Press releases

Press release: Mum opening garden gates at Bosvigo House in memory of daughter

Chelsea Flower Show judge to open this year’s Hellebore Day fundraiser

25 January 2023

Woman next to Hellebore flowers

Press release – 25 January 2023

One of the UK’s foremost breeders of hellebores – a delicate and early-flowering relative of the buttercup – is opening her Cornish garden in an annual tradition that celebrates the life of her daughter and raises money for ShelterBox.

Wendy Perry, owner of Bosvigo House in Truro, has today announced that this year’s Hellebore Day, will be opened by Chelsea Flower Show judge, Nutty Lim.

Wendy has been opening her garden gates to members of the public for the past decade, hosting Hellebore Day in memory of her daughter Hannah who died in Thailand during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

She says: “Hellebore Day has become a diary highlight for garden-lovers across the country – not just in Cornwall. It means an enormous amount to see the same faces year in year out supporting the day.

“Hellebores are wonderfully intricate and completely irresistible with their vibrant colours and different sizes. I love being able to share them with other garden enthusiasts because they are such a joy – they don’t mind the frost and blossom in deepest winter when little else does.”

Affectionately known as winter roses, Wendy has been hand-pollinating hellebores for almost thirty years and knows the history of each of the flowers growing in her garden, which take three years to flower from seed.

The annual fundraising event started to support Thai fishermen to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of the tsunami. Wendy continued hosting the event year on year and for the past 15 years has been fundraising for ShelterBox – raising more than £20,000.

Wendy says: “Losing my daughter, I know how it feels to be caught up in such a life-changing disaster. It’s why I support ShelterBox because they help people who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and sometimes their loved ones.

“ShelterBox gives people shelter, tool kits to repair their homes, and simple items like water filters, solar lights, and mosquito nets. It’s not one size fits all and so they listen to disaster affected communities to find out what they need before getting it to people who need it most.”

ShelterBox is currently supporting people affected by conflict in places like Ukraine, Mozambique, and Yemen, as well as by extreme weather events in Pakistan, East Africa, and the Philippines.

It’s a charity Wendy says Hannah would have approved of. She was a talented artist who devoted her life to working with children and Wendy was helping her create a colourful garden before she died. Now, every year, with the help of her friends Wendy has hundreds of flowering hellebores in individual pots available to sell.

Community Fundraising Officer at ShelterBox, Louisa Arnold says: “Wendy’s passion for hellebores is completely infectious. Every year there are different varieties of hellebores to see in all shapes, sizes, and colours.

“It’s no wonder people travel from across Cornwall and even further afield to get a glimpse of them.

“Hellebore Day is without doubt one of the Duchy’s most celebrated horticultural events and we can’t wait to see what Wendy has in store this year.”

Bosvigo House will open its gates to the public on Saturday 18 February 2023 from 10am until 4pm.

Profits from the home-made cake refreshments, tombola, and bucket collections will be donated to ShelterBox.


For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].

Notes to Editors

  • Details of this year’s event are here.
  • Preview interviews with Wendy Perry and ShelterBox representative available on request.
  • Preview photograph and filming access to Bosvigo House available on request.