Hellebores

It’s still very cold here and I cannot do much in the garden aside from filling bird feeders and changing water in the birdbaths. But there are a lot of activities with regard to gardening in the house. The plant catalogs are piling up as well as weekly if not daily email from companies I have ordered from in the past. New issues of garden magazines provide suggestions for new plants on the market. Winter is a time for compiling information and planning for the coming season. I don’t mind spending money on the garden although reckless spending was never my habit, so I spend the winter down-time outside immersed in:

  • Price comparison on plants that I want to add in spring.
  • Research on plants suite for area need to be redone: dry and sunny, moist shade, dry shade, boggy, sandy area…
  • Research on plant habit and propagation: height, width, bloom time, pollinators-friendly, self-sown, invasive, pruning time…
  • New vegetables in the market and what they are good for.
  • New diseases and insects to look out for in the area

These are just some of the winter chores I do. I find myself looking for late winter-early spring flowering plants more often around this time. Maybe it’s just a longing to see colors back in the garden.

One of the late winter-early spring flowers I fell in love with are Hellebores. Their leaves are almost evergreen and they even bloom before the daffodils. It very effectively self-sows yet never becomes invasive, so I keep looking to add new colors to our garden every year. One plant per color and patience to let it grow is enough. Within a couple of years this one plant will become a patch or a colony if I let it set seeds.

After a couple of years, one plant will expand into a patch with plenty of flowers
The darker color ones grow much faster and produce a lot of seedlings
Individual flower in the colony above

I don’t remember the names of the earlier Hellebores I planted. I forgot to note the names down and there are so many colors and patterns out there that I can’t really use mere descriptions to identify mine. With the new batch, I keep name tags and note on color and location down. Below are some of them, forgive me for the unidentifiable ones. I’m open to any suggestions for identifying the unnamed flowers.

White with purplish freckles
Yellow & Pinkish
Pure white with greenish base
‘Painted Double’
White with green base & maroon pattern
Maroon & green
Double pink
‘Winter jewel-Golden Sunrise’

I love them in part because there are so many colorful choices of Hellebores to select from and they also come in single and double layers petals. They are winter hardy, no fuss for drought either. They can be grown in semi-shade. Since they are a low grower, I grow them under the trees, by a rose trellis and along a shady path. They are not invasive. They produce seedlings but the seedlings may not be true to the parents especially when I grow a variety of them close to one another. That’s the fun part of it; I’ll never know what the flowers from any seedling will look like until it blossoms. Pollinators love them; they are a good food source for early spring when other flowers have yet to blossom. If you want to reproduce the ‘exact’ color as the original plant was, you can do it only by division. Dig the plant you want to propagate up and separate an individual from the clump, then replant it.

Last year, I added ‘Onyx Odyssey’ to the garden. As the name suggests, the flower is black. I can hardly wait to see it bloom. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s Spring….sort of

With Snow On The Ground

We were so happy a couple of weeks ago when Spring officially arrived and the weather acted accordingly.  I even started tomato and chili pepper seedlings in the hope that we may have a longer growing season.  But we were fooled.

We woke up to three inches of snow on the ground this morning.  If it was just snow, it wouldn’t be that bad.  The strong wind, over 30 mph, makes it feel much colder.  Many young leaves got wind burn; the lucky one were buried under the snow.   My face felt numb after only a few minutes outside.  I managed to take some photos before my fingers started to ache and retreated back inside.

Some lucky Daffodils and Iris that are close to the house are still standing
Some lucky Daffodils and Iris that are close to the house are still standing

Half of the Bleeding heart was buried
Half of the Bleeding heart was buried

This Bleeding heart will freeze tonight when the temperature drops below the freezing point
This Bleeding heart will freeze tonight when the temperature drops below the freezing point

Hyacinth
Hyacinth

Frozen grapes, anyone?
Frozen grapes, anyone?

Or a cup of shaved ice? (Just add flavoring)
Or a cup of shaved ice? (Just add flavoring)

I didn’t have a chance to check in the cold frame.  Actually, I didn’t want to open it because the wind would make it much harder to close.  Snow also helps insulate it so opening it will not do the vegetables inside any good.  However the garlic is outside, half covered in snow.

Garlic half buried in snow, but they will survive.
Garlic half buried in snow, but they will survive.

I’ll bring this up later, but I did make a mad dash out to the bee hives to wrap the girls up in warmer covers.

The First Day Of Spring

And The Flowers Agree

Today is the official first day of spring and feels like it too.  Spring flowers bloom, birds start clearing their territory and look for nesting spots.  Not much to describe; just happy that spring is finally here.

Crocus
Crocus

Helleborus came up earlier and got freeze burn
Helleborus came up earlier and got freeze burn

Helleborus /burgundy
Helleborus /burgundy

I have to lift the flower up to see the complexity of this one
I have to lift the flower up to see the complexity of this one

Rescued tulips also came up.
Rescued tulips also came up.

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