Helleborus: Give your garden a winter lift

With the dark months creeping in, there is no better time to spruce up your garden with Helleborus.? Also known as the Christmas Rose (Helleborus.niger), the Hellebore is a traditional garden favourite, making it the perfect choice for the Horticultural Trades Association?s (HTA) Plant of the Month for January.


With a colour range of pure white through to deep purple, pink, cream, yellow, and red flowers, Hellebores are guaranteed to light up a damp, shady spot in your garden winter.


Helleborus compromises of approximately 20 species of herbaceous, evergreen, perennial flowering plants.? They are often used for decorative purposes and are popular with gardeners for their early flowering period during winter and spring and are frost resistant, making them ideal for this time of year.


The most popular hellebores for garden use, however, are undoubtedly Helleborus. orientalis and its colourful hybrids (Helleborus.hybridus). They flower in early spring, around the period of Lent, and are often known as Lenten hellebores, oriental hellebores, or Lenten roses. They are excellent for bringing early colour to shady herbaceous borders and areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees.


Helleborus are often very tolerant of dry shade conditions and look fantastic planted in borders with snowdrops, Erythronium, Primula, Pulmonaria and Tiarella.? Also makes good houseplant.


They need to be planted in heavy, rich, limey soil that won?t dry out in summer months.? Their leaves die down in June or July, after which the plants should be kept cool and shaded until they begin to grow again in early spring.? They are also wildlife friendly and are a valuable source of pollen for early bees


TV gardener David Domoney is the celebrity champion for Helleborus this month.? With a keen passion for horticulture, David started his career as a plant advisor in a garden centre, progressing through supervisor and management roles to becoming a plant buyer.


He spent a decade working for many blue chip retailers before starting his own company creating garden designs for the RHS shows and fronting TV programmes such as ?Love your Garden? and ?The Great British Garden Revival? He also pioneered ‘Cultivation Street’ a national campaign to bring communities and neighbours together, transforming front gardens and community gardens by improving the place they live in through people, plants and pride.


David said: ?Flowering Hellebores make you wonder at the beauty and resilience of nature as they open beautiful flowers in the depth of winter. ?The diversity of the colour and blooms together with integrated shaped emerald green foliage across many varieties make this a perfect first choice as the calendar year starts.?


Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA?s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month.


For more details, please visit www.the-hta.org.uk/plantofthemonth

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