I’m in Hellebore Heaven! Here’s a few from my garden:
March is one of my favorite months in the garden. There is so much new life–flora and fauna. The days are warmer, but still cool enough for long sleeves, which is perfect because I spent the afternoon digging out poison ivy roots before they have a chance to grow into vines. Birds are becoming more active, so are bees, ants, and earthworms. I know soon enough I will begin to see snakes darting around my garden, too. I don’t mind them much, as long as they are of the garter or black variety. All of the spring ephemerals will come and go in the blink of an eye. I walk through my garden several times a day; I know it only takes a moment of indifference to miss what I’ve waited all year to see bloom. These hellebores last much longer than most spring bloomers. I love these gorgeous, delicate-bloomed, yet so tough plants!! They are maintenance free, except for the chore (small, but still a chore) of removing any unwanted seedlings that each parent plant produces. Many species are prolific breeders, especially the more common lenten rose–Helleborus x hybrids. This is great if you have a large area for them to cover. Not so great if you have a small urban garden. To remedy this, I cut off the seedheads before they ripen, split, and spill on the ground. Problem solved! Or, you can share the seeds (or seedlings) with a friend. I also like to cut off all of the old leaves when the plants begin to bloom. The bloomstalks show up much better when the tattered, old leaves are removed. This step is purely aesthetic, but makes a huge difference. Other than those two small tasks, hellebores are care-free plants. And the variety is endless: there are a plethora of colors, shapes, forms, shades, sizes, and heights, as you can see from just this sampling from my garden. There are so many more species, and breeders are creating new cultivars all the time. I love this time of year, thanks in part to my wonderful hellebores!
Photo: My garden February/March 2016