Tag Archives: Hellebores

Dawn Of Spring, Hellebores Reign

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Spring arrived reluctantly this week. It has been wet and even snowed yesterday, with perhaps more wintry mix this weekend. Today the sun broke through to raise spirits, but it still feels too chilly to enjoy working in the garden.

I checked on a a few things this afternoon and in my wanderings was struck by how wonderful the hellebores are this year. Their buds were showing color during the first week of February and by mid-month were blooming.

One that I have had my eye on the past month is at last in its glory. So pleased this one made. It came from Pine Knot Farm two years ago and is flowering for the first time. The three buds remained tightly closed on this hellebore long after its nearby companions had ventured to open, but today I see they are open.

Helleborus ’Black Diamond’ (Winter Jewels® Black Diamond)

Helleborus ’Black Diamond’ (Winter Jewels® Black Diamond)

Helleborus ’Black Diamond’ (Winter Jewels® Black Diamond)

Here are a few more of the hellebores from Pine Knot Farm. Some show their faces easily.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Others are shy, but can be coaxed.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Nope…this one still wants to hide. Red markings outline each petal.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

The first ever hellebores in the garden were Helleborus niger, ordered through a neighbor. She was a horticulturist and placed a large order from Monrovia for those of us in our fledgling neighborhood garden club around 2002. The club lasted only about a year, the neighbor moved away after several more, but the hellebores have returned each year.

Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose)

These are pass-alongs from a Chapel Hill Garden Club friend.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose)

Besides hellebores several other sights made me smile as I enjoyed seeing the garden in the sunlight.

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (Thalia Daffodil)

Hope your spring is taking shape. Tomorrow I am headed out for the day to see over 50 floral designs inspired by art works in the collection at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Have a wonderful weekend!

Spring Arrives!

Though the sun later broke through, the early morning was cloudy and cold when I walked through the garden looking for blooms. Forecasts warn of lows near freezing tonight and temperatures will dip into the twenties later this week. But here it is, March 20, 2013, and today is the first day of spring. The vernal equinox occurred at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

The early blooms of Helleborus have been a highlight since the first week of January.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The garden is waking up but shows no sign of hurry. Among the several patches of Phlox subulata a lone flower is open.

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’

A few little Muscari flowers began blooming this week. These were planted over a decade ago and barely bloomed at all last year, so it is nice to see them again.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Diminutive white flowers are beginning to fill the branches of a Spiraea I brought from my previous garden.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Iberis Sempervirens filled the meditation circle last year but most of what was planted there has died out. I blamed moles but also realize the site may not drain well enough for this plant. Fortunately it is tucked around the garden in other spots, a cheery little plant.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Last fall I finally remembered to add a few more daffodils to the garden. Just opened today is the first flower of the miniature Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ The garden was so overgrown when it was time to plant these bulbs, it was hard to find a good place for them. They were relegated to an old terra cotta pot, which worked out just fine.

Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’ has been blooming beautifully for a few weeks. I love the milky white streak that marks these blossoms.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Happy Spring!

A Windy Day

The day is surprisingly sunny after predictions of snow, but wind and cold prevail. Hellebores are the main attraction in the garden today.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

A Bit Of Summer and Winter

Hibiscus, Ft. Myers, Florida

Hibiscus, Ft. Myers, Florida

I travelled to the Gulf Coast of Florida this week for a very brief family gathering. While I was away this area had a light snow—the first one this winter and I missed it!  Except for a touch of white along the shady side of the road, the snow had disappeared by the time I returned home. As consolation the weather in Florida was beautiful and there were lots of colorful Florida tropical plantings, including Hibiscus, Begonia, Croton and a gorgeous shrub with red clusters of flowers I have since identified as Ixora coccinia.

A quick walk around my garden today revealed a scary number of weeds cropping up in the soggy  flower beds. I pulled at a few of them but will have to make serious time to deal with them soon.

After the snow the Hellebores which began opening a week ago appear no worse for the wear. A small patch of Sweet Alyssum seems perky and fresh.

Along the back fence one of a small pair of Italian Cypress trees was leaning heavily into the other. It seems odd that the snow would have done that and I think pesky moles/voles are the culprits. I straightened the tree and tamped down the soil, hopeful the tree has not been damaged.

Near the front of the house Winter Daphne has begun to open slightly, releasing the first drifts of its delicious lemony fragrance for lucky passerbys to enjoy.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)-4

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)-4

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)-4

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)-4

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Hellebores And Mid-January Notes

Remembering that many plants were on an extremely early blooming cycle last year, I have been curious about what this year’s timing might be like for the garden.

For the last few weeks I have watched expectantly for the first Hellebores of the season and today I finally noticed an open flower.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Last winter (2011-2012) these hellebores bloomed very early, by December 30, 2011, whereas the winter before that (2010-2011) there were no blooms until several days after Valentine’s Day. So they are somewhere in-between this year.

I have never been bothered by the leaves on hellebores, but enthusiasts recommend pruning them before the buds begin forming to make it easier to enjoy the blossoms. Too late to do it properly but today I carefully trimmed away many of the lower, older leaves. They do look tidier after this cleanup.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)-2

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Growing adjacent to the hellebores and full of buds is a winter blooming Camellia  x ‘Coral Delight.’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

The garden is saturated from recent rains. I was surprised to see moss growing along the northern side garden where the hellebores and the ‘Coral Delight’ are planted. The high temperature reached a fine 72°F this afternoon, well above the average 54°F for this time of year. The nice warm weather should stay through Monday so I hope to finally tackle some weeding chores I have been putting off.

My time in the garden was brief today, but I did take a few minutes to walk the labyrinth. As I stepped along the path I smiled to note how well the Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ has worked  to supply some year-round interest.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

A Mild March Day

It is seventy-one this afternoon and the clouds move in and out.  Earlier, the sun was nice and warm and the several hours spent weeding this morning passed easily.

Suddenly the spiraea is covered in little white flowers, several weeks earlier than usual perhaps. This deciduous shrub is a long-time favorite.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Nearby a recently transplanted plant with two mottled, red leaves is reminiscent of a trout lily, but its identification is uncertain.

Perhaps a Trout Lily?

Three or four Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) were visible all winter and are starting to grow.

Digitalis purpurea Foxglove

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) never died back during the winter. The clumps could use division. Transplants from last year look healthy and strong.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Several new Phlox subulata added to the garden a few weeks ago have acclimated well. This one is ‘Purple Beauty.’

Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) continue to add color around several areas of the garden. I transplanted a few small seedlings to a shady spot near the back steps.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

A row of ‘Chuck Hayes’ gardenias once formed a low hedge along the back border of the garden, but a couple years of drought killed off many. The five that remain look greener and healthier than usual this Spring.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

The daffodils are already finishing up their cheerful displays. This one is ‘Flower Carpet.’

Daffodil 'Flower Carpet'

Early March Garden Tokens

Low temperatures in the twenties for the last couple of nights seem not to have damaged the lovely blossoms on the Coral Delight Camellia.

Camellia 'Coral Delight'

The first flower stems are visible above attractive foliage of the Eastern Red Columbine.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Blooms began in late December and Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) continues a charming display in several sections of the garden. There are lots of new seedlings this year.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) Seedlings

Hyacinth and Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) brighten a garden near the front sidewalk entrance.

Hyacinth and Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Hyacinth