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Spring action.

SPRING is my favourite season. Seeing all the new life slowly emerging inspires me to start creating designs again. Pussy willows add texture to any floral creation, while catkins give a more rural scene. Spring flowers too seem to enliven me: crocuses smiling in the sunshine and tulips looking as if they have just woken up stretching slowly out from under the covers.

Daffodils and small tte ttes are out in abundance, along with muscari with its wonderful pale blue colour, which cannot help but make you smile.

There is, however, another flower that I just adore to see in the garden at this time of the year: the hellebore, with its shy little head that hang down. It is only when you gently turn that little head you actually see the flower head in all its natural beauty. The hellebore is becoming increasingly popular in the cut flower industry - when cut at the right stage it will last in water for weeks.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the garden at Clwydfryn near Bodfari, where there is a stunning collection of hellebores. There must be more than 100 different varieties from specialist nurseries all over Britain, in all shades of pink, green, white, burgundy and even a deep velvety black colour.

It was lovely to talk to owner Sue Watson, a keen gardener who nurtures these wonderful plants. Sue kindly allowed me to cut a few heads to make a creation that allows the flower to really show off in all its glory. STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO A HELLEBORE TABLE CENTRE. Take a small plank of wood, preferably weathered. Gently insert strong pieces of wire into it by holding the wires in position with pliers and then tapping the head of the pliers with a small hammer. Attach test tubes (available at any florist, just ask) to these upright wires with wire or string, making sure that they are firmly in place. Carefully fill the test tubes with water. Collect a few small branches. I used an old fruit tree because I love the knobbly shape of the twigs and the lichen, which gives a rustic look. Lay them across the upright wires and secure them to each other with wire or string. Cut the hellebore stems at an angle and place them through the twigs and into the test tubes. The more differing varieties and colours used the better . Clwydfryn features in the national garden scheme schedule for the first time this year - visitors by appointment, call 01745 710232 diary dates saturday. Open garden in national gardens scheme at Plas Gwynfryn, Llanbedr, Gwynedd, 2pm-5.30pm (until Mon April 5) - pounds 2, child free; Llyn Rhaeadr, Harlech, 2pm-5pm (until Tue April 6) - pounds 3, child free (share to WWF) sunday. Plant Hunters Fair at Dorothy Clive Garden, near Bridgemere, 10am-5.30pm (also Mon). Open garden in national gardens scheme at Bont Fechan Farm, Llanystumdwy, 11am-5pm (also Mon) - pounds 2, child free tuesday. Ben Kettle speaks on The World of Ferns at Morfa Nefyn Gardening Club, Ganolfan, 7.15pm wednesday. Eddie Reynolds (BFS judge) speaks to Wrexham and District Fuchsia and Geranium Society, Maesgwyn Community Centre, Lilac Way, Wrexham, 7.30pm. Seran Dolma of Sustainable Gwynedd gives a talk on sustainability to Tye Gwydr Gardening Club, Y Caban Brynrefail, Caernarfon, 7pm saturday april 10. Open garden in national gardens scheme at 90 St Peter's Park, Northop, 2pm-5.30pm - pounds 3, child free; Plas Newydd, Llangollen, 10am-5pm, pounds 2 open gardens. Clwydfryn, Bodfari - pounds 3, child free.

Visits by appointmen (01745 710232). Rosewood, Puddington - pounds 3, child free.

Visits by appointment (0151 353 1193) . Send gardening events to davidpowell@dailypost.co.uk or see address on P2 of main paper . If you are interested in floristry or horticulture either as a hobby or career, Deeside College has a range of full a and part-time courses. For details call 01244 831531 or visit deeside.ac.uk IN THE CUTTING GARDEN Cut your lovely tulips, hyacinths anemone, and narcissus, place them in a simple jug - and they are sure to make any room come to life

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Sioned Rowlands with her hellebore table centre
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 3, 2010
Words:694
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