Hellebore: The Bright Star of Winter Gardens
Amidst the snowdrops during these winters many gardeners must be glaring with the ‘galanthomania‘ ,so popular have they become, but if you seek flamboyance in your winter flowers then look no further than “hellebores”.
Hellebores flowers offer you a wide range of colors and color combinations, and many are long flowering through winter and well into spring. Their often large, pendulous blooms look especially attractive grown among lower growing spring flowers such as wood anemones, primroses and snowdrops.
Hellebores are of course easy to grow, and will generally thrive in any reasonable fertile soil. These woodland plants are well suited to light, dappled or partial shade and will also do well in full sun if the soil remains reasonably damp; they do not, however, like being waterlogged. Many perennials are reinvigorated by being split every three or four years, but not hellebores. Division sometimes causes them to die, so it is better and easier to let them keep on developing into good-sized clumps.
Hellebores are ideal for growing on a bank, owing to their hanging down typical characteristic. The leathery sepals allow them to endure the harshest winter conditions, while the petals provide a valuable source of nectar for early insects.
With minimum maintenance the hellebores have quality of surviving for many years. Although the clumps will die back in autumn and therefore it would be better to cut back any old foliage because this will help in preventing leaf spot causing brown lesions on young foliage. Plants will benefit from good mulch with well-rotted organic material; however, crown of the plant must not be covered with mulch.
Hellebores are notoriously promiscuous and cross-pollinate very readily. It is better to cut off dead flowers to prevent the production of unwanted and usually disappointing new plants.
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