January GBBD: Hellebores on Parade
It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on December 15) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens. I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year. This month I hope that my nursery customers and blog readers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season through winter.
My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.
Last January, the whole garden was under snow, and I didn’t even participate in GBBD. This year couldn’t be more different with 7 days in the 50s (10C) and 6 days at 60 degrees (16C) or above since December 15. Frankly, I find it extremely worrisome, but it means that I didn’t have to go searching for plants peaking between December 15 and January 15. There are a few other plants worth featuring, but my hellebores are all blooming early so I call this post Hellebores on Parade. For the benefit of my customers, I will note which hellebores will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG) this spring.
Flowers are emerging on the hellebore species cross ‘HGC Pink Frost’ (for sale at CSG). Notice the dark red to burgundy highlights on the leaves and stems and the amazing color of the buds. As noted in Cutting Back Hellebores, I leave the foliage on to make a nice backdrop for the flowers. Photo 12/31/11
The rare species Helleborus dumetorum (no common name) continues to bloom (for sale at CSG). It is deciduous so all the “leaves” in the photo are actually flower bracts. The leaves will come up later. Photo 12/31/11
This beautiful, pure white, outward-facing hellebore called ‘Snow White’ (aka ‘Snow Bunting’) is an extremely rare cross between hybrid hellebore and Christmas rose—something that was thought to be impossible (for sale at CSG). Photo 1/9/12
There are some other plants looking great in my garden besides hellebores. Most of the fall-blooming camellias still have viable buds but no flowers open to show you. They will continue to bloom if the weather cooperates. Here are the non-hellebore stars:
The buds on my variegated winter daphne, D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’, are coloring up early. It is the sole survivor of five shrubs I put in this spring. Although I gave them excellent drainage, they just couldn’t tolerate all the rain we had in August and September. One by one they wilted from too much water and died, while this one remained healthy. Photo 1/9/12
On New Year’s Day, my husband and I went walking in the Pinetum at the Haverford College Arboretum, a wonderful local treasure. We saw two unusual conifers with great texture that I wanted to share:
I dedicate this post to Bob Stewart, my friend and horticulturalist extraordinaire, who died on December 16, 2011. Bob and his wife Brigitta started the amazing nursery Arrowhead Alpines in Fowlersville, MI. If you haven’t visited their site, you should by clicking here. Bob will be greatly missed.
If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 1/20/12. For details, click here.
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Nursery Happenings: To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.
Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.