Wednesday, February 11, 2015

hellebore update

The next wave of hellebores are developing. This is the plant that I couldn't resist at the now defunct High Country Gardens. First bloom to open this year.

This plant has survive and grown despite the very un-hellebore condition of our climate, and gave me the motivation to try more. It gets full winter sun which is also anti-hellebore, but that may not be such a terrible thing since as the sun moves to summer, it gets shade all day. It is also next to our water feature which I suspect is a bit leaky.

Hellebore 'Connie' was planted last year, and is also a spotted white, but a single. I'm going to have to figure out a way to give it some shade this summer, as it gets the opposite conditions as the HCG double spotted white - full shade in the winter, and sun in the summer. It is very unhappy with that. The flowers should open up in the next day or two.

Just like us, no plant is perfect, and Hellebores have their faults. Maybe a better word is "quirks." One is that they fade to green, and some fade fairly quickly. The first flowers of H. x ericsmithii 'Champion' have already faded to green, although it has produced a number of new flowers. And I guess I shouldn't complain too much since this is the third week of bloom, which is as much or more than many seasonal flowers like bulbs. I happen to like the white hellebores, and there are many more colors including near-black. I think that most of the colors look muddy. Not complaining, just commenting.

H. niger 'Jacob' has faded to green also, but its flowers started coming out just after Thanksgiving. Two months of beauty is not bad, especially when we are talking December and January. Some would argue that the green flowers are just as pretty as the white.  Flowers fade to green faster, the warmer the temperatures.

The problem also is that hellebores are very variable from seed. This one is of the 'Select Whites' from Pine Knot, and it has opened mostly green. We'll see how it develops, but I suspect that I will replace it with another 'Jacob' or a 'Joseph Lemper."

The flowers of H. niger 'Joseph Lemper' are bigger that his brother 'Jacob', and this year were several weeks later. He is still putting out new flowers, the first ones have faded to green. I think his flowers look a lot like Carpinteria, the California bush anemone.

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