April 28, 2015
Hellebores Blooming at the Farm
Hellebores come in such an artful array of colors, markings and formations, it’s hard not to love these fascinating perennials. Sometimes known as Lenten rose or Christmas rose, these plants are long-lived, easy-to-grow and thrive in shady locations.
I’ve had hellebores in my gardens for many years, and I find it so rewarding to have blooms that start in March, and continue through spring until the end of May - to me, hellebores are must-haves for any gardener's collection.
Here are some photos of the hellebores blooming at my farm now — I hope you enjoy them.
1 Hellebores are members of the Eurasian genus Helleborus - about 20 species of evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae. They blossom during late winter and early spring for up to three months. This is a Helleborus x hybridus 'White Lady'.
2 Hellebores are widely grown for decorative purposes because of their love for shady locations and resistance to frost.
3 It is common to plant them on slopes or in raised beds in order to see their flowers, which tend to nod. After the first year, when the plant is well-established, hellebores are very resistant and require little upkeep.
4 Hellebores are best grown in organically rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part to full shade.
5 Hellebores come in an array of colors and varieties, from white to deep purple, spotted, veined or picotee, and single, anemone or double flower formations.
6 Their bright green foliage looks so dramatic against the colors of their blooms.
7 Hellebores benefit from a moderate amount of watering. They like to be watered deeply enough to saturate the root zone but then not watered again until the soil feels dry to the touch. These plants are drought tolerant but quite sensitive to soggy soil.
9 These pink hellebore blooms have dark pink veining on the backs of their sepals. Monthly feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer will encourage healthy, lush growth in hellebores.
10 Helleborus x hybrids "Winter Jewel Peppermint Ice" - notice how the sepals are colored to attract pollinators.
11 The colors of the sepals and the petals within the flower attract the insects. Hellebore flowers are not choosy about their insects, so all types can pollinate the flowers effectively.
12 Here is a double white and pink picotee hellebore. When selecting healthy plants, look for blooms with equally shaped sepals, and vibrant colors.
13 If you look carefully into this flower, you can see the stamens and the carpels. The white sepals protect all the delicate parts inside the flower. Look for hellebores with healthy centers that are completely intact.
14 The number of carpels can be as few as three or as many as 10. This is a double cream hellebore with light picotee edges, and veining.
15 Here is another picotee hellebore with yellowish cream sepals.
17 Here is a hellebore bud before opening. Notice the leafy bracts that formed where the stalks branch - these surround and protect the flowers.
18 It's hard not to be drawn to the beautiful contrast of the hellebore's colors.
19 'HGC Pink Frost' starts out as deep burgundy, but then opens to soft pink and ages to earthy shades of rose. Here, the flowers rise above the foliage and face outward.
20 Often a favorite for gardeners, the 'HGC Pink Frost' is a vigorous grower.
21 Given the right conditions, this Lenten rose hellebore will spread nicely. Its muted tones and multiple shades of pale to rosy pink make this a striking specimen. For more information on hellebores, go to our web site. http://www.marthastewart.com/270434/hellebores
22 All parts of the hellebore plant are poisonous, including the seeds, so use caution when considering planting location.Hellebores are also deer and vole resistant.