Press releases

Press release: Hellebores promise helluva day for garden enthusiasts

ShelterBox fundraiser Wendy Perry shares why she invites people to her garden every year for Hellebore Day – in memory of her daughter.

8 February 2022

Woman wearing black coat among flowers

Press release – 8 February 2022

The finishing touches are being made ahead of one of Cornwall’s most celebrated horticultural events later this month.

Hellebore Day is the creation of ShelterBox supporter, Wendy Perry, who has been opening her garden gates at Truro’s Bosvigo House to members of the public for the past decade in memory of her daughter Hannah.

Wendy is one of the foremost breeders of hellebores – a delicate and early-flowering relative of the buttercup, sometimes affectionately referred to as winter roses. Wendy has been growing hellebores for almost thirty years and Hellebore Day has become a diary highlight for garden-lovers across the country.

She says: “Hellebores are like buttercups on speed. They have these enormous saucer shapes and I grow them in all different sizes and colours.

“I hand pollinate them, so I know each flower’s parent and grandparent and where in the garden they are. It takes three years from seed to flower and it’s terribly exciting watching them open with their irresistible and jewel like colours.

“Hellebores are easy to grow and flower in deepest winter – even in the snow and frost – when nothing else is about. Sharing them is always a special occasion and we have people from all over the country who rearrange their diaries to be with us on Hellebore Day.”

The annual event is a fitting tribute to Wendy’s daughter, Hannah, who died in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 in Thailand. Wendy originally hosted the event to raise funds to help Thai fishermen rebuild their lives and livelihoods and for more than 15 years has been fundraising for ShelterBox.

Wendy says: “We know what it’s like to be in a situation when things are taken away from you, to be caught up in a disaster on the scale of the tsunami. It’s horrific and life changing.

“We’ve never lost our home, but we lost our daughter. To lose your home, your family, and everything you possess is beyond devastating. This very simple idea of parcelling up a box to help keep families together while you rebuild your lives is beyond measure and that’s why we ask for donations in support of ShelterBox.”

Wendy has hundreds of flowering hellebores available in pots for sale on the day and with the support of her friends has raised more than £20,000 for ShelterBox over the years.

Wendy adds: “Hannah was a very practical person and would have totally approved of ShelterBox – it’s a charity that resonates with so many and is embedded in the hearts of Cornish people.

“Hannah was terribly outspoken, tenacious, and a very talented artist who devoted her life to working with troubled children. Just before she died, I was helping her create a garden and she just loved colour, like I do.  There is plenty of joy in finding new colours and patterns from the hellebore – it’s endlessly fascinating.”

Community Fundraising Officer at ShelterBox, Hollie Clements says: “The hellebores that adorn the gardens at Bosvigo House are a fabulous and hidden find that draw people back year on year and we can’t wait to see how they’ve blossomed this winter.

“Not everyone has a large garden, but people can usually find room for a hellebore – and there are so many varieties to choose from, which we love.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that Wendy invites the public to her home to marvel at the colourful array of hellebores she lovingly grows here in memory of Hannah, while raising money to help shelter people from across the world after disaster or conflict.”

Bosvigo House will open its gates to the public on Saturday 26 February 2022 from 10am until 4pm for Hellebore Day 2022. 

Potted Hellebores will be available for sale as well as home-made cake and refreshments in the garden. For more details visit Hellebore Day at Bosvigo House – ShelterBox