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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Three double hellebores: New from Gardening Express

Posted by Graham Rice on 24 Mar 2011 at 11:19 AM


Until recently, almost all the improvements in hellebores came from Britain. But now good new varieties are coming from Germany and, in particular, hellebore specialists across the Atlantic are also making their mark.

For it’s now the Americans, or rather one American in particular, who is leading the way with double flowered hellebores and her varieties are now becoming available in Britain. Known as the Winter Jewels™ Series, three of the best in various pink shades, all double, have just become available here in Britain from Gardening Express.

The flowers of ‘Peppermint Ice’ (left in the picture) are pale pink with a crimson picotee edge and with the veins picked out in crimson. ‘Cotton Candy’ (centre) is pale pink, with slightly darker picotee edges, and some of the flowers have a crimson heart, some have a green heart and a few may be dusted with speckles. ‘Berry Swirl’ (right) comes in a range of pink shades, from rose pink to pale pink with dark picotee edges to dark pink with smokey overtones.

These gorgeous double hellebores are all raised by Marietta O’Byrne who, with her husband Ernie, runs Northwest Garden Nursery in Oregon. Marietta is one of the world’s leading hellebore breeders, specialising in the double forms of Helleborus x hybridus that so captivate gardeners whenever they see them. All her varieties are derived from premier British plants with which she began work many years ago and her latest three varieties are now available from Gardening Express.

All are happy in the same conditions that other hellebores enjoy: a rich soil and part or light shade suits them just fine.

Order plants of ‘Berry Swirl’ from Gardening Express
Order plants of ‘Cotton Candy’ from Gardening Express
Order plants of ‘Peppermint Ice’ from Gardening Express

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