The Queen of Spring Flowers: The Hellebore
One of my greatest joys is gardening with beautiful flowers. After a long winter I'm always outside seeking the earliest blooms. The fresh pink buds of the viburnum, the brave snow drops and crocuses pushing through the ground all catch my attention. But my favourite by far is the queen of the early spring garden, the Hellebore.
"Perhaps the reason you are drawn to flowers is not only for their outer beauty, but because they remind you beautiful things will bloom after the longest season of waiting" ~ Morgan Harper Nichols
As a garden plant, Hellebores are a joy to grow. With handsome evergreen leaves for most of the year, they flower at a time when not much else is even thinking about it. They are very easy to maintain, needing a trim of the old leaves just as the new flower buds appear in the Spring. They are happy to bloom in shade or part shade. Best of all are the beautiful range of colours and variety of petals; singles, doubles, spotted or clear, pointy or rounded, some even with an outline of different colours around the edges.
As a collector for many years, I am fond of the more unusual colours like slatey blue black that have a sheen and a colour a lot like a plum.
Or the white ones that are heavily spotted with red.
The yellow ones can be the most beautiful shade of butter. Indeed the hellebore is part of the buttercup family but without the bad habits of spreading.
The most easy colours to find are shades of chartreuse and white and all shades of pink to quite a dark plum. There are so many variations in the blooms. But in the past few years I've been seeking larger flowers and those that face outward as opposed to the ones that droop down so that I can better admire them as I pass by.
Plants this lovely deserve to have supporting players to accent their beauty even further. Great companion plants for Hellebores are Black Mondo grass, Pulmonaria, fancy foliage Heucheras, evergreen ferns and sedges like a white varigated Carex. If you have a spot in your garden in part shade, somewhere that you might get to walk past in the winter I would certainly encourage you to plant one or more of these beautiful flowers to enjoy for many years to come.
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