Plant of the month: December
Helleborus foetidus (or ‘stinking hellebore’) is an erect perennial with hairless, leafy, biennial stems and dark green leaves, which when bruised give off an unpleasant smell. But this is not a reason to ignore our native hellebore; from midwinter to mid-spring it bears many-flowered cymes of pendent, bell-shaped yellow-green flowers, which are usually purple margined.
It will succeed in any good garden soil, preferring a moist, well-drained rich loam in a sheltered position. It associates well with early daffodils and snowdrops to make a display to gladden any winter-weary heart.