I would love to be able to say that I met this unnamed hellebore face-to-face, but alas no – that would have entailed lying down on a cushion of emerging snowdrops in the woodland edge border and burying my chin in the undergrowth, which I trust you will agree was beyond the call of duty despite both her beauty and her timely arrival. I spotted her yesterday, when I was to-ing and fro-ing down the garden with watering cans, emptying the water butt next to the existing greenhouse and pouring the contents into the stream. Each journey involved remembering to duck under the struts of the now half-size new greenhouse which straddled my route as the Golfer exerted a junior hacksaw on its excess length; the modification, however, is now on hold as the Golfer has put on his Roofing hat for the time-being.
Other than Helleborus niger ‘Christmas Carol’ (which has been featured a few times in the last month) this is the first hellebore to show any signs of opening up this season in what was therefore a thrilling discovery, such is the excitement of the garden at this time of year. Meanwhile, the offshoot of ‘Christmas Carol’ which was replanted separately after the plant was lifted to see if this would help the flowers in their vertical progression, is showing just what the flowers should look like when they do open – and look at the dozens of embryo buds round the base! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they all grew into full size flowers?! The main plant, still smothered in those gloriously healthy green leaves, is now allowing slightly better glimpses of the flowers, but nevertheless requiring a brushing aside of the foliage for a proper view. Looking at pictures on the internet I have yet to see another example with such dense foliage!
Now, for those concerned at my brazenness in wielding secateurs around a precious witch hazel to provide blooms for my vase on Monday, let me assure you that Hamamelis japonica ‘Zuccariniana’ was not harmed in any way by my judicious snipping – so judicious that you wouldn’t have known I had been anywhere near it. It is quite a twiggy specimen, unlike any of the other witch hazels I have, and each twig had its fair share of shreds regardless of its length – my precious blooms were on two twigs cut almost at ground level and from the longest very well-twigged branch and are meant to last well when cut, so they may reappear in next week’s vase, and the one after that! Can I smell them now they are inside? Unfortunately I think not, although bunged-up nostrils don’t help – BUT! I am convinced I caught a whiff of fragrance from H Arnold Promise as I travailed with the watering cans!