The last of the hellebores

While mid winter flowers of hellebores, when little else is blooming, are most appreciated, it is in March that most reach their peak, delightful bloom. No matter that many flowers nod downward, their abundance catches the eye of neighbors in this garden that is barely seen from the street after several large magnolias come into leaf.

With a few hundred mature, flowering hellebores, many of the flowers in January in early February are ones grown from seed (below) and then transplanted through shaded parts of the garden. The side garden that borders a narrow sliver of forest is the largest area of shade, and here many dozens of seedlings (and purchased plants) have been planted.

One of many seedling hellebores, this one is late flowering with interesting color.

For the first time, a few yellow flowered hellebores (below) show more than a few scattered blooms, and if there is a must have in purchases this year, a few more yellows are required. There is no need for other colors or fancy blooms, though I am constantly tempted.

Hellebore ‘Sun Flare’
This unknown (as most hellebores are) double flowered hellebore is particularly floriferous.
The pink border makes this hellebore stand out.
One of the original hellebores planted in the garden, and the proud parent of many seedlings.
A freckled hellebore growing at the base of a spring flowering camellia. I can’t believe that I planted it there, so it’s possible it’s a seedling, though seedlings have simpler coloring.
Again, one of the original plantings.
An unusual hellebore with frilly nectaries.
As excellent double flowered hellebore.
Flowers of stinking hellebores (Helleborus foetidus) are not as ornamental as others, but the purple tipped flower is interesting. The finely divided leaves (below) and vigorous growth earn their place in the garden. No stinking hellebores were planted in the garden, so the many dozens (that are short lived, surviving only a few years) are all seedlings from hellebores with H. foetidus genetics.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie says:

    I’m new to gardening. I never heard about such plants, until I read one of your previous blogs. I’m glad you pointed out that at least one lives no longer than a few years. I will research this plant to see if any variety lives longer than three years. I’m trying to select plants that are low maintenance and will last many, many years; I don’t want to have to dig up plants when I’m in my later years. I am constantly researching which perennials will live the longest, without having to dig them up and separating them. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

    1. Dave says:

      The one hellebore is short lived, but it is rarely found in the marketplace. Almost all hellebores are very sturdy. You can expect them to live forever with a minimum of care as long as they are planted in at least a part day shade, and the area is not overly damp.

  2. Ann Mackay says:

    I love hellebores – they seem so exotic for a plant that flowers at this time of year!

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