With spring making its first, faltering, though large, steps* – sorry to readers on the east coast of the USA for sounding so chipper about the weather – I should be posting about crocus or suchlike and not be harping on about hellebores still. But I just wanted to report on last year’s plantings of H. niger, the Christmas rose. This can be a tricky plant to make feel content and I have to admit that I have often seen it dwindle away before my eyes and I had almost given up on it. But I put some in the new beds I made in autumn 2013 and I have been astonished at their growth. They were ‘ordinary’ unnamed garden centre plants in 1 litre pots and were put in the new beds along with Japanese maples, winter heathers, euonymus and snowdrops among other things and the beds are in 3/4 shade, partly from an enormous oak. The beds were made in a lawn and the soil was awful – well so is the lawn with 50% moss! The lawn was sprayed off and dug in and lots of mushroom compost added and the bed was thickly mulched with same.
Since November there have been a few flowers but now the plants are going crazy with dozens if not hundreds of buds pushing through the dense, healthy, dark green leaves. Perhaps, after decades of trying to get the conditions right I have finally managed to get it right. Whether it is the masses of humus, the shady spot or the lime from the mushroom compost I do not know but I am grateful.
*Tuesday was warm and sunny and springlike. Wednesday morning was lashing rain but by lunch was glorious sunshine and there was real warmth in the sun. This morning is rain again but due to clear up later.