The weather has been kind these past few days and the spring flowers are really coming on. I spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday afternoon and was delighted to see that all 4 varieties of hellebore are now in full bloom. Hidden away in different parts of the garden, they don’t stand out from a distance, but when you get up close, they are magnificent and unlike anything else in the garden at this time of year.
I don’t know the names of any of the hellebore in the garden, but I do know that the plants are hardy, evergreen and deciduous, and they bring dramatic colour and structure to the borders in early spring, just when I’m wondering whether there will ever be life in the garden again. The large blooms last around 4 to 6 weeks and then they will fade gracefully into the foliage, leaving the glossy, bold leaves behind for another year.
Helleborus grow well in the shade or partial shade, and they like moist soil; they are a perfect plant for the Scottish climate. All mine are growing beside walls or fences. New plants take a couple of years to get established, and once they are embedded, they don’t like being moved, although you can divide clumps in the autumn.
Best of all, Helleborus are a low maintenance plant. Once they have flowered, just remove any fading foliage; give the plants a mulch, and allow them to hunker down for another year.