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March 17, 2011

Spring Flowers in our Front Garden

by Val Reynolds

March 17, 2011

Of the three hellebore plants planted two years ago one is growing well with the most beautiful white blooms.

Hellebore niger

Because hellebores are a very important pollen and nectar source in early spring bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to them in large numbers. Cross pollination occurs and the resulting seed can often produce really unappealing colours, from a dirty grey  to a dirty green. So the best plan for propagation is to split the plants.

Looking up how to do that on the web it seems that dividing the plants once the flowers have been pollinated is the best time. However as our plant has only been in the ground for two years we’ll not divide it for another year or two. Maybe we’ll look for another plant/s in the meantime. The other point to consider is to remove the seed pods before they ripen so you avoid any unwanted plants from germinating. Some people like to sow some of the seed just to discover what cross they do get, sometimes with interesting results. It is of course possible to purchase seed and/or buy plants from growers. We might just get some seed – Thompson & Morgan are selling 40 seeds for 66p! Or 5 bare root plants at £9.99.

Some of the buds on the magnolia stellata were encouraged to emerge in the recent warm day/s. Now we’re fearful of a hard frost damaging them – you can see some flowers were caught lightly a few days ago. I think it was 2005 when the whole tree was frosted one night and it was heartbreaking to see next day the glorious display of blossom all tinged with brown. So we will just have to keep our fingers crossed, or make the decision to put a covering on if we get a forecast of frost.

We really would love some snowdrops next year and have found a website that sells bulbs ‘in the green’, that is bulbs that are dug up after flowering, sorted and sent out. This happens in February and March so if you would like some this is a good time to get in touch. Here are the details of Tweedbank Bulbs It’s a very interesting website explaining lots about planting and the quality of the bulbs.

At the moment you can buy 100 bulbs for £12.50, inc p&p, with 50 extra for free. This super offer really is likely to finish TODAY 17 March 2011, but do go to the website – they may well have extended the date.

Please do mention you found their website through In Balance Magazine – every little bit of publicity helps!

You might also find our other website of interest www.ourfrontgarden.com

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