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Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’ blooming in the Witt Winter Garden.

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’
Christmas Rose

Native to the mountain forests of Central Europe, Helleborus niger is an evergreen perennial with dark, glossy, toothed leaves. From midwinter to early spring, rose-like white flowers sit atop the foliage on short stems. The plant has long been popular in the garden—and many handsome cultivars are available.

‘HGC Josef Lemper’ is a member of the Helleborus Gold Collection, an impressive series of H. niger selections and hybrids created by German nurseryman Joseph Heuger. It grows up to 18 inches high by 20 inches wide and offers very large, pure white, upward-facing blossoms with yellow centers.

From December to February, ‘HBC Josef Lemper’ puts on a lovely flower show in the planting beds on the east side of the Witt Winter Garden. For the rest of the year, it provides a useful groundcover, knitting together other plants in the display. Helleborus niger performs best in part to full shade and moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil.

—Randall Hitchin, Arboretum Foundation