Today’s selection of pictures is not exactly wintry, but hardly spring. (What is the equivalent of ‘wintry’ for spring – surely not ‘springy’?) Continue reading “Warmer Shades of Brown in the Liminal Garden”
Starry Hellebores and Winter Protection
I loved how the speckled pink flowers of this hellebore looked like tumbling stars. By selecting the tumbling angle, and going in close, the image gives an impression of a thicker clump than it really was. In future years, it should be even more glorious. Continue reading “Starry Hellebores and Winter Protection”
Hellebore Hybrids: How Doubles Evolve
Although we think of hellebores as having petals, technically they are sepals, which accounts for their flowers’ longevity. This single hellebore is one of my favourites I’ve seen this year. Continue reading “Hellebore Hybrids: How Doubles Evolve”
Assessing The Beauty Of Hellebore Hybrids
A plant breeder has the unenviable task of deciding which hybrids to keep and which to discard. The nearest a photographer comes to that experience is when we are in a garden exploring a collection of hybrid plants, deciding which forms to capture.
The nodding habit of most hellebore hybrids forces us to bend and balance as we make our deliberations, lifting each flower head and looking inside. As a general rule, the more regular a pattern, the more photogenic the flower if we are aiming for a fresh look rather than artistic decay, but there are exceptions. Continue reading “Assessing The Beauty Of Hellebore Hybrids”
Green Flowers: Hellebores
Green flowers are not always as subtle as they might appear – some of them are very striking. Today I’m sharing pictures of some of my favourite green hellebores.
Helleborus argutifolius produces one sturdy stem thickly clustered with flowers and buds a few shades lighter than the darker green leaves, and with golden stamens. The flowers persist for weeks or even months as with all hellebores, eventually forming equally striking seed heads, pollinators permitting. Like Helleborus foetidus (below) this is widely grown in the UK and can be found in many winter gardens.
This particular Helleborus foetidus has dark, purple tinged foliage and pretty purple lines around the edges of the petals (or sepals). At a guess, it is part of the Wester Flisk group. H. foetidus is an architectural plant, not because of its height, but because of the stems of elegant, tiered buds that hang like bells above deep, palmate foliage. Continue reading “Green Flowers: Hellebores”
Winter Walk Around Bodnant Garden in Wales
Only last week I was bemoaning the lack of a Tardis to transport me to a snow-covered Bodnant Garden, near Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy, Wales. The universe did not send me a Tardis, but it did the next best thing. A friend asked us to check out the place his family came from – Dolgellau – and Bodnant just happened to be on our way home.
While the snow in the garden had long gone, heavy white shawls on the Snowdonia mountain range opposite gave Bodnant a wintry feeling. The 130 acres of garden give plenty of scope for walking: you really need some form of season ticket* to make the most of it all. Continue reading “Winter Walk Around Bodnant Garden in Wales”
In Praise Of Winter Gardens, Plus A Tip Or Two
I’m a big fan of winter gardens that make the most of plants that look good when herbaceous borders are expanses of mulch-covered dirt. Trees with white trunks such as this Betula utilis var jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) often feature, together with evergreens, light-reflecting grasses, red stemmed Cornus (dogwood), Skimmia, Hamamelis (witch hazel), flowering heather, hellebores, Bergenia, Cyclamen and winter flowering bulbs.
Plants like this seem to shrug off winter weather, but the current cold spell means that the hardiness of plants of all types is being tested in many UK and American gardens.
Some gardeners go to great lengths to keep tender plants alive, wrapping their pots up, covering them with some form of plant blanket, or moving them indoors. Others will only plant what grows. Many of us are somewhere in-between, willing to offer our plant treasures a helping hand if conditions are unusually bad, provided we know what to do.
Continue reading “In Praise Of Winter Gardens, Plus A Tip Or Two”