Friday, March 16, 2012

Helleborus (winter rose) in bloom

I have yet to meet anyone who truly dislikes hellebores, botanically known as Helleborus. Also known as winter rose or Lenten rose because of the time of year they bloom, hellebores are one of those genius year-round plants.
Well before the rest of the garden gets going these hellebores put up these fabulous nodding flowers and remind us of all the wonderful things to come this growing season. Thanks to the cool of spring the flowers can last for a long time, as far as a perennial is concerned, and they hold up very well. Then the plant goes back to producing their wonderfully durable, shade tolerate semi-evergreen leaves to add a good bit of texture to the shade garden for the rest of the season. Come late winter as the flowers emerge again you realize you can snip off some of the worst looking foliage, for it's already done it's job of protecting the buds through the last of the frozen temps, and let these guys really shine. You pay more for hellebores, no question, but I seem to think it is always worth it.
I am a sucker for green flowers.

This last one is a character named Helleborus x ericsmithii, I think the straight species. My friend and ex-boss Diane turned me on to this one. A precious thing.