One of my favourite garden weblog friends, Barry Parker recently expounded upon the frustration that most Helleborus aficionados experience at this time of year with the overwhelming lack of plants available for sale! Seems like most garden centres wait until May and even June before stocking these shade stalwarts on their benches, often times, long after their blooms have disappeared. If you’re familiar with this wonderful genus, you know that the only time to buy is when they are in their full blooming glory. Often there is much variation between the new and exciting cultivars that are hitting the market.
I’ve always maintained a somewhat modest obsession with them, and having attained what I consider to be my personal crowning glory two years ago, in the form of Helleborus thibetanus, a decidedly rare and choice deciduous selection deemed as the lone Helleborus endemic to Eastern Asia, [ specifically the provinces of Gansu, Hubei, Shaanxi and Sichuan] I find myself returning to this most intoxicating genus!
In the past three months I have added for somewhat new selections: The first encounter with the genus was five years ago, when visiting Canada Blooms, I spotted the magnificent pewter infused foliage of what appeared to be a ‘dwarf’ Helleborus. Helleborus lividus ‘Pink Marble’ is indeed somewhat diminutive when compared to others within the genus, and similar to its fragile appearance, this Mediterranean beauty [endemic to the island of Majorca] is one of the most tender within the genus, but oh, so heavenly with its gorgeous toothed foliage and ruby infused petioles that suspend wonderful pinkish greenish white [should I say variegated!] diminutive cup shaped flowers! [It is the header photo for this post.] Needless-to-say this beauty needs more than adequate winter protection, and I was downright belligerent thinking it would over-winter. This year, it will come in to overwinter inside.
Everyone, and I do mean everyone is on the lookout for this beauty: Helleborus x ballardiae HGC ‘Pink Frost’ named in honor of breeder Helen Ballard who was the first to cross Helleborus niger with the above mentioned Helleborus lividus! Click here to read my posting on this beauty!
Once again Canada Blooms beckoned, and I, knowing full well that I would return home with at least one new addition to the garden, stumbled upon Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Bliss,’ also known as H x e ‘Champion’ – which was coincidentally the official flower of the recent Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada. I also found Helleborus x hybridus ‘Spring Promise.’ Four new beauties to add to the collections, and, oh wait, I’ve one on hold at Phoenix Perennials that is a unique anemone flowering selection called ‘Tutu.’ While on the subject, Gary and his staff have introduced mailorder to their services available to their Canadian customers. Head on over and check it out. I need to find time to complete my introductory order and get it on its way. Methinks I’ve obsessed enough on this genus, time to move on to something else…..
So I’ve forced it a bit [ Really? Isn’t this the beguiling Arisaema candidissimum, that lovely pink and white striped beauty that doesn’t break ground in the garden until mid to late June?] but the results are destined to be nothing less than breathtakingly stunning when Miss Candidissimum rewards me with her beauty! I was more than thrilled to find this [my second one] at the GardenImport booth at CB this year, and while it put a hefty dent in my wallet, let me tell you firsthand that the rewards are…. well some things in life are priceless!
I’ve done the same with a bare root Roscoea cautleoides ‘Kew Beauty’ in hopes of re-introducing its stunning beauty back into the garden. I am one of the worst for neglecting to mark the placement of those of my beauties that are late to emerge [mid to late summer in some cases!] throughout the gardening season, and this is yet another! Is there anything more beautiful I ask you?