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A Garden Worthy Hellebore

1/3/2022 12:07 pm


Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’


I frequently call them “hellebore weeds” because of their tendency to seed around and have children that do not resemble their parents.  There is one, though, that I do not regard with disdain.  Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’, plant patent 15615.  The HGC stands for the Hellebore Gold Collection, a Dutch series of improved niger cultivars.  It is reported to be the largest of the collection, standing 8-12 inches tall with a width of 12-15 inches.


This tissue-cultured plant was selected for all the attributes that I admire.  The bright white flowers shine across the garden from mid-December into spring, holding their faces upright so that you don’t have to get down on the ground to see them.  They display lovely yellow stamens. The evergreen foliage is strong.  Although well drained soil is recommended, the ones in my garden have faired very well in average, clay soil, although in a slightly raised location.  They are growing in full sun instead of the shady site recommended and have not complained.


Hellebores in general are distasteful to deer.  While the common hellebore varieties spread madly in my woodland garden, this lovely and welcome plant has so far refused to multiply.  If you find it in the nursery, buy as many as you can afford.  - Karin Guzy


Photo credit:  Heuger Gartenbaubetriebe