Ian Baylis asks “Is it too late for Christmas?”

This week in February, I took delivery of two brand new and very exciting varieties of Hellebore, commonly called the “Lenten Rose”.  Mistakenly the common name of “Christmas Rose” tends to be given to all Hellebores, although it should only apply to Helleborus niger species.

The new varieties were purchased from Hillier Nurseries on my most recent visit of their nursery.

First up we have Helleborus orientalis “Anja Oudolf”, named after the wife of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.

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This is a hardy herbaceous perennial with slightly serrated dark green evergreen leaves.

Each plant produces many saucer-shaped flowers with a nodding habit. As a juvenile flower, they are pale creamy-yellow, veined and edged in deep rose-pink.  As the flowers develop and age, they become more yellow in coloration.

The other Hellebore that I saw, and just had to have, is brand new and still under trial with Hilliers.

Called Helleborus orientalis “Madame Lemonnier” this variety produces large dark glossy green, evergreen, leaves with serrated edges. The large flowers are outward facing and dusky-pink in colour, with golden stamens. This plant gets to around 50-60cm width, so will look absolutely stunning when naturalised in the garden or planted in a container.

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In my humble opinion this is a truly stunning variety that sets new standards for Hellebore breeders. Enjoy!

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