Bransford Webbs expands its Rodney Davey’s hellebore programme

Helleborus ‘Moondance’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

Helleborus ‘Moondance’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

The Bransford Webbs Plant Company in Bransford, Worcester (UK) supplies already the Helleborus varieties ‘Anna’s Red’, ‘Mollys White’ and ‘Pennys Pink’ from hellebore breeder Rodney Davey. From February 2018 the nursery will extend its supply and will sell twelve varieties from this collection. “Rodney Davey Marbled Hellebores have stunning marbled foliage colour and unique flowers, blooming from late winter. They offer wonderful early interest to the garden at a time of year which can be drab and dull. Hardy and evergreen, they grow to around 60cm x 60cm (24in x 24in). The flowers will attract bees to your garden, and they are ideal for either a pot or the border”, informs the nursery.
“The varieties vary from magnificent deep reds to the softest of pink flowers all with the attractive marbled foliage. Whilst the blooms of ‘Anna’s Red’, ‘Charmer’ and ‘Reanna’s Ruby’ are sumptuous deep burgundy shades, ‘Cheryl’s Shine’, ‘Dorothy’s Dawn’, ‘Penny’s Pink’ and ‘Sally’s Shell’ have delightful blooms in various and beautiful shades of pink. Both ‘Molly’s White’ and ‘Moondance’ bloom in shades of crisp white which contrast against the darker blooms of ‘Pippa’s Purple’. The uniqueness of the blooms of ‘Dana’s Dulcet’ – two-toned pinky green flowers and ‘Glenda’s Gloss’ – white with a magenta edge, complete a truly unique collection of Hellebores, ideal for adding exquisite interest to a winter garden.”
Helleborus ‘Anna’s Red’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

Helleborus ‘Anna’s Red’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

About ‘Anna’s Red’ Davey told five years ago to editor Anna Pavord from Independent that it took him 12 years to achieve his goal of raising a red-flowered hellebore with marbled leaves. Pavord wrote at that time the article ‘Deep purple: There are hellebores – and then there are Rodney Davey’s hellebores’. Davey, first of all, had to create the mother plant, “painstakingly transferring pollen from one hellebore to another in the hope that at least a few of the seedlings raised from the cross would carry the characteristics he was looking for. When finally he was satisfied with the mother he had created, he started on the next round of crosses, using the pollen from several different hellebores.”
Pavrod described how Davey sowed the seeds that resulted from this second round of crosses for years, putting the best to the best, but in each batch of a thousand seedlings, he rarely kept more than two to grow on. “Finally, after years of work, he began to recognise characteristics in some of his hard-fought-for seedlings that suggested he was on the right track. Even before young plants flowered, he guessed from the deep purple flush on their stems that their flowers were likely to be equally lustrous. After several more years’ laborious work, fighting the seeds’ obstinate desire to stay locked up, he finally selected the seedling that has become ‘Anna’s Red’.”
‘Glenda’s Gloss’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Glenda’s Gloss’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Mollys White’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Mollys White’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Dorothy’s Dawn’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Dorothy’s Dawn’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Charmer’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company

‘Charmer’ – photo: The Bransford Webbs Plant Company