This white hellebore has recovered so well from being dug up and transplanted in the autumn that it is currently smothered with forty eight flowers with more buds forming. I’m increasingly convinced that using MORE
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I am now the proud owner of one of this season’s hottest plants, Hellebore ‘Anna’ – bred by John Massey and named in honour of Anna Pavord. She is a dark beauty with ruby-red flowers and veined dark green leaves that have rich red reverses when young. Having mastered the art of hellebore growing in my garden, I felt happy that the considerable investment would not be wasted and that I will enjoy her company for many years to come. Hellebores like shade, but do not like to be overhung by low growing shrubs that will gradually stop them flowering. I moved several thus afflicted last autumn and they are already rewarding me with flowers.
The first hellebores are in bloom and are particularly welcome as I had to dig them all up in the autumn and put them in pots while I waited for building work to finish. It is generally said that they hate being moved and won’t flower for a few years afterwards, but I think the combination of the time of year and the mild winter means that they have dealt with the move far better than I expected and seem very happy back in their newly enriched beds. I’ve been around the various plants removing last year’s foliage and making sure that any affected by blackspot (as in the photo below) is put in the rubbish rather than composted.
Hellebores don’t generally like being moved, but a combination of builders scaffolding and their border getting too shady convinced me the time had come to move them. Their new home is beneath the tulip tree where they will be shaded in summer, but only by the tree rather than low growing shrubs. It will be interesting to see how they respond.
Last year I interviewed Roger Harvey of Harvey’s Garden Plants near Bury St Edmund’s in Suffolk about his hellebores for the Passionate Gardener series I write in Country Living. He gave me two wonderful new varieties ‘Winter Moonbeam’ and ‘Winter Sunshine’, but also passed on an invaluable tip. Hellebores need to grow in open woodland conditions to flower well – if they are tucked under shrubs they will gradually produce fewer and fewer flowers. This explains the behaviour of the hellebores underneath my hydrangeas – as the hydrangeas have grown larger they have lost the light they need. I’m going to move them very carefully (they don’t like being moved) to a more open but still shaded area. ‘Winter Sunshine and ‘Winter Moonbeam’ are already there.