It's snowing a little today, but that doesn't stop the hellebore from blooming. I'm becoming a little obsessed with hellebores. The flowers form when little else is blooming, which of course adds to the obsession since there is nothing to distract me. I was a little concerned that this quality alone may be causing me to overestimate the quality of the plants, but I don't think so. I love the graceful curve of the stems from which hang the flowers, winter bells in the garden. I love the shape, color and glossiness of the palmate evergreen leaves.
The flowers last a good long time. The flowers on Helleborus niger 'Jacob' began opening on Christmas Day, and began to fade toward the end of January, turning green with pink edges (when most of the rest of the garden was brown). The flowers are still there, but mostly green now. I'm happy to see seed pods forming, and lots of new leaves coming up.
This hellebore hybrid is blooming now. It came from High Country Gardens, and was the first plant I planted in TMH garden, even before we moved in. I'm not normally fond of double hellebore flowers, but this one did me in, with the drooping white flowers and spots. I'm not sure who bred it, but there are probably better cultivars out there. This one seems to be a bit unstable, with some flowers opening perfectly, like this one, others never turning white, and having deformed flowers. It may be because I have it in too much sun, since I removed the beautiful but over-rambunctious aspen trees from my tiny courtyard. I suspect that the sun makes the bracts turn green sooner, as well. I have a couple of white single hellebores from Pine Knot Farms that I planted last year in a shadier spot. Maybe next year they will bloom.