My five-year-old niece Grace has pneumonia, poor tyke, so today Lucas and I made her a get well card and picked her a bunch of flowers from the garden. There wasn’t much to choose from in bloom at the moment but I think we put together a fairly respectable mix of fragrant ‘Erlicheer’, some straggly scented pink stock and hellebores in shades of pink, cream, lime and burgundy.
Last winter I put in 50 hellebores in a massed planting under a grove of silver birches at the end of our driveway – and they’re just beautiful right now. In my city garden, I planted loads of hellebores under a row of Michelia ‘Mixed Up Miss’ trees, but they struggled for moisture and invariably died. It’s a different story here: not only are they all covered in bloom, while I was stomping around them with my secateurs this morning I noticed dozens and dozens of self-sown seedlings popping up too. And free plants are just the best plants, aren’t they?
(Grace was pretty chuffed with her flowers, and with the wee delivery boy. Lucas is her partner in cousin crime.)