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hellebore porn: a fast look at 2010’s bloomers

hellebore 4I DON’T KNOW WHAT MORE I CAN SAY in praise of hellebores. I’ve told you that I rely on them for my garden’s earliest burst of major perennial color, and that they are among my favorite evergreen groundcovers, happy even in some tough spots here and asking for little care. So rather than say that all again in more detail, how about some pure hellebore porn? After all, these Helleborus orientalis are sexy plants, which freely mate and create endless new color variations. Which you can see in this latest slideshow…

Click on the first thumbnail to start the show, then toggle from slide to slide using the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy!

  1. emily says:

    My husband and I just ordered a few for the first time… an apricot color. I was attracted to the idea of them being perennial, supposedly deer-resistant, and shade tolerant. I’d love for them to bloom and “mate” all along the back border of our house, which gets the least amount of sun. Yours look so pretty, I might have to buy a second color just to see the color differences that come out of that. How long has it been since you initially planted the first ones from your friend?

  2. kathy says:

    I thought it was just me or my lack of labeling skill but as I crawled around my garden yesterday doing leaf clean-up I marveled at my hellebores and the fact I could no longer name any variety. I love them, they never disappoint.

  3. Laurie says:

    Wow! Pretty amazing variations. I didn’t realize they’d do that. I’ve got three different types, so will be interesting to see what shows up.

  4. Johanna says:

    Love them, and all the mysterious variety! When I get my shady yard’s fence redone, I’ll have to add some hellebores in those beds.

    Thanks for the cheery show on a drab and dreary day.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Cathy. Glad you like! I do hope you’ll be back for other bloom cycles ahead, whatever this wacky, too-fast spring here offers up, and summer, fall and winter after that. Don’t be a stranger.

      @Emily: I put in seedlings about 10 years ago for the first time; they were just blooming age, but very small plants. Now I have many, many giant plants (the oldest) and dozens and dozens and dozens of offspring of medium size, more all the time. Very easy, and deer don’t really like them it seems.

  5. maria says:

    Just ordered some plant porn. Told them you sent me. Husband is threatening to hide my computer. Can’t wait to get them-It’ll be sooooo worth it!!!!

  6. Terry says:

    Love them especially your photo 8 & 9 one. I too am a helleobre person and have many grown from seed. I actually went to England in February 2007 to visit with a gardenbuddy and one of the tirips was to Ashwood Nursrery and it was Hellebore Weekends. We took a tour of the stock area and it was a sea of hellebores in various shades. If you want to see interesting hellebores, vistit gardenbuddies hellebore website. Lots of interesting discussions and plants to be seen.

  7. Erin says:

    Beautiful slideshow! I bought some hellebores on a whim at Home Depot last year. I didn’t know anything about them other than they were pretty. Now I’m hooked. I live in high desert country in the PNW and they weathered the hot summer very well. AND the deer in the neighborhood haven’t bothered them at all.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Erin. I know, easy to get hooked. Watch out, or you’ll end up with a menagerie like I seem to have. :)

      Welcome, Terry. Am jealous of your trip to see Ashwood, lucky you! Thanks for the info about gardenbuddies; I will go on a hunt.

      See you both soon again, I hope.

      @Vince: Tons of baby H. foetidus here, too. I wish I grew that species better; not sure why it’s always a little battered (I guess it just opens too early for my weather most years?).

  8. naomi says:

    Those are beautiful. I took a chance and planted several about two years ago, good sized ones. They are putting out lush foliage right now, but I’m afraid it’s too warm here in New Orleans. Do you know, do I have to satisfy myself with green leaves only?

  9. Tedb says:

    One of my favorites too. The couple dozen I have seem very happy in my zone 4 garden, though not a lot of reseeding yet. The dark one are so dramatic but I love the pink best – they seem to read better from across the garden. I’m thinking about dividing a few, but am torn – big mature plants or more baby plants – an excellent garden dilemma.

  10. Yvonne @ Country Gardener says:

    Oh, how yummy those plants are! We have a patch of them in our shade garden, seed-grown by my husband, but your selection looks much more exotic. You certainly know how to incite hellebore lust.

  11. MichelleB says:

    What a gorgeous color. PineKnott farms comes to our local GardenFaire in Abingdon VA and I bought a double seedling 2 years ago. I finally bloomed this year and it’s a beautiful speckled cream with about 3 frilly interior layers. I tried to collect pollen off it to hand pollinate my pink ones. My fingers are crossed and I plan to splurge on more double seedlings at the show this spring.

  12. Deirdre says:

    I bought some tiny seedlings for twenty five cents at the local Latvian bazaar a couple of years ago. They bloomed for the first time this year. They’re not a fancy color, but there’s no such thing as an ugly hellebore.

  13. Laura says:

    Thanks for the beautiful slide show! I have four gorgeous hellebores plus a seedling or two that we inherited when we bought our house two years ago. They’re hiding behind an azalea, and I’d like to move them out a bit so we can see them better. The whole yard is dappled shade, so I think the conditions would be about the same. I’ve heard they can be hard to transplant. Do you have any advice for transplanting–timing or technique?

    1. Margaret says:

      @Laura: I have moved them (hellebores) at various times, spring and even fall. They have deep root systems when they are mature, but young plants are easy. Go slowly with the first one to feel your way and explore the extent of the root system. I have found them to be resilient as long as I didn’t let them dry out too badly while adjusting to their new homes.

  14. Donna says:

    Margaret…What a wonderful treat! I have one large limey-colored hellebores and it is so beautiful…but you inspire me to search for several more. Thanks for sharing…now off to the garden to play a bit!

  15. Jan says:

    A friend gave a generous handful of tiny hellebores to me three years ago. This is the first year they’ve bloomed – as she predicted. Lovely, lovely.

    Changing the subject a bit – has there been a discussion about dealing with gardening-induced aches and pains as we (I) get older or do true gardeners suffer in silence? Would love some preventative tips and/or remedies for my aching back and legs.

  16. B says:

    I planted 6 new plants at my new home in Columbia County, NY, last fall, with one truly thriving, 4 doing middling well, and the last one, pretty limp. It seems late for them to be just coming up, or not? Is it because the plants are “immature”?

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, B. Each plant seems to have a mind of its own. I have some in full bloom for two weeks now; some just arising. I will say this: They take a long time to settle in. Plants with big systems of thick roots often do (my unprofessional observation). The first year or two is all about making them comfortable (don’t let them go bone dry!) and then, suddenly, WHOOSH! Stick with it and the payoff will be there.

  17. Jane says:

    Jan: For aches & pains I’m now subject to, too, for my back, I wear one of those black wrap-around elastic and Velcro construction belts pulled tight. It is a huge help. I kneel on foam pads. Afterwards, if I haven’t followed my own advice, I take a couple of acetominophin [or however they’re spelled!] and sit watching TV on a massage pad, one of those with the electronic internal gizmos that go up and down my back or that can be stopped to knead a specific spot.

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