24 March 2018

Hellebores Ain't Not Bores

After a few years of organizing plant swaps in my neighborhood where six or seven people would show up with typical plants, my master gardener group began hosting a swap in the spring with attendance of 30 or so. One of the plants I picked up last year was a hellebores.

I did not have any hellebores, but I had shade. The plant went into a nice mucky clay shady spot and did not grow for the entire year. The leaves stayed green -- that's always a good sign. I had some high hopes this spring, and am happy to report some blooms.

However, there appear to be two different plants growing together, producing different blooms. It's not unlike one of those grafted novelties like the half pink and half white dogwood in the yard a few houses down the street, or a good friends half-breed crape myrtle -- half pink and half purple. Novelties? Maybe man-made freaks is a better word. I must have two plants intertwined.

During the spring, some new foliage shoots popped up above the half baked dark green leaves of yesteryear. Blooming began two weeks ago, and I am rewarded with some hellebores surprises. These are are probably not surprises to anyone that grows them.

First, all the blooms do not pop out at the same time. It's nice to see a succession of blooms from a spring perennial, unlike a daffodil's or tulip's "Here I am and then I'm gone." Today there are two more new buds coming out.

Second, the blooms actually change color as they age. The magenta blossoms get more dull and darker and the creamy ones go green.

Third, the magenta blossoms are more upright while the cream colored ones face more downward making them difficult to appreciate (and photograph.) No worries -- the neighbors are now used to seeing my on my stomach and back with my camera. They hardly take notice any more.

I am pleased with my new additions, even though I do not know their cultivar names. I will need to separate them after blooming, and look forward to two patches of low evergreen ground cover in the shady back.


Pam's English Garden said...
I love your hellebores, Swimray. It would be nice if hellebores showed their faces more, but I'm told they hang down so that the snow and ice can't damage them. The kids on the school bus laugh when they see me on my belly again. The call me 'crazy garden lady.' P. x
Swimray said...
OK, so every neighborhood has an eccentric gardener.