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If there is one plant for me that encapsulate winter and early spring, it is the Hellebore. Part of the buttercup family Hellebores grow best in full or dappled shade.

Hellebores come in many different varieties and several colours; some even have a marbled effect on their leaves. Helleborous Odours which has large lime green flowers and grows to approximately 60 cms in height, has the added bonus of a delicate scent, so perfect to position near to a path or doorway where it can be appreciated.

The perennial Hellebore Niger ‘Christmas Carol ’ commonly known as the Christmas rose or Lenten rose, flowers in December until early spring. It has gorgeous white flowers sometimes tinged with pink is perfect to bring inside your home at Christmas time to create a festive display, but remember to mist it regularly with water to keep it looking fresh.

Hellebores have single or double flowers, which help to provide a vital winter and early spring food source for bees. The Harvington hybrid range has many varieties to choose from including ‘Double Ellen Picotee’ which is semi evergreen, losing some of its leaves in the winter, it has lovely creamy white petals edged in a deep plum-pink and flowers between February and April.

These versatile plants even offer leaf variation - ‘Anna’s Red’ which flowers between February and April has marbled leaves that look very striking, and Helleborus argutifolius ‘The Corsican Hellebore’ has a serrated edge to its leaf. This particular variety is evergreen and will tolerate full sun or partial shade and makes a real statement in a mixed border adding architectural interest long after its light green flowers have faded.

There really is a hellebore to suit everyone’s taste, and when planted in the border with other spring bulbs they make a wonderful display.

In late October Andrew and I revisited three gardens that we planted in the summer, this time to add some bulbs.

All the gardens looked great and their owners have done a brilliant job of looking after them – it goes to show a little bit of regular maintenance really does pay off and helps to extend the flowering season.

We were particularly delighted to see how good the borders at the Jubilee Cafe in Minehead were looking. This was my first experience of planting borders in such an exposed site, both in terms of the elements and visitors! There was lots of colour still in the borders with the Verbena Bonariensis, Stipa Tennuissima and Salvia Caradonna still looking great!

Until next time


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