Sunday, January 31

Change of plan

I usually cut the old leaves off the hellebores before the flowers start to emerge but this year the weather meant that I didn't want to trample on the sodden border.

The result was that the flower buds rose above the old foliage and I decided that they could manage very well without my intervention. However, last week I had a sudden thought. There are snowdrops planted amongst the hellebores and they would struggle to show their heads above the foliage. On one of the few reasonable days last week, I decided to tip-toe through the hellebores and remove last year's leaves. You can tell from the photo below that it was a dull day.
The leaves that fall from the magnolia tree onto this bed are left in place and the plants just push up through them.

Not only were the clumps of snowdrops revealed but also sprouting amongst the dead leaves were lots of hellebore seedlings.
As seedlings are just left in place to take their chances, I think some of the plants now flowering were probably self sown a few years back.

A couple of years ago I added two new varieties - one was a primrose colour and the other almost black - the trouble is that I can't find the variety names anywhere in our records.
They were small plug plants and so far I have seen no signs of the primrose ones but the dark ones have flowers. The colour is much 'blacker' in real life than the camera shows.

Garden centres know how to tempt an impulse buy don't they? We went for a coffee and a browse round one of our favourite garden centres the other day and what should be crying out to be popped into our basket but another hellebore. This one is called Spring Promise and has duly been recorded.
Now we just need a fine day so that I can find a place for it amongst it's cousins.

When I picked the plant up and Martyn commented on how he liked it and so I let him buy it. Then seeing as it was now his plant, I chose a couple of saxifragas for one of the pebble beds. The plant in the bottom photo has flowers that are a pale greenish yellow rather than the white that they look in the photo.
We did need more plants for the pebble beds and so my plants ,unlike Martyn's hellebore, were not impulse buys.

The saxifragas are also waiting to be planted along with some bulbs that we needed that were bought when we went for some bird food to another garden centre.
Unfortunately JS Dijt has turned out to be blue instead of the deep purple shown on the label (a case of mislabelling?) so it looks like I will need to hunt out another purple variety.

Now all I need is a dry day so I can get planting!



33 comments:

  1. I have to admire your cheek in passing off that Hellebore as Martyn's so that you could buy something else! The Hellebores are hard to resist though. I'm trying to encourage mine to self-seed now.

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    1. He was quite happy to go along with it, Mark

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  2. Mark is right.. and it's a trick I will remember! Love the speckle pattern on Martyn's new hellebore.

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    1. I am a skilled practitioner, Jessica and in the end we both benefit from the purchases.

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  3. I've clearly never looked closely enough at hellebores before. They're beautiful!

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    1. They are great at this time of year, Belinda

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  4. Jo and I both love hellebores, they're a fantastic splash of colour and interest for a very dull time of year. We've only got a few in pots at the moment, but we'll be planting a lot more as our new garden develops.

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    1. They flower over a long period of time too, Darren.

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  5. I find hellebores irresistible, I am preparing to be tempted at my favourite garden centre next week...

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    1. It's a good time to find them in the garden centres at the moment, Janet

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  6. Some lovely purchases...I always love to see the blue flowers!!

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  7. What lovely purchases! I am a huge fan of hellebores, I especially like that spotty one! How lovely to have all those seedlings.xxx

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    1. I guess it will be quite a while before those little seedlings flower, Dina.

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  8. Oh that was most timely intervention Sue. I usually let hellebore seedlings remain unless they are very near to the parent plant. The new purchase has a most apt name. Shame about the iris but a good excuse for a return trip to the garden centre.

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    1. In our garden it is a case of the survival of the fittest with the hellebore seedlings, Anna

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  9. That was so kind of you to leyt Martyn buy himself a hellebore!

    Histrioides Major is a nice dark purple iris which blooms very early.

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    1. Wasn't it just, Patsy?
      Thank you for the recommendation.

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  10. I just love Hellebores and your one is a beauty. Makes me want to dsash off to a garden centre and get gardening again:)

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    1. Off you go then, Sweffling. What's keeping you?

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  11. I've seen some stunning Helebores... so why haven't I got any in my garden? I don't know the answer to that one either.. I will have to rectify that. Your 2 pictured are beautiful :o)

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    1. It's a situation which you must remedy, Julie.

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  12. This is the problem with GC they have so many tempting plants, even if you just call in for coffee some plants come home. ( See my last post!)

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    1. They always do Brian - will p[op over to your post shortly

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    2. Oops that was the one that I read earlier and I am unsurprised that you were tempted with that beauty.

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  13. Ha-ha, I too like your purchase plan, Sue :-) Coincidentally, I was taking your approach with my hellebores this year too. I've been slightly on the fence on my decision in leaving the leaves but, I too think I will also have a change of plan when we get a good gardening day. Perhaps I could go 50:50, I'll need to assess it when I get out to the border (a much smaller area than yours). As for the temptation at garden centres, it really is hard to walk away - shortage of space helps me usually but I never say never! I love that Spring Promise - enjoy it :-)

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    1. It was the poor snowdrops being hidden beneath the foliage that really decided me, Shirley. If it hadn't been for them O would probably have left things alone.

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  14. More often than not, I succumb to temptation at the garden centre and seed house too.

    It's too bad that my husband isn't into plants - then I could use your tactic and say..."Oh, you like that one? YOU should take it! I'll go look for something for me..." I'm thinking this may work with other things to...gotta keep that in mind :)

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  15. Spring Promise is very impressive!

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  16. Plants are irresistible! Spring is definitely heading there! ;)

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  17. The border with the fallen leaves, bulbs and hellebores is gorgeous. I leave the leaves too - apart from the value to wildlife, they make a much prettier backdrop to bulbs than bare earth. I am wondering for the millionth time if I might ever get my husband interested in plants - if so, I will use your trick of increasing plant purchases. Very nice job. You are an inspiration - not only in the garden, but in the retail therapy department too.

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