It's often said of hellebores that if these quiet perennials bloomed in June we'd never notice them. Such belittling totally misses the point. We worship hellebores because they flower when we so desperately need a jolt of color and the promise of spring. You can't help but admire these sweet-faced, delicate-looking flowers blooming their hearts out during winter's darkest days.
Hybrid hellebores, with their yellow, ebony, soft green, spotted, pink or ivory flowers, are most plentiful and easiest to grow, but they won't bloom for at least another month. But you don't have to wait... nurseries are stocked with hellebores that are budding up, and in the case of the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) unfurling their flowers. These earliest hellebores will tide us over until the wave of hybrids swirl us on into springtime....
All photos, including the mossy reindeer, were taken yesterday at Bayview Farm and Garden on south Whidbey Island:
The snowy white Helleborus niger 'Jacob' (a.k.a. the Christmas rose) is the first hellebore to bloom, and a little harder to grow successfully than the hybrids- give it partial shade, and rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Helleborus x ericsmithii 'HGC Silvermoon' - the silvermoon hellebore, was bred in Germany, has pewter colored leaves, and is theoretically deer resistant.
Helleborus x Balladiae 'HGC Pink Frost', with rosy buds and showy foliage, is new this year....
Helleborus lividus 'Pink Marble' with variegated leaves, pink stems, and mauve-ish flowers