Botanical name: Helleborus sternii (lividus x argutifolius)
Family name: Ranunculeae
Common name: Helleborus sternii
Helleborus argutifolius, usually known in NZ as the Corsican Hellebore, gives this beautiful plant its lovely apple green flowers whilst its other parent H. lividus introduces the burgundy shading to the outside of the petal. This second parent has also reduced some of the coarse almost spikey edges to the leaves which is typical of H. corsica.
With parents native to Corsica, Sardinia and Majorca, H. sternii likes the sun although I have found its colour is deeper and doesn't fade if shelter from the midday sun is provided. Naturally these plants like the same sort of conditions which lavenders and rosemary prefer - hot well drained areas. The parent, H. lividus which occurs nturally on limestone cliffs, makes this plant lime tolerant. (It needs noting that these plants are ex roadsides and wild areas thus do NOT react well to too much fertiliser). Its grey/green foliage also indicates its ability to withstand all the heat, sun and wind that Coromandel can produce, flowering from May until late September.
Companion plantings: some of the dark flaxes or burgundy leafed azaleas and rhodos (watch lime), clumps of Bergenia cordifolia and some purple leafed Hebes or patches of the white flowered ligulatia.
A florists perspective: Hellebores are one of the joys of winter, wonderful simply arranged with pussy willow, grape hyacinths, primroses or clustered through and at the base of Irises and Lillies for family casket flowers - such a gentle touch. Winter weddings can be given a real zing with a touch of green hellebore to a bride's bouquet and the burgundy H. hybridus syn orientalis with green/burgundy/brown Paphiopedilums (slipper orchids) for maids.
H. sternii - hard to find - watch this season's catalogues.
Parva Plants ph/fax 07 552 4902 email: email@example.com
Bay Bloom firstname.lastname@example.org www.baybloom.co.nz
Marshwood Garden & Nurseries Invercargill ph/fax: 03 215 7672
Peak PerennialsHavelock North ph:06 877 6051 fax:06 877 6067
Dene's Garden Way Havelock North ph/fax:06 877 7162