Winter-flowering hellebores for the garden
Hellebores are beautiful perennial garden plants that are in bloom from mid-winter to mid-spring. There are many to choose from with cultivars of Helleborus x hybridus dominating the genus, but there are other selections that are worth growing in any garden during the winter:
Helleborus x ericsmithii blooms are usually cream or pink in colour, and tinged with green. It is worth adding this hybrid to your garden for the beautiful silver foliage alone. This plant has been bred from three parents which is why it has such as diverse range of features. It grows up to 38cm (14in) high, and likes well drained soil in a situation that receives some sun. Ideal in containers, raised beds or at the front of a border.
Helleborus x nigercors produces off-white flowers from January onwards, that are usually green or cream-tinged. They last for many weeks and turn greener or pinkish as they age. This hellebore grows up to 30cm (12in) high and spreads over 45cm (18in). It grows happily in a wide range of conditions as illustrated at Hyde Hall where it is planted in drifts, flourishing in moist retentive soil and dappled shade.
Helleborus Walberton’s Rosemary (‘Walhero’) has become quite freely available in the last few years and considered easier to grow than species such as H. niger. It has large, outward-facing, flat, mid-pink flowers that turn ruby-pink as they age. Flowers are in bloom from January to late April. Ideal in borders, in a container or even as a short-term flowering house plant before put in the garden.