Hellebore Hybrids

Hellebore season is in full swing. There are so many beautiful plants available to us these days. Many of them come from specialist breeders who are developing new Hellebores with intense colours and unique markings. The Hellebore blooms floating in the shallow bowl of water below are Ashwood Hybrids. If you’d like to know more about Ashwood Nurseries then you may be interested to read about Susan Rushton’s visit. You may also like to visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see some cut flowers from garden bloggers around the world.

I went to Gresgarth Garden yesterday. If you were there you may have spotted me drooling over massed Hellebores. In a long shady border backing onto the Walled Garden there are Hellebores in all shades from pure white to deep burgundy. Hydrangeas provide the shrubby backdrop to this border and there are Daffodils to follow too. But for now, without question, Hellebores are the stars.

I was lucky enough to speak to the garden owner and designer Lady Arrabella Lennox-Boyd. She told me that she started her Hellebore collection with just a few expensive plants and these have self seeded to create the impressive show today.

As a contrast to all the glamorous Hellebore Hybrids I spotted a group of Helleborus foetidus the foot of a climbing Hydrangea. Very understated yet quite lovely too with their creamy green flowers and glossy leathery leaves.

But I have something more like this in mind for our garden…

Today I’ve been removing ferns (useful but not very interesting!) from our Spring Border. I’m making space for just a few more Hellebores. We have the right conditions and a some well established plants already. With a bit of luck they will cross pollinate and self seed like they have at Gresgarth to give us a spectacular show each March. Wish me luck!

Do you grow Hellebores? Your tips to encourage seed production would be most welcome.

Happy Gardening!        Gillian 🙂



27 thoughts on “Hellebore Hybrids

  1. Yes, I have Hellebores in my woodland garden and I love them! They are one of my plants that always look showy and the deer won’t eat them either! I like that woman’s name, to be Lady Arrabella Lenox-Boyd! Oh my!

    1. It’s good to know that deer don’t eat them… we have a few in neighbouring fields and I wouldn’t want to tempt them into our garden! And I agree that name is amazing isn’t it?

  2. I love hellebores too Gillian and have had great success with seedlings at the garden where I work. My skill? Ha nothing. The plants overhang a raised border, the seeds drop into the gravel below and the plants arrive.hey presto.

    1. You are so lucky Dorris. We’ve had Hellebores for years but no seedlings at all so far. I’m wondering if mice or voles are eating the seeds before they fall to the ground.

      1. Grr those rodents or perhaps if the soil is heavy they struggle? Certainly the soil at work is very free draining. I should try collecting the seed this year before those pesky do.

  3. Gillian, looking at those flowers is like therapy for me. I’m so impatient for Spring and now we are expecting a huge snow storm. I want flowers. I want Spring. You just gave me that! Thank you!!!

    1. Sorry to hear about your bad weather Catherine! Hope it’s not too bad for you. Happy you like the flowers.

  4. It’s like you were reading my mind. Just last night (or 3:00 this morning, to be more precise), I was thinking about establishing a woodland garden area and was wondering what I might include. I know I will be far more limited with the varieties I can grow in my Zone 2a Canadian garden, but you’ve inspired me to consider Hellebores.

    What does the plant, itself, look like after the blooms have gone? Something tells me they aren’t very attractive, but I might be thinking of something entirely different.

    The colours of yours are simply stunning. They would be very welcome, indeed, in the spring.

    1. A woodland garden has spring flowers which bloom before trees are in full leaf. Hellebores have glossy leathery leaves which blend into the background once the flowers are done. I don’t notice ours at all! You could look for plants with sylvatica/sylvaticum (woodland)in their name and also consider plants like Asters, Geraniums and Astrantias.

  5. Your bowl of floating blooms is beautiful. Thanks to a generous gift from a kind friend, I have a lovely swathe of hydrid hellebores in my garden but don’t seem to get spontaneous seedlings from them either. I think Dorris may be right, maybe we try putting shallow trays filled with gritty compost among the plants?

    1. Good idea Kate. That would be easy to do… will definitely give that a go and I’ll try to collect a few ripe seed pods too.

  6. I love Hellebores but they aren’t suitable for the conditions here so I have to enjoy them through the blogosphere.

    1. Yes, that’s right they prefer cool semi shaded places Christina. We are so lucky here in the UK being able to grow plants from around the world and you are so lucky to have lots of lovely sunshine!

  7. I love it. Those of the Garden of Gresgarth are a wonder and that well that it speaks with its owner and it will tell its secret to him. I hope that your garden will do the same in a few spring, and grow hybrid Eleboros alone. Good luck. The photos are beautiful. Greetings from Margarita.

  8. They look fantastic floating in your bowl and you have a pretty collection already. My hellebores lean over a bark chipping path and seem to preferentially seed there, never in the border.

    1. Thanks Allison. Mine are under mature shrubs at the back of the border so I’ll reposition them at the front once they’ve finished flowering and keep my fingers crossed for seedlings. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Wow, these hellebores are all wonderful. Mine never look that good, I think due to the very cold winters and hot and dry summers. But I still love them even if they are a bit smaller and straggly!

    1. I think the secret at Gresgarth is masses of fertiliser/mulch. I’ve noticed that all the borders are extremely well fed and their plants are very healthy and vigorous.

  10. Your bowl of different hellebore blooms is beautifully effective, Gillian, but thank you also for sharing Lady Arrabella Lennox-Boyd’s massed planting of them. Absolutely delightful! Having grown some from seeds sent by a fellow blogger I can say that they probably took the best part of 12 months to germinate, so I suspect that in the wild they may lie dormant till conditions are just right for them

    1. Yes… that makes sense. I wonder if they need a cold spell? We’ve had very mild winters here for several years now (since I’ve grown Hellebores in fact!) which may account for it.

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