Sunday, February 26, 2012

Season of Plenty?

This is one of my favorite hellebores that I have.  I saw this blooming in its pot at a nursery in Maplewood a couple springs ago and was blown away by its dark purple coloring and lack of any spots or mottling.  I felt like I had found a $20 bill.  I couldn't believe that no one else had picked it up.

Being helleborus orientalis, it seeds freely.  If it was the summer, and a different plant, probably I would be annoyed by its proliferation, but since I love hellebores (especially this one), these seedlings feel like a gift.  I'm kind of excited to see such a bounty each spring, maybe because hellebores don't come true from seed.  I look forward to the variety of blooms to come in a few (long) years.  

In another bed, I have hellebores grown from seed blooming.  I get a thrill meeting each new face.  It's been three or four years since I planted them out.  I've lost track.  When I see that first closed bud on a plant, it feels full of possibilities, like a lottery ticket.  I figure I'll keep the good ones and give away the others.

I'll dutifully try to find a home for as many of the purple spawn as I can.

Here's a few from last year, tucked between a hydrangea and the fence.  I kind of forget about them after I stick them in somewhere.  Once the foliage riot of summer is over, the hellebores are visible again.  They'll still be puny this time next year.  I'm always amazed at how tough these guys are.

And speaking of plenty, who could ever resent the multiplication of the tommy crocuses?  They are so polite and discreet, like a well-mannered dinner guest that arrives punctually and goes home early.


  1. Mitchell's goal is to have the largest "collection" of hellebores in Virginia ... and we are well on the way. They seed prolifically and are more gorgeous every year. I love the dark ones, but especially like the pink ones and the ones with a picotee. They are shining right now!

  2. Mitchell sounds like my kind of guy.