This Spring, just as it did this time last year, Helleborus 'Jade Tiger' has come bolting out of the ground only to have it's tender new shoots blackened by sudden sub-zero weather.
I was beginning to wonder if this precocious behaviour was the result of the genes passed down by one of its parents that would typically be accustomed to a milder climate. I often see the same thing happen with H. foetidus, which can have it's flowers fall foul of Spring frosts but otherwise be completely hardy in my zone 6 garden.
I put this question to Mr. Ernie O'Byrne of /www.northwestgardennursery.com/, who kindly responded with the information that 'Jade Tiger' had been developed by breeding H. torquatus with a large double green hellebore and that I'd probably had a couple of years of bad luck with this particular plant.
As it happens I've been able to protect "Jade Tiger' from further damage by covering it at night (see post for Wed. 7th March), and perhaps this cosseting has only added to its early development.
H. "Jade Tiger' as it looked this morning.
A closer look at "JadeTiger'.