February's flowers

Graham Rice,february,flowers,hellebores,snowdrops. Image © (all rights reserved)

A few years ago, in the middle of February, I shot this picture of flowers from my British garden (click to enlarge). An encouraging selection, I thought, for what is often the most harsh of the British winter months.

The picture not only shows what is only a selection of February's flowers, but reveals that even in the most icy month of a British winter there are many good plants at their best. It also shows some of the plants that make good companions for hellebores - one the most popular perennials on both sides of the Atlantic and the essential winter and early spring plant.

The plants in the picture are:
Arum italicum ‘White Winter’
Bergenia ‘Eric Smith’
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Pearl’
Cyclamen hederifolium
Eranthis hyemalis
Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Rubra’
Galanthus ‘Merlin’,
Galanthus ‘Ophelia’
Galanthus ‘Viridapice’
Helleborus foetidus
Helleborus odorus
Helleborus x hybridus forms
Pulmonaria seedling
Pulmonaria rubra
Ranunculus ficaria ‘Collarette’
Viburnum tinus ‘Gwenllian’

So, even as winter drags on (although this year spring has definitely sprung aleady back in Britain), there are attractive flowers and attractive foliage plants emerging to delight us.

You can buy postcards featuring this picture.


Hellebore season

hellebore,picotee,torquatus,strangman,washfield. Image © (all rights reserved)
Hellebore season is in full swing back in Britain. Here in Pennsylvania – not so much, as you’ll see tomorrow.

But in the spirit of winter passing and spring awakening, here’s a picture of one of my all time favorite hellebores (click to enlarge). Photographed long ago in the garden at Elizabeth Strangman’s legendary Washfield Nursery in Kent, from where so very many fine hellebores sprung, this gorgeous plant is derived from H. torquatus and ‘Early Purple’ by way of some inspired pollination from Elizabeth. It was probably the first picotee created.

I wish I had a plant, I’m not sure it was ever distributed. In the years since then, of course, breeders like Roger Harvey in Britain, Dick & Judith Tyler in the US have created similar plants. I must look out for one.

I have packs of greetings cards featuring this image, as well as other hellebore cards (for North American customers only at the monent). Just hop on over and take a look at my hellebore postcards and notecards. Or email for more information.

Colorful floral cards by mail

Two sweet pea notecards from Images: © I’ve been selling my pretty floral post cards and note cards at lectures for a few years but now you can order them online and we’ll send them to you by mail. Just go to my new site,

These delightful cards focus on either hellebores, sweet peas and seasonal collections – and there’s more on the way. They come in packs of six or twelve, with envelopes, and they feature individual flowers or floral collections.April Flowers postcards from Image: ©

All the varieties are discreetly named, cards are mailed in padded bags – I’m sure you’ll enjoy these beautiful cards. Just order online at and pay securely via PayPal (even if you don’t have a PayPal account).

Royal Horticultural Society Wisley Guide to Hellebores, from Image: © You can also order my invaluable beginners’ hellebore book, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Guide to Hellebores. Just go to

(Sorry, North America only at the moment.)