Ballard’s Christmas Roses

The late Helen Ballard of England was one of the early pioneers in developing what we know today as hybrid hellebores. It was only fitting, when one of the breakthrough crosses, a hybrid between the Balkan native Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, and  the Majorca endemic, Helleborus lividus, that was formerly known as Helleborus x nigerliv, was renamed Helleborus x ballardiae.

The offspring from this cross combine the lovely veined foliage from Helleborus lividus with the outfacing flowers of Helleborus niger.  Once the cross was first made, plant breeders around the world have worked to develop new and improved varieties of Helleborus x ballardiae

Unfortunately for plant breeders, Helleborus x ballardiae is sterile, so you won’t find the hybrids typically producing seedlings. This means that each named variety is a division from an original selection, propagated by cloning (division or tissue culture). We planted the first one in our garden in 1996, and in the 22 years since, have grown 10 different clones. This year, we are pleased to offer four of the best from our trials.

Helleborus ‘Spring Party‘ produces lovely white flowers.

Helleborus ‘Cinnamon Snow‘ emerges white, and ages to light pink.

You can see from our photos, the incredible number of flowers produced by Helleborus ‘Maestro’...a lovely soft pink.

Helleborus ‘Pink Frost‘ is another incredible selection with the darkest pink flowers, where the petal backs are even darker and continue to darken after the flowers fade.

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