Hellebores, Christmas and Lenten Roses
Hellebores, Helleborus species, Christmas roses and Lenten roses are a perennial hardy plant specialism of ours.
We grow around 1,000 hellebore plants a year and many of these are unique.
We have our own strain of hardy hellebores and we have been working on it since the late 1980s. This is called the Ciderhouse Strain and named after our house
Added to this we have exciting new colours and flower forms from an amateur Belgian hellebore breeder.
The Christmas rose [Helleborus niger], other winter flowering hybrids and some evergreen species and hybrids are grown by us too. [see below]
All our plants are vigorous and healthy, largely due to our regular use of compost tea. Hellebores are easy to grow in soil that has plenty of organic matter, doesn’t dry out and in a position perhaps a bit shaded [not essential]. They are extremely long lived hardy plants and enjoy solid that have a neutral or alkaline pH [limey].
Beginning to bloom with the snowdrops and well ahead of all but the earliest daffodils, hellebores will fill a garden with colour long before much of the garden has awoken to spring!
Ciderhouse Strain Hellebores
Ciderhouse Strain of hellebores are strong, large flowered and prolific bloomers. Many have the insides of blooms heavily covered in freckles. This is notable in our whites, pinks and more recently our yellows.
In addition to those with freckled blooms we have strong ‘solid’ colours such as dark purple and almost black. We also have more subtle paler colours such as primrose yellow and softest pink.
Because they are really tough perennials, this hellebore strain will give year after year of late winter and spring colour. Many will seed themselves in your garden and colonise an area.
Ciderhouse Picotees Hellebores
Ciderhouse picotee hellebores are a group of very robust hellebores that we are having great success with developing.
Picotee blooms have two contrasting colours on each petal and the colour often ‘bleeds’ from one to another.
Picotee pink, white, yellow and purple all have their own contrasting or complimentary colour combinations. Some of these also have an ‘eye spot’ at the base of each petal so that you get the impression that you are being watched when you look into them!.
We find that, once established, the picotee forms are especially prolific hardy perennial bloomers.
In the pipeline but not available for a year or two are some real stunners!
Take a look at a YouTube video that Alan presented from our collection in spring 2014. Click the link here
Anemone flowered hellebores
Anemone flowered hellebores have extra petals in the centre of the bloom and these are shorter than the main outer ones. In some cases the extra shorter petals are actually enlarged nectaries. This is not to be confused with the doubles and have a more subtle charm about them.
So far stock of these is limited but we are working hard to multiply these up.
Again, these are white, pink, purple and yellow.
Double flowered hellebores
Double flowered hellebores are slower to multiply as they produce little seed. But often these blooms last longer in the garden.
The double flowered hellebores may not appeal to purists but we now have doubles in white, cream, pale yellow, purple and often these blooms are spotted too!
Double flowered hellebores are just as easy to grow as single bloomed ones are are truly hardy reliable perennial garden plants.
Winter flowering hellebores and Christmas Roses
The hardy perennial Helleborus niger [Christmas rose] can be a bit tricky to establish but recent hybrids crossing this one with other tougher species has over come this and given us better blooming hellebores too!
The Gold Collection bred in Germany are typical of this new generation and we grow the best of these very hardy perennial plants.
Flowers appear on these when the days are at their shortest and continue until spring.