Garden writer Marc Rosenberg, who has been gardening for 30 years and has contributed to the STIHL blog since 2018, shares what he’s sowing and growing in November with a diary from his small suburban garden. Planting hellebores and dogwoods to inject color into winter gardens is high on the garden jobs list for November…
Plant Heavenly Hellebores
Showy flowers are commonly a preserve of the warmer months. In the depths of winter, blooms that adorn shrubs are often tiny, although some can be highly scented – the intensely fragrant, contorted petals of witch hazel or miniature flowers of viburnum are classic examples. Yet the hellebore plant defies convention, whatever the weather, with a profusion of large, cheery blooms while much of the garden lies deep in slumber.
The Lenten rose plant, as it’s commonly known, is a winter superstar that I wouldn’t be without. These dependable perennials are at their finest between February and April, providing an early source of nectar for insects. Planted where they can easily be seen from the house, as well as along regularly trodden pathways, their saucer-shaped blooms are one of the earliest indicators that a new season is dawning.
Hellebores love well-drained soils and are ideal for underplanting deciduous shrubs, where they’ll benefit from dappled light but won’t be starved of rain. It’s important to remove damaged leaves during autumn to prevent fungal and viral diseases from taking hold ahead the flowering season. I just cut the damaged leaves away with sharp secateurs. These jewels in the crown of the winter garden will flourish in garden containers, too, if planted into John Innes No.2 compost with a little added grit for extra drainage.