Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Making babies the Hellebore way ...

I played at creation today ! I helped my Hellebores to get it on and do their thang ! I have read about how to create your very own, unique Hellebore, but never had a go. I am aware that the majority of the flowers are beginning to fade, and time is running out, so I got out in the Spring SUNSHINE  and got creative ! I took the tools of the trade out with me - a ribbon and a biro ! This is my first attempt, and I had very rudimentary instructions from a friend. I am sure there are lots of you out there who have lots of knowledge and experience to pass on !

First I selected a good looking flower, one that I felt was worthy to use as a parent of my brand new strain. I love the spotty ones, so chose a pale speckled flower to be 'dad', in the prime of its life, with very luxurious stamens, hopefully loaded with pollen.

Then I chose 'mum', a darker purple with cream stamens. I rubbed the biro to create static, then brushed it into and across the stamens, hopefully taking lots of pollen with me. Then I transferred the pollen to the stigma of the 'mum; plant by wiping the pen (and pollen!) around the stigma. I did this three times, just to increase my chances of success. Just for the record, the pen in the photo is 'posed' nowhere NEAR the stigma, which is central!

To identify 'mum', I tied a ribbon around her neck, so she is very visible. The next job was to carefully remove the stamens from the flower, to stop self- fertilisation. The advice I had was to cover the flower with a light cloth, like cheesecloth, to stop any bees getting to it - but there ain't no bees in this cold !

 I will keep checking to see the progress of the ripening, fertilised seed, and I will harvest it when it is ripe. I will make sure I do it on a dry day, just before the seed is ready for dispersal. Next job is to sow the seed in May/ June when it is fresh, and is surface sown and not covered. Then, all I have to do is keep watered and wait for my new and unique little seedlings.


  1. Good luck with your future babies! I have never tried to do this, I just let the hellebores do their thing and I get lots of mixed seedlings, all a bit different, coming up in the garden. You've chosen two lovely flowers, and I'm very interested in seeing their progeny.

  2. Hi Lyn, like you I usually let them do their thing, but have always been interested to try being a bit proactive ! Looking at the photo of the be-ribboned flower, I am now beginning to wonder if it past its prime and might have already been fertilised . Not sure ! I might try it again today with two different flowers, just in case a bee beat me to it !

  3. I am just now starting to grow hellebores, but I am loving them. Having your own creation sounds like so much fun! I hope they do well for you. Love the spotted one, too! They will make beautiful babies! :)

  4. Hi Holleygarden, thanks for taking the time to comment. I am excited to see what the babies will look like. I have a feeling that this might become addictive ... Let me know how you get on with yours. They are such easy plants, hardy and tough as old boots. I still find it hard to believe that those flowers can cope with such harsh conditions !


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