I neglected to include a close up photo of the hellebore ( Helleborus orientalis) I featured in the last post… so here it is.
There are many hellebore species (15 according to Armitage). I grow only the two common types successfully. The second one is the Bearsfoot Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus). This is the earliest hellebore to open in my garden.The lime green nodding bell-shaped flowers with a thin purple rim often greet me just before the New Year.
The blue-green foliage is a wonderful foil for the flowers.
This is also known as the “Stinking Hellebore’ but I have never detected an odor and I do use them in arrangements indoors.
The other commonly known hellebore is the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) and I have presided over the funeral of every one I have planted. I REALLY would like to grow it, so if anyone reading this has any advice I would appreciate it. It does bloom before Christmas & through the holiday, just not in my garden.
The last few years there has been much made of the new double hellebore, but quite frankly they have disappointed me. Unlike the photos in catalogues, which feature only the flowers, they are quite small (6-8″tall) and fall short of making a big show. IF they were to be grown say, at the top of a wall or in a raised container seen at eye level, yes, they would be delightful, but I am frankly interested in landscape appeal on a larger scale.
For the next few posts I will cover a few more perennials I consider indispensable.
© All photos & text 2011