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Friday, March 2, 2012

Stinking Helebores and Lenten Roses

I went to the doctor's today because I hurt my back a week ago and am having trouble walking.   I picked up a Smithsonian Magazine that I didn't recognize...only to find it was 2010 vintage....That's OK, Smithsonian is one of those magazines which it really doesn't matter how old they are, they're still interesting.

They had an article on Helleborus foetidus, the "stinking hellebore."  Every year I post about mine....I just can't help it...and this article made me decide to do it one more time.  H. foetidus is a wonderful plant which blooms in the winter.   I giggle because they always caution that you MUST plant them in the shade....well, look at this one which grows in the full sun in the middle of my yard.

I was once told by a plantsman, I can't remember if it was Pierre Bennerup or Bob Iiames who told me that they grow on mountain sides on rocky scarps...in the full sun.

They are tough plants and I love the leaves.  The cool thing about them that I learned today is that they have a yeast which grows in the nectar of the flower.  That yeast raises the temperature of the plant by as much as 13 degrees F...which makes it bloom long before anything else does.  The yellow crocus at the left is a Dutch crocus to give you an idea of size.


I must admit that I am seduced by the new varieties of Lenten Roses, Helleborus niger.  This one is Dark Prince ...also snapped in my garden today as I dodged the thunderstorms.


I've decided, however, that I won't buy any more of these dark beauties....I have three....because they just don't show up against the dark soil.
This one I think, is far more showy.  I did get a variegated Hellebore a couple of years ago at the Variegated Plant Farm in Connecticut.  Stan has fabulous plants....but like many variegated varieties, it didn't make it.  I'm not even sure if a green one came up on the same spot...but I can assure you, no white and green leaves ever re-appeared.

2 comments:

Shady Character said...

I love all my hellebores. Right now the niger is blooming, albeit reburied by seven inches of snow, but it will be a while before the bigger ones bloom. I've got my blackest orientalis out in a fairly bright area, but you're right. It doesn't show up very well. When it blooms I'll have to share a real find I got a few years ago. A very upright, spotted one that faces the flowers straight out. No stooping required to admire them :)

Lisa Broberg Quintana said...

Oooh I'd love to see that Shady! We are just getting a scuffling of snow. I am almost tempted to go out and look at the nursery to see what white hellebores they have....but my back is still killing me and I have to get the sewing room painted, floored, and put back together before the daughter comes back from spring break, so that's just not going to happen! At least not in the near future.