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.