I ALWAYS START TO FEEL BETTER, like we’re turning a corner, when the hybrids of Helleborus x hybridus (the orientalis hybrids) jump all the way up out of the ground and start showing off. After a couple of weeks of timid semi-bloom, with the flowers hugging close to the ground on unextended stalks as if in fear of assault by lingering winter blasts, here they finally come. More on these favorite plants, including a podcast:
I started a decade ago with a flat of seedlings of “black” ones (above, a grown-up plant of my favorite color) and yellow ones (below, from another of my oldest, an example with a dark blotch inside). You can see that the yellows are more vigorous, with many more flower stalks per clump. Some of my yellow plants have close to 40 stalks with three to four blooms each, or 125 to 150ish flowers on one plant. They also start to emerge earlier from winter here, compared to the very dark-colored ones.
From these two colors I ended up with everything in between, including some bicolors, and once I saw the possibilities I bought some more such oddities, as these stories, recent podcast, and slideshows confirm: