The hellebores are starting to perk up now that the weather is cooler. Since they naturally grow under trees, I should not have been surprised that they seem to shed the fallen leaves of the trees instead of being smothered by them. Helleborus niger 'Jacob' is surrounded by a carpet of fallen leaves from the Texas redbud.
Looking closer, I noticed that on my biggest plant, the winter flowers are already forming, way early for being the "Christmas Rose." This plant also put out a couple of flowers in July as did one of my 'Joseph Lemper'. I don't know if that is normal, since I have not read anywhere of hellebores blooming in the summer also. My smaller plants ('Joseph Lemper' and 'Nell Lewis') are not blooming yet, maybe later or next year, and my Helleborus x hybridus won't bloom until spring. Although Hellebores come in many colors now, including an incredible slate black, my favorite has always been the white forms so even my hybrid hellebores are white.