When I first saw Marianne Willburn’s excellent post, A Defense of Hellebores, on Garden Rant, I thought, we’re now defending hellebores? Surely not.
Who wouldn’t love these perennials, some of which flower in December, Christmas roses, H. niger, and others that continue on through much of spring, Lenten roses, H. x hybridus? A shade perennial that blooms in neglected, low-water areas–those shady spots where not much else will grow? A perennial deer don’t really like to eat?
Then, I started reading Marianne’s post, and I guess she’s right. We do need to defend hellebores. I thought about my garden coaching clients, who think hellebores are really expensive. Those who want year-round color from every plant in the garden, even in the shade.
Plus, I couldn’t agree more when Marianne wrote:
The relative nakedness of daffodils, crocus and snowdrops against a still apocalyptic tundra is certainly cheering; but when glasses are removed, it becomes apparent that what’s needed to tie them all together is a freshness and vigor that evergreen foundation shrubs can’t provide.Marianne Willburn
Plus, not very many evergreen shrubs like growing in Oklahoma anyway. On the other hand, Hellebores love growing here if you give them a bit of water through drip irrigation.
Still, I almost didn’t write this post because I’ve written about hellebores so many times before. Here’s a recap:
Then, there’s Hello Hellebore! This was another post I wrote sometime back. I wrote about hellebores when I discussed February’s garden chores. I’ve written about them for Oklahoma Gardener magazine and reprinted that article here. I sure miss that magazine and those articles. Don’t you?
This made me wonder if I needed to defend hellebores yet again, but after I went outside and took some photos of my newer and older ones, here we are. I hope you don’t mind.
A late-winter/early-spring garden without hellebores isn’t nearly as pretty as one with several. Thanks for your defense, Marianne. As a fellow hellebore lover, I appreciate it.
To prove this point, when I was at Lowe’s buying seed-starting supplies, I found another new hellebore, FrostKiss Anna’s Red, and I snapped it up before anyone else could. Can you see the pink veining in the leaves?
Nope, hellebores aren’t cheap, but they’re certainly worth every penny. Go get yourself some.