Hellebore in winter

Helleborus hybridus Picotee

Evergreen perennials really come into their own in winter. Even in Toronto’s punishing winter with its freeze-thaw cycles there are some perennials that stand up well. Hellebores and ivys can look terrific through most of winter, as here. This vignette depends on the contrasting leaf sizes and shapes balanced by the similarities of colouring. The deep green is marked by yellow veining and burgundy petioles on both plants. This colouration, particularly the burgundy petioles would have been less noticeable on the ivy without the central burgundy splash on the hellebore leaf. This pairing is definitely more than the sum of its parts!

Both the hellebore and ivy need the right location, however. They should be protected from harsh winter sun and from drying winds. In addition, the hellebore requires good drainage, so on heavy clay soils the ground will require extra preparation.