Hellebores are definitely in my top ten list of favourite plants so imagine the thrill of walking round Rosemoor, the RHS in North Devon, and enjoying a positive feast of these superb and highly versatile plants. With their rich clusters of variable blooms these early heralds of spring add a huge range of colour and interest in the garden at a time when we are all tired of the dreary winter months and need cheering up.

Rosemoor is the quintessential home to many different types of hellebores from the Corsican hellebore, Helleborus argustifolius to the delightful nodding  Helleborus orientalis, which have no two faces the same. I bought my first ‘proper’ hellebores from Carol Klein well over twenty years ago and have been addicted ever since.

So, as my other half said, when I rushed round squealing with delight at the plethora of blooms at Rosemoor “I haven’t seen you this excited about anything for ages.” But then he is not a gardener! He was spot on though as it was a sunny day, the snowdrops were at their peak and threaded through the beautiful winter flowering shrubs, Prunus serrula with their polished trunks, the strange looking Acer griseum and groups of the white barked Betula jacquemontiana were a plethora of multi-coloured blooms which were probably, in the main, the chance seedlings that we all love to grow with the hope of something special.

These wonderful winter flowering plants are so easy to grow, in the correct conditions of partial shade and deep well drained soil and although some people say you should never disturb hellebores once they are planted I’m afraid I’m far too greedy not to split my large clumps up into groups of four or five smaller plants. So far I seem to have got away with it but I do spoil them with a dressing of well rotted manure. The worst problem I have found is always the dreaded leaf spot but regular spraying coupled with removing and burning any diseased leaves seems to keep it mostly at bay. I have found Helleborus niger to be the most vulnerable variety in my garden.

See just a few of the beautiful hellebores at Rosemoor below.

The gardens are open daily. RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH  tel: 01805 624717  www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor