discovering hellebore


Today I’m going to tell you all about my morning with Laura the owner of “The Unsual Garden” where I had the pleasure of discovering new varieties of hellebore. I met Laura in September in Mantua where she was showing off her recent crop of tulip, daffodil and iris bulbs. I immediately bought some colorful tulips and daffodil and so now I can’t wait to see them bloom. In the last few months I’ve been keeping in touch with her in order to know when the hellebore was ready to blossom. Usually they start blossoming in December but this year it was delayed due to lack of rain and the intense cold. Finally the message arrived and so I jumped into the car and went to see her.

Twenty years ago Laura and two families bought a piece of land where they built their homes. They left the garden unfenced so as to enjoy the countryside at its best. On clear days they have an amazing view over lake Garda and the nearby mountains and it’s a haven of peace and tranquility.

In spite of the greyish day, the garden had a magical atmosphere. I was immediately attracted to an impressive tree boasting tiny red apples and to delicate bunches of Viburnum dawn foresi. Laura was the perfect host accompanying me to explore her garden, pointing out the different varieties of hellebore scattered all over the garden. I even discovered some uncommon ones such as: hellebore picotee with delicate burgundy veining, a polka dot variety, a doubled petal one and even a blue one (I couldn’t resist buying one of the blue ones and I can’t wait to see it bloom).

Having spend a wonderful morning with Laura I’m anxious to return in April when the garden will be in full bloom.

Just a word about caring for your hellebore. It’s a hardy perennial, rustic plant and starts blooming at the beginning of winter until April. This plant likes half shade, and in April when it finishes blossoming it’s essential to keep it in the shade until autumn. In the Uk and northern America it‘s also known as the Christmas rose as it was traditionally used as a Christmas decoration. The most common variety is the Helleborus niger with its pure white flowers.

Hope you’re keeping busy in the garden as spring is on its way!

See you next time!