Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I lurve hellebores


Crocus? Couldn’t give a damn. They flop over in the first cold wind. Daffodils? Fine, in a big swath in a field, but kind of loud in a small garden. Snowdrops? Beautiful, but I don’t have enough yet to make a real statement with them.


Ah, but hellebores. Yesterday, I had one of the best hellebore discoveries I’ve ever had. I was cutting back the crappy old foliage and brushing it aside, when I uncovered a gorgeous cluster of blooms that had been entirely obscured by an assortment of yard debris. (As I’ve mentioned on Rant, I didn’t touch a leaf in the fall, preferring to deal with them in their far uglier spring incarnation.) What isn’t great about hellebores? They are among the first spring flowers, but, unlike the others, they last for a good six weeks or better. Then their foliage continues, making a grand show through frost. And they love shade. Is it any wonder Plant Delights is maniacally creating more and more and more hybrids of these? Well, here’s one person who will be buying them.

I actually have some PD hybrids in another area (these are just the common type), but they are first year and a bit dinky as of yet.

25 comments:

Carol said...

I love me my crocuses! I must have tougher ones than you because they can take the cold, or maybe it gets colder in Buffalo in the spring time than in Indy?

But I do "lurve" my hellebores, too. I just wish I had more shade so I could have more of them.

sisah said...

True, crocus are good weather plants, but I still love them.. especially the small, wild crocus like Crocus tommasianus ...but you are right: Helleborus hybrides and species are outstanding unrivalled plants in spring.
Liebe Grüße
Sisah from Germany

shira said...

I love them too, although i feel like they are blooming a few weeks later this year here in zone 6 (or zone 7 on a good day). If i actually kept a garden journal I guess I'd know!

Don't ask what kind of gymnastics I needed to do to get this picture, if only they could hybridize to get the flowers facing upright. http://www.flickr.com/photos/shiraf/2398371669/

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Crocus survive snow, freezes, rain and dogs walking over them in my garden. You must have weeny crocus EAL. Or maybe you have some super duper crossbred crocus that has forgotten how to survive.

Hellebores are some of my favorite spring flowers. Can't get enough of them.

Layanee said...

Everything in its' place! I just noticed a patch of crocus which were entirely pleasing...must post picture! But, the hellebores are a true gift! You are right, they do last much longer. I love the white ones but don't have any yet. I uncovered, just as you did, some burgundy blooms which were hiding. They blend in with the leaves and were a welcome sight. When is Garden Walk Buffalo?

EAL said...

I don't have any crocus, Lisa, because I'm just not a fan. I have noticed small ones looking forlorn here and there in others' yards. Actually, in a large planting in an open space they look splendid.

Layanee, it is the last weekend in July--26-27.

pat said...

I have one hellebore I planted at least 4 years ago. I have yet to see a flower. Any suggestions?

EAL said...

Pat,

Sufficient moisture? Shade? Compost added? (not that I add much)

Even if it was a very small plant, you ought to have seen something the 3rd year. They will take 2 years, easily, I know, but the flowers come slowly. At first (3rd year) I just saw a couple.

Many of the plants sold by Plant Delights are larger than what I bought, so they give better results faster.

Apple said...

I've been disappointed with my hellebores but you have just cleared that up for me. This is the 3rd year and I finally have a single bud.

My crocuses are most welcome bits of color right now in a sea of brown.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

There's only 1 thing Hellebores lack - fragrance. Of course if they had that, they'd be perfect & we all know there's no such thing as a perfect plant in real life.

Heather's Garden said...

I have to say I totally don't get hellebores. They just don't push my buttons. But a crocus pushing up through the snow on a cold Easter morning will always shout spring to me. I think they're a fun dash of color in an otherwise bleak landscape. I do agree that daffodils are way too loud for a small garden. But in the woods around a pond...another story. I will have to pull over and take a photo the next time I pass that property.

Jane Marie said...

I'm going to start a new shade area this year. I don't have a single hellebore. I can't wait to start shopping.
Crocuses (croci?) are for the birds (or is it rabbits?)

EAL said...

What I did not say in the post is that I am not a huge fan of early spring flowers, period. It tends to be crummy and too wet to do much so I'm not outside most of the time. So I don't enjoy them that much.

Hellebores persist well into the good weather after the little ephemerals have disappeared and that is really why I'm such a fan.

Gail said...

EAL,

Love hellebores, this is really only my second year with them...once I figured out how beautiful and easy they are...

I agree crocus mass planted in a field is the best look....

Garden Walk is in July, for some reason I kept thinking May!


Gail

EAL said...

You don't want to depend on May weather here, Gail. No snow but certainly possible chilliness and rain. And the flower selection is just not there. May is our tulip season.

I thing GW could certainly be in June (think roses), but July works well for us.

Gail said...

EAL,
Of course May is all wrong! Summer is just so hot in Tennessee...we have a few plants still blooming and in that egocentric manner I so clearly demonstrated ...I think of May when it's beautiful here!

Gail

herself said...

Hellebores are so cool.

I haven't tried planting any since I moved down here to Houston.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm with you on the hellebores. I'm trying to figure out how to use them as a complete groundcover... :)

I like having the surprise element in the garden, too. Yet another reason not to clean up in the fall!

Frances, said...

You are on the money with the hellebores. They aren't splashy, although the newer hybrids are getting there, if they bloomed mid summer we would go 'ho hum'. It is the time of bloom and like you say, how long they last. I really go for the ones with the freckles.
Frances at Faire Garden

chey said...

I love tulips , but would like to try a hand at hellebores, especially if they last more than a couple of weeks. They look like an interesting plant.

Pat said...

I complained above that mine was planted 4 years ago and did not bloom- Never Mind!! It's bloomin now and I can't stop taking pictures of it. Will definitely add more! When is the best time to plant??

EAL said...

Pat, I have planted during spring and summer--you should order some from Plant Delights--they have a mammoth selection. Doubles, variegated foliage, all kinds of cool types.

Glickster said...

For more about Hellebores:

www.sunfarm.com/specials

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