Also known as Corsican hellebore or holly-leaved hellebore. That description, ‘holly leaved’, could put you off. Don’t let it, it isn’t prickly, rather that the handsome leathery leaves have a quietly serrated edge. They also have an almost metallic sheen which perfectly sets off the clusters of palest apple-green, cup-shaped flowers which are very long lasting. They will still be there as spring drifts into summer. If you want it to self-seed then leave the ageing flowerheads; if not, there comes a time when you will want to tidy it up (usually around mid May) when you can cut off each of these, right down to the base.
This hellebore, one of the largest and most imposing of the genus, is native to both Corsica and Sardinia. In Corsica, it can be found in many different habitats, from shoreline, through woodland to mountainside. I have seen it growing among shaded boulders where it clearly relishes escaping from the heat; and interestingly, in our garden, it chooses to self-seed happily in an area of east-facing paving.
This evergreen perennial, attaining from 60 to 100 cms in height, is clearly very adaptable, and for simplicity of planting, needs nothing more than a swathe of snowdrops at its feet.
NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.
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