3 New Lenten Rose seedlings

What better time to write about my new Lenten rose seedlings than the start of Lent itself?
      I have grown three or four hybrid Hellebores (Lenten roses) in my little Woodland garden for well over a decade, but recently added several new cultivars. However, it was only this month, while replacing a fence post, that I realised I have several unplanned arrivals — self sown plants that have just come into flower.
      One of my oldest Lenten roses has always produced lots of seedlings, which I usually remove as they are so crowded and badly placed. Fortunately, each year, a few of them escape my attention, and manage to grow on under the shade of the espalier cooking apple tree which grows on the low fence next to them.

      So you can imagine my delight when earlier this month, I discovered three healthy young hellebore seedlings, each sporting interesting and unique new flowers.

      Surprisingly, perhaps, I find I actually like these home bred mongrels rather more than the commercial varieties I added to my garden last year. Partly that’s due to feeling flattered that they chose to come into existence in my garden, but I think even objectively, they really are quite special. I wonder if my readers agree? (Hint: Leave your thoughts in the comments section)
      Unfortunately, Hellebores don’t like being moved, so I did my best to lift them with as much soil as possible (difficult when they are growing between the roots of an apple tree or have popped up in the brick path) and replant them where they will have a surer future. Only time will tell if they accept their new homes or if they’ll sulk.
      If they throw a strop at being man-handled, and decide not to flower next year, at least I have some good photos to remind me to be patient with them.

Meet the Parents

The Mother Plant
This Hellebore was a self-sown seedling herself. She appeared on this spot a decade ago. An early flowerer (January) with nodding pink and white flowers that open from tulip-shaped buds. Every spring there are dozens of seedlings around her feet. All the new hellebores in this article were found within 24 inches of her.

Suspected Father
This creamy green-white Hellebore is the most likely candidate for the father, as it has double flowers — a trait found in two of the three seedlings. I believe it is Hellebores ‘Golden lotus’, but I can’t be sure as I lost the label soon after planting it several years ago. I particularly like the wavy-edged sepals.

The New Seedlings

Single
Apple-White
Seedling

#1 This gorgeous little seedling has two flowering stems and lots of buds. I think it may be in its second year of flowering, but I probably missed it last year as it was tucked behind the trunk of the apple tree next to its mother plant. When I first spotted it, the flowers seemed much whiter than they did a few days later when I took these photos. Perhaps they start white and then gradually turn apple-green. Either way, I think it’s very beautiful.

Double
Soft Pink
Seedling

#2 What a beauty! This seedling was growing in the path next to the mother plant. I had to remove some bricks so I could transplant her to a better location. When the flower first opened it was more magenta (see below) but as it aged it turned a softer pink. Compared to the other seedlings, this one holds its flower outwards, which is a bonus.

Discovered growing in the brick path!

Double
Clear-White
Seedling

#3 I was very surprised to find this gem glowing so brightly right next to its mother plant. It appears to have inherited the double flowers from its father (H. ‘Golden lotus’), but the sepals are less wavy, more pointed. The clear white with just a hint of green on the back is nicely subtle. The whole flower is more bowl shaped and nodding than seedling #2.

So, which one do you like best? Tell me in the comments section below!

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