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Posted: 27 Feb 2012

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Hellebores

Category: Balcony-Gardening | Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:35 am



( photo / image / picture from Britta's Garden )


Hellebores

On the market stood the flower seller. The morose one. In front of her quite a lot of fir branches, and many, many hellebores. A few were dug out and put in terracotta pots, and many jam jars were crammed full with bunches of flowers.
I love hellebores. In my garden the Helleborus orientalis flower from February to April gorgeously and develop into always thicker clumps. But the real pure white Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, that comes fittingly to Christmas time, that will not thrive properly in my garden. Maybe the soil lacks lime - so this variety always hits the road, sulking. "Don't try to delay a traveller", says a German proverb, and so I have abandoned the attempts to cultivate them.
With Christmas roses in vases you never know how they will react. I had some that flowered for over a week, and others that hung their head after one day, though the conditions seemed to be similar.
Now a florist told me not only to cut deeply into the ends of the stem but additionally to stick flower wire into their stem to make sure that water supply is guaranteed. The longer the stem, she said, the shorter they will last.
Swimming Christmas roses look beautiful in a plain white bowl: then you can look into the tender spotted blossoms and see the stout golden stamens - an interior that in the garden often remains hidden by the hanging heads.
It came as a surprise to me that Christmas roses belong to the family of buttercups (ranunculus), the crowfoot-family. Maybe that's why the orientalis likes my slightly wet soil.
Helleborus play an important role in herbal medicine, but from that I keep away: they are poisonous. 1,2 kilogram of their leaves will kill a horse, they say - but thank heaven horses don't come into my garden. And slugs seem to be immune against their poison...




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