December – Helleborus niger
Hellebores have always been a cottage garden favourite and modern hybrids offer a range of colours across the spectrum. Nevertheless, Helleborus niger or the Christmas Rose still ranks high in the popularity stakes if for no greater reason than its traditional association with the Yuletide season.
The dark green, leathery leaves emphasise the white, sometimes flushed pink, flowers that bloom from mid-winter onwards offering a promise of the spring to come. It is happiest in neutral to alkaline soils and partial shade.
Try planting with evergreen ferns to create a woodland feel or with Skimmia Rubella for a festive touch.