Hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses, are one of those perennials you didn't know you needed - until you see them blooming their hearts out during the dull gray months of late winter and early spring. They bring a smile every single time. And humans aren’t the only ones happy to see them. Hellebores are really popular with a variety of bees; providing them with both nectar and pollen at a time when few other plants are in bloom.
Hellebores can be found in shades including pink, purple, cream, white, yellow, chartreus - even a deep purple-black! Their long-lasting blooms rise 12"-18"above robust, dark green foliage and have a nodding habit that is best appreciated massed in the foreground of a garden or viewed from below. Plants bloom for several months, and also make great cut flowers.
Even when they aren't blooming, Hellebore’s dramatic, divided leaves provide a nice contrast to daintier ferns and ornamental grasses. Like most evergreen perennials, if their leaves become older and battered-looking, it's best to cut them back completely and let fresh, new leaves flush out. Plants tolerate dry conditions once established, and do best in partial shade: think 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 for many years to come.
Hellebores also do well in containers, and make a great addition to a shady porch potted arrangement with black mondo grass, Compact Mahonia, Heucheras, Ferns, and other shade lovers. They're also deer resistant - a real plus here in the Rogue Valley. Be aware, though: Hellebores are poisonous to humans and animals, so be careful when placing them near children's activity areas or dog runs.
If you're looking to brighten up your winter garden this year, come on by the nursery and take a look at our Hellebores. They're a delightful reminder that spring is on the way!