It’s sometimes called the Winter Rose, but isn’t actually a rose relation. The flowers really do remind me of the wild rose, but mostly it gets that name because it blooms in winter, some even by Christmas!
Typically the Christmas bloomers have boring white flowers that slowly age into interesting light green flowers before setting seed. We gifted Mum with one of those hellebore this past Christmas & it’s still looking great on her balcony.
There aren’t any Christmas blooming hellebore varieties in our garden. At that time of year our hellebore are just happy evergreen perennials that the deer leave alone. I think they’re wonderful just filling in the borders so winter doesn’t look completely desolate.
These come from the new hybrid varieties that have appeared in nurseries over the past couple years. The hellebore suppliers have presented blooms in pinks and even dark colours that seem almost black. Those types seem to flower later in the winter.
By February our hellebore are starting to show promise. That’s my cue to get out there & do a bit of pruning.
The new bud stems shoot up from the centre of the plant, pushing last year’s stems over a bit. It’s those older stems we need to check out closely. Some get a bit of gunk on them & that could infect the new growth. It’s wise to remove any with those issues. This sample below shows it even better…
That poor hellebore really was looking worse for wear. I cut away all infected old stems, knowing that the new growth would arrive in hardly any time at all. Here’s what it looked like shortly after its trim:
Another variety was showing buds in February at about this same time. I checked closely but didn’t find any issues on the leafs, so it didn’t get trimmed back at all. My intention is to let it alone unless it starts to look poorly.
In the meantime I’m really enjoying the fat double blooms it’s producing, even though they’re that boring creamy white colour.
I’ve heard that hellebore will slowly spread through the garden, & that’s fine by me! To add some extra encouragement, my plan is to collect their seed pods & help out a bit with the distribution.
It’s just a delight to have a good show of blooms so early in the year! That’s why I’ve kept a couple in big pots by the back door. I seem to need that promise of the flowers & warmth that will arrive in a couple more months if only I can hold out that long.
© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012.
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