Hellebores are another plant to make us smile in winter as well as being a valuable dry shade perennial. The Lenten Rose comes in shades of pink, purple, cream, white, and chartreuse or splashed with darker spots; with more variety being available every year. If a plant is not labeled as a certain color than it will be a surprise when it starts blooming in late winter; so if you want a certain shade- buy it when they are in bloom. The long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above large, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated in the foreground of a garden or from below. They make great cut flowers and will bloom for several months. When these evergreen perennials aren't blooming the dramatic, divided leaves provide nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses. Like most evergreens, once some leaves become older and ratty it is best to cut them back completely and let new ones flush out. They will tolerate dry conditions once established and do best in partial shade- an east exposure or under the dappled light of larger trees and shrubs. They look especially good as a mass groundcover under a specimen tree. Give them good organic soil with new mulch added each year and they will reward you with easy care flowers and sculptural leaves. They should also be deer resistant. Hellebores do well in a container and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers. Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas.
There are many different species and hybrids that have desirable qualities. Come visit to see the latest selections.
Helleborus 'Pink Frost'- a patented variety with burgundy and white buds open to pink flowers. Green foliage has red stems and veins and a silvery sheen across the top. Blooms Feb.-April. Ht. 9-12"