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Hoppin' on the hellebore bandwagon

by BookWorm

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Discover one of the most satisfying harbingers of spring

Dscf0023.detailWe didn't have much of a winter here in Eugene, but spring is always welcome, even in the mildest of winters. For me, the first signs of sprint are new growth of the hellebores pushing up through the ground. Since this generally comes about in January, hope of spring is in my garden even in the darkest days of winter. On a mild day in early January, I walk cut back the old bracts so nothing distracts from the blossoms.


Hellebore, also known as Lenten roses are hardy (at least in the Pacific Northwest) perennials that can spread to 2 feet and grow to be 16 to 18 inches tall, setting out deep roots. Once established, most hellebores are drought tolerant if given dappled shade during hot spell. And they are deer proof. I plant them under rhododendrons or tall piers, which bloom about the same time.

Eugene gardeners are lucky to have one of the best hellebore breeder living close by. Marietta O'Byrne of Northwest Gardens is called "the reigning queen of hellebore hybridizing" by fellow experts. Every year in late February and early March she and her husband Ernie open their garden to visitors and buyers. If you are going to be in the area, stop by March 5-7 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  It is well worth the trip!



spring, perenniel, deer proof


Hellebores are always rewarding!
birdfarm commented on 03/02/10
They are beautiful!
gardengirl commented on 03/02/10
I've been meaning to plant hellebore for years... just never quite got to it :-). Maybe it's time to get inspired to plant some, as there are some very cool varieties available. Thanks BookWorm :-)
chief cultivator commented on 03/02/10
Bookworm you never cease to amaze me with the jewels that you find!!! That looks like an awesome place to visit! Maybe I should head down that way and take a tour! I love the hellebore- their blooms are the only light in the dark days of winter!
FigTree commented on 03/02/10
Thanks for all the kudos. Definitely plan to visit Northwest Gardens in hellebore season.
BookWorm replied: on 03/03/10