Gardening Magazine

A Tidying of Hellebores

By Ozhene @papaver

I have often said that the garden often tells me what it wants me to do. I wander around as a prelude to starting gardening most weekends and sometimes I already know what I need to achieve and other times I am open to suggestion. After what feels like weeks (months) of rain we have had a few consecutive dry days. This feels unusual after the Autumn we have had and the Winter so far. The ground is still quite wet but there is no standing water at the moment and it is far less squelchy. Following the Christmas jollities it is good to get outside and get some fresh air again.

A tidying of hellebores

I often follow the same route as I wander around the garden. I usually wander first to the front garden. As I looked to see how Winter was treating it I noticed one of the hellebores in the front border was in flower. I stooped to look closer and say hello. Politeness costs nothing and if you do not praise plant achievements then they lose motivation and sulk. I might be projecting.....

I then wandered around to the back garden and thought how wet it still looked and how much the weeds and lawn is still growing. I stood in front of the Spring Border looking at how ready it was getting for Spring. This border holds the majority of the hellebores I grow. I let them self-seed and I sometimes pop in a new one and they generally bring me joy. I noted that buds were showing and I thought lovely that was and started to turn away.

A tidying of hellebores

Then I turned back, I realised I had not yet trimmed away the older leaves. Opinion is divided whether this is necessary/desirable/absolutely an insult to all gardeners whether to do it or not. I am in the 'if I get around to it, it will happen' camp. I looked at the leaves and felt the weight of the secateurs in my back pocket. 'Ok,' I announced to no-one in particular (the cats, ok I talk to the cats as I garden, I admit it.) 'I'm going in!!'

There was clipping. Careful clipping as hellebores are probably the one plant in my garden I appear to be allergic to. If I do not take care to keep my sleeves covering my arms I develop large red wheals that are seriously unattractive and more importantly, painful.

There was cutting back.

A tidying of hellebores

There were large piles of leaves to give testimony to my efforts.

and best of all

A tidying of hellebores

The buds now have space to breathe and grow

A tidying of hellebores

There is now visible all the weeds that were hiding under the leaves, this however, will be a job for another day ......

...... when the garden suggests it of course.

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