Did you say something about my Hellebore?! Of course I'm referring to Helleborus foetidus, pictured in my garden today. I'm not usually confrontational but I think this plant deserves a bit of a helping hand.
Commonly referred to as the 'Stinking Hellebore' or 'Dungwort' (charming), I'm not entirely sure which common name I dislike most actually. Either way this plants name does it no favours whatsoever. On this note, isn't it strange how plants receive their names? For example there's also a 'Stinking Iris', on which Robert Webber blogged about last week which is a great plant to grow. I think if that I was in charge I could rename a few plants, although I would probably be guilty of giving many blousy, over bred beasties a bit of a doing down.
As you may have already picked up, I think this plant is great. Here are a few qualities that make it worthy of a spot in your garden. It is evergreen, it has a lovely growing habit, it will grow in woodland settings, it will grow in alkaline soils and it is drought tolerant. Yes, it releases a little scent when you touch or crumple its leaves but it is in no way "stinking". In fact I held its flowers when photographing it and it left a scent on my hand which was not all that unpleasant. A fresh, spring foliage scent in fact, which is quite welcomed after a cold Winter.
If you have a difficult spot in the garden that could do with some interest then this may be the plant for you. I for one adore it and it is a much better grower than many of the popular H. orientalis species.
Now that I've had my unplanned rant, I hope I've inspired you to grow a plant with a rather unpleasant and unnecessary name.
Do you grow this plant? Do you have any views on this plant or the names of other plants?