Heroic Hellebores and Heucheras: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day December 2010

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

This past weekend we had a thaw, temps above freezing and enough rain to wash the several inches of snow that had been on the ground. Since then we’ve gotten more snow, but that thaw is how I know that the two hellebores that I reported blooming for November’s GBBD are still blooming.

Josef Lemper hellebore

Three of my winter stalwarts in one photo. In front, Josef Lemper. The blossom peeking in back left is the Thanksgiving bloomer from Seneca Hill Perennials. And the glowing red foliage is Lunar Glow bergenia

Snow is the cold climate gardener’s friend. It got down to 0F earlier last week, and I’m sure the snow cover contributed to the plants looking so well during the thaw.
Thanksgiving blooming hellebore

I think this is the same flower I pictured a month ago, opened wider, and the buds are more swollen.

Look at all the buds on the hellebore from Seneca Hill Perennials, which was merely called ‘Thanksgiving Bloomer.’ It’s only a first year plant for me, so I can just imagine how it will look in a couple of years. But I wonder if those other buds will open under the snow, or will they patiently wait until mud season in March? Or will they just get worn down by successive thaws, freezes, and other winter atrocities? I can’t imagine them looking like much after an open winter.
Dolce Blackcurrant heuchera

Dolce Blackcurrant heuchera from Proven Winners looks good almost year round.

Many of the heucheras hold up well all winter long, only to be snuffed out by mud season. I’m not sure if it’s the poor drainage caused by semi-frozen soil, or the alternate freezing and thawing that occurs during that time of year. But I received ‘Dolce Blackcurrant’ as a trial plant back in Fall 2007, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. I really love it.

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.

Niki Jabbour December 17, 2010, 2:40 pm

Lovely photos.. we’re getting our first real snow here in Nova Scotia today – just an inch, but it makes everything feel more festive! I love hellebores and they do very well here too. Thanks for the snowy day inspiration!

Kathy Purdy December 17, 2010, 3:02 pm

Thank you for stopping by, Niki!

Eliza @ Appalachian Feet December 17, 2010, 8:20 am

I’m impressed you have hellebores already! It looks like a long wait on the ones in my garden. Mud season doesn’t sound like much fun — I’m glad you found a heuchera that performs for you (it’s beautiful)!

Kathy Purdy December 17, 2010, 3:00 pm

This is the first year I’ve had fall-blooming hellebores. Only certain strains of Helleborus niger seem to perform this trick. Thank you for stopping by. We are near the northernmost reaches of the Appalachian Mountains. I think you are more toward the opposite end of them.

Carol December 16, 2010, 9:18 pm

Impressive! I’m under snow cover here!

Kathy Purdy December 17, 2010, 3:01 pm

We only went a day and a half without snow cover. We have snow cover again, but not as much as you do.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter December 15, 2010, 9:58 pm

Those hellebores are so wonderful. I tend to think that they kind of go into stasis when it gets really cold, like my Helleborus niger, which has started forming buds, but won’t do anything until March, when the weather warms up.

Rose December 15, 2010, 9:51 pm

How wonderful to see your hellebores in bloom! Mine are covered in snow, so I doubt there are any blooms there, but I certainly appreciated seeing them green up in November when everything else was brown. Such a beautiful Heuchera, too–one of my favorite plants.

Leslie December 15, 2010, 9:01 pm

The hellebores are wonderful! I am so impressed that they hang in there like that! I love learning so much about cold climate gardening from you.

Gail December 15, 2010, 5:43 pm

Your hellebores are a must have for cold climate gardeners! What a treat to discover them still blooming~That’s a holiday present. gail

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence December 15, 2010, 4:10 pm

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, Kathy!

Missy December 15, 2010, 2:58 pm

It is really amazing how the plants can survive and keep blooming. As someone who never sees snow I am fascinated.

Frances December 15, 2010, 12:07 pm

That is impressive, Kathy, or I should say those are impressive. The snow cover has provided just the protection needed for those divine blooms and heuchera puckering beauties!

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens December 15, 2010, 11:40 am

You are so lucky to have had snow. We are going down to 15 degrees repeatedly with no cover. That’s cold for PA in mid-December. I have a nursery specializing in hellebores. Open hellebore flowers will not make it through the winter, but buds close to the ground will survive to look beautiful when they finally bloom. Because you are farther north, I would mulch those hellebores with leaves of pine needles even evergreen branches to give them a little added protection when they aren’t covered by snow. Carolyn

Diana December 15, 2010, 9:42 am

Hard to imagine that snow can protect plants as delicate as Hellebores, but I know that it does. They are lovely. My foliage is growing but no sign of blooms here yet. Ours pop up in about February once we’ve had our two weeks of winter! Happy Bloom Day~