Ashwood Nurseries are world-famous for their Hellebores and the range of hybrids they create is quite remarkable for their breadth and beauty. My timing for this visit was perfect as I was travelling down from Manchester to London, and this was an excellent stopover, just to the west of Wolverhampton (for them, close to a big population base but in quite secluded rural location). And as I knew, there was an Open Day, with behind the scenes tours around the glasshouses where the breeding program happens. Marvellous.
The colours range from pure white to deep plum and slate, passing through pale lemons, deeper golds, pinks, peaches, ruby and claret red, jade greens – with spots and dots, stripes, blotches and contrasting veins, picotee edging (a fine line at the edge of the tepals) while the inner ring of nectaries (the petals, really) provide further interest, in green, gold, purple, red … and there are single flowers, semi-double anemone-centred blooms and fully doubles.
I picked up a lot of information on their breeding program, and on the propagation and cultivation of Hellebores and I’ll digest some of this for you in due course, but in the meantime, a whopping little gallery featuring just some of the beauties on show (and for sale) –
One particular Hellebore they were particularly proud of is this interspecies hybrid, a cross between Helleborus niger and Helleborus thibetanus – their progeny delicately frilled, frosted pink and a just little striped – named for their successful hellebore breeder, this is Hellebore x belcheri Pink Ice
I’m also taken with the Alpine collection, Camellias, Snowdrops, houseplants, conifers (wow) and will definitely put together a longer piece on this nursery – and will make an effort to include a visit to John’s Garden (adjacent to the nursery and created by the nursery owner) on one of the few days a year it is open to the public (for charity). All in all a great nursery, with serious horticultural credentials and a wide range of excellent plants – well worth this diversion and another day out.
… and this very informative blog from Susan Rushton, which is well worth the reading and probably I couldn’t better!