Saturday, January 30, 2016

hellebore time continues

Helleborus niger 'Jacob' first opened his flowers around Thanksgiving. In that warm period, those first few flowers faded rapidly to green. Then we had a lot of cold weather and a lot of snow, burying the plants, and the flowers stayed in their half-opened state, like snowdrops drooping. In the last few days, the weather warmed up quite a bit, and the snow melted. The hellebores have started opening.

You can see the flower that opened months ago in the center of the photo above,  and at the lower left in the photo below. 

If there was any question as to why hellebores bloom in the middle of winter, here's your answer. There has been a constant stream of bees to my plants, the only thing in my garden in bloom, and probably the only things in bloom for a long way around. 

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Champion' is not a pure white. It is lovely in itself, but looks a little dingy next to the crisp white of 'Jacob' which is pure H. niger. I scared off the bees going to these flowers when I took the photos.

The leaves are not diseased. They were splashed with stucco when I had the house re-stuccoed this summer.
 In another month or two, these will start to fade, and the H. x orientalis hybrids will start to bloom.