Hellebore trends are making a lot of people sit up and notice! We are witnessing a remarkable time in the life of garden hellebores!
Perhaps it was like this when the hybridising of roses began? From very simple looking wild roses we now have a plethora of rose colours and shapes of our favourite garden bloom. Well, we’ve a long way to go before we have that vast range to choose from but the way that hellebore breeders and selectors are going at the moment is breath-taking!
The current interest in developing new colours and flower forms of the Lenten rose is a very good thing since this is a particularly easy and long lived garden plant to grow!
At Cleeve Nursery we have played our part in particular with our own Ciderhouse Strain of hellebores. But there are breeders all over the world that have focussed attention on this lovely early flowering perennial and are setting the hellebore trends.
One of the good things about social media is that it brings together those with a common interest. I know from following the Facebook group ‘Heavenly Hellebores’ that the new hellebores we now see could easily be in New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada or just about any European country! This is an excellent way to follow hellebore trends.
So what are the hellebore trends and how far have we come from that slightly muddy white Lenten rose that started it all?
The major changes can be summarised as improved choice of colours, better flower markings, double blooms, anemone centred blooms, picotee petals and flowers held up to be seen. Some hellebores even have a totally different colour inside the flower to that on the outside! This might be described as a bicolour.
Some new varieties have several of these attributes but, alongside this desire for greater choice, we at Cleeve have always been looking for plants that perform in the garden well too! Many of our plants will produce upwards of 40-50 blooms each and do this for those months in the year when we all yearn for more colour!
Hellebores start to flower around the turn of the year and go on flowering well into April. They like well-drained soil that remains moist throughout the year. Whilst they will tolerate full sun, they are at their best in dappled shade and for that reason are excellent plants to grow under trees and established shrubs. There is no question of hardiness and many of this group are virtually evergreen too.
My own very extensive collection is planted in my rather cold north west facing garden tucked away at the back of Cleeve Nursery. A couple of years ago I made a YouTube video about this collection. View it here.