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What’s wrong with Betty?

02/02/2012 in gardening, Plant Diseases, shade garden, winter gardening

Miss Betty Ranicar seems to be a bit under the weather.Betty Ranicar hellebore flower
She has black spots… looks eerily similar to black spot on roses.

Betty’s boss thought that maybe it was something she ate. He’d fed her some camellia fertilizer.

I kinda doubt those chemical fertilizers can be that specific.
I wouldn’t know from personal experience, but when I feed my babies horse poop, and chicken poop, nobody tells me that they aren’t getting the right kind, they all just smile and ask for a little rain water to chase it with.

hellebore leafspot
Anyway, I thought that she mighta caught something somewhere, and put her in quarantine.
We certainly don’t want anybody else getting sick…
On reflection, I find myself wondering if maybe she’s complaining about being drowned.

She was growing in an area where the clay from the house had been dumped. That entire area woulda made one hella bog garden…
When Betty’s boss complained about the little patch of turf he has near Betty, that it was holding water, I advised him to get rid of the turf, plant sarracenia, water lilies and lotus blossoms…

hellebore leafspot
I couldn’t convince him… He wanted the turf… I suggested using an electric drill and a bulb auger, drill some drainage holes, fill with gravel, instant drainage… He did, it worked, everybody’s happy… except Betty.

Google is our friend…

On searching “black spot on hellebore” I immediately discovered to my chagrin that hellebore leafspot is a serious hellebore disease, that seems to have possibly arrived with one of the recent purchases from the nursery and infected poor Betty before they died.

There is also a disease known as hellebore black death. Sure don’t want any of that…

Betty could get better by practicing good hygiene… Betty’s employer has an assortment of fungicides, and I’ll leave it up to him if he wants to jump immediately to that solution. I’m not gonna handle that stuff, keeping the plant in isolation would be the solution of choice in my garden…

The extension service tells us that due to the heat and humidity in the state of Georgia that if there’s a plant disease, we have it. Apparently we have something like 95% of all plant diseases…

I suspect that Betty was stressed living in the wet clay, and the stress made her susceptible to the hellebore leaf spot.

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4 responses to What’s wrong with Betty?

  1. Poor Betty. I found you listed in the alphabetical list at Blotanical. I think they missed the deadline for the update. Again.

  2. Over here in the UK we cut our Hellebore leaves off in Nov/Dec so that the black spot doesn’t pass to the flowers as they come through. At the same time, I always give mine a feed of fertiliser and a mulch of leaf mould. The mulch also helps to stop the spores of black spot splashing up onto the flowers when it rains. Hope Betty recovers, it’s not usually fatal!

    • stone said on 02/03/2012

      Exactly what the article I linked to suggested…
      I did some additional searching around concerning these leaf fungus, and found a master gardener article that claimed that these leaf spot diseases were no big deal, that it was strictly an appearance issue.

      I found an article on pdf with pictures and in-depth discussion concerning black death or Helleborus net necrosis.

      Thanks for visiting, Pauline..
      :)

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