double green Hellebore features shades of dark
many branches are bare and most soil is frozen, you’ll
enjoy signs of spring when you plant winter-blooming
Hellebore garden is right outside my back door, a
20-foot round bed beneath the largest tulip magnolia
tree many have ever seen," says Lisa Ziegler of her
southeastern Virginia home.
this garden comes to life each January, breaking through
ice and snow into freezing temperatures, I am reminded
that anything is possible in a garden. The Hellebore
blooming season has become my annual sabbatical you
might say as preparation of the coming season of
and during the next few weeks, you’ll see pots of
Hellebores, cold hardy in Zones 4-8, appearing at garden
centers as plant trucks roll in and planting season
swings into high gear.
are so many new varieties coming out with strong color
selections and doubles," says Bill Kidd, vice
president of merchandising at McDonald Garden Center
www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com — in Hampton, Va.
particularly likes the Winter Jewels Series with
offerings like Amber Gem with yellow-infused blooms that
blush with red and Amethyst Gem with amethyst-red double
in Hampton, Countryside Gardens specializes in Hellebore
varieties with upright flowers with names like Red Lady,
White Spotted and Blue Metallic. She also likes
the new Peppermint Ruffles and Sunshine Ruffles with
make an excellent alternative to hosta since they are
evergreen," says Tish Llaneza, owner of Countryside
Gardens at 220 E. Mercury Blvd. — .
Knot Farms in Clarksville, Va., is all about Hellebores
— 60 acres of woodland and 10 acres of garden and
nursery, all devoted to the winter-blooming
beauty. In March, the farm annually holds
Hellebores Festivals on specified weekends — www.pineknotfarms.com
visitors tend to be amazed at the many thousands of
plants in bloom in the sales houses as well as the many,
many interesting things in the display gardens,"
says Judith Knott Tyler, who owns the farm with husband
couple got their first Hellebore plants in 1983 from a
Georgia grower who had found plants around older homes
in the Atlanta area; they became serious breeders in
1995 after an earlier trip to the United Kingdom where
they marveled at the quality of the plants.
are many ways to use Hellebores, according to Judith —
the most popular uses include container plants on the
deck or by the door and as ground cover in a woodland
favorites include a pure white single, as well as two
new clones from Europe — a red called Anna’s Red and
a pink known as Penny’s Pink.
color is very personal," she says.
like the purity of the white flowers because they show
up really well in the garden. I like Shooting Star
for the way the blooms age and, of course, we love
Raulston Remembered because it was bred here and named
for Dr. J.C. Raulston who started the arboretum at North
Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., and was
a plantsman extraordinaire."
her fresh-cut flower farm in Newport News, Va., Lisa
Ziegler cuts stems of Hellebores to include in
garden-style bouquets she fashions and sells at local
farmers markets and through the Fresh Market and Harris
Teeter stores in Hampton Roads, Va. She provides
assorted flowers to florists, and you can pick up
bouquets or subscribe to a bouquet drop-off service.
fresh-cut flowers, Hellebores can last for a couple
weeks or more cut," she says.
use fresh flower food in the vase to keep the stems and
water as fresh as possible.
beauty of Hellebores are many — they are evergreen,
deer resistant, grow in deep shade, drought tolerant and
grow at the base of large greedy trees that seem to suck
the lift out of other plants."
more about Lisa’s fresh-cut flowers and gardening
supplies through The Gardener’s Workshop at
is an "amazing plant" in the garden, according
to Eric Bailey of Landscapes by Eric Bailey in Yorktown,
Va. — www.landscapesbyeb.com.
thrive in woodland locations, but can also handle a
decent amount of sun as long as it is not a hot
spot," he says.
only maintenance they require is a good clean up after
the winter. The old fashioned varieties re-seed very
nicely. Many of the new varieties such as Ice Breaker,
Pink Frost and others are sterile though and do not
Williamsburg, Va., landscape designer Peggy Krapf favors
the "stinking hellebores," or Helleborus
they are called that I do not know because they have a
light scent — but certainly not stinking,"
says Peggy, owner of Heart’s Ease Landscape &
Garden Design, www.HeartsEaseLandscape.com.
flowers are a spring green, almost chartreuse, and they
grow taller than most other Hellebores with many
cup-shaped flowers on a single stem and narrower
leaves. These seem to reproduce most happily in my
garden. I find hundreds of babies popping up under
the older foliage in early spring. I love them in a
cut-flower arrangement, and usually have an antique soup
tureen filled on my dining room table January through
landscape jobs, Peggy often uses Hellebores underneath
the canopy of crape myrtle trees with ferns, arum,
Spanish bluebells and shredded leaf mulch.
have some white-flowering ones that I picked up years
ago from a big box store and they actually seem happier
and more prolific that some of the expensive named
varieties I have purchased," she says.