February GBBD: New Hellebores for 2012

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

‘Phoebe’ is a beautiful double hellebore selected by Dan Hinkley formerly of Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, WA, as were most of the hellebores pictured here.  They are all superior forms.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (“GBBD”) hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on February 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 excited about adding colorful hellebores to their own shade gardens to extend the garden season through winter.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 7A (old 6B).

I grow the double ‘Elegance White’ for its distinct reddish purple spots and its symmetrical pointed leaves.

Because of the mild weather, I am overwhelmed with work at my nursery and behind on blogging.  So I am combining my GBBD post with a post on all the gorgeous new hybrid hellebores I will be offering this spring at my snowdrop and hellebore seminars and at my Hellebore Extravaganza on March 24.  They are coming into bloom right now so they definitely qualify for GBBD.  I will save the new species hellebores for a later post.

I decided to start with the doubles because, although I generally prefer single flowers, I love double hellebores.  Their flowers last for months.  In addition to the two above, I offer:

Hybrid hellebore “Double Rose”

Helleborus x "Double Purple"Hybrid hellebore “Double Purple”

My absolute favorite type of hybrid hellebore is known as anemone-flowered.  In this form, the nectaries around the center of the flower create a ruffle of mini petals matching the color of the flower.  I collect anemone-flowered hellebores (those of you who bought my calendar can see one in the February collage) but have never found them for sale.  I am thrilled to be able to offer one this spring:

The ruffle in the middle of this anemone-flowered hellebore picks up the beautiful colors of the larger petals (actually sepals).  Slate is also a very desirable hellebore color, and ‘Slate Anemone’ is similar to ‘Starling’, another Hinkley-selected hellebore.

I am also excited about the nine new single hybrid hellebores that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will carry this spring representing every color of the rainbow.  I don’t know if I can pick a favorite:

‘Gold Finch’ has rounded petals of buttery yellow spotted with red flecks.

‘Black’ has striking near black flowers with a perfect rounded shape.

Helleborus x 'Pink Tea Cup'‘Pink Tea Cup’ is early-blooming with soft blush pink flowers reminiscent of cherry blossoms.

‘Raspberry Mousse’ has two-tone pale rose flowers with creamy white veins, and dark rose edges and reverse (the back of the flower).

‘Phoenix’ has apple green flowers edged in burgundy and with a burgundy center.

Slate gray petals with a metallic sheen and burgundy highlights in the center and veins make ‘Slate’ very desirable.

‘Painted Bunting’ has white flowers with a bold burgundy red central star, radiating red veins, and red picotee edges.

‘Velvet Lips’ has bright wine-red flowers with a soft creamy-yellow center and a shiny darker reverse.  I would buy this beautiful hellebore for the name alone.

The Yokoyama nursery in Japan has achieved the first ever cross between Christmas rose and hybrid hellebores to produce ‘Snow White’, this gorgeous early-blooming pure white hellebore with large, flat, outward-facing flowers; easy to grow like all the hybrids but easy to see the flowers too!

I tested all these hellebores in Spring 2011 by planting them in my garden.  This year I am being rewarded with big healthy plants loaded with flowers.  Stop by and see for yourself after I open on March 15.


Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens now has a Facebook page where I can post single photos, garden tips, and other information that don’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: The 2012 Hellebore Seminars are now available for registration.  To view the brochure, click here.  To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.  This post is part one of my exciting new hellebore offering.

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 carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

68 Responses to “February GBBD: New Hellebores for 2012”

  1. Beautiful, Carolyn. I wish I could buy some of your Hellebores, sadly it is too hot for them to thrive in the summer here. I should search out some of the other varieties that might survive. Christina

  2. What a wonderful collection, I wished I could visit in person, I am amazed by the variety in colors! Thanks for sharing

  3. Gotta love those Velvet Lips!

  4. Carolyn, wow you are now 7A…I am now 5b…not much difference for me…you present these plants in such a way I must have them all. Of course I have been remiss in putting in an order…I need to get on it…

  5. We are in the same growing Zone! My zone just changed to 7A as well. Gorgeous hellebores. They are one of my all time favorite perennials for their year round interest. You have some simply spectacular cultivars. I could see them all easily growing in my garden. Gorgeous photos! Hope you get caught up at the nursery. This mild weather sure is something. It’s cold now though so hopefully things will slow down.

  6. Wow, these are really beautiful Carolyn!

  7. Very beautiful selections you are offering Carolyn. I must look for space to add some you have available. All mine are doubles, but none are near flowering yet, even with the mild winter weather. We are finally getting typical winter weather this week with much snow. What I have found about the weather is that the garden bare of snow is also bare of much else. I cannot wait for a little color and bloom. My GBBD post is going up tonight and you must stop in. It is all about what my garden does to attract wildlife. A city property with winter interest!

  8. Carolyn, this post has done for me what your series of hosta posts did last summer – opened up a whole new world to me, and knocked my socks off!

    Although I do have one Hellebore (thanks for identifying it for me recently!), they are pretty much unchartered territory to me. I am mesmerized by your photos and don’t know how on earth I would be able to choose among them. Sure wish I could take your seminar! I’m going to scroll back up and stare for a while…

  9. I wish I could “stop by”, Carolyn! But thanks for showing those gorgeous flowers anyway. There’s a Hellebore nursery about 2 hours away from us and I’m planning a visit. You can’t have too many Hellebores.

  10. I love some of these new offerings Carolyn. Phoebe and the Double rose are beautiful pinks. Thanks for letting us know about the new hellebore’s.

  11. Glad I am not in the position to have to chose 1 or perhaps 6 to buy, it would be a dilemma.

  12. Raspberry Mousse is edging towards the top of the list but gee whiz it might not stay there long. Gorgeous hellebores, all of them.

  13. Christine, Lona, Deborah, and Patty, Yes, it really is hard to choose because they are all so beautiful. The hellebore selection in the US has come a long way since I started collecting them in the very early 1990s. Carolyn

  14. Seeing all your hellebores definitely gets me excited about choosing some to add to my serenity garden this spring. They are just gorgeous.

  15. Carolyn, I would be thrilled if I had all these growing in my garden! The ‘Slate Anemone’ is amazing! I have begun to really appreciate the character of different hellebore blooms. I must expand my collection. Forget the Asheville Fling! Maybe I should join the other bloggers planning to visit your garden! (Now, those would be some VERY expensive flowers!)

    P.S. You are right. My zone has moved to 8a. I mentioned it, and you, in my newest post.

  16. They are beautiful…wish I could walk your property with my camera! The colors are so rich.

  17. What a fabulous selection, just as well the ocean is between us, they are all so tempting!! All my Hellebores are flowering now looking very pretty with masses of snowdrops, who could say that a winter garden is dull and boring!!

  18. Oh how beautiful – the Black one is amazing. These are very special flowers. Christine loves these!!

  19. Cat, Pauline, and Barbie, I wish that you could all visit and see the hellebores in person with the snowdrops, but I am happy to take you on a virtual tour. Carolyn

  20. Carolyn- Your hellebores are spectacular. Sadly, I live too far away to visit. Do you sell Hellebores by mail order or can you recommend another source? The photos on your website are all just beautiful! Thanks1

  21. Carolyn, you inspire me with these Hellebores, cant wait to see the new species.

  22. So many beautiful varieties; I have fallen in love with the double hellebores. Thanks for sharing all of these, Carolyn; I wish I could visit your nursery in person, too.

  23. Hellebores are getting so showy! Beautiful. Plus, the deer won’t eat them — at least at my parent’s northern Virginia garden.

  24. It’s a good job I’m on the other side of the pond. I’d be like a child in a candy store if I came to your nursery. Lovely hellebores. Ours are still hanging their heads in shame after last week’s frosts.

    • Alistair, Rose, Cindy, and Crystal, I wish you could all visit, although if you are in the UK you have had a wonderful selection of hellebores for years. One of the best things about hellebores is that they are poisonous so deer don’t touch them. They are one of the few plants on “deer resistant plant” lists that the deer have never eaten in my garden. Carolyn

  25. Really beautiful especially the slate greys and raspberry mousse. I didn’t realise that the ruffles were nectaries, I usually can’t see nectaries on flowers. Would be good to see a bee drinking out of them – haven’t seen pollinators since last year though.

  26. What wonderful choice examples of hellebores… the only one I grow is Elegance White from the selection you’ve shared. I look forward to installing a great many new hellebore plants this season… they are addictive to say the least. We are finally getting some winter… it had to come, afterall… Larry

  27. Just beautiful! So many different colors. I don’t think I could pick out a favorite. They are all lovely.

  28. Oh my, so many beauties to choose from. I think I like double purple and raspberry mousse the most, although they’re all gorgeous. I wish we had some growing here. Glad to see you on Facebook by the way!

    • Clare, I still can’t believe that hellebores don’t grow where you are. You have saved your self a lot of money though. I am not sure what I am doing on Facebook because I don’t use it individually, but it is a great outlet for small bits of information. Carolyn

  29. Gorgeous flowers. I am not familiar with them. What zones do they like? How tall do they get?

    • Spencer, There are many different species of hellebores with different heights and hardiness. However, the hybrid hellebores in this article are generally 18 to 24″. The book Hellebore, A comprehensive guide by Tyler and Burrell states that they are hardy to zone 4 but doesn’t list a southern limit. I have heard of gardeners growing hellebores in Austin, but I am not sure how it is going. You would have to check with your local extension service wherever you are. Carolyn

  30. Wow – they are a lovely selection: my mouth is watering over those slate ones. Don’t think they’d quite survive the Delhi heat though. And can it really be almost a year since I visited Carolyn’s Shade Gardens and saw all your hellebores in flower? It is such a lovely memory.

  31. Anne S Hannum Says:

    How do I place my order for hellebores? I found the catalog , I think, but no info on what to do next.


    • Thanks for asking, Anne, because there seems to be some confusion about this. As you know, I am a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, and do not mail order hellebores. Plants are purchased by coming to the nursery just like any other retail nursery. I open on March 15 and hope to have my stock of hellebores ready then, but can’t be sure right now. After that date, you can shop by scheduling an appointment by email or attending my hellebore open house sale on March 24. I will also have the hellebores available for sale at my hellebore seminars, which are not scheduled yet. If I decide to take advance orders for the hellebores an email will go out to all my customers. The catalogue is for use while shopping at the nursery and planting plants at home—it is not a vehicle for advance ordering. I hope that covers it, but feel free to ask for further clarification. Carolyn

  32. They all look so pretty, Carolyn! Tough, tough choices, but I think I would go with the Double Rose or the Double Purple.

    I hope that the next weeks go well for you and that you are actually able to enjoy the season!

  33. Even though I have a lot of hellebores for such a small garden, looking at your post I realize I need more diversity from this plant. Wow!

    • Les, Even 10 years ago, the selection of hellebores available in this country was very limited. I still have a lot of those plants in my garden and, although they are very pretty, the newer varieties are superior in colors and performance. I am slowly updating my own collection. Carolyn

  34. Are you having a hellebore event this year?

    • Patterson, My hellebore open house sale is scheduled for March 24. Please see my answer to Anne for further details as to how to purchase hellebores. If you would like to receive email notice of this and other events please send me an eamil with your phone number for backup contact info. Carolyn

  35. beautiful flowers Carolyn, I’m looking forward to your species hellebores post all the hellebores I bought were species, I think all European species, I think I like Slate and the one after it Painted Bunting best,

    I always find this garden zoneing thing odd as it only takes account of temperture, mostly lowest temperture and there are so many other factors involved, most of the British coast is zone 9 or 9b but there are lots and lots of plants for that zone I could never grow due to the wind factor or not getting hot enough in summer,

    • Frances, If you haven’t done so already, you should check out the post I did on most of the straight species here. In a country as big as the US, the zones are a very helpful starting point to determine hardiness. I think we have 12 zones not including As and Bs. After that you have to take into consideration your own special climactic factors. Carolyn

      • thanks Carolyn, I did re-read your hellebore posts and I found a hellebore information website which I also refered too before ordering my hellebores last summer, Mr MacL doesn’t give any plant info on his website, I much appreciate you and the people who created the hellebore site for giving your time to provide the info, Frances

  36. Hi Carolyn,
    I had no idea there were so many types of Hellebores. I wish they had a nicer sounding name like Heavenbores.

    Beautiful closeups.

  37. So gorgeous!! I love the first and third…Pink flowers are my favorite.

  38. I have a few hellebore, but after seeing all the possibilities in your post I am inspired to buy some more varieties. The colors and textures are endless and would add to my winter garden. My favorite is Raspberry Mousse…lovely!

  39. […] I have no idea how well it will grow here, but I’ve been coveting the Hellebore’s of others recently, so I decided to take the plunge.  I’m weak, what can I say? Even the Hellebore […]

  40. I used to really look forward to the Hellebore Days at Heronswood nursery. So sad when it closed but you have brought me the joy online again! Thank you.

  41. Honestly, I never really cared for Hellebores much…until I started seeing those slatey purple ones…swoon!

  42. Ginger Vaughan Says:

    When will you be in Asheville and where? I live in Greenville, SC and Asheville is only a short trip. Would love to see some of your beautiful helleboros.

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