‘Winter rose’ is just one of many names given to plants in the increasingly popular Helleborus genus. They are also referred to as Christmas roses and Lenten roses. Both of these terms reflect their flowering times in the northern hemisphere. Australia is seeing huge interest in hellebores at present with many new varieties being introduced and gardeners benefiting from the range of beautiful and hardy new selections that are available.
‘Penny’s Pink’ is one of those varieties. It looks so classic and elegant but is remarkably hardy and easy to grow. This beautiful Hellebore has certainly earned its reputation as a highly sought after addition to the winter garden, and has become popular not only in Australia, but right around the world.
The story of ‘Penny’s Pink’ begins with plant breeder and Hellebore specialist Rodney Davey. Based in the UK, Rodney and his partner Lynda Windsor have plant breeding in their blood. They have produced some amazing varieties in their time. Each one begins its life in Rodney’s very own seed collection. He is always selecting and rejecting seedlings whilst searching for that special new trait that could potentially unleash something amazing. Rodney is renowned for producing quality plants and has been described in the past as
“the most uncompromising rigorous plantsman you’ll ever meet.”
‘Penny’s Pink’ is one of Rodney’s most celebrated hybrids and it takes its name from well known British plantswoman Penelope Hobhouse. Rodney and Lynda named it in Penelope’s honour. I am sure she must have been delighted to have such a beautiful variety bear her name.
‘Penny’s Pink has great ornamental value. Its unique dome-shaped blooms in tones of mid pink are really long lasting throughout winter and spring and nothing short of delightful. The flowers themselves are gorgeous and sit beautifully above the foliage held on dark burgundy stems. Clusters of yellow stamens contrast nicely against the pink tones. The backs of the flowers darken somewhat with age and add extra interest in the garden. Despite this changing colour, the plant retains excellent ornamental interest with older flowers retaining their own dignified beauty.
The foliage is also just as exciting for many reasons. New leaves emerge on ‘Penny’s Pink’ with a pink marbling effect that some describe like ‘pink fishnet stockings’. As the leaves continue to age, the veins become prominent in tones of lime green. The foliage creates a great backdrop for the moody pink blooms.
Penny’s Pink is also a great variety to keep indoors initially, as it lasts very well in a well lit room for up to 6 weeks. After that, plant it out either in your garden bed, or into a decorative container. The ‘indoor/outdoor’ versatility of this variety makes it a great gift, especially in the winter months when it can be hard to find something to ‘wow’ the green thumb in your life.
Easy to grow with minimal maintenance and frost hardy below 1ºc it can also withstand low water conditions making it ideal for planting under trees where few other plants can compete. Although a great shade solution – ‘Penny’s Pink’ can also tolerate a good deal of sunlight and does not need to be restricted to shade gardens alone. Hellebores provide stunning results when mass planted so are well worth considering if you are wanting to create a winter wow factor.
In late spring when all the flowers have finished, trim the flowering stems back to ground level. This tidies the plant and paves the way for a great display the following season.
And for all you macro photography lovers out there, ‘Penny’s Pink’ makes a great subject!
More further information on ‘Penny’s Pink’ and other stunning hellebore varieties, visit Plants Management Australia.
[This post brought to you by Plants Management Australia]