Thursday, 13 February 2014

A quinquennial

I was talking to a delivery man the other day, who was looking at my garden in disbelief as it was his idea of a total nightmare.  We were laughing whilst we talked as his idea of gardening (his back yard is totally cobbled apparently) is totally different to mine.  He explained that he had no time for gardening but that he would like it better if there was a plant that would grow to full maturity and flower in one day.  At this point I said to him that he must clearly think me strange as I was currently over-excited as some seedlings I had been watching for five years were finally flowering.  He agreed with me, he did think I was very strange.

Truth is I have been waiting five years for some hellebores to flower.  The parent plants were planted out in the Spring Border in first year of living in this house and after their first winter they duly flowered and set seed and little hellebore-lets started to appear.  Now I have watched many gardening programmes and they usually tell you to carefully pot up these little seedlets and cherish them and then one day they will flower and you can decide if you want to keep them or not.  Hellebores are wonderfully promiscuous, they inter-mingle with not a care in the world and so there is no guarantee they will come true from seed.  You can get all sorts of mixtures in the flowers, some you may like, some you may not; by growing them in pots you can decide whether they are pleasing to you and discard any that do not fit your idea of beauty.
This is all fine if you are not as lazy as I am.  Why bother potting up these little loves carefully, then have to remember to water them assiduously, then wait for them to flower in several years time to just look at the flower, say 'nah' and bin them.  What a waste of time and effort!  I prefer the live and let live approach.  The seedlings were not causing any real trouble where they were so most I just let grow.  I moved a couple into the woodland border, largely because I wanted hellebores in that border and also so that I would be certain that the hellebores in that border would be my own special seedlings.  They could be the plant discovery of the decade so I needed to keep an eye on them.

As the years pass and more and more seedlings appear, some I just edit out whilst weeding and others have also been dotted around further down in the Conservatory Border.  This year, suddenly, joy of joys go tell it on the mountain, buds appeared.  Now I was on serious hellebore-watch.
The buds in themselves are rather beautiful.  There is a delicacy in hellebores, the petals look like they are crafted from fine porcelain.

Then they opened - the first one is very freckly
The second one is very delicately lightly freckled around the centre.  I like this one a lot.
I have declared this one the 'Blackberry Hellebore', you might think it is a known variety, already copyrighted and sold with a different name and this may indeed be so; as I am not selling this one and it is never leaving my garden I choose to call it otherwise.  I am rather proud of it.

11 comments :

  1. The Blackberry Hellebore is very special.
    I have some in year two of seedling growth, a bit of a wait yet for Hellebore rusty duck!

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  2. Ok, I admit, I had to Google quinquennial for its meaning.!
    I've got a slightly similar situation in my garden where several Hellebores planted when I first moved in, set seed, and seedlings emerged, now those seedlings have reached flowering stage, and quite frankly I'm disappointed.

    So far I have plain white insipid flowers which look quite ordinary.
    Time to go shopping i think.!

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  3. What a lovely post and yes they are stunning flowers

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  4. They do say patience is a virtue - one I don't possess sadly :(
    The Blackberry Hellebore is quite lovely - I'm sure it will become one of your prize possessions.

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  5. Your seedlings are beautiful, no wonder you want to keep them! I don't have the patience to grow them on for so long!

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  6. I'd be bored silly with a plant that grew and flowered in a day. I could wait five years for a bush or a tree but doubt I'd wait for a hellebore. As for naming your flowers - yay!

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  7. The Blackberry Hellebore is beautiful. I do like your blogs very much :-)

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  8. Well, they say variety is the spice of life, but goodness, wanting something to grow and flower within a day?! I love your newly-named hellebore. Actually, I love all of them, and I am glad that I am not the only one with such a laissez fair attitude to hellebore seedlings. I brought a couple from my previous garden with me, they might even flower next year, I like the not-knowing.

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  9. oh I do like this blackberry hellebore....definitely worth waiting for.....

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  11. I really love hellebores and bought one yesterday to put in our garden - I'm hoping to see lots of seedlings spreading from it. Even I'm not impatient to want things to grow and flower immediately but 5 years would be a challenge...
    Cathy

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