Tag Archives: Hellebore foetidus

Heart of Flowers

Where would we be without Hellebores at this time of year?

The race is on and I’m still trying to grab all those little weed seedlings, springing up right before my very eyes.  In between some more major jobs, I can be found kneeling down and combing over the ground, patiently removing them with my hand fork.  I remember an old allotmenteer commenting once on my weeding stance ‘What are you doing scrabbling around down there like a chicken in dirt? You need a hoe’  Well, he had a point.  If the garden plants were set out in nice neat rows like his vegetable patch, I’d be the first one to grab a hoe.  As it is,  I have to be more discerning..

For example, we enjoy growing forget-me-nots which are annual self seeders. At this time of year they look like this:

for the last couple of years we have been inundated with this:

Valerianella locusta, otherwise known as Lamb’s lettuce.

Close up you can see the differences in colour, leaf shape and veining but faced with a patch of both, you have to get really quite close to tell them apart:

Weeding them out can  drive you crazy if you allow it, I actually find the process quite meditative.

When we were not scrabbling around like chickens last week, we were doing this:

Still pruning roses

Cutting down Miscanthus

and transplanting snowdrops around…


Coppicing the willows and dogwood

and taking cuttings.  Making bundles for later use as plant supports

and most importantly enjoying the garden, both outside

Cornus mas

Hellebore foetidus

AND IN… (all very fragrant)


Euphorbia myrsinites


Spotted laurel




Just as the early bird catches the worm….

so  the early flower attracts the bee..

Interestingly I have only ever just glanced at these Hellebores, absolutely enjoying the lime fresh flowers against the dark soil and taking in their early value in the Spring garden.

Taking more of an interest and a bit more time, I couldn’t believe the bee activity they created – particularly for the big fat early bumble bees.

Big -up Hellebore foetidus, the ‘stinking’ hellebore, a member of the buttercup family – Ranunculaceae.

Actually it isn’t noticeably malodorous, self seeds quite easily without being a nuisance, is an evergreen and of great value to the Spring garden and in Summer makes a great ‘foil’ for other plants providing a dark green backdrop and companion plant to nasturtiums for example.

All in all, I love it.