0 Decorate the garden with Helleborus the Winter garden jewel

Bring joy to the garden this New Year with Helleborus the jewel of the Winter garden.

DDomoney and Helleborus

Sometimes known as the Christmas or Lenten rose, Helleborus flowers reliably from late Winter to early Spring and is the Horticultural Trades Association's (HTA) Plant of the Month for January 2015.

Its elegant flowers and attractive leathery leaves brighten the garden during the cooler months, bringing a lift of colour from pale green to white, cream to pink, and purple, to almost black.

Helleborus compromises of approximately 20 species of herbaceous, evergreen, perennial flowering plants. They are often used for decorative purposes and their resistance to frost and tolerance of shady conditions makes them a popular choice of garden plant for this time of year. Favourite varieties include, Helleborus foetidus, Helleborus niger and Helleborus hybridus.

They need to be planted in heavy, rich, limey soil that won't dry out in summer months. Their leaves die down in June or July, after which the plants should be kept cool and shaded until they begin to grow again in early spring. They are also wildlife friendly and are a valuable source of pollen for early bees. They also make a good houseplant.

FD6229 Helleborus Rosemary (p)

Best planted in herbaceous borders and in areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees, Helleborus sit beautifully with snowdrops, Primula, and Pulmonaria. Shrubs like, Shrubby Cornus often grown for its coloured stems which are brightest in winter, and Mahonia, a popular winter-flowering shrub grown for its bright yellow flowers, are also particularly complementary.

TV gardener David Domoney is the celebrity champion for Helleborus this month. With a keen passion for horticulture, David creates garden designs for the RHS shows, fronts TV programmes such as 'Love your Garden' and is the resident garden expert on ITV's This Morning programme'. He also pioneered 'Cultivation Street' a national campaign to bring communities and neighbours together, transforming front gardens and community gardens by improving the place they live in through people, plants and pride.

David said: "Flowering Hellebores make you wonder at the beauty and resilience of nature as they open beautiful flowers in the depth of winter. The diversity of the colour and blooms together with integrated shaped emerald green foliage across many varieties make this a perfect first choice as the calendar year starts".

Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA's Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month.

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