Better than seedlings?

But of course, you say, a thirty dollar hellebore must be better than any of dozens of seedlings (free plants) that are greatly appreciated and transplanted liberally about the garden. While single flowered hellebores planted years ago are prodigious in providing seedlings, and still quite wonderful in bloom, many newer types have showier double and multi colored flowers (below).

Are these better? Maybe. Yes, I look forward to the frillier blooms, but in the way that any early flower is appreciated, and hellebores are most treasured for flowering in January and February when there are scattered few other flowers in the garden. Newer hellebores tend to flower later, beginning in early March most years, so if the choice was one or the other, I’d take the simple, early flowered types.

Several newer introductions, and newer to me means ones offered in the past decade since I’m not paying top dollar for this year’s introductions, feature flowers that are held more upright than the nodding blooms of older types that must be lifted to be seen. This matters, at least a little, but I enjoy the old timers just as much as ever, and at least for now I consider the nearly endless supply of seedlings to be a plus.

I have not quite figured out why one hellebore thrives and another struggles along, flowering but not growing vigorously while others of similar age are three times the size. I understand that slight differences in soil and sunlight can make a significant difference, but breeding also plays into this. I figure that the genetics are more to blame for the few hellebores that don’t make much of a show, but those are only a few. Single, double, dark, or nearly white blooms are all favorites, but the best are ones that flower when I must dress warmly for my daily garden strolls.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Betsy Wells says:

    Hellebores are one of my favorites. My garden is full of them, many that have reseeded even though I remove flowers before they go to seed. Thanks for sharing yours.

    1. Dave says:

      I don’t believe I’ll ever be energetic enough to deadhead hellebores, or anything else, so I’ll have plenty of seedlings to share.

  2. Bridget says:

    Phew! Those sure are gorgeous! Are they from this year?! My garden is still fairly snowy although I do see new growth on my hellebores, they are not ready to bloom for a few weeks. I’m in Buffalo in zone 5B. Thanks for the updates as always!

    1. Dave says:

      Only one or two of the hellebores are not currently in flower, so these are current photos. I’m very happy to be in Virginia and not in Buffalo this week. Our temperatures the past few days have been around seventy, though it is turning cold next week with highs around fifty, which is a bit below average for mid March.

  3. Jeane says:

    Some of those are so ruffly they look more like a peony to me! I’d be happy for hellebores that don’t hang their heads so much- makes taking photos a bit tricky. Do yours have blooms that stand more upright? or do you prop them when taking pictures.

    1. Dave says:

      The red hellebore and a few others hold their blooms more upright, but you can almost always see a small twig in my photos that is holding the flower upright.

  4. donpeters43 says:

    Absolutely beautiful blooms. Makes me wish I had dozens of these hellebores in my garden!

    1. Dave says:

      They’ve snuck up on me. I see one I like, buy it, then another and another, and five years later I’ve got a bunch. Not hundreds, but maybe a hundred.

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