Well, the weather continues to be cold and miserable, but there is sunshine in my heart because now is the season of the hellebore! I've been building up my collection over the past few years since they really are a lovely flower both for picking and bringing inside, and also for lighting up the garden and adding colour at a bare time of year. I have about eight different varieties (and covet several more) which is nowhere near enough!
Hellebores are well known to wilt if you pick a stem to put in a vase. The solution is to just pick the heads and float them in bowls of water. One big bowl looks stunning, or you can do what I've done here and use a selection of small bowls, jars and glasses. I have also found that if you pick them a bit later on in the season when the flower heads have aged a bit, they are less prone to wilting. And sometimes it's worth just picking them anyway, and finding a stem of greenery to rest their little faces against!
Here are my hellebore lovelies:
Clockwise from top left: Pink Lady (a beautiful clear pink with nice round petals), White Lady (similar to Pink Lady but lovely pure white), an unnamed chartreuse variety, White Picotee (very large flowers, green-tinted white petals edged with purple, and black-ringed stamens).
Clockwise from top left: Tutu (green-tinged purple petals with freckles and a gorgeous ruffled centre), a Double Hybrid, a common purple with pointed petals, and Pink Lady with her lovely rosy buds. I also have a new-to-me variety called Mrs Betty Ranicar, which according to Google is a pretty double white. But Mrs Betty is so new she has decided not to show herself this year which is a bit frustrating! Will she be as pretty as the pictures? Perhaps we'll find out next year.
This is my Common Purple staking out its turf next to the jasmine bush. It's getting nice and big and having lots of little babies.
I hope to cross pollinate some of these different colours and styles and create some of my own Double Hybrids... it's a bit of a wait as they take about 4 years to bloom from seed! It's too tempting not to try though... who knows what Frankenstein-like creations will emerge.
Such pretty plants in the garden (left, Tutu and right, Picotee). I only wish they bloomed in summer too. Funnily enough, a couple of years ago I had one that did - I think it was Pink Lady. I have heard from other bloggers who have had summer blooming hellebores too so it's not unheard of! I had to move Pink Lady when we had house repairs done, so she didn't bloom last summer. But I'll be keeping an eye on her and the others just to see what's what...