My husband loves to brag that I have something blooming in my gardens eleven months of the year. This year he had to change the time period because I now have something blooming twelve months of the year.
Part of this phenomena is climate change but part is due to a relatively new group of Hellebores called the Helleborus Gold Collection®. These Hellebores have been bred to bloom early so they can be sold as house plants in December and then planted outside once the ground is no longer frozen.
I was lucky enough to be the recipient of trial plants in this collection in 2007 and again in 2010. Each time, I kept them in the house until I could plant them. They are extremely hardy and nothing beats the joy of seeing a blooming perennial in December and January.
My favorite is probably ‘Cinnamon Snow’, a bicolor of pale cinnamon pink and cream with the color being a bit deeper on the back side of the petals.
The center has a green eye and pale yellow stamens. The buds almost look like species tulips. This one bloomed for me in late December of 2011 and in very early January this year.
‘Joseph Lemper’ has huge, pure white flowers. He is sited under very old, evergreen Pieris japonica where it is quite shady but the white flowers really brighten up that space. This year he started blooming in late December as well.
‘Pink Frost’ has rosy pink petals that bleed to a white edge. The green eye is filled with greenish-yellow stamens and the leathery foliage has a thin red border. This year, ‘Pink Frost’ budded in mid-January but has not bloomed yet. Right now, it is buried in snow.
For those of you who are green or chartreuse fans, ‘Green Corsican’ is the one for you. The buds are white and when the flowers open, the back side of the petals is white but the up side is pure lime with lime stamens. This one seems to bloom a bit later than the others.
All of these Hellebores face either outward or upward so that you don’t have to get down on your hands and knees to see the interior of the flower as you do with the species and many of the older cultivars.
Hellebores are long blooming perennials. In fact, these Hellebores are still in bloom in April although the color is faded but they bridge from the gap from winter to early spring when the species begin blooming.