Wednesday, March 18, 2009

in bloom this week

Things are starting to emerge like crazy out there in our gardens and green space. So much is coming into bloom quickly with the warm weather these days. Leaving work I saw Spirea starting to pop, and Scilla beneath a magnolia. The iris and the hellebores have been up for close to a week now. Enjoy, or better yet, treat yourself to a walk and see what you find. Iris reticulata cultivars

Helleborus x hybridus, hybrids of Helleborus orientalis and other species, are most commonly known as winter rose or lenten rose because this is the time of year they bloom. Not in the rose family at all, hellebores are actually in the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and native to Turkey and Greece. Hellebores are considered a semi-evergreen. Their leaves with 7-9 coarsely serrated leaflets get to look pretty ratty by the late winter when they get ready to bloom so once in bloom I usually remove most of the beaten up foliage. But definitely do not cut back the foliage too early, as it provides major protection to the fragile emerging buds during the last few frosts. The flowers stand about 12-16" tall and nod so you often have to get on your knees to truly appreciate them. They can be pricey little rhizomes but I don't know that I've ever met a hellebore I didn't like.

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