Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hellebores (and Something Else) Galore!

Maroon with freckles, double

A week ago, on a Sunday, my garden club and I went abroad to visit a nursery. We went to St. Nicolaas in Belgium ;-) to visit a Hellebores nursery. If you have been paying any attention at all, then you know that Hellebores are one of my favourite plants and it's not difficult to figure out why, is it?
Double green

What's not to like? The plant has beautiful leaves and is more or less evergreen. It flowers for a long period of time (months) in Winter and early Spring when not a lot else is in flower. And speaking of flowers, Hellebores come in so many colours, single or double and with or without spots. Just have a look!
Double yellow
Single white with a crimson eye
Pure white
Double pink
Double cream with maroon spots
Single yellow with maroon eye
At the nursery there was also a show garden where we could look at all the gorgeous Hellebores and how well they do outside in the wild, so to speak, and to what size they grow. We got a guided tour by the owner of the nursery who told us a lot about how to grow Hellebores successfully. They grow the Orientals, which are healthy and strong plants. In December they remove all the leaves of the plants as Hellebores can be sensitive to black fungus. An added bonus is that without the leaves, the flowers are more noticeable. You should leave at least 75 to 100 centimeter of space between two Hellebores to keep both plants happy and healthy.
Here's another pic of those lovely yellow Hellebores. The picture doesn't do it justice because it really was a beautiful light yellow, not cream.
The black Hellebores were almost true black, some where a very, very deep purple, others a sort of very deep grey. Here's one combined with snowdrops, a wonderful combination.
This is a combination of the biggest snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis S. Arnott) and double white Hellebore. We enjoyed ourselves a lot as it was such a nice and sunny day and we were surrounded by many gorgeous flowers. There were a lot of plants for sale and who can resist buying lovely early spring flowering plants? Not I, that's for sure. Now you might be thinking that I bought a few Hellebores, as they are one of my favourites. But no, I'd already bought a few, well OK, I bought 5 Hellebores a couple of weeks ago, so this time I bought these

gorgeous winter aconites. Here they are the first to flower in the garden, even earlier than the snowdrop. They cost 1.50 euro ( 2.25 USD/CAD) a pot (10 bulbs) at the nursery. This is a new kind of winter aconite, its bulbs can withstand drought much better, which makes it easier for bulb growers to grow and sell them as the bulbs won't dry out so quickly and shrivel up and die. I'm going to plant them underneath my apple tree, together with some snowdrops. Hopefully they will spread and will look like this after a few years!
Words fail me to sing the praises of the winter aconite (Eranthis) so I'll let dear Beverley Nichols do that for me and so eloquently too:

It is not 'one of the first spring flowers.' It is a mid-winter flower. It is not 'effective'. It is dazzling. And, from my experience, it would come up if you planted it on a iceberg. I'm sorry to get so hot about the winter aconite, but I hate to see these lovely things neglected. I hate to think of all the bare gloomy spaces in English and American gardens, in mid-January, when they might all be made as gay as a buttercup field.
A buttercup field in mid-January! That is what the aconites will do for you, if you buy enough of them. For the aconite is like a large, brilliant buttercup with a green ruff around its neck, and nothing will stop it from flowering. Its brave gold is untarnished by rain, by snow, by the fiercest degrees of frost. I once planted some aconites in low ground under trees. Shortly after Christmas the ground was flooded. Then came the frost, and a thick sheet of ice covered the whole area. Yet the aconites pushed their way through the earth, expanded their blossoms, and gleamed underneath the ice, like a Victorian posy under a glass dome. They are particularly lovely when there are a few inches of snow on the ground. Their stems are just tall enough to lift the blossoms above the white coverlet. The effect is of gold-spangled satin. But they are lovely too on the mild days, for then they open very wide, and one sees how essentially innocent and childlike they are, which makes their courage and endurance all the more remarkable.
From Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols

If that will not get you out of your chair and off to a nursery or garden centre to buy zillions of winter aconites then I don't know what will. But that's enough of you Beverley, off you go, what were you thinking of, waxing lyrically about aconites on a blog about Hellebores? :-)


I'm feeling a bit better today, but am still very tired. It's not easy coping with both a viral and a bacterial infection at the same time. Thanks for all the kind words, healing thoughts and best wishes. They do help! :-)

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen


Lis said...

Oh wie schön! Ich bin immer ganz begeistert von diesen Pflanzen und kaufe mir jedes Jahre ein oder zwei Pflanzen neu dazu. Leider sind sie hier bei uns sehr teuer, da seid ihr in den NL wesentlich besser dran.
Gestern habe ich beim Garten aufräumen eine Helleborus entdeckt von der ich gar nicht mehr wußte dass ich sie habe. Sie war ganz von Bergenienblättern verdeckt und ich mußte sie erst mal freischneiden. Ich hatte sie erst letztes Jahr gekauft, sonst wäre mir das bestimmt nicht passiert!
Schönen Sonntag
LG Lis

Karin A said...

Wow! I'm as fond of Helleborus as you are. Would love to visit that place but of course I have to visit places in Sweden first of all. :) Your pics of the christmas roses are great. Also like that buttercup field. Have a nice sunday and take care! kram from Sweden...

Carol said...

Why don't I have some winter aconites? I'll add those to my list. Here, we seem to focus on crocuses in early spring. And I have two hellebores, both currently buried under more snow and ice.

Thanks for taking us along on your nursery tour and for the wonderful quotes. I hope you continue to get better each day. Spring is coming and you'll want to be at your best to be out in the garden!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

marl1 said...

Wat een schoonheden heb ik hier aan mijn oog voorbij zien trekken....daar word ik heel hebberig van! Wist ook niet dat je de planten zo'n stuk uit elkaar moest zetten.....
Ook die zeeën van Akonieten schitterend- wie wil dat niet!!!!!

Kylee said...

Oh boy, now you've gone and done it, Yolanda. I love love love hellebores and you've posted some gorgeous ones. I've never seen many in the garden centers here and if I do see them, they're usually just one or two varieties. Nothing like what you've posted. It's probably a good thing, because I would snatch them up in a heartbeat. I love those doubles!

Melanie said...

Yolanda, I hope you feel better soon but I'm glad to see you are posting as well as usual. I especially loved this post.

Like Lis, I buy one or two Hellebores a year, I was wondering about their price in Europe and she answered my question about that too. They are expensive here in America, last year I paid $19.99 but the super special variety was $49. I have been wanting to add winter Aconites for years and keep forgetting in the fall. I've never seen them for sale in a pot like you showed but now I will look for them!


Brimstone said...

De dubbel groene en de dubbel gele en de witte, daar heb ik best plekjes voor! :-) Wat zijn die mooi!
De winterakonietjes zijn schattig, komen ook op mijn verlanglijstje voor volgend jaar.

Heerlijk tuinlog, weer met veel plezier gelezen en bekeken!

jodi said...

Oh wow! Thanks for all the gorgeous, gorgeous eyecandy, Yolanda, you've given me something to aim for--provided I manage to get the one plant I have to survive the winter, of course. As for the aconites, they hate me too, they don't like the winter wet here so I've only tried them twice. Maybe as I get beds raised higher so they don't get so soggy, they'll decide they can live here. Glad you're feeling better--don't overdo it though, let the undergardener and the Bliss team pamper you!

Curtis said...

Ive been hearing about these plants for years. Maybe its time to get off my duff and grow some.

Barbara said...

As a great lover of hellebores I was of course very curious to see and read this post. The plants you showed ARE beautiful! It was a great pleasure to see all these different blooms. I wonder whether I can take seeds of my doubles and try to "create" new plants. Thanks for this interesting excursion!

Barbara said...

I almost forgot to say that I'm wishing you a quick and good recovery!!

Anonymous said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

Frances said...

Thanks so much for giving us a mouth watering post in spite of feeling poorly. You are a trooper! Beverley Nichols is wonderful to read, I have read Merry Hall so many times it runs subliminally in my consciousness. We are able to buy the aconites from mail order bulb sellers, must put them on the list for fall.

Frances at Faire Garden

Marie said...

Beautiful flowers!

lenie said...

wat een beauty's zijn die borissen toch hé , bij mij doen ze het niet zo jopper , heb net 2 rose knoppies , dus ik hou het maar bij rose , geen uitbreiding van de boris in mijn tuin , de akoniet daarentegen mag komen hoor ;))
meis alle sterkte bij je ziek zijn , jakkie net nu de temp eens lekker is ....snel uitzieken en weer een frisse neus in de tuin halen ;))) groetjessss

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Yolanda, those hellebores are just gorgeous. I can't believe all the different varieties. The colors are so wide spread. Doubles, singles, freckles. WOW
The Winter Aconite is not hardy in my garden. I have tried them several times. Sometimes they come up once and some of the times they didn't even present themselves. When I read about how easy they are go grow I groan...

I do hope you continue to heal. Get well soon.

Ruth Welter said...

Yolanda, thanks for sharing pictures of your visit to this beautiful nursery.

Hillside Garden said...

Traumhaft. Davon kann ich hier nur träumen, man bekommt immer nur die gleichen Helleboren. Und 100 km weit fahren, das ist es mir nicht wert.
Ich hätte auch gern einen gefüllten.
Bei uns ist es nachts noch sehr kalt, aber bald werde ich mir kleine Töpfchen mit Frühjahrsblühern nach draußen stellen.


kate smudges said...

How did I miss your 'Decidedly Droopy' post of Thursday? I am so sorry to hear that you have been unwell - I hope you are feeling much better. I am sending many healing thoughts across the miles!

Winter aconites are a gorgeous-coloured flower. You have given me the idea of trying them out here ... in a protected area because they are a bit out of my zone.

The Hellebores are delightful and wonderful and in such gorgeous colours. What a fun outing that must have been for your garden club.

Take it easy ... rest up and let the Bliss team and under-gardener take excellent care of you!!

Libbys Blog said...

I Have a couple of hellabore plants which I adore! But sadly no winter aconites! Something I have always thought about getting but not got round to remembering to buy some. I hope I remember soon!!!

SchneiderHein said...

Liebe Yolanda,
schön, dass Du trotz Deiner Krankheit so einen wunderschönen Helleborus-Post mit so zahlreichen Bildern zusammengestellt hast. Ich bin immer wieder fasziniert, wie vielfältig ihre Blütenblätter und Blütenformen sind. Und so kompakt sind diese bezaubernden Pflanzen ja trotz aller Begeisterung viiiiel zu selten zu sehen.
Leider scheint sich meine gelbe im Garten nicht so wohl zu fühlen. Sie steht hier seit einigen Jahren, aber hat mir noch keine einzige klitzekleine Blüte vorgeführt.
Aber wenn ich den empfohlenen Pflanzabstand befolgen würde, dann dürfte ich mich überhaupt nicht mehr nach mehr Blütenvielfalt für unseren Garten umsehen. Leider geht es mir ähnlich wie Sigrun, besondere Orientalis oder gar Wildformen sind hier äußerst selten zu finden. Vielleicht sollten wir im nächsten Frühjahr auch mal einen Helleborus-Ausflug planen...
Liebe Grüße und gute Besserung.

stadtgarten said...

Dear Yolanda, it's good to hear that you are feeling better now! This year the influenzal infections are taking a long time!
This is an absolutely wonderful post about the hellebores. I love them!
I also posted some photos about the hellebores in our garden today - but that's nothing compared to these beauties!
Was it St. Niklaas near Gent where you have been in the nursery - I hope you say no :) - because I was so near to it last week and would very much liked to go there, too.
As Al says, here it is so difficult to find special hellebores, in every garden center they only have the same ones.
I hope you will be totally okay soon, groetjes, Monika

Jane Marie said...

You never fail to show me something new. Thanks for the tour. I've got my garden book out now to learn more about these lovely flowers.

Brenda Kula said...

Oh, I have never had one of those plants! They are absolutely heavenly! Particulary that chartreuse green. I'm definitely going to check them out for my area in Texas. Hope you're feeling better!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'm glad your beginning to feel better.

I've never tried the aconites either.
I'm sure many of us will now be trying these after your wonderful encouragement.

Take care.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I also missed your "Droopy" post - I hope you're feeling much better soon! I've always preferred the unspotted Hellebores, but that 1st photo is making me reconsider. It's gorgeous. I'm going to have to plant some Galanthus nivalis to go with my Aconites. Although, with the lousy winter we've been having, the G. elwesii might just be blooming with Aconites.

Ewa said...

Get better fast Yolanda, so we can enjoy more of your great posts :)

I really loved your call about aconites - I do not have any, cos I have not seen them in the nurseries. I agree its is very lovely and worth to have in the garden.

I love hellebores. I have few of them, but they do not perform well. I just have cut all leaves and need to use fungicide - this thing does not go away. Maybe I should change their place to more sunny one.
They are all so lovely on your pictures. Awesome kinds I have not seen before :) Thank you.

rusty in miami said...

There is something you don’t see down my way, they are beautiful, I like that double green best ( I have a thing for green flowers)

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, wow! Yolanda, these are just wonderful! I esp love the first one. I wish hellebores did as well here as they seem to do in your part of the world. Glad you're feeling a little better. Hugs!

Entangled said...

Those are extra-special, spectacularly wonderful hellebores! Nobody, not even me, could call those boring. ;-)

My first winter aconite has just opened up. They survive for me, but don't increase.

Glad you're feeling somewhat better and hope you're 100% soon.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Aconites?!? I want some!

I was just outside with the wee dogs this morning and saw that my hellebores are in full bloom. I really must get some photos. It has taken them a while to get established, but they finally seem to have gotten the hang of the blooming thing.

Get better soon!

Robin at Bumblebee

Kerri said...

To see so many beautiful Helleborus in one place is breathtaking! The freckled maroon and the double pink are spectacular, but I love them all.
I'm sad to say the buds on mine are looking sad and I'm afraid it won't flower. It was newly planted last summer so it may need more time to establish itself, or perhaps a drier postition.
I hope you feel completely well again very soon Yolander Elizabet.

Connie said...

That first Hellebore is drop dead gorgeous! Alas, I have very little shade to plant them in.
The winer aconites are beautifu as well. I just traded for some seed I plant to may be a long wait for them, we'll see.

Tracy said...

Such a wonderful collection of hellebores! I especially love the first specimen--gorgoeus colors. Love those buttercups--so many already! Hope you are taking it easy and will be feeling better very soon ((HUGS))

Jalos said...

Wauw, wat ontzettend mooi!!!
Dat je je hebt ingehouden en geen Helleborusjes hebt gekocht zeg!
Maar je hebt vast volop genoten, dat kan niet anders.
Nog geen spijt?? ;-)))

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Glad to hear you are feeling a little better. Love the pictures. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. I have never heard of an aconites, but they sure are pretty!! Thanks for sharing and hope you continue to feel better!!

Cottage Magpie said...

I love Hellebores, but for some reason have never yet planted them in a garden I have owned. Probably because I have not yet had a garden with much shade. I need to change that! Thank you for the great reminder.
~Angela :-)

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Yolanda,

Our houseguests have gone home [boo hoo!] and I'm still catching up. You poor girl! I hope your bouts with infections, antibiotics and ineffective painkillers will soon be just an unpleasant memory and that you'll be enjoying spring in your lovely Bliss garden.

What a beautiful and tempting post you've written for us ;-]
Hellebores and aconites grew in Illinois but I'm not so sure what would happen in Austin...googling around gives rather mixed advice on whether they'll survive in my garden. But your photos are so wonderful that I'm tempted to take a chance. The Chartreuse and black ones are giving me a bad case of the Covets!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Ki said...

Thank you for sharing the photos of the wonderful hellebores. Glad you're on the mend.

lisa said...

Wow...that double green hellebore is awesome!! I just planted three last summer, so when my blanket of snow melts away, I'm hoping for blooms! Just put in some aconites, too...and from the sound of the commenters, I may have some sucess with them in my very well-drained sand. Keep on feeling better! Well-wishes comin' at ya! :)

Poppins said...

Lovely Hellebores, especially the cream one with maroon spots. Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

If you like Hellebores especially those with Green flowers - You have to see the Heronswood Nursery collection which includes Helleborus x hybridus 'Phoenix'. Masses of olive green flowers with a burgundy margin bloom in early March.