Six on Saturday: an Evolutionary Lesson

Admiring hellebores in the woodland edge border earlier in the week, probably now at their peak, I was tempted to invite more to the party – but I resisted, until searching specialist hellebore nurseries to try and identify the one I showed on Wednesday, when resistance proved to be futile… Highlighted on Ashwood Nursery’s website were their new and seemingly unique Evolution series of hellebores, ‘prized for their long lasting vibrant tones through the tepals, with red or golden nectaries, some enhanced by a red flush as well as superb colour on the backs of the blooms. There are even a few with the addition of gentle spotting around their centres’.

So yes, I succumbed but, brushing this temptation under the carpet, the lesson I learned came from the cultivation and care leaflet, where they advised that although most hellebores should have all their foliage trimmed back in late December or January, evergreen species and those of interspecies hybrids like the Rodney Davey Marbled group and H ericsmithii varieties should only have damaged and diseased foliage removed as needed to tidy them up. This immediately explained what went wrong with H Ericsmithii ‘Winter Moonbeam’ and H ‘Anna’s Red’ (a Rodney Davey variety):

H ‘Pirouette’ and H ‘Penny’s Pink’ narrowly escaped the same fate because of their position in the woodland edge border where most of their foliage was hidden, unlike the relatively bare ground of the former:

So, a worthwhile lesson learned alongside the arrival of some lovely new hellebores –  and a lesson for others to be aware of too!

Down in the Coop Corner with the sorry-looking hellebore is the equally sorry-looking Clematis armandii, one arm of which is looking a bit ‘iffy’ but is now producing blooms, whilst the other is definitely a goner:

In the Coop, the permanent ‘green’ fragrance is now joined by the more floral perfume of fragrant narcissi, supplementing those of long-blooming hyacinth. Here we have ‘Erlicheer’ and ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’:

I mentioned fritillaries in my End of Month post and, to prove the point, there is now colour on at least one of the buds. Each year, I add more bulbs to my Peter Nyssen order to help them increase further, although when happy (as I think these are) they do seed themselves around.

Unsure whether the hellebore photos count as one, I may or may not have reached or exceeded my six for Jon the Propagator’s Saturday meme, although he is not overly strict about our counting, so I shall finish with the pulmonarias which have been starting to bloom in recent weeks, adding subtle splashes of colour to the carpet of snowdrops in the woodland edge border and elsewhere; here we  have the aptly named ‘Shrimps on the Barbie’ and reliable ‘Blue Ensign’:

This entry was posted in early spring, Gardening, Gardens, Six on Saturday, snowdrops, winter interest, woodland and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Six on Saturday: an Evolutionary Lesson

  1. Leaves or no leaves, a lovely selection of Hellebores! Ashwoods is a fantastic nursery – well worth a visit if you’re ever in the vicinity.

    The Hyacinths are looking fantastic too.

    • Cathy says:

      We have been to Ashwood but ages ago (20 years?!) – it’s right on the opposite side of the conurbation from us and quite a trek but I would love to see John’s Garden as well which is open on some Saturdays. Hoping to go next week 👍

  2. Noelle says:

    Ashwood’s breeding of Hellebores and their plants are tip too. Everything they develop is top of the crop as far as I am concerned. I’ve been to one their hellebore days and seen the plants in their glasshouses: quite a sight!

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    Good Hellebore tip, I don’t know what varieties I have as we inherited one and the other we’ve had for so many years that the label went years ago.

    • Cathy says:

      If you have had them some years they will not be ericsmithii or RD ones as they have only been bred recently, and the evergreen varieties are self-explanatory

  4. Heyjude says:

    I must confess that I only ever cut back the older and dying leaves on my hellebores! ‘Shrimps on the Barbie’ made me laugh! Who thinks of these names?

    • Cathy says:

      It’s only in the last few years I have given them a full trim, as I used to think it made them look naked, but now I think it sets the blooms off better. I know what you mean about names, but I did think this was especially apt as the flowers are such a distinctive colour 😁

  5. Six is just a number, subject to interpretation. The hellebore photos are lovely and inspire me to add some named varieties to my self sown rabble. Be patient with the clematis, they sometimes have an off year.

  6. lindakasmaty says:

    Lovely selection, and totally agree with your comments about Ashwood nurseries.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Grateful for your tip about tidying up the hellebore foliage. My H ‘Penny’s Pink’ looks pitiful this season, but if it survives I’ll remember your advice next year.

  8. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I can see that I am now amongst plantaholics and need to be careful! I haven’t the space, time, energy or cash to join you all but I love seeing the pictures!

  9. Cathy your collection of hellebore is divine: I love it. In the Coop Corner you have wonders: clematis, daffodils and hyacinths, I love them all. Lungworts are lovely. Cathy your garden is really beautiful and flowery. It must be delicious to walk around it and enjoy the jewels it has. Cathy I hope the golfer is fully recovered by now. Take good care of both of you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, there are so many lovely things in the garden at the moment, thank you. Best wishes to you and your Mother

  10. Anna says:

    I received a most well packed and healthy hellebore from Ashwoods too recently Cathy and read the same comprehensive leaflet. I wonder just what ‘Shrimps On The Barbie’ was guilty of to land itself with such an unfortunate name! Despite that it looks a most attractive plant.

  11. Cathy says:

    Shrimps on a Barbie!!! Nurseries/plant breeders are clever: I want one! That first hellebore is divine … such an unusual colour. Already wondering if I can get the BV to smuggle a little something over from Ashwoods!

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