Eleanor Perenyis loved Dahlias, and when a friend implied that they were a little less than tasteful, she defending them by saying "But to me they are sumptuous, not vulgar, and I love their colors, their willingness to bloom until the frost kills them and, yes, their assertiveness. I do like big flowers when they are also beautiful".
I was reminded of this when I looked again at my recent purchases of new Hellebore cultivars, they too are sumptuous with flowers of rich colouration and complex structure. They have come a long way from the forms they would have in the wild and although many people abhor anything that differs from this primal state, I still seek out the variations that Nature can supply, and find them so extraordinary and beautiful.
But I suppose I want it all, as I also love the simplicity of the species and primary hybrids, they are at their best in my garden at the moment and I decided to look at them again as a group.
We often see Helleborus hybridus displayed by floating the flowers in a bowl of water, but not so often this group and so I gave them a chance to strut their stuff in the same manner.
In the picture below I've put together H. niger (also pictured in header), H. niger 'Praecox', H. nigercor, H. foetidus and H. 'Ivory Prince', and although they have a simple palette of colour and structure they still make a lovely composition.
A composition of Hellebore species and primary hybrids.
David taking the last of our plants (Helleborus "Ivory Prince') to be sold at our local Hort Soc.