The dark winter months are the blooming season for Helleborus orientalis. Especially in these dark months, when little else blooms in the garden, this winter bloomer provides the color. Unlike the Christmas rose or Helleborus niger, Helleborus orientalis often blooms after Christmas.
Reason for Frank Swenne and Rogier van Vugt of the YouTube channel 'Alles wat Bloeit' (Everything that flowers) to come and take a look at nursery De Nachtvlinder in Ter Aar last February and make an episode about it. Rogier speaks at length with owner Ellen Akerboom, and the video gives a beautiful and informative glimpse into the world of Helleborus breeding.
Ellen has been active in Helleborus breeding and growing young plants for more than 25 years. In those years, a wide Helleborus assortment has been created, consisting exclusively of varieties bred in-house. "Together with my team, I take care of the entire process from breeding to propagation. Through a combination of handwork and automation, we are able to supply large-scale true-to-type seedlings. Because we hand-pollinate everything, we can deliver true-to-species plants."
Over the years, the grower has greatly improved vigor so that now more than 90% flower within a year. In addition, the double hellebore - the video nicely shows why this is so special - is a specialty. "When breeding, we maintain a strict selection that makes the plants more resistant to fungi and other diseases. We believe in resilient plants and cultivation using as little plant protection products and energy as possible. This is also an important principle in our breeding process."
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