Happy to have ’em

I am quite fond of free plants, particularly those that require no effort on my part. The most obvious freebies in this garden are hellebores. Yes, there are plenty that I paid for, maybe half of the hundred plus in the garden, but beneath a hellebore’s canopy of leathery leaves there are dozens, even hundreds of tiny seedlings. Given a few years, many grow to be sizable plants that must be removed or transplanted so that clumps do not become overly congested. In this garden, there is always space to move a plump seedling, though some are also potted for giveaways.

Since I don’t keep a close eye to verify how long a seedling has been around, I can’t confirm the time until one begins to flower. I think the third year, but what do I know? From a bunch of the single flowering hellebores, I’m often guessing which ones are named cultivars that I paid for, or if they’re seedlings, and there’s little reason I should care. The double flowered hellebores are all cultivars of some sort, but all are splendid, and any plant that flowers in the winter months is an ace in my book.

While most of the flowers of seedlings have simple, solid colors, there are a few with mottled coloration. I suppose that hellebore breeders might sneer at some, but to me these are a bit more interesting. There no such thing as an ugly hellebore, at least from ones I’ve seen, so all are welcome as long as there’s a spot to plug them into.

There are many seedlings of the so called Stinking hellebore ( Helleborus foetidus) that is most notable for its deeply dissected leaves. The flowers don’t show much color except a tip of purple on the green flower.
A dozen or more stinking hellebores are all seedlings. All grow taller than other hellebores and with outstanding foliage. They tend to be short-lived, two or three years, but they leave behind several youngsters.
The deep purple and nearly black flowers of some seedlings are very close in color to the parent plants.
White flowered hellebore seedlings can be pure white, or with freckles.

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