With the benefit of experience

I do not want to revisit old posts too often or this blog is likely to get boring (well more boring than it already is) but I think it is worth taking a second look at some plants I have grown. It means that I can reinforce my thoughts about them and I can be honest with you about whether they are good plants or not. Of course, just because a plant thrives in my garden or conditions does not mean that it will do well with you and just because I think a plant is attractive it does not mean that you will – anyone that reads my posts anything like regularly will know that I have strange tastes at times.

On which point I would like to thank those of you who have decided follow this blog; there have been quite a few recently and I thank you for that. Welcome! You will see that I always try my best to answer comments so feel free if you agree or disagree.

So back to a couple of plants.

‘Pirouette’ is a hellebore that was planted five years or so ago. It is a H. x ericsmithii hybrid and possibly not that common any more as newer hybrids have been produced. The problem with the rush to produce more, sterile, patented hellebores is that, like petunias, their commercial lifespan will be short. But I think that the success of this plant should give an idea of how this and other hybrids behave in the garden. These three are planted in part shade and in rather heavy soil that can be waterlogged in winter – far from ideal. They get very little attention, to my shame, and yet they have done amazingly.

The pink is a bit dusky and the foliage is not as mottled as some of the newer ones but it is in bloom for months. It is neat, always looks decent and judged on colour for effort is just brilliant.

Geoff’s rating


Garden rating


For more detail, look at the older post.

Helleborus ‘Piroutte’


Narcissus ‘Elka’ was the feature of a post (see below). I mentioned how I had planted it in some pots but I also planted some in grass. Here it has done very well and is the perfect size for smaller lawns and also blooms quite early, which is useful if you do not want untidy grass for too long. It blooms after most crocus but before the snake’s head fritillaries in the lawn which are showing buds but no blooms yet. In another area I planted blue ‘blanda’ anemones last autumn and I think these would be a nice combination – shame I only just thought of it!

‘Elka’ is a small but vigorous daff and a nice colour that makes a change from sharp yellows.

Geoff’s rating


Garden rating


Read more here

Narcissus ‘Elka’

‘Rapture’ is a daffodil I have mentioned before (see the link below) but I thought it deserved a reprise because it has done very well. It is planted in grass and has slowly increased over the past six years. But slow increase is what we want in grass – if it is a cultivar that splits too much you get a mass of leaves and no flowers. The nice thing about this daff is the bright colour, perky cyclamineus form and the fact that it often produces a second, later flower from the bulb, giving an extended flowering period. Generally these bulbs in grass do not get any feeding, though they are allowed to die down naturally. This year, when they started to emerge, I fed with a high potash feed to help make sure they do not decline and also to give a boost to some old daffs that are decades old and need a tonic. I gave ‘Rapture’ a 10/10 last time and I will not change that.

Narcissus ‘Rapture’



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9 Comments on “With the benefit of experience”

  1. mitzybricker
    March 30, 2020 at 11:09 am #

    Beautiful flowers!

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia bluerockhorses.com

  2. rozpicsnz
    March 30, 2020 at 9:45 pm #

    Oh wow – this gives me confidence to plant some hellebores in my new garden. I was afraid they wouldn’t like the, sometimes waterlogged, clay soil in one area of my garden but you’ve assuaged my fears. Only problem now is the garden centres aren’t open just at the time when hellebores would be coming into the shops 😦 But gardening teaches us patience.

    • thebikinggardener
      March 31, 2020 at 9:02 am #

      I am glad it has proved useful. Garden centres will be open eventually 🙂

  3. Paddy Tobin
    March 30, 2020 at 11:14 pm #

    I would never have thought of putting the anemones in grass as I’d have felt they wouldn’t deal with the competition. They look well.

    • thebikinggardener
      March 31, 2020 at 9:02 am #

      thank you. I think they do best in sun when in grass – I saw a pool of blue from them in a small lawn once. Here I have planted pink anemones with some white daffs and they have very slowly increased over five years but they are pretty shady. I think these, in sun, will do better.

  4. Thom Hickey
    March 31, 2020 at 10:59 am #

    Thanks. My visits here filled with uplifting sights.

    Regards Thom

  5. tonytomeo
    April 1, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

    Just like Bo Derekj!
    I still don’t like hellebores; but I believe your rating. (They just don’t do well here.)

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