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Plant of the Week; Heleborus14 January 2011
Hellebores herald the start of the New Year, with many varieties flowering in January through to March providing the weather is favourable. They produce very attractive flowers and their deeply lobed leathery leaves create an attractive evergreen backdrop to spring flowering bulbs and flowers.
In recent years Hellebores have seen a resurgence in their use as garden plants. The breeding programmes have provided many new varieties and they have been transformed from single flowered forms in white, pinks and reds to singles in every shade, including white, almost black, uniformly speckled or splashed with darker markings. There are an increasing range of anemone centred forms and full doubles.
Hellebores are native to Southern and Central Europe and are found primarily in mountainous areas. However, they can survive in a range of habitats from light woodland shade to open alpine meadows. Hellebores can be planted in garden borders, providing that you prepare the ground beforehand by incorporating leaf mould and well rotted compost. This will provide the moisture and root run that Hellebores prefer. Alternatively, you can keep your Hellebore’s in their pot and bring them indoors and treat them as a houseplant. They make a lovely display in a conservatory during the late winter and early spring.