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Friday, 17 February 2012

Hellebore "Annas Red"

Helleborus 'Annas Red'  at the RHS Plant and Design Show 2012
 One of the flowers that caught my attention at the recent RHS Plant and Design Show was Helleborus 'Annas Red'. This Hellebore which has such a deep red flower and marbled leaves, was the work of breader, Rodney Davey.

It took Rodney some twelve years to achieve the goal of breading a red hellebore with marbled leaves. Firstly of all he had to bread the mother plant, carefully transferring pollen from one plant to another in the hope that at least someof the seedlings created from each cross would have some of the characteristics Rodney was looking for. When he was finally satisfied with the mother hellebore that he had created, Rodney was then able to start on the next round of crosses, using the pollen from several different hellebores and the newly created mother plant. For several years he then sowed the seeds that resulted from this second round of crosses, saving only the very best from each cross, but in each batch of several thousand young plants, he rarely kept more than a handful to grow on. Eventually, however he succeeded and Annas Red was born!

Sadly there were none left for sale by the time we got to the stand, however we were told there would be more available next year.
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