Hellebore

Over the last few years Hellebores have been becoming one of my most favorite flowers. The more I see them and work with them the more I like them. I never really noticed them as a plant before they came up on our plant ID study list in college.

We walked around campus and looked at masses of green kind of tattered looking plants that has tons of green flowers and weird seed pods. We learned about the “Stinking hellebore” and how some of these plants had been around since the dinosaur ages. Pretty impressive! I value fortitude in plant material, so I bought a few while I studied them. They were the green flower varieties and I ended up digging them up and donating them to my mother’s yard, where they hung on to a rock hillside much happier than they had been in my sandy loam planting beds.

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A few years ago Mom brought me a magazine article about Hellebores showing plants of all different colors and speckled blossoms of white, black and pink. I think It was Martha Stewart, but I’m not sure, I just know it was fabulous and they had a teeny tiny side note that said the plants came from a Nursery in my area! I found the Nursery; I tracked down the hellebore’s and I was in heaven.

Probably spent an hour choosing the exact coloring of each individual plant, White with deep red purplish spots, dark, dark purple almost black, I still want to find a good true pink. It was a hefty sum at the checkout, and I got the are you crazy look from my husband for spending so much on four plants, but C’est la vie! Hyacinths for the soul, right?

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And so began my love affair with hellebore! There are so many things I love about this Plant, let me start with now; It’s blooming NOW! at the end of January giving hope of spring and warmer weather. I don’t live in a cold climate, but I’ve seen tons of pictures of this plant coming up right out of the snow. It’s not afraid of cold weather. Because the newer orientalis varieties of Hellebore have only recently become widely available, Hellebore is still a less common stunner and so I think just growing this cool plant drives up you garden sheik originality factor.

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Since Hellebore start blooming now their dormant season is in the summer. I have mine paired with foliage plants that fill in over the summer and the hellebores make a nice background green accent that lends itself to tropical theme, and they are considerably drought tolerant.

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What more could you want! (plant-lovers sigh)

Look For Helleborus orientalis in your local Nursery or garden Canter to get the most colorful varieties!

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Lovely Lettuces for the Lazy Gardener

Lovely Lettuces for the Lazy Gardener.

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Lovely Lettuces for the Lazy Gardener

Last winter I planted heirloom varieties of red and chartreuse lettuces and I under planted them with a mix of purple toned tulips. Between the winters sun being too low and leaving the bed in the shadow of the back fence and heavy rains all of the bulbs rotted out. Image

The lettuce looked good for a few weeks and then it got hot all of a sudden and they bolted. Right about this time I realized I had to ration out the volume of water I could collect in our spring box and my hose was 10 feet too short to get to the lettuce bed, so I decided to abandon it and focus my energy on the concentrated veggie area that was plumbed for low flow drip irrigation I could easily connect to my spring water collection tank.Image

This winter I decided I needed a break from the constant tending of the veggie garden. My efforts the last few winters have not really brought any great garden bounty to my kitchen table. I have planted flats upon flats of veggies in September and October only to have the Indian summer greenery starved deer burglarize my garden and leave nothing for me. I really don’t mind sharing with the deer rabbits Squirrels and critters that pass through my garden, but it usually takes me a month or so to excuse another big nursery purchase and put out starts again. And then they end up in the ground a little to last and all I can do is hope for the best, which usually means the second or third attempt at chard, garlic or onions happens to late, and they sit out there in the yard looking tattered and cold and glum and you don’t want it to rain too hard or your onions will drown. So this year I decided to wait until we get our June-uary and super sunny February days before I put anything in the ground.

Today was lovely, a clear deep blue sky with big puffy clouds floating through. I walked out to my abandoned lettuce bed, thinking about planting sweet peas on the trellises where the snap peas were, and I saw all across the top of the soil baby red leaf lettuce was coming up!Image

All I needed was to do a little weeding and I have my heirloom variety red lettuce crop right in the middle of winter. No effort needed. Its funny how excited I was, being somewhat challenged in the seeded starting department, that my negligence of ignoring the lettuce bed after the hot weather arrived allowed this little garden miracle to happen.ImageImage I weeded the bed and found snap peas coming back too, you know from the peas I left on the vine because I was too lazy to pick them every day. I hope I see some of the Heirloom bean variety ‘Lazy Housewife’ which is supposed to need very little de-stringing, will re-appear on their own in the spring. Even if they don’t all of the plant additions I will be making will be heirlooms!

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Winter Color

Winter Color

I added five flats of color to this planter to liven it up for the winter.

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I love this combo of yellow primrose and ultra marine Pansy’s

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It worked really well for winter interest around these Tibochina bushes

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I can wait to see it all grown in!

 

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