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Have you planted this year's hottest hellebore?

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’

John’s Garden

Helleborus x ballardiae 'Pink Frost'

Why you should plant it

A tailored, hugely floriferous plant, spring-blooming 'Pink Frost' is the hot hellebore of the year but almost slipped past me. In the search for as many different hellebores as possible to put in the garden, however, I finally came across it. There are so many species and varieties of hellebores around now that it's fun to put a group with contrasting foliage (spiky, silvery, elongated and elegant, cut-leaf) together. This one resembles H. 'Ivory Prince,' which has become a great favourite in recent years. It has the same silvery tones in the leaves, but outward-facing pink rather than white blooms.

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Where to plant it

In fairly humus-rich soil with good drainage and a bit of shade overhead. The only work involves cutting off any dead leaves in spring, although even that isn't always necessary. A plant that looks great with hostas, ferns and sedges, it should have plenty of space (it can grow up to 15 inches in height and has a spread of 24 inches). Never let it dry out completely.

What it offers

Hellebores take a while to establish and then they are unkillable. They have magnificent evergreen foliage and will mound up in the most impressive way. Hellebores tend to come out so early in spring that some of them will bloom just above the snow, while others will bloom in summer through autumn; some will even re-bloom, although this is rare. Plant hellebores with early-blooming bulbs such as Eranthis hyemalis (so-called winter aconite) for a great contrast. This one might be hardy to Zone 5, but, if in doubt, put it in a planter: Hellebores are great container plants.

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