Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Hellebores and Helleborus

My mom introduced me to Hellebores at the Cleveland Flower Show in May of 2005. I bought 'Sunshine Selections' from Secrest Arboretum, which had a booth at the show. It was $8.00 and came in a quart-sized container. Mom bought three, of course, as she usually does, but there was so much that I needed and wanted for my new gardens that I felt like I couldn't afford to buy more than one of anything.

That was my first flower show and this big new world was exciting and overwhelming. I was just beginning to learn the botanical names of things and basic gardening terms and tools and methods. I once said I loved learning so much that I would like to take a college class every semester for the rest of my life. While that wouldn't be practical or feasible, I am grateful for the internet, which I've described as a book that never ends. I can start researching a subject and when I finally take a break, I can't believe it when the clock says it's three hours later.

I brought the helleborus home and planted it in the shade, by the trellis. I loved its dark green leaves with serrated edges. I'd seen pictures of the flowers and I couldn't wait to see them. But I still had much to learn about these beauties. No flowers that summer, and I thought my helleborus was confused! It was October, and that thing was shooting out new foliage!

I thought it should be going dormant like most everything else in my gardens, but it turns out I was the one that was confused. Hellebores many times bloom in the dead of winter, which is why some varieties are called Lenten Rose. About the time that Lent begins, they surprise you with their deep and pastel colors and even a fresh snowfall doesn't deter them. You've got to love that haughty attitude in a plant.

I acquired a few more varieties last year. Park's Seed had a special and I jumped on it. I received lovely large plants and wished I'd purchased more. Of course, they sold out quickly. But our local Lowe's had them marked down mid-summer, so I bought a couple more.

This fall, my mom and I went to Winterthur, Delaware for GardenFair, and I was able to purchase a variegated one, which I planted on the north side of the pool house, under the serviceberry. I am attracted to variegated foliage, and I was thrilled to find this one.

My latest venture into the world of hellebores was made possible by a grower in Virginia at Winterwoods. Gina sent me some seeds as a favor to fellow members of Dave's Garden, and I followed her instructions for planting. I have faith that one day I will see little green spears poking through the soil.


GardenGeek_WI said...

Oh Kylee,
Now I'll want to get into Hellebores,,,like I need another addiction. I do however have 1 and if she performs well, I may get another.

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