Granted, its a tongue twister of a name, but ohh la la, what a beautiful plant! I’ve been somewhat gaga over the genus and have been scouting around to find some of the more unique and hard to find selections. Only last year I was able to locate the hard to find H. thibetanus, a fully deciduous gem from Japan. Now that it is ensconced safely within the woodland garden, the journey continues.
Helleborus x ballardiae is named in honor of Helen Ballard, who was one of the first plants persons to successfully cross H. niger and H. lividus. While lividus is an extremely tender species, [Zone 8-10] H. niger has a deliciously hardiness to Zone 4, making this new cross all the more appealing to Northern gardeners such as myself. While definitive numbers are not yet available, hort chatter is placing bets near to Zone 5! Upon first glimpse, true aficionados will comment that it resembles H. ericsmithii, H. ballardiae tends to have more pink in the flowers both upon initial opening, and later as they begin to fade. What I love most about members of the H. lividus species is the magnificent pewter infused foliage and stems and petioles that have a luscious ruby tint. I would grow the plant on the strong merit of it’s foliage alone! Plants reach between 30-40cm in height with a spread between 50-60cm.
H x b ‘Pink Frost’ represents one the first commercially available selections within the H x ballardiae family. It originates from the nursery of Joseph Heuger in Glandorf Germany.
Still in trial, but I’m hoping for Z5-6 tops. Plants do best in a partly shaded location heavily amended with organic matter in Spring and Fall.
Coming to LittleTree Spring 2011