Plant of the Week

Helleborus foetidus:

‘Stinking Hellebore’ is the unappetising common name for this attractive evergreen perennial which is native to parts of the UK and Europe.  For most of the year, it has attractive dark green foliage; its deeply divided palmate leaves are finely serrated and seldom seem to suffer from the black spot which more commonly affects some Hellebore hybrids.

Now, at a time of year where elsewhere in the garden growth has mostly ceased and the process of decay is underway, pale green clusters rise above the foliage and are breaking opening to reveal the flowers.

helebourus 3

We have the straight species growing in the deep and constant shade of the great Yews in the corner of the Flower Garden where they grow alongside Hart’s Tongue Ferns (Asplenium scolopendrium) and Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima) with its seed pods splitting with bright orange seeds.  Elsewhere on a bank in the Spring Garden, we grow a cultivar named ‘Wester Flisk.’  This has a reddish tinge to the stems and leaves and this colouring complements the dark red tones taken on by the neighbouring Bergenias at this time of year.

Words by Rob, photograph by Martin

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