Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hellebore Parade

While I was at Vassey Nursery buying my Blue Atlas Cedar (read about that purchase here), I couldn't resist ducking into the perennial area (after all, it was covered against the rain) to check out their Hellebores. They had some really lovely and different ones, and two proved hard to resist. I would have bought more, but I was already spending a pretty penny on that cedar. It's so easy for me to forget how very many Hellebores I already have.

Here are the two I bought on Saturday.

The buds on this one start out really dark.
The color lightens as it opens, but it's still such a pretty dark red from the back

Inside is pretty too, with that dark red collar around the stamens

This second one has very frilly petals and a darker picotee edge

The frilly petals are pretty even from the back

After I had finished planting my cedar, I decided to make the rounds of my gardens and photograph the many Hellebores that I already have growing here. I don't know the names, I'm afraid. Some of the tags are well buried near where they're planted, and others have been shoved in a drawer somewhere.

Like a ballerina's tutu

I'm partial to freckles and frills

More freckles, sorry the photo is so blurry.

I wish there were more pretty Hellebores that face upward. Some do, but the really frilly, colorful ones all seem to still be the type that face down.

Sometimes the reverse side is quite pretty

But inside is really stunning!

I still haven't cut back the old foliage to show off the flowers better.

More frilly tutus

I like the very dark, almost black ones too.

I've heard they can self-sow quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever seen a seedling in my garden. Of course, I do have a tendency to be a very conscientious weeder, so it's possible I pulled seedlings out thinking they were weeds.

Do you grow Hellebores? Which do you like best? Have you ever seen seedlings? Don't you agree that at this time of year they are hard to resist?


  1. Sentiments the same Alison regarding hellebores facing downwards, wished more faced upwards. Loved the first one with its rich dark colour

  2. As you may have seen, we just bought another new one with wonder leaves as well as dark red flowers, and we picked it up at Home Depot! I do love them! We don't have fancy doubles like yours. I think I am most fond of some of the speckled seedlings - yes, they do reseed! But I like some of the new varieties that show their faces.

  3. Oh man--they self sow like crazy! I think you would know the seedlings as they look just as you'd expect them to look and they come up near the parent plant. A word of warning--something I found out the hard way--use caution if you are going to collect the seeds from the pods. One year I went around breaking open seed pods and scraping the seeds into a bag with my fingers. After a while my skin started to burn…and burn…and burn. The burning continued for days and then the skin peeled off. It was a true chemical burn from something inside the pods. I researched everywhere before finding a source that mentioned it. I collected a lot of seed that day…and some of the pods probably weren't completely dry…but still something you want to be aware of.

  4. They are gorgeous plants, each year I add a couple more and don't think I'll ever have enough!

  5. Are you cutting them back before the giant seed heads open up? I always had quite a few seedlings at my last house, but they didn't grow that fast.
    I brought 5 from my last house, and will be on the look out for some well-priced ones later in the season (since I have a ton of plants to buy I can't spend big money on them.) Because I have slopes in my yard, it makes it easier to see their pretty little faces!

  6. Pretty additions to your garden, even if you already have scads. Emily's warning about seed collection is a little scary, though.

  7. You captured them so well, Alison. They are just beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen them in garden departments around here or in anybody's personal garden but you know I don't get out much.

    I looked up what they like and it is Shade and Lime. Okay, no wonder we don't grow them around here, acid soil.

    I hope you get seedlings next year.

    1. We have acid soil, and they have grown for me just fine. I live fairly close to NW Garden Nursery, who is a wholesale hybridizer of hellebores, so there have been some pretty special ones that come out in our area.

  8. I'd show up to watch that parade! I'm rather fond of freckles, myself, though I prefer to appreciate frills in other gardens. I've gotten a few outfacing hellebores from work, even some doubles, though I generally prefer the simplicity of single blooms. Can't wait to plant them out!

  9. The freckles and frills are quite fetching. I wonder if they would do well in hanging baskets...seems like a good solution to their nodding habits.

  10. Can't get enough of these especially this time of year! Each one has such a great and unusual personality that it's impossible to choose a favorite! I've never had mine reseed either and I'm a really bad weeder. I like Ricki's idea about growing them in pots and wonder if they'd take that sort of treatment.

  11. You have some beauties. I have loads but you can never have too many. They self seed everywhere too. I like the way the heads hang down because it is such a pleasure going round the garden examining them all.
    The Ericsmithii hybrids have flowers which face straight ahead.


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