A miracle has happened in my garden again! One of my Helleborus orientalis is flowering again! It might not sound like such a miracle to you, but firstly; hellebores are winter flowering plants and in the UK usually flowers from late December to March. Secondly, my unusual, summer flowering hellebore has already flowered this summer! It started producing flowers in mid July, and if you have a look at my post from 1st August you will see the flowers from the first stalk – and that’s what this plant usually produce; one stalk with 5-8 flowers…that is if it flowers in the summer at all, it doesn’t do that every year.
This year this particular hellebore produced one stalk in July, and then 5 weeks later came up with not one but two more flower stalks! As you can see from this photo, the stalk to the left has dark pink flowers with specks and the stalk to the right has much paler pink flowers – all from the same plant. I find these flowers really fascinating and the fact that they in the winter last for weeks before they fade is an important bonus. They don’t last that long during the summer; depending on the temperature they can fade within a good week or last for maybe 2-3 weeks, but they last for longer than most that flowers in my garden during mid-summer so not bad anyway :-) Click on the thumbnail photos below to get a larger version of these beautiful flowers.
Hellebores are often called Christmas or Lenten Rose, because they flower around Christmas. Hellebores are renowned for their tolerance of drought and neglect, although they truly thrive when grown in a moist, but well-drained soil. They are very sensitive to poor drainage, so be sure your soil drains well. Hellebores are primarily European natives, growing in open meadows in Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and even China, where the deciduous species Helleborus thibetanus can be found. While naturally a full sun plant, Hellebores make superb specimens for the light woodland garden. Hellebores are often found native in alkaline soils, but adapt without a blink to acid woodland soils. As for fertility, Hellebores need nothing more than a rich, highly organic soil, amended as needed, with an organic fertiliser. And for the lazy gardener, or for those like me who don't splash out on expensive products if it is not necessary; my Hellebores have never seen a drop of commercial fertilisers.
I have a few more or less unusual plants in my garden, but nothing really spectacular I guess, however, some of my plants are performing in a rather unusual way, with annuals surviving year after year, and the hellebore is not the only winter flowering plant that flowers in the summer; I also have a Viburnum which flowers early February and usually again in August. That actually has an explanation; as by August the Viburnum seldom gets enough water, it will start to drop its leaves and therefore think it is winter. And wintertime means flower time, and I get two flower periods per year instead of one. But I know that if the bush had got enough water during the summer, and not lost its leaves and subsequently started flowering – the flowers the following winter would have been more spectacular and possibly lasted longer. It can really stress the bush to keep on flowering twice a year, especially when it is supposed to put on growth and get lush during the summer, so it’s best to keep the plants hydrated. This explanation is not the reason behind my hellebore’s summer blush though, as that area is kept well hydrated and the other two hellebores I have never flowers in the summer, only this one to the right. I have no idea why this happens, have tried to Google it, but didn’t get any hits. Am I the only one with a hellebore that keeps flowering every winter and also most summers? :-)
I am going to finish tonight with a picture from my garden, showing how much everything has grown since last picture. Especially the Dregea on the arch in the middle of the picture has grown into monstrous proportions, so much so that I am afraid it is going to bring down the whole metal support. This is the second arch I have; the first one broke down from the weight of the Dregea and from becoming corroded down at the ground. This one was new a few years ago and it was a real pain to untwine all the lianas from the old arch and then twine them back onto the new one! This arch is bigger, sturdier and powder-coated so it is supposed to last for many years – that is if the plant doesn’t bring it down with its sheer weight…Some serious pruning is on the schedule for January next year, I have promised myself that this time I am pruning it down completely; the whole lot is coming down! Or maybe I will save ONE liana going up and across, but that will be it :-)
This is it for tonight too, more photos next time…. if we now could get a few days without rain in the afternoon…I don’t mind if it rains early in the morning – I am asleep then, but between 1 pm and 7 pm I would really like nice, warm, sunny weather for the next 6 weeks. Anyone listening?? See you soon!