Helleborus

Helleborus

Christmas Rose/Lenten Rose

Stories about this genus are countless. In medieval times, it was considered a weapon against witches, madness and evil spirits. Hellebores deserve a place in every garden, not only because of their supposed power, but because they bloom for a long time, early in winter, when the weather is cool and most other flowers are still dormant.

They like moist, loamy soil with lime and leaf mold. We like them as ground covers for deciduous shrubs, conifers, or broad-leafed evergreens, and when possible plant them in an elevated spot to admire their nodding flowers.

<i>Helleborus argutifolius</i>

This native of Corsica and Sardinia is one of the largest Hellebores, with big racemes of light green, cup-shaped flowers nodding well a­bove gray-green foliage. The sturdy leaves of this bushy, subshrub-like plant have veins of marble and small teeth that turn red with age. Try it as a foil for Epimedium ‘Orange Queen’, Omphalodes and Pulmonarias.

Blooms February–April

Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

<i>Helleborus</i> x <i>ballardiae</i> ‘HGC Pink Frost’

Hybridized by German plantsman, Josef Heuger, ‘Pink Frost’ boasts a captivating floriferous display and a versatile robust evergreen habit. A multicolored effect is created as legions of burgundy buds unfurl antique-toned pink petals, which emcompass blonde stamens, and eventually mature to a deeper rosy red. Forging a forest green clump of thick, small-toothed, red-petioled leaves, this Helleborus lividus and Helleborus niger progeny is tailor-made for containers and obliges a wide range of light exposures including deep shade, full sun and everything in between.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 9" – 15" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Helleborus foetidus</i> ‘Wester Flisk’

From the banks of Scotland’s Tay River, ‘Wester Flisk’s fantastic foliar effect and extraordinary coloration will leave you spellbound. Large finely dissected palmate leaves with narrow jagged-edged finger-like leaflets interlace in a singular geometric fashion, creating a dark green dome that casts rich maroon shades from fall to spring. Set off by red stems and stalks, the airy chartreuse clusters of perfectly shaped bell flowers are rimmed in red. This exceptional selection maintains its composure when exposed to sun or shade, rabbits and deer, and dry, moist or clay soil.

Blooms February–April.

Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Modeled on tall strong stems above varnished evergreen foliage, the large ornately marked grape purple flowers showcase contrasting bright green nectaries surrounded by prominent dusky violet freckles. Chris Hansen’s discerning eye selected this remarkable Hellebore strain for its vibrant legions of otherworldly 3 ½ in. blooms and its fetching deep green visage that possesses amazing vigor.

Blooms January–March

Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Helleborus</i> x <i>hybridus</i>

Perhaps one of the finest low growing, early flowering plants, this Helleborus is easy to grow, requiring only shade and some moisture. The nodding flowers, which range in color from blush white to plum, are usually spotted on the inside with crimson and maroon. Lustrous and dark green, the 12 in. wide evergreen leaves are divided into seven to nine segments.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Deemed some of the finest low growing, early flowering plants, the hybridus Hellebores are easy to grow, requiring only shade and some moisture, and those in the “Lady” series, innovated by Gisela Schmiemann, are renown for their beauty. ‘Blue Metallic Lady’s darkly alluring, cupped and upfacing flowers boast lavish midnight purplish blue hues with merlot and pewter overtones and a bright cluster of champaign-colored stamens. Lustrous and dark green, the broad evergreen leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments.

Blooms February–March.

Size: 15" – 18" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

One of the prized outcomes from Charles Price’s complex breeding programs, this new Hellebore offers darkly alluring, cupped and upfacing flowers, which boast charcoal hues suffused with blue, plum and wine tones and sprightly champaign-colored stamens. Broad dark green leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments and retain their lustrous finish throughout the year.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 15" – 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Another stellar Hellebore from the highly touted Lady series, ‘Picotee Lady’ affords ample feminine appeal with uniquely etched fanciful blooms. The cup-shaped greenish white flowers flaunt rosy wine rims, pink or red veins, darker pink flipsides and a starburst of flaxen stamens. Thick lightly toothed dark green leaves craft a glistening dark green foundation that can be easily grown and relished nearly all year, especially when nestled next to Pulmonaria ‘Dora Bielefeld’.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 14" – 18" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Red Lady’ (P-1326)

Each $11.50

AVAILABLE AUGUST 2018

Earning the Perennial Plant of the Year award in 2005, this Gisela Schmiemann innovation is renown for its outward facing dusky reddish violet flowers. The alluring dark blooms, heightened by spry light-colored stamens, are clustered above a glossy evergreen bed of thick, toothed and segmented dark green leaves. ‘Red Lady’s mysterious flair can be associated with other coddle-free woodland dwellers such as Beesia deltophylla and Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’.

Blooms January–March

Size: 15" – 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Helleborus</i> x <i>hybridus</i> ‘White Lady Spotted’

This elegant empress will take command of your winter garden. Warmed by a maroon freckled center and distinctively showcased against a dark green, thick-leafed evergreen base, each beautiful rounded white blossom appears to be sculpted from snow. Her glorious bearing is the result of Germany’s Gisela Schmiemann’s outstanding Hellebore breeding program.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 14" – 18" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Helleborus</i> ‘Midnight Ruffles’

Flaunting three times the petals of most Hellebore blossoms, large lusty black double flowers, enhanced by buttery yellow stamens, distinguish this marvelous new Chris Hansen introduction. Borne on strong stems, the swank outfacing blooms, which span over 3 in., maintain their splendor for twice as long as their single flowering counterparts and unleash tantalizing drama into any garden setting. Rare, highly coveted, and deer-proof, ‘Midnight Ruffles’ also furnishes glossy good-looking evergreen foliage for your year-round enjoyment.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 18" – 22" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio.

Blooms November–January

Size: 12" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Helleborus</i> x <i>nigersmithii</i> ‘Ivory Prince’

Also known as Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’.

With dark dusky pink buds and outward facing, easy-to-view ivory-petaled blooms, this vigorous Lenten Rose is aptly named. Innovated by the truly gifted English breeder David Tristram, and vegetatively propagated, ‘Ivory Prince’s exquisite flowers reveal a subtle infusion of colors, from soft green and antique rose on the inside to earthy plum hues on the exterior. Sturdy wine-tinted stems and princely, deep green leatherlike foliage marked by light prominent veining and toothed margins maintain a pleasing evergreen presence all year long.(PPAF)

Blooms March–April.

Size: 12" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

After 15 years of meticulous record keeping and careful hand crossing by American breeder, Chris Hansen, this vigorous richly colored Hellebore is the first selection to be released from the Winter Thriller series. Enormous 3 ½ in. wide, long lasting mahogany red flowers are perfectly rounded, as sumptuous as velvet and copiously produced, exceeding some 70 per plant. Poised on sturdy pencil thick stems, the glamorous outfacing blooms showcase bright platinum-colored stamens, and when mature, transmute unusual green hues well above the evergreen bed of thick, dark lustrous leaves.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 18" – 22" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Helleborus</i> ‘Sunshine Ruffles’

Beaming large sunny yellow double flowers with magenta-laced margins, this vigorous Chris Hansen cultivar introduces a new floral color to his Winter Thriller Hellebore series. Perky bright green nectaries embellish the aptly named cheerful blooms, which can number up to 50 or more, atop strong stems and a shiny Yew green bushy base of winning evergreen foliage. The ruffled flowers make a fulgent counterpoint to Pulmonaria ‘Bertram Anderson’s silver-dappled leaves and blue blossoms in shady garden niches.

Blooms January-March

Size: 18" – 22" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

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Saturday Strolls & Plant Chats 2018!


Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Achillea 'Hella Glashoff'

Amazing Achilleas, Invigorate your summer plantings!

Amazing Achilleas…. These sturdy, dependable perennials produce small indivdual blooms that populate broad, flat flower heads, lending welcome horizontal elements to any garden bed. Ideal for bouquets, fresh or dried, the long-lasting blossoms range in color from alabaster to soft yellow and gold, as well as terracotta, pink and sassy red. Cut back their flowers in midsummer and enjoy a fall encore! Spicy scented, attractive fern-like green or gray-tinged foliage cloaks their strong straight stems. Slowly spreading and somewhat drought tolerant, Yarrow seem to thrive on neglect. They can handle low soil fertility plus coastal wind and salt spray. Be sure to check out our diverse on-line Achillea selections!

Invigorate your summer plantings.… A few simple maintenance techniques will help plants appear fresh throughout the upcoming dog days of summer. The addition of a chipped bark mulch or well-rotted compost, applied as a top-dressing, not only reduces water requirements, but generally makes it easier for plants to maintain perky looking leaves and vigorous habits. A July or early August trimming of long-blooming perennials, such as Nepetas and most Geraniums ensures myriad flowers that will keep on coming ‘til the first frost. Featured in this newsletter, you’ll find the fabulous plants that caught my eye as Boobah and I took our morning walk through the nursery and adjacent display borders this past week. Hopefully, you’ll have room to ensconce several of them in a well-traveled spot. Happy Digging!

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