15 April 2010

Having a Hellebore good time for Bloom Day


For a couple of years I was seriously challenged by hellebores, and unfortunately at the same time I had a deep and abiding passion for them. I don't know what it is that appeals most to me: their early rising to cheer our hearts or their complex and lovely flowers. They look somehow extremely exotic to me, and considering the fact that I have a lot of diverse, lovely and sometimes exotic 'stuff' growing in my gardens, that's quite a statement. They just fascinate me.

And they used to defeat me, because of two things: the capriciousness of our late winter/early spring weather, and the ongoing hassles with drainage. Clay has its advantages, generally being nutrient rich and holding moisture in summer, especially if you mulch it. However, it can also hold too MUCH water in winter and spring. Saturated soil is not good for many plants, including hellebores. But finally I located the best spots for them, and they're doing well, also thanks to the tutelage of Frances of Faire Garden and Barbara of Mr. McGregor's Daughter fame, who have been my hellebore mentors, so to speak.

But we're a little ahead of ourselves here, so to speak. There's actually quite a bit blooming in my garden this April Bloom Day (Thanks to Carol for hosting this longrunning meme!) Along with the usual forsythia-which still gladdens my heart even if it's common-as-dirt--we have snowdrops, and puschkinia, and glory-of-the-it-better-NOT-snow (Chionodoxa) and the first of my beloved pulmonaria (Redstart and an unnamed P. angustifolia seedling).

While the double galanthus are winding down, the single flowered forms are still going marvelously strong. And we have iris reticulata, and still have all kinds of crocus happening--some of them just coming on. That's the advantage of living where we do. Although spring comes slowly sometimes, the cooler weather also means that things last longer. Or so I console myself. (was that REALLY snow falling earlier, or just chunks of frozen clouds? Whatever they were, they didn't stay around.)

Okay, back to slobbering over hellebores. Yes, they're glorious. They're also apparently quite promiscuous once they get going, though I haven't yet detected any seedlings around mine. The first two to join our family and stay with us were 'Ivory Prince' (above) and the less showy but still wonderful H. purpurescens. There's also H. 'Red Lady', who is a little shy and slow but coming along nicely.

I have a new love now. Yes, yes, I do. Meet 'Golden Sunrise', who utterly seduced me with glowing, rich colours, and got into the back of my car before I could argue. I could sit staring at those flowers with their aurora borealis-like colours for hours. I don't think that will make them bloom longer or stronger, but I'm totally smitten.

However, there will be others coming to join the hellebore family very soon. I have four new cultivars waiting for me at my friend's nursery, including (gasp!) 'Metallic Blue Lady.' Almost as cool as a blue poppy. And the mail is bringing other surprises soon.

Obviously my Urgent Plant Seeking Madness is not going away any time soon.

Happy Bloom Day, everyone!

37 comments:

  1. Oh my, your hellebores are worth slobbering over! Hard to believe you ever had trouble growing them:)

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  2. This is not good....you need to see a doctor straight away...your pulse is racing with delight...your eyes are sparkling with anticipation...and besides that..you are a temptress showing us the blue black hellebore...))) smile)

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  3. Oh, I can tell why you can star at that 'Golden Sunrise" hellebores for hours!!! They look so beautiful! Now you really make me think if I can find some hellebores that suitable for my south florida garden?!

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  4. I love the way you put together the colors in your collages. Gave me some great ideas for my garden. Lovely post.

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  5. I've never grown Hellebores. I'd be very tempted to grow your 'Golden Sunrise' though, what a stunner!

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  6. Your blooms are looking good now. I can't wait to see what else you bring home. Happy GBBD.

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  7. Wow, Jodi, you'd never know you'd had hellebore problems. I love all of them, especially that last one. Your other blooms are quite lovely, too.

    I enjoyed your sense of humor in this post. You really do have a good way with words, and that must be why you are a writer. :o)

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  8. Jodi, so glad to see spring has come to you. Lots of beautiful blooms to gladden any winter weary heart. Those hellebores are exotic- Golden Sunrise is proof of that. Cant wait to see Metalic Blue Lady!

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  9. That blue-black hellebore is amazing, and so is your Golden Sunrise. Now I am craving them both! I really enjoyed all of your spring flower collages. I am glad your spring has finally arrived!

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  10. Dear Jodi, Hellebores of whatever hue are my favourite spring flowers and yours look absolutely charming. I am sure that your garden looks a perfect picture as I write. I can feel the thrill across the Atlantic!

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  11. OMG!! Metallic Blue Lady - I wants it. Which Nursery Jodi dear?

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  12. Dear Jodi, I am very envious of your slow to come but lingering spring. Remembering the crocus and iris retics, ah so short lived here this year. Your love affair with hellebores is well founded, what a fabulous plant. It has so many attributes that make it a must have. Hope soon that you will have some more, customs willing. Thanks for the linkage. That Golden Sunrise is the most amazing! All of your collages are so beautiful. :-)
    Frances

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  13. I like Hellebores as well and seem to be acquiring more each year. I have seedlings they are easy to spot but take quite a few years to bulk up so are manageable.

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  14. Jodi girl !
    Welcome to the "Hellebore Addicts" club : )I have been smitten by these beauties. Yesterday Berry Swirl came home with me ! The Winter Jewels collection are so gorgeous .. I don't mind waiting for Golden Lotus , maybe next year it will be ready to smil at me .. in the mean time .. yes Ivory Prince, Royal Heritage, .. the mystery Orientalis .. well a few are smiling at me and my legs go to jelly ? LOL
    I also have a mail order baby comeing , Apricot Blush ..I can't wait !!!
    Joy : ) "Hellebore Addict"

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  15. Hi Jodi - the Golden Sunrise hellebore is fantastic. I was oohing and ahhhing over the pink one till I scrolled downt to see the sunrise. Beautiful. Don't have any hellebore in my little garden - but they are at the top of my "must have" list for 2010.

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  16. Pass the napkins, please. Love the hellebores and now must have the golden one. Beautiful blooms, Jodi.

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  17. Everyone has such gorgeous blooms I'm feeling quite left out . The snow as finally melted but there is barely anything growing let alone blooming.

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  18. I have always looked at hellebore with a defeatist attitude. On the one had they are lovely but on the other they would not appreciate our dry summers. Then too, as another blogging fried pointed out, that nodding bloom is hard to see when its face is always looking at the ground. So far, I've been able to resist them. When I see photos like yours, I feel myself weakening:)
    Marnie

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  19. Jodi Do you see the Aurora borealis? Or would that be even further north?

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  20. BTW Jodie - I have just sown a flat of Black Hellebore - could I interest you in some when they are grown up enough to leave home?

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  21. Love your hellebores. I just got my first this spring. Self-seeded gifts from a friend's garden. It was so exciting to see them start growing in my garden.

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  22. aloha jodi,

    you have some amazing blooms today...i am in awe, love your hellebores also.

    have a great weekend.

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  23. I'm honored to be your mentor. (Heck, I had no idea I was a mentor.) I think Hellebores are so fascinating because they are so much bigger than the rest of the early bloomers. Or maybe they are just cool. 'Golden Sunrise' certainly is. I don't have any yellow ones. What a glaring omission.
    You do have a climate advantage, my Crocuses are always long gone before the Pulmonaria starts doing its thing.

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  24. Happy, happy spring, dear Jodi! It's comforting to know we are all so smitten with the many gifts of spring.

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  25. Oh, I can SO see why you're smitten! I'd gush right along with you, but I'm still laughing at "chunks of frozen clouds?" and "glory-of-the-it-better-NOT-snow"... your writing is, as always, delightful. :)

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  26. You may not have done well with hellebores in the past, Jodi, but I don't think you have a problem now! 'Ivory Prince' is a stunner and 'Golden Sunrise' is another beauty. 'Metallic Blue Lady' sounds very intriguing. Your spring bloomers look as though they're really appreciating the cooler weather; my tulips and daffodils have been earlier this year but haven't lasted as long due to our unseasonably warm temperatures.

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  27. Jodi, great post, photos and title. Love it! :) Your hellebores are gorgeous.
    Happy GBBD!!

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  28. I found that hellebores need to settle in for two or three years here in North Florida before they start blooming reliably. I have several of the 'Lady' series that have not started blooming yet. I have had them for two years, so hopefully they will bloom next year.

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  29. I can totally understand why you must have Hellebores. I have two, which have grown to be quite large in my tiny shaded garden. I do love the colors you have shown today and may have to try to make room for another.

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  30. Oh Jodi I see what you mean now! I'm only getting around now to catching up on things around here - you and me seem to grow very similar plants but I am drooling over your new golden hellebore and wondering what your new arrival will look like when in flower. I've never heard of the lady series before - not sure if they are available in the UK. Glad that you have finally succeeded with the hellebores - they are great in the garden at this time of year - one of mine has been in flower since the end of November and is still sending out new buds.

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  31. I just love your collages - I do them sometimes too - a great way to show off a collection.

    PS- I think I'm also in love with 'Golden Sunrise'. Thanks for introducing us.

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  32. "They're also apparently quite promiscuous once they get going"

    Oh I hope so! I just planted my first this year, and I'm also equally smitten. They are beautiful flowers!

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  33. I confess to buying a hellebore via mail order, knowing full well that it probably won't grow here, considering they don't sell them here and I've actually never seen one growing here, but they seem so pretty in all these bloggie gardens I thought, well.... I can't help myself.

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  34. aloha jodi,

    wow, it doesn't look like you have any problems with hellebores in your garden any more...beautiful, spring does look lovely in your garden at last!

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  35. What an introduction to a blog!

    These flowers and pics are gorgeous. They sing, "Welcome Spring!"

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  36. Jodi~~ The hell with the hellebores, give me that Pulmonaria! Mine are blue, lavender then pink but I love this 'Redstart' cultivar. I saw it at the posh nursery but couldn't justify the expense so I'll just enjoy yours from afar...

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  37. Aren't they all gorgeous, and so very welcome? Our Forsythia actually bloomed this year! We've been waiting about 6 years so it's a real sight for sore eyes :)
    I too am in love with Hellebores and am anxiously anticipating the arrival of blooms on the 2 small plants in my garden.
    Who could possibly resist 'Golden Sunrise'? It positively glows.

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