greentapestry : The In Between Time

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The In Between Time

This time of year is one to savour - the gap between all that frantic rushing around, cleaning, cooking and never ending shopping and before the arrival of an unchartered year, full of hope and promise. Hibernation is the order of the day with studying seed catalogues and reading high on the agenda along with other gentle seasonal pursuits such as playing Scrabble.

The weather here over the Christmas weekend was extraordinarily warm - on Boxing Day we sat with the window open and no heating on until darkness fell.  A complete contrast to the sub zero temperatures of the 2010 festive season when snow lay on the ground. The following day saw me more than ready to venture out and about -  to be doing rather than sitting. Top of the list on the jobs to be done was to remove the old foliage from the hellebores. This is one of those tasks where there seems to be much debate as to the whether to and if so when to do it. The leaves are evergreen so you could leave them on  but can they become rather tatty. They are also rather large and floppy and can obscure the flowers. There is also the risk if you leave them on, of them carrying leaf spot disease throughout the winter, which could affect the flowers when they open. As to when some books recommend autumn and others early winter. It is one of those jobs best done though before the flowers buds start to open so you limit the risk of cutting them off, which if ever done brings out loud shrieks from both flower and pruner. I think that I would not have liked to do this job any later this year. Now all that remains to do is a bit of tidying up as well as give the plants a mulch. I have been saving a bag of worm compost in readiness for this but yesterday was too windy and cold to venture out whilst today is not looking any more promising so far. Oh well back to having my head stuck in a book until conditions are more favourable.
P.S. We made a last trip of the year to the garden centre yesterday morning and what should come home with me but another hellebore.


  1. Hi Anna,

    Lovel Hellebore :)

    I don't bother cutting the leaves off, mainly because I don't see how they can photosynthesise without them in order to produce more growth. Although I can see the sense in removing diseased leaves.

    Another Hellebore you say??? Mmmm I need more too! My collection is still small but I have been eyeing up a number of new ones...

  2. There's always room to squeeze in another hellebore. The weather here has been very windy over the last couple of days and it's trying it's best to rain today. Definitely an indoorsy type of day.

  3. I love Hellebores. I have one just outside the backdoor which flowers prolifically. I leave the leaves on most of time but if they are looking particularly tatty I do cut them off. You have got me thinking that perhaps I may pay a visit to the garden centre for some more. Happy New Year - Ronnie

  4. I love Hellebores and was out on Boxing Day cutting mine back. Had a long day yesterday visiting a friend in London and now I have cold so I think a few duvet days are in order before more family visits on New Years Day. Have a very Happy New Year and a wonderful gardening year ahead.

  5. I haven't checked out my hellebores yet, but I will leave the old leaves on as protection in case the weather turns.

  6. Scrabble a ":gentle seasonal pursuit" ?
    You have obviously never played against my younger son!

  7. I just finished trimming my hellebores. I don't get rid of all the old foliage, just leaves that are tattered or overgrown. I saw just a few tiny bud when I was working on them. It shouldn't be long before I see some blooms.

    I hope you had a great christmas. Happy gardening, 2012!

  8. It seems the weather is unusually warm in so many parts of the world this December. We had a pretty snow on Tuesday, then yesterday it was as warm as an early spring day. I usually don't bother to cut back my hellebores until spring, mainly because they're the only green in my garden! I've come to the conclusion that you can never have too many hellebores:)

  9. You can never have enough hellebores in the garden! I've got 2 different types of hellebore in flower just now and oh what a difference compared to other winters - so warm here too. Today is one day I would rather be in the garden but alas Christmas tree decorations are coming down.

    Have a Happy and Blessed New Year Anna.

  10. Hi Anna Your Hellebores are looking lovely and perhaps a little ahead of mine which were disturbed in the Autumn. Already the garden is tempting us with joys to come.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and sending best wishes I feel so sorry to miss my garden blogging friends I just wish there was more time to do everything, although I see posts briefly on my dashboard and know so many are still out there busy blogging away. Perhaps when all this nonsense in denying Lyme Disease in it's chronic form is over I will be able to sit back and enjoy other things again, but for now having experienced the denial and recovered from such a devastating illness on just antibiotics I feel I need to keep on spreading the word. How many people with arthritis could recover like me on just antibiotics?
    Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2012 and I look forward to popping by again to see your blog.

  11. It is a welcome pool of calm before the new year kicks in. Lovely hellebore. I succumbed to an online offer just before Christmas to buy our first hellebores, three went straight into the ground and three more wait in pots for us to clear a stack of pallets beneath the trees where I hope to plant these along with pulmonarias and spring bulbs. Happyy New year to you!

  12. My hellebores are budding, too! I don't trim the leaves back at all. Our temperatures can't make up their minds whether it is winter or not. We have some very mild days followed by hard freezes!
    Happy new Year!

  13. Hellebores are on my list of 'thing to have when I have a garden big enough to have herbaceous borders and chickens in separate areas'. In the meantime, I can enjoy the ones coming up in the grounds of my college and plan a trip to Benington Lordship for hellebores and snowdrops. I've been out doing dome pruning - probably the wrong time for some shrubs but they usually pull through! Best wishes to you Anna for a fabulous 2012!

  14. No hellebores for me in the veg patch but I overlook a little garden that a friend looks after and she has lots of beautiful hellebores so I don't miss out! I managed to get quite a lot done in the garden before new year then the last few days have been wet and dark so not much fun. Hoping the spring (or winter!) comes soon for us all! Wishing you an excellent 2012 Anna and thanks for taking the time to drop by my blog. All the very best - Caro xx


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.