A chalked up board “Who said winter is dull?” greeted me on my arrival at Hardy’s Garden Plants yesterday. I’d travelled some distance to visit this Chelsea Gold Medal-winning hellebore nursery and, up to this moment, the early morning journey had been misty, murky and frankly… dull.

I’d come here on a mission to find the rare and the most beautiful forms for one helleva-hellebore-mad client, whose garden we completed in the summer.

It didn’t take long to see their argument – a beautiful, long border of Galanthus ‘Sam Arnott’, Iris reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ and aconites under Lonicera fragrantissima, Cornus (lime stemmed) and elegantly trained fruit trees. So simple, yet so cheerful and welcoming.

The welcome continued with the arrival of smiling Catherine, laden with pots of hellebores reserved for us. I selected lots of three different clear colours, including all the available and especially breathtaking, ‘white Bradfield hybrid star’ forms.

For the same client, we also ordered 2000 Galanthus nivalis ‘in the green’. The view from their kitchen in winter will never be dull again!

The Joys of Winter