I absolutely love hellebores, I don’t know why. They’re not a plant I grew up with. The first time I met one was in my aunt’s garden, a rather uninspiring sickly flop of leaves with a green flower, which died not long afterwards. But I do remember an air of rarity in the way she talked about it. And they are quite rare here. In the sense that they appear in nurseries and garden shops but they are just hellebores, unnamed, and the colours seem mostly potluck so you have to buy them flowering. I have two surprise hellebores I bought a few months ago, which holds it’s own excitement, but when I look at the varieties available in the UK, with their range of colours, I am, quite frankly, incredibly jealous.
I love their name, Lenten Rose, and they are frost resistant and drought tolerant. Beth Chatto talks about them in her book, The Dry Garden, and they are generously unfurling now, while everything else is waiting for more civilised temperatures
These are the first hellies I planted in my garden, just under a year ago. I bought them in flower so this is the first time I get to watch them unfurl. Aren’t they beautiful. They are both doubles, a double white and a double pink. I lost the labels so I’m not sure which is which. They’re planted in the shade garden which I’ve decided, rather pretentiously, to call the woodland walk; even if it is, at the moment, just a squeeze between a couple of shrubs and a tree. I have three more to plant out and then it will start looking a bit more like a woodland floor.