H is for heather, hellebore and hosta

Hellebores and heather

Hellebores and heather

Tough and resilient, heathers are a good choice for the part-time gardener who wants color, ground cover and an undemanding companion plant for the showstoppers. It’s hardy enough to forgive most kinds of abuse. I’ve torn it apart in a hurry and in curiosity (can it possibly survive…..THIS….?), winding the roots I sawed into a tight knot and shoving them unceremoniously into a pot with minimal compost, and it still took. The plant has to be divided as it’s been there for 10 years and needs cutting back, like all the perennials, at least once a year. By periodically chopping some for vases and giving them as gifts instead of bought bouquets, I’ve recovered the cash the heather’s density cost me. (It stopped rainwater and light getting through to the first batch of tissue-like tulips I planted beside it.)

In a 'u' shape from the top left hand corner: Fatsia, erysimum Bowles Mauve, hosta, pansy, cordyline.

In a ‘u’ shape from the top left hand corner: Fatsia, erysimum Bowles Mauve, hosta, pansy, cordyline.

Hellebores are spring-flowering, slattern-like plants (flopsy stems and no regard for perfume – they’ve not invested evolution time in producing a discernible fragrance nor the good grace to feign an upright disposition). But, on the positive side, they come back year after year, and produce blossoms around Easter, hence their other name of ‘pasque roses’. We’ve pinkish ones (that’re usually called mauve 🙂 ) that can be seen with the roses in the first picture and whitish ones (that’re usually called green).


I love Hostas. So do slugs. I’d been expecting three specimen plants about three feet in diameter and height by now but the slugs have won this one.  I’m too traumatized to talk about it.


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