Flower of the Month: January

The hellebore is one of the earliest blooms to be spotted in the garden, appearing from late winter to early spring.  H. niger is a semi-evergreen perennial to 30cm, with pedately lobed, leathery, dark green leaves and, despite the name, the flowers are usually pure white or pink-flushed white, bowl-shaped flowers up to 8cm in width. Known commonly as the ‘Christmas Rose’ it usually flowers earlier than H. orientalis cultivars, often in January or February, but mine has sometimes not flowered until March. They self-seed freely and they dislike being disturbed.

The main Hellebores to be cultivated by gardeners are the Lenten Rose varieties (Helleborus orientalis) producing large saucer-shaped flowers in a wide range of colour forms from white to pink, plum and deep blackish-purple, often conspicuously spotted reddish-purple. They will bloom from late January onwards.

They love being in dappled sunlight and need no more than a few hours a day which is why the perfect location is underneath deciduous trees or scattered in a woodland garden. Remove the old blackened leaves and allow the new growth and buds to emerge. They do not require a lot of fertiliser, but do need protecting from slugs. Though having said that mine do seem to survive slug attacks reasonably well.

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Beautiful images of beautiful flowers

    1. Heyjude says:

      Many thanks MM 🙂

  2. I suppose hellebores would be winter flowering plants here too. I must have a look for them. Every time I see a photo I love their pretty colours and shape.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The shape and size of the flowers are lovely, but they do tend to hang their heads downwards so good to plant in a raised bed or wall as mine are or a slope.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Should be a few more to choose from next month!

      1. Good, love flowers 🌺

  3. pommepal says:

    Lovely to see this splash of colour in winter

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have several of the white ones – all from seeds of the original plant, but have recently bought three H.orientalis. No idea of the colours so I shall have to wait a year or two to fond out! Gardening is a game of patience 🙂

      1. pommepal says:

        Well done with seed saving. Definitely patience needed

  4. Heide says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen this flower before — and I can’t imagine a more beautiful introduction than the one you’ve given us here.

  5. restlessjo says:

    Glorious, Jude! I do love these. 🙂 🙂 But I’m not coming back to all that ice and snow.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Haha… I can’t blame you. Even had some snow/sleet here this morning, but it swiftly moved east and northwards leaving us with a cold but sunny afternoon.

      1. restlessjo says:

        Saw the forecast and shivered. 🙂 🙂 Lots of overnight rain here for Becky. A gentle walk today, maybe with beach…

        1. Heyjude says:

          No walking here today! Bitterly cold and a very lazy wind, as my mother would have said 🙂

        2. restlessjo says:

          I haven’t looked at my photos but we did make it to the beach this afternoon. That lovely, delicate white broom is in full flower 🙂 🙂

        3. Heyjude says:

          Ah, I remember broom from South Africa, we had some lovely red and white flowering kind 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Elaine.

  6. BeckyB says:

    Gorgeous . . . . I have not looked after mine for years and so they are not looking so good these days, and with not being there either most Januarys I guess I am probably not going to doing anything about it anytime soon! Thank goodness I can enjoy yours instead xx

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well they love to stay in one place and gently seed around so you should have a very nice clump by now.

      1. BeckyB says:

        I’ll check when we return!

  7. Su Leslie says:

    These are lovely Jude; both the flowers and the photos.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Su. Sadly not all belong to me though I have just bought three of the Lenten variety.

  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Very beautiful, especially the very dark variety 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I used to like the dark smoky blues but now I prefer the deep pink and the yellow ones, though those are rarer and cost a fortune to buy!

  9. Such beautiful flowers! Hope they smell as lovely as they look!

    1. Heyjude says:

      No smell unfortunately. You just have to admire the pretty faces 🙂

  10. Robert says:

    Beautiful flowers

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Robert. They are a lovely sight in winter months.

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