Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellebore Update: Take a Look at Me Now!

This is the same Hellebore I posted on June 21, though the photo was taken on May 12. So this has been blooming for almost two months! But it has changed dramatically over that time. (You can see how it looked in early May here.) How many flowers can you think of that slowly morph from such a delicate pink as it was in May, to these definitely odd, but beautiful gradations of green in late June and early July? I'm hard pressed to think of many (if any) ... I know there are some other Hellebore growers who come by here, so please weigh in with your observations ... as I said previously, Hellebores are relatively recent additions to the Woodland Garden, so obviously our experience is limited with them at this point.
Actually we think it's pretty cool that it's bloomed for two months and shows no immediate signs of stopping, though the flowers do look a bit worse for wear, but definitely not ugly. But given all the wacky weather (flooding, then short term drought) it's had to put up with since May, it's downright amazing that it's still thriving! Our other Hellebores don't seem to want to bloom this year, but they're growing quite well and putting on some significant size (remember these were really wee ones when they were planted!), so maybe they'll do something when the weather's cooler in the fall or early winter. We're going to pay a lot closer attention to this plant for a while, to see what it does during the hotter parts of the summer now upon us, so if we have any more interesting results to post, you'll see them here.

I'm planning on finishing up that bit of the front boulder bed where I stopped on Sunday so I can finally put together that before/after post I've been planning. This week has been a hot and humid one, with substantial rains two nights this week, and more forecast for tomorrow night. If all goes as predicted, we'll only be in the low 80's Saturday and Sunday, so I can try to get a lot done out there! I have everything planned out in my head, I just need the energy and time to get to it ... I want my 4th of July weekend all over again! Then I could really get a lot of stuff accomplished ... yep, gardener's pipe dream.

Photos by Fernymoss, taken on June 24, 2008.


Roses and Lilacs said...

I've never tried growing Hellebores. I wonder if I shouldn't try a couple. You can't ask more from a perennial than 2-months of bloom.

Temps turning really hot here. Gardening will be uncomfortable!!!
I want my 4th of July weekend back too.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Hellebore flowers do change color as they age. Mine even change color throughout the blooming season. Some plants start off with dark purple, nearly black flowers, but by the time the last flower blooms, it opens a good pink. I normally deadhead mine by this point, so I don't know what they look like at the end of summer.

Gail said...

I let mine go to seed I love offspring and baby's a veritable daycare of seedlings around the hellebores at a friend's house...I get a few. The flower colors do morph into mere shadows of their original beauty and then they go to seed.


FARfetched said...

Green blossoms… how cool is that?!

boran2 said...

That color change is fascinating. And the lifespan of the bloom alone would make it worth having. Another plant that I'll need to try.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Give a couple a shot, they've been pretty easy for us, though slow growing. As long as they have some good shady protection, but still get some indirect light they seem to do well ... Go with plants though, as Shady has tried them with roots without much success and we tried with seeds (ages ago) but they never came up. They're not cheap, but a cool garden investment!

Hot and humid here too the past few days but we're supposed to get some rain late tonight and cool things down to around 80 tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can open up the house again and get outside to finish planting the rest of our perennials. Good luck over your way!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Thanks for filling me in there on the color changes. I think this year we'll just let them go and see what happens. (Gail says below that she and a friend get little ones that way.) If they decide to expand their reach a bit, we'd be pleased ...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey there Gail,
Thanks for the advice/tips there! How cool that would be to have a friend with spare Hellebores! So I take it that they do well (or ok) in your soil down there?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Yeah, they are pretty cool right now, and that progressing from that nice pink back in May!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

See, B2,
I'm gonna get you seriously into perennials one of these days! You never did say which perennial you picked up last weekend, hehe. Itching to know what you got to plant!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

HI IVG, I have never grown a Hellebore in my 30 some years of gardening, not really sure why, every year I say I am going to get some for the next season and I always forget! Once more, maybe next year :). Good luck with the columbine seed starting, I was given some seeds of peony poppy a couple of weeks ago, I am going to sow them directly outside this fall and some early next spring.

The never ending flood clean up has consumed my summer but this weekend it is going to slow down a bit, my grandsons are going to be here, we are going to Chuck E Cheese this evening (better get my ear plugs out). Right now I am painting the walls with water proofing paint, I will give it one more coat this AM and that will be it for this weekend. Enjoy your weekend!

Gail said...


If I plant them in well amended soil they are happy. I have baby hellebore but not the patch my friend gets...her soil is less clay in nature. Have you tried epimediums? Now they are lovely, too!
I have both the evergreen and the diciduous types. Love them...


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

I'd say it's about time you tried a hellebore or two! :-) There's still time to put them in this year (we planted our first ones in the fall) if you happen to run across one at a nursery yet this summer. Otherwise, yeah just put it on your next year's wish list. :-)

Yes, it's best to put those seeds in in the fall after frost, and we're planning on doing a lot of that this year (since we missed out last year, it just got cold and starting snowing!)

Hope you have a great weekend too, and survived Chuck E Cheese with your eardrums intact! I've never been to one, but have heard such horror stories, that I never want to set foot in one!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail!
I figured you had to amend, but actually that's probably not only a necessary, but good way to grow them. The good amended stuff can nourish them, while the clay below can help things stay moist! Sounds like it's working for you!

Yes, I have major epimedium lust thanks to IABoy at An Iowa Garden (linkage on my page, if you're not familiar with his blog.) We're conflicted on where we could plant them in the Woodland Garden ... the Western end is filling fast, the middle is mature and will not support much more, though the Eastern end has yet to be exploited. We plan a bunch of arums for that area, along with replanting all the spring bulbs we lost this year (a couple hundred tulips!).

Do you think Epimediums could handle some pretty bright eastern sun in the morning to noon part of the day with some protection? That's kind of where this Hellebore is right now.

Gail said...

I was hanging around the monarda today and decided to test the chocolate theory. I can tell you with great assurance...that there is no chocolate smell from either the Marshall's Delight or Grand Marshall crushed leaves. Too bad! Now I have had a chocolate mint plant!


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks for confirming that for me! I've read in several sources that it's supposed to smell of chocolate, but I could never get that! I'm not sure what it smells like, but it's definitely not chocolate. The red, definitely citrus, but this one, nuh uh. :-)