'Early Purple' The name proposed by Brian Mathew for "H. atrorubens of gardens", a well-known, dark, early-flowering form of H. orientalis subsp. abchasicus. There are at least three forms of this plant around, but the name should be applied only to the plant illustrated in Brian's book.
'Eco Autumn Purple' A pink-flowered cultivar with the unique distinction of its green foliage turning purplish-red in the autumn. Raised by Don Jacobs of Eco Gardens in Georgia, but not yet available.
'Eco Bullseye' Another Don Jacobs selection, stocks of which are still being built up. It has white outward-facing flowers, and a rich red blotch at the base of the petals thinning out into streaks and with a clear white zone around the edge. The markings are constant from year to year.
'Eco Golden Eye' The third Don Jacobs seedling to be named, the purple-veined white buds open to purple, delicately veined petals. The filaments, carpels and the bases of the nectaries are also purple, while the anthers are golden and the nectaries have green tips. This cultivar, too, is still being bulked up and is not yet available.
'Electra' This cross between 'Early Purple' and Will Ingwersen's H. torquatus has very symmetrical, rounded, evenly bowl-shaped flowers with medium-sized, overlapping petals on each stem. They hang their heads noticeably and there are up to nine flowers per stem. Outside the flowers are wine purple with a slate blue bloom, inside they are rose with blue-purple overlay, especially between the veins, giving a distinctive texture. The nectaries are yellow-green and widely spreading to give a distinct eye to the flower. Raised by Eric Smith and introduced by The Plantsmen.
'Elizabeth Coburn' Lilac pink, heavily netted with pale purple and with clear zone at the edge. Raised and introduced by Court Farm Nursery.
"Elizabeth Strangman's Pink’* Illustrated in Marlene Ahlburg's book, this appears to be a seedling of 'Pluto' with purple nectaries, to which this name has unfortunately become attached.
'Ellen Terry' A short, nineteenth-century cultivar with flowers 21/2-3in (6.5-7.5cm) across. Outside they are almost reddish-purple, particularly towards the edges, and slightly veined. Inside they are almost apple-blossom, a pearly white and pink with some green veins, and a tendency to green streaks in the centre of the petals. There is an even faint speckling of spots filling roughly the basal third of each petal. The flower is rather starry in shape, with the sides of each petal folded back. Origin uncertain.
'Eric's Best' Shallow, distinctly saucer-shaped 3in (6-7.5cm) blooms with a deep beetroot red stain almost filling the petals, then running in veins towards the narrow clear pink border with a green centre. Raised by Eric Smith and given to Beth Chatto shortly before he retired from The Plantsmen. Introduced by her in 1990. I've found it to be male sterile (see picture).
'Ernest Raithby' An especially floriferous cultivar with light purple flowers. Raised by Ernest Raithby and introduced by Court Farm Nursery.

Hellebore 'Eric's Best'
'Eric's Best'
Words ©Graham Rice or © Graham Rice/Elizabeth Strangman 1993-2001. Pictures ©Graham Rice/gardenphotos.com unless stated. All Rights Reserved.