New November Blooms: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2010

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

I have new flowers blooming in November. I’d never thought I’d be able to say that. First up is the hellebore I purchased from Seneca Hill Perennials shortly before it closed for good. It didn’t have much of a name, just Helleborus niger, Thanksgiving Bloom. I thought it was worth a try, even though I knew that owner Ellen Hornig can grow less hardy plants than I can further south, simply because she has phenomenal snow cover. As you can see below, it is blooming, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Thanksgiving-blooming Helleborus niger

Thanksgiving bloomer from Seneca Hill Perennials

There is no chance of getting one of your own from Seneca Hill, since it is now closed, but do not despair. This fall I received some hellebores from Skagit Nurseries as trial plants, and two of them are now blooming:
Josef Lemper hellebore

Helleborus niger 'HGC Josef Lemper' from Skagit Gardens

‘Josef Lemper’ is described as hardy to USDA zone 4, blooming from December to February. Of course, around here it may be buried in snow for most of that time. Like the hellebore from Seneca Hill, I have this planted so it can be viewed from the bathroom window–when said window isn’t frosted over. Here’s another one from Skagit Nurseries:
Pink Frost hellebore

Helleborus x ballardiae 'HGC Pink Frost'

This was just opening when I received it–which may have been late September or early October–and it started out quite pale, almost white, and has gradually deepened in color. Skagit says it will bloom from January to March and is hardy to zone 5. But this is November, not January! Trial plants, starting out their lives in a greenhouse somewhere, taking a rough ride via UPS, and then plopped down in a totally alien climate, often don’t behave as expected their first year. I will keep you updated on when these plants bloom next year. (By the way, Skagit Nurseries is a wholesale grower; you will have to ask your local garden center to stock these for you.)

Normally, I only expect to have a few foliage plants “blooming” for November, along with the occasional Johnny-jump-up. I bought this at Lockwood’s Greenhouses during Buffa10:

Polemonium Touch of Class

Polemonium reptans ‘Touch of Class’

I never dreamed the foliage on this Jacob’s Ladder would be so long lasting. I mean, it got down to 18F (-7C) one night not too long ago, and it’s gotten into the mid-20’s many nights by now.

I also moved the Bergenia ‘Lunar Glow’ so it can be seen from a window, any time the snow is gone and the window isn’t obscured by frost.

Lunar Glow Bergenia

Lunar Glow Bergenia becomes more brilliant as the weather gets colder.

I received it as a trial plant a while back, and while it seems to be a slow grower the color in winter is outstanding.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Patrick @ Patrick's Garden January 3, 2011, 11:13 pm

Greetings from Kansas City. I got the same plants from Skaggit but was in the hospital for a month so my plants came a month later. After seeing your pictures, I’m saying a little prayer that they make it.

Chiot's Run November 28, 2010, 11:57 am

This really is quite lovely. Every year at this time I tell myself I must plant some fall/winter blooming plants next spring for next fall – then I forget until next fall when it’s too late. Perhaps I’ll get some pansies and plant them.

I’m hoping to add lots of flowering kale to my garden next spring, I’m quite partial to their interesting colors and textures in a fall/winter garden.

kerri November 26, 2010, 9:58 pm

Kathy, I have Helleborus Niger blooming too. It was a passalong from a friend last year and this is the first time it’s bloomed profusely. I counted more than 25 buds when I first noticed signs of blooms several weeks ago. I was expecting them this past spring and was very disappointed when there were none. The fall blooms were quite a surprise. It flowers in the spring for my friend and her (late) mother, whose garden my plant came from, so I’m still hoping to see more blooms next spring.
I love the way the older blooms turn pink while the newer ones are white, and the blooms last for several weeks. Frost, snow and strong winds don’t seem to phase it at all. What a plant!

Kathy Purdy November 27, 2010, 1:17 pm

It sounds like I have a lot to look forward to. Mine might have 3 buds, tops. But yes, they are attractively flushed with pink. And I have seen it bowed down with frost, only to perk up again later in the day. It is quite a plant, highly recommended for anyone who doesn’t have reliable snow cover in November.

Dave Berning November 24, 2010, 4:38 pm

Fall is such a special time of the year. With all the plants preparing for the winter months ahead and still a sign of life growing. Thanks for sharing

John November 23, 2010, 11:50 am

What a hearty little Jacob’s Ladder. Its always inspiring to see plants endure difficulties. It’s a good reminder that if a little Jacob’s Ladder can make it through hard times, so can I.

LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD November 18, 2010, 8:16 am

My Hellebore is blooming too. Pretty cool and makes me miss Seneca Hill more than ever.

abby jenkins November 17, 2010, 5:23 pm

What the Hellebore! I was just planting the last of my bulbs today and noticed that my most established colony of hellebores (dark crimson) were sending up some shoots. They don’t usually flower until the spring…..

Can I divide them and if so when? I’ll have to see if I can find some autumn blooming types, this is definitely the slowest time in our garden.


Kathy Purdy November 17, 2010, 6:20 pm

All of mine are sending up shoots; I think it is typical. But I don’t know the best time to divide hellebores. I can’t remember if I’ve ever done it.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens November 16, 2010, 9:48 am

Glad to see you are featuring hellebores. Both Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’, which is shorter and smaller, and ‘Josef Lemper’ have been blooming for the last few years in my suburban Philadelphia garden from November through April (at least) with clean evergreen leaves. I think they are superior plants. I am leery of ‘Pink Frost’ because it has H. lividus as a parent. I have been able to keep H. lividus alive for a few years in a protected microclimate but it eventually died. I would love to know how it does for you. Polemonium reptans, our native Jacob’s ladder of which ‘Touch of Class’ is a cultivar, forms an evergreen rosette of leaves close to the ground which still looks good in the spring. I have hundreds of plants because they have seeded through my woods. It’s not showy but it’s ornamental for the off season. Carolyn

Kathy Purdy November 16, 2010, 10:50 am

I have had spring-blooming hellebores for several years but none were named varieties. This is my first year for late-autumn blooming hellebores. Thanks for taking time to comment, and I will indeed let you know how Cinnamon Frost does.

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence November 15, 2010, 9:13 am

Nice Kathy. I love that little Thanksgiving Hellebore.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter November 15, 2010, 9:05 am

Early blooming hellebores – awesome! Never say never – despite already having too many hellebores, ‘Josef Lemper’. It must be fun having hellebores blooming now.

Kathy Purdy November 15, 2010, 9:06 am

Yes, I didn’t think it was possible. Looking forward to next November, when they should be more floriferous.

Gail November 15, 2010, 8:59 am

It’s fantastic that you have a hellebore in bloom~Love the name! gail

Cindy, MCOK November 15, 2010, 8:52 am

Kathy, I so wish I could grow Hellebores. I think my corner of Katy is about 20 miles too far to the south, though. I wish I could grow the Polemonium & the Bergenia too. I’m a lot more than 20 miles too far to the south for those!

commonweeder November 15, 2010, 7:59 am

Kathy, I’m not looking forward to frosty windows, either, but I am thinking more and more about hellebores. Yours are lovely. I have a friend who said he would give me some in the spring.

Kathy Purdy November 15, 2010, 8:08 am

I have spring blooming hellebores as well, Pat. Helleborus niger seems to be the only species with a chance of blooming in the fall.

Les November 15, 2010, 7:13 am

Here’s hoping your frosted over bathroom window waits a while. Happy GBBD!

Kathy Purdy November 15, 2010, 9:08 am

I mentioned those windows twice, didn’t I? It is because they are so old and energy-efficient that they frost over like that. Not being able to see outside bothers me more than cold and snow, I guess. We do plan to replace them eventually.