundreds of years. They gown happily unattended under shrubs peaking shyly out to greet you on a cold morning.

There are many different varieties and Hellebore niger is commonly called the Christmas Roses (in England). It is a woodland plant, native to Europe and Western Asia with gold stamens in a white flower. Sometimes there is a tinge of pink to the outer petals.

The Lentern Rose, Hellebore orientalis, is the most ancient with a wide colour range from white to wine coloured. They are easily established and long lived and this is the variety to self seed in your garden. So if you are a fussy gardener and don’t like infiltration plant the more restrained Christmas Rose instead.

Hellebores corsicus is from naturally enough from the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics with pale green flowers on a much taller plant. And finally there is poor old Helebores foetidus with its reputation for being stinky. That only happens when the leaves are crushed. It has impressive greenish yellow flowers with a fine margin of crimson.