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A close-up look at the Hellebores in our garden.

Hellebores never fail to amaze. They flower early and continue in bloom for a long time. They present an unusual range of colours and markings on their petals which can vary in shape. We tend to choose reds and purples, plain and spotted and whites and creams mostly plain.

Let us start by venturing out into the borders armed with flower trug and secateurs, ignoring the chill in the air and nipping off a collection of flowers in a variety of colours.

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The individuality of each is best appreciated by displaying them floating in a shallow bowl of water.

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Now for a real challenge – looking closely and trying to show their character in water colours. I have chosen the deepest blue-mauve, the yellow-green and the pale yellow with purple streaks.

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