Now that we’ve got that over with, let me tell you about this holiday plant. ‘HGC Jacob’ hellebore is a perennial. This is not really a houseplant, this is a perennial that is waiting for the snow to melt and the soil to thaw so I can plant it outdoors. How many other holiday plants can cold climate gardeners say that about? Not poinsettias. Not cyclamen (at least, not the kind they sell this time of year). Not those rosemaries trimmed into Christmas tree shapes. (Well, you can plant them outside next spring but you’ll have to bring them in again.) Not even paperwhites.
This hellebore is part of the Helleborus Gold Collection. They are marketed to growers as “an alternative to cyclamen, primrose, and bulbs in the November through March sales season.” Heuger, the grower, says that “our varieties provide real added-value when the consumer can purchase a good-looking plant that makes a great garden plant.” I think that’s true. I bought ‘Jacob’ because I knew I’d be able to plant it outside in the spring.
All the hellebores in this series are either varieties or hybrids of Helleborus niger, which is called the Christmas rose in Great Britain because it blooms in December there. Of course, their plants aren’t buried in a foot of snow.Skagit Gardens sent me trial plants of ‘HGC Josef Lemper’, ‘HGC Cinnamon Snow’, and ‘HGC Pink Frost’ several years ago. If you recall, I almost killed my dear ‘Josef Lemper’ because I didn’t realize he needed better drainage than what he was getting. I did kill ‘Cinnamon Snow’ for the same reason, but I plan on trying again, now that I know better. In fact, I’d love to grow all the hellebores in this series. Skagit Gardens’ brochure shows the approximate bloom time of each of these HGC hellebores, and I see ‘HGC Joshua’ blooms even earlier than ‘HGC Josef Lemper’.
I will probably get tired of taking care of this houseplant eventually. But for now it is cheering me up with the promise of spring.