Monday, 8 April 2013

Beautiful Hellebores

It’s second week of April, usually this is the time when my rhododendrons and azaleas are flowering and the first of my roses pops out too, my camellia is usually finished flowering or almost finished and all the daffodils and crocuses are long gone. This year is a bit different though.

Some of my daffodils have been flowering for a while but most of them haven’t even started. Most of my crocuses are finished, but some, on the shady side haven’t started yet. My hyacinths are just about to flower, I think they will be out just in time for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th. But the flowers that do keep on flowering in my garden are my hellebores, usually way past their best when we get to April. You can’t really see them in this picture, they are down at the bottom of my garden, at the shady corner. I have been wondering if I should create a hellebore area up here too, which would start flowering much earlier, that would mean I could have hellebores for even longer than I have now!

But here is my hellebore area, not very impressive yet, but I am working on it! I started out with only 3 hellebores back almost 9 years ago and I never used to let them set seed, I cut off the seed heads before the seeds were mature. Then I redesigned my garden, moved the hellebores down to this larger area and found that I had room for many more. I bought 3 new last year and 3 more this year, they will all be allowed to set seeds :-) But more importantly, the maroon hellebore in the centre here, the one that looks so sorry after having suffered frost damage, this one was a prolific seed producer last autumn and produced more than 100 seedlings for me this spring!


Here is a collection of my hellebores, all are Helleborus hybridus.


Helleborus hybridus ‘Double White’


Helleborus hybridus ‘Double Slaty Blue’


Here is next generation! I bought 6 hellebores as plug plants a few weeks ago, I assume they are last year’s seedlings and that they won’t flower until next year possibly not for 2 years.


And here are my seedlings, 40 all together, it’s like a big production line! I have left a few still in the ground, the rest I have just discarded, but the ones I have dug up and potted is actually doing much better, they have all got true leaves, some quite big, most of the ones still in the ground have not got true leaves yet. If I can manage to control the watering here on the shelves I think they will do well here for the next 12-18 months. I can move the seedlings down to the bottom shelf to get some shade and cool if we get a very hot summer...yeah, wouldn’t that be amazing if we got a very hot summer??

The last photo is of Helleborus hybridus ‘Picotee’, new of this year.


The thing about growing hellebores from seeds is that you never know what you get. My 40 seedlings all came from the same plant but that doesn’t mean their flowers will all be exactly like the mother plant. That’s the exciting part in growing hellebores, it takes at least 2 years, often even 3 years before you see if you have grown anything really special or just a very ordinary one – or something not so beautiful at all. I hope the double white and the freckled one will give me seeds this year, that means even more seedlings to take care of, I might not be able to have 40 from each plant, or else my brand new shelving system in the garden will be out of space before I know it! Anyway, as you can tell, I find this fascinating, and I can’t wait to see all the seedlings in flower! Until next time, take care :-)

I am linking up with Mosaic Monday at Mary's Little Red House.

44 comments:

  1. Gorgeous flowers and elegant photography for Blue Mon ^_^

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  2. Hi Helene
    Your Helleborus are beautiful too! My double White one is a bit of a problem child *LoL*. It flowers but it looks very poorly and not that shiny white like others.
    Ah, now I know the correct English name. Thanks! In German we've got many more names for them, as if one wouldn't be enough for such a Beauty.
    By the way daffodils haven't flowered here neither. But weather is getting warmer and so I guess they will soon.
    Have a good start into the new week.
    Alex

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    1. Thanks Alex, my hellebores have struggled a bit this winter too, those that flowered early have frost damage and look terrible, those that waited a bit look better and some are still in bud. Some are much smaller than usual and one of my hellebore plants have not produced any flowers at all, for the 3rd of 4th year in a row. I wonder if they stop flowering when they get too old? Good thing I have new plants on the go :-)
      Have a good week you too!

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  3. Hi Helene
    I can understand your attraction to Hellebores - I am starting to fall in love with them myself!! I only have one and it's coming up strong but hasn't opened yet. I plan to buy some more. I will jot down the names of yours and see if I can find them here.
    Astrid

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    1. I am sure you will find something similar, but new hybrids are often named by the nursery or grower so they might have slightly different names. I hope most of my seedlings will survive, it would be fun if I can make another hellebore area and still have some to give away. I don't think I need to buy any more :-)

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  4. How lovely that your Hellebores are productive and happy this year--you must have exactly the right conditions for them. Mine are just now out from under the snow and ready to bloom! They were beginning to form buds back in December, so I'm happy to see they held the buds all winter. I have a burgundy hybrid very much like yours. That 'Picotee' is something special!

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    1. I think hellebores can survive under most conditions, they seem to be quite tough plants, although the one I had that flowered so early this year did not like the cold weather we then got, that's the first time I have seen frost damage on a hellebore. The ones that were still emerging have managed fine.
      I also like the dark coloured hellebores, I have a black double on my wish list :-)

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  5. Your hellebores are lovely. I didn't know that they wouldn't reproduce true to seed. So interesting. I'm planning to get some hellebores for my own garden, the dark coloured ones are so pretty. It's so nice to have something blooming early.

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    1. Yes, they do bloom early, but they are not the earliest ones in my garden, I have lots of other plants that start much earlier than the hellebores :-) They are however much showier than mnay other, and also prolific seed producers, and for thaat I love them!

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  6. Hi Helene: My hellebores are coming on finally and I've been getting rid of the old foliage... we're do a very cold week again but Sarah and I have a nice start on cleaning up the gardens which makes me feel better. I responded regarding your question on my lilies on my post in the comments section... Larry

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    1. Thanks for the response about the lilies, I have already had a look, there are so many lilies I would like, if only I could afford them :-)

      I hope spring will arrive properly to your garden soon too, I think we all deserve a good spring soon, no more frost nights, please!

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  7. Our hellebores are prolific seeders but so far I have just let them seed where they are - I'll soon need to carry out some judicious weeding,

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    1. I suppose if all hellebores are just as productive as mine has been there would be way too many seedlings around every plant to be viable, they would soon fight for the space. I have checked my new double slate, it has already started to produce seeds, hopefully they will come fairly true :-)

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  8. Lovely hellebores, your new oicotee one is a beauty. Your place with pots of seedlings looks almost as a professional nursery, I think it is so much fun to be there pottering around. I hope this is good English, but I don't know........
    Janneke

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    1. Your English is perfectly understandable, don't worry :-)
      When I look at my new shelves it almost feel like I am running a small nursery, yes, but that's the fun bit of gardening. Now I just need to find enough people to give away the plants to, because I have not room for all these hellebores - we'll see when that time comes, might put an ad in the local newspaper :-)

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  9. lovely garden and your hellebores are gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, and welcome to my blog :-)

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  10. I love hellebores and you have a wonderful selection. I have all doubles myself. I wanted to tell you how great it is that you are getting birds to the garden. I like the Magpies, but we don't get them.

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    1. Thank you, yes finally I have some birds, not many small songbirds yet to see, but hopefully they will come too eventually. The magpies are great fun, they bring all sorts of presents for me, you won't believe all the things I find in the garden that they have collected! Especially metal cable ties, that seems to be something they are especially fond of. I wonder where they find them??

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  11. Helene your hellebores are beautiful.I too have many in my garden and have little seedlings needing lifted and potted up.

    All the spring bulbs are late to bloom as its been such a long cold winter.

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    1. Yes, I suppose I lifted mine way earlier than supposed to so you have plenty of time, but I wanted to try to lift them while they were still small and easy to handle, the rest I will lift in the autumn, which seems to be the time you are 'supposed' to lift seedlings.
      A lot has happened in my garden in just the last 3 days, it's been great weather with less wind and a bit warmer :-)

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  12. Your hellebores are all gorgeous. Mine are just beginning to wake up. They are so addicting, aren't they? If there was room I could plant hundreds.

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    1. Thanks! At this rate I might have a hundred in a couple of years!

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  13. Beautiful Helene i envy your dedication too all those baby Hellebores I intend to let mine go to seed this year, a first for me. Picotee is a cracker!
    Also pleased to read you hsve Magpies visiting I love watching them waddle around the garden

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    1. I love the magpies too, both the magpies and the blackbirds are less scared of me now, they come and eat even if I am in the garden, the pigeons never do, they just sit on the roof and hoot...I imagine they hoot for me to go away so that they can come down and eat!

      I hope I will be able to take care of all the hellebore babies over the summer, I have ordered I cracking good, really hot summer this year, I hope it turns up! I am more than willing to water those babies every day in return :-)

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  14. Your plants are lovely. I have never seen or grown hellebores but I think they are gorgeous. Love your mosaic. Pamela in Canada

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Pamela.
      Hellebores are very rewarding plants, especially since the leaves are evergreen. Most hellebores can be grown from hardiness zone 4 and upwards so I guess you should be able to grow them where you live unless you live in a particularly cold area.

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  15. Gorgeous hellebores Helene! That double white is just beautiful. I'm jealous of all your seedlings. One of mine self seeded last year, but sadly, not the one I wanted. Maybe this year?

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    1. Thanks, I am going to be looking very carefully this year for seeds, the double white is one of those I would like seeds from yes - and hoping some of them has crossed with some of the other of mine, that would be great! Shame it takes so many years to see the result, can't wait to see what the seedlings will look like!

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  16. What a fabulous nursery you have there! The thing I like most about hellebores is their foliage - I love the flowers and the excitement of not knowing which colours or markings a seedling's flower will have, but I find the foliage so useful for ground cover and for contrasting with other foliage. It is also incredibly beautiful for months on end. Actually, hellebores are simply great plants!

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    1. Oh, I agree, I have a lot of evergreen plants as I use the garden all year round and hellebores are high on the list on evergreens.

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  17. Hi Helene,

    Your Helleborus are gorgeous! This is one flower that I haven't planted because I really don't have much shade in the garden. Perhaps I could try them near my hostas since they come up early.

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    1. Hellebores are tough plants, you could probably plant them in full sun and still have happy plants where you live! They are not shady plants in their native life, but would like a happy medium if you can provide that. Have a go, they are lovely!

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  18. Those doubles are beautiful and I love the fact you have a hellebore nursery Helene!

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    1. I love my new nursery too :-)
      Soon many of the bigger plants are going in the ground, freeing up space for some large window boxes which I plan to grow vegetables in - haven't done that before!

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  19. That's fantastic that you've gathered up all those seedlings and are trialing them. who knows what the flowers will turn out like. such fun to experiment! we're having a very late spring here too, the weather just continues to remain on the cold side and no end in sight at this point.

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    1. It is the first year I am having hellebore seedlings so I don't know how much work it will be to keep them watered over the summer - depends what kind of summer we get of course, if we get a summer like last year (heavens forbid!), it won't be a problem.

      We have finally got a bit warmer weather, no night frost anymore. It sounds strange to say that, in April, we have had years with no night frost at all, throughout the winter! This Sunday we might get 20 degrees Celsius, just a one off though :-)

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  20. Oh, you have alot kinds of Helleborus. They are all lovely:) Among them, I like the double one the most. I have four pots of Helleborus but unfortunately two of them didn't produce flower this year.
    And thank you for telling me about the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! It's enjoyable so I'm going to join it:)

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    1. I'm glad you have decided to join the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, it will give you a great record for the future.

      I also have hellbores that haven't flowered this year, I wonder if the prolonged frost and cold weather has had an impact. I will leave them and hope they flower next year.

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  21. Helene, you are experimenting with hellebore seed, it's very complicateв I suppose. Why wouldn't you plant them in soil and grow up there?
    I love your collection!

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    1. If mother nature had spread all the seeds evenly out then I could have just left them to it, but unfortunately that didn't happen, the seedlings were in big cumps of 30 or so, they would never have survived to become mature plants growing like that. I could have just thinned them out and discarded the rest, but I wanted to have as many seedlings as possible so that's why I took most of them up and potten on. They are going back in the ground as soon as they are big and healthy enough :-)

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  22. Hellebores are relatively new to my garden and so it was interesting to read about their propagation. Two years seems like a long time to wait for flowers, but they are so spectacular in bloom that it seems worth the wait.

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    1. Yes, 2 years is a long time, and often you have to wait even 3 years, that's why they are quite expensive to buy - but well worth all the work :-)

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