Updated: Apr 20
I can’t stand having cold, wet feet and the last wet weeks have not been kind to my extremities. Despite wellies and two layers of socks my feet are constantly chilled and damp. For better or worse, having a dog forces us out each morning. Bertie gets shrouded in a sheet of plastic, and I throw on my almost waterproof parka with the furry hood up, so that my peripheral vision is blinded by fake fur. It’s quite an ordeal just getting out the door. One small upside is that en route we roll past the most delightful bed of hellebores: huddled together, heads down, swaying in the wind and waiting like the rest of us for this rain to end. They are a heartening site on a bleak day.
Once I had my eye out for hellebores, I spotted them everywhere. Apart from snowdrops and crocuses they don’t have much to compete with in February. If a nine-year-old were to draw a flower from their imagination, they might draw something that resembled a hellebore: nice solid stem, lovely green leaves and five rounded petals with a delicate point at each tip. I love the colours too, the perfect accompaniment to a winter wardrobe: silvery whites, cool pinks, and deep burgundies. Some hellebores even have marbled petals which are really quite special. Whilst there are endless varieties, one thing is certain, there is nothing gaudy about a hellebore.
I so coveted the hellebores on my morning walk, and with little going on in terms of flowers right now, we planted some flowering hellebores in our back garden.
Tips for growing hellebores:
Easy to Grow
Thrive in rich, well-draining spoil
Plant in a sheltered spot (away from cold winds in the winter, and too much sun in the summer)
Plant as deeply as possible as Hellebores have deep roots
Feed in early Spring and September with compost
Divide in early Autumn, and propagate the seeds
Remove old leaves in December to make way for new growth
You can grow Hellebores in containers for one season, but plant out in your borders once the flowers have faded
It is possible to buy flowering hellebores in garden centres and some supermarkets at this time of the year. They are not cheap, but they are perennial and can be propagated easily. I can’t recommend them enough, they give me something to look at amidst all the grey and brown, and they almost warm my toes!
What’s been going on this week
Last weekend’s rainfall was so bad that we were housebound. Whilst Bertie napped, we lit a fire and spent the afternoon doing a jigsaw puzzle that had been hiding unopened in a cupboard for years. It was compulsive and ridiculously satisfying. It even got a bit competitive (on my side). What was so lovely was our meandering chatter as we worked on the puzzle. It was very compatible.