At the first job I had as a grower in a small greenhouse in fall, eight (8) weeks till Christmas I was handed a box of plants to grow for Christmas, the label said it they a plant called Lenten Rose. There were little or no instructions just plant and keep cool until they bloom around Christmas. They were added to the other plants I was growing to compete with the Poinsettias that were everywhere in the greenhouse.
This was well before the first perennial boom of the seventies (70’s) and they did well as pot plants but I pinched the remainder of those not sold. If I had only known the value and worth of these plants, I would have put them into the perennial plant section I was growing for spring.
Hellebore is a great perennial, unlike other plants that show well in the summer, hellebore dies back and make great green leaves. In the late fall, new leaves start to grow and the awakening starts to begin. When the snow starts the mass of green leave make quite a show, and then as they are covered with snow they show some dieback. As the snow melts they start to bloom making a great show of flowers. It is a shame that they are not sold more in garden centers as they are a great addition to the American Garden and can be used as cut flowers in the early spring
A slow grower it will take two (2) to three (3) years to establish once they get started they make grand slight for shade area in your landscape. Be sure to place them so they are visible when you go in and out of your house in early spring. There are about seventy-five (75) varieties in cultivation on the commercial market. They come in singles and doubles. The color range is white, pink, red, black and blotched. Two new varieties from Walters Garden by hybridizer, Hans Hansen, will appear sometime in 2016 look for them. Until then there still many great varieties that can be found.
©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2015
Pictures are from Walters Gardens, Honeymoon series (singles), Wedding Party series (doubles)