Garden log, 2.1.15

Winter blues seem to be hitting me harder this year than they usually do. I haven’t had the urge to get out and tinker on those intermittent warmish days. I started to wonder if my gardening verve had disappeared.

It’s amazing what a little springtime can do.

Hellebores

On a walk around the garden yesterday, I spotted my first hellebores of the year. How they fired me up! I promptly ran to the shed to extract a rake and hand pruners. I raked away the last of the fallen leaves and cut away all of last year’s hellebore foliage to better show off the emerging blooms. To my delight, I found hundreds of hellebore seedlings carpeting the ground around the mother plants. Once they’ve got their true leaves, I’ll transplant them to other spots in the garden that need some cheer.

If you’ve never grown hellebores, perhaps because you’ve been intimidated by the price at the garden center, it’s time to shake off that anxiety. It’s hard to think of a tougher plant that isn’t made of synthetic materials. As long as you have some bit of shade, however slight, you can grow hellebores. They grow brilliantly at the base of deciduous trees, even ones with intrusive roots like maples. And if you buy one or two plants in flower, they’ll reseed generously every year. It takes them about three years to grow from seedling to flowering size, but the seedlings are charming in the meantime and can be spread out to cover what grim, bare earth you’ve got.

hellebore seedlings

Hellebore seedlings can take what nature throws at them.

Did I mention that they flower for ages? Last year mine were in bloom for a full four months, finishing up when the rest of the garden had found its footing.

Honestly, there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a few plants. Go on.

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6 thoughts on “Garden log, 2.1.15

  1. That’s such a nice flower as well, you just can’t go wrong with white and it shows much better than some of the dusky purples and pinks.
    So there’s hope for me too? My verve is on low as well and maybe all I need is to see a few hellebore sprouts!

  2. Some of my hellebore niger hybrids have been in bloom for a month or more, but my orientalis are just beginning. The dusky purples and pinks are gorgeous up close, but they don’t show up well from afar, and often during the late winter-very early spring, we are looking at them from inside the house out the window, or from the car as we come and go.

    For that reason, my favorites are the whites and the yellows. And there are now some awesome yellows available. I have a whole crop of seedlings around my mother yellow plants, hope some of them stay yellow — never know who the daddy was!

    • I have seen some of the yellows, but don’t have any of my own. I agree, the rosy purple and pink ones don’t show up well from afar. Perhaps I shall treat myself to a new yellow cultivar. I have a deep slate-colored one that is beautiful, and it’s planted right by my front door because otherwise I’d never see the flowers. I love them all.

  3. Just read this, and while it’s currently tropical in central NC, I know that it wont last. Off to find some hellebores. I’ve got just the spot that needs some cheering up

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