No matter whether you call them Lenten Rose, Winter Rose or Christmas Rose, these are NO delicate flowers that require tons of fawning and attention. Hellebores are THE perfect plants for sensational flowers in January and some will bloom all the way into spring! Hardy to zone 4 or 5, hellebores are also ideal for outdoor container combos or entry gardens where they can be enjoyed up close. It’s entirely possible to have many hellebore’s blooming in sequence from November to April, with a large assortment of bloom colors, styles and foliage textures.
If you think you can’t have winter flowering plants in your cold climate zone, you might think again. Independent garden centers like my go-to nursery Molbaks Garden and Home are bursting with magical early blooming hellebores like the ones from Skagit Gardens Gold Collection now. On a recent visit to this wonderful grower in the lovely city of Mt. Vernon Washington, the early hellebores were furiously being shipped out to nurseries all over the Northwest. The top two varieties at the moment being: ‘Jacob’ and ‘Josef’ from the Gold Collection.
The large flowers on hellebores are also well suited to indoor arrangements for the holiday months and then planted outside to continue blooming as long as April and May. Arrange them in a basket or other decorative container with cones, boughs and ribbons for an eco-friendly display that provides long-lasting value in the garden too. Be sure to visit these links for additional detailed info on the care and design uses of ALL of the many Hellebore options available to start collecting!
The early season hellebores are long-lived, not fussy and a reliable source of interest for garden styles from modern to old-fashioned. The smaller scale cultivars make an undeniably hardy ground cover. Most of them have evergreen foliage that fit nicely into an area where other perennials share the space with well-drained soil, protection from wind and partial to full shade. It’s helpful too, to make sure you mulch them a bit to retain some consistent moisture in summer. As a huge bonus, they are also not a favorite meal of deer.
One short note on culture. Be sure to cut back old foliage in the early winter as you see them bud up. If there are any issues with diseased foliage in your zone, this will keep it at bay. You can also add a layer of charcoal, crushed lime or other small gritty mulch around the base of the plant and this will also help minimize any potential for disease as well.
Also seen blooming at about the same time or slightly after in sequence is the ‘Ivory Prince’ hellebore and ‘Cinnamon Frost’ hellebores with all the same fabulous characteristics as their cousins above. Cinnamon Frost comes on subtle and rich at first with coloring that is a pale buff or butter shaded with a soft spice tone, until it turns a deep rich rose later. Very elegant indeed!
The world of the Hellebore is vast and too much to cover in just one post, but one that you definitely do not want to miss if you have the chance to grow them, is the incredible ‘Double Queen Mix’. This charming mix boasts a gorgeous range of colors. There are an exquisite number of fluffy, multi petaled options in hellebores to choose from these days!
Not to be outdone by those glorious flowers that we So desperately need in the drab, gray days of winter, the FOLIAGE! The range of amazing foliage options on the hellebore family of plants is staggering! From showy silvers, to finely cut to speckled and spotted, there is a favorite leaf for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites:
Hopefully you enjoyed a tour of this wee bit of Hellebore fabulosity. Your garden is most likely in need of some of these if not many, because who could really have enough color in winter, right? A great big THANK YOU to Skagit Gardens for having me up their way and letting me ogle the plants, take pictures and generally “ooh and ah” for the day. Mt. Vernon is also where you would find the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, when it becomes a Horticultural version of Mecca for a few weeks each Spring.
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