I love Hellebores (also known as Lenten Rose), they are on the need to add to my garden list.
Excerpt from — Lenten Rose: Tough Perennial For Early Color
Another early-season blooming perennial I am quite fond of is Lenten Rose. These wonderful, long-lived, low-growing, evergreen plants are as tough as nails and are among the first to bloom each year. Lenten Rose belongs to the genus Helleborus, and they are often referred to simply as hellebores.
All hellebores appreciate partly shady conditions, and are great plants to use under deciduous (drop their leaves) shade trees in the same conditions where you would grow hostas and ferns. This is because they grow best during the fall and early spring when they are getting more sun under the leafless trees. Morning sun/afternoon shade would be another good location for them. They do need protection from the hot summer sun. Their blooms last for many weeks, and the papery bracts turn green and persist into the summer time. Even when not in bloom, the dark green, leathery foliage looks handsome all year, with only a little cleanup of older leaves needed when they are not actively growing in the hot summertime.
But hellebores are tough, and tolerate drought quite well, being originally from areas around the Mediterranean where summers are dry. They do appreciate some irrigation watering during the summer, but also need very well-drained soil. They have alkaloid toxins in their leaves, so they are poisonous, which is why deer virtually leave them alone.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways…*, so goes the perfect phrases of true love’s expression written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In late winter, it is the blooming hellebores, Helleborus orientalis, that reach into the depth of my soul to sear it with happiness.
The seedlings from the original three plants, a pink with no spots, a white with freckles and a darker reddish/pink with spotting have procreated in Nature’s magnificent design to produce color, petal and freckle variation.
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