With our February garden opening only 5 weeks away, there is a long ‘to-do’ list on display – or two to be exact, as the Golfer has one of his own, jobs I can entrust him to do that don’t require much (if any) garden knowledge. Most of them are not very big jobs in themselves (although in future years I promise faithfully not to start any new project between November and February…perhaps), but there is a lot of them and some are weather dependent. There certainly seem to be more tasks that need to be done before a February opening than our usual June ones, but in truth they are mostly standard winter maintenance things but with a shorter timescale to do them in; anyhow, the lists are getting shorter and there are fewer new additions, so we must be winning!
Alongside the tasks, there is the constant monitoring of what is likely to be flowering in the middle of February, and I am pleased to say that I can be confident of the hellebores making a fine display as they are already coming along nicely. Joining the special snowdrops (which should also be at their peak then) in their bed, are Hellebore ‘Harvington Double White’ (above) and H ‘White Spotted Lady’ and H ‘Harvington Double Lime’ below. These are the most established of my hellebores, and each make a sizeable clump.
You can see that I have trimmed the leaves from these ones, and indeed most of my hellebores, a practice I never thought I would take on board but now accept how much more easily the flowers can be seen when they are semi-naked. I am a little reluctant to remove the gorgeous marbled leaves from H x ericsmithii ‘Winter Moonbeam’ and H (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) ‘Anna’s Red’ (below) and will do so selectively.
These hellebores have both quickly made really sturdy plants and form clumps that look attractive virtually all year round – and just look at those stems on Anna’s Red! I have been led into temptation this week by a fellow blogger (was it you?), when they showed another hellebore from the Rodney Davey Marbled Group, ‘Cheryl’s Shine’, which I just HAD to have (OK, and two more of its cousins…); they should be arriving on Monday and will join my continually increasing collection of hellebores.
What a joy they are in the early months of the year, in a huge range of shades from pink to white to red to yellow, double or single, spotted, frilled – I love them all, but today I am sharing just six of them (below, H Harvington Double Pink Speckled’) for Jon’s Six on Saturday meme. Pop over to his blog to see what other sixes are being shared today.