Hellebores – a passion or addiction?!?

At our regular meeting on the Tuesday after our show, our speaker was Mike Byford of Hazles Cross Farm Nursery whose original hobby of growing hellebores that started 30 years ago became a passion then a self-confessed addiction! He spent considerable time and money travelling Europe to see the dainty forms and stunning foliage of the species in their native habitats. This led to his collecting seed and growing the plants in the UK, and he now holds the National Collection of hellebores. He shared with us his extensive knowledge of growing & breeding different species & hybrids, and gave us an alternative perspective of the Balkans which are the native habitat of these beautiful plants. He sells plants from the nursery but hadn't brought any with him as he explained that it's not the best time of year to buy them, but he has invited us to visit the collection next spring - a number of members seemed very interested in this so it could be our first coach trip of 2019! There is a photo of Mike with our programme secretary Val Lewis on the left plus the winning entry of our monthly competition for a vase of cottage garden perennials, won by new member Debbie Robertson.