Helleborus x hybridus , Lenten rose or Winter rose
Hellebores are fashionable and popular perennials especially in cool temperate gardens where they can be grown to perfection.They like a spot under deciduous trees and are very hardy surviving extremes of cold and quite hot dry conditions in summer though they respond to well composted soil and good general maintenance such as removal of old leaves and spent flower stems. The flowers are nodding ,an adaptation to shed falling snow and allow pollinators a safe haven to do their work. The flowers are often spotted and marked also to attract insects and give them a sense of direction to meet their target. Plant breeders have come up with some wonderful colours so they are available in black, white ,maroon ,green and even primrose shades with both single and double flowering varieties. Here on the coast I have had no success in growing them so I admire them when visiting more temperate gardens.The above specimens were grown by Rose guru Sue Kingsford in her Southern Highlands garden.