Lenten Roses In The Backyard? There's a Plan For That.

You can't open up gardening Instagram this Spring without seeing a post or a story about someone's hellebores in bloom.  Oh...what's that?  You call them Lenten Roses?  Oh...me, too.  Actually, I haven't thought much of them at all.  But, all this posting made me remember that we have a few clusters of them spec'd in our backyard landscape plan.  Like this section you see below that calls for a grouping of ten (10).

What are hellebores or Lenten roses?  From one of my favorite gardening bloggers Deborah Silver in Detroit who posted about the month of March in her garden and how Lenten Roses or hellebores play a role:
Any gardener who reads here knows I am a fan of hellebores. They are, in my opinion, the perfect perennial. Thick glossy foliage persists in its green state until late in the winter. The flowers emerge on leafless stalks in April, and bloom for a very long time. The green remains of the flowers can persist in the garden well in to June. The current years leaves will emerge after the flowers. With proper moisture, these 18″ tall plants grow into very large clumps. They live for decades, and do not require dividing to bloom profusely. I leave the flower heads be, in order to encourage seedlings.
Garden Design offers a few tips for these flowers, too: 
  • Many gardeners like to plant hellebores on a hillside or in raised flower beds to better enjoy their downward-facing blooms. See an excellent example of this planting strategy: A Winter Jewel Box.
  • Be careful not to plant your hellebores too deeply as this can hinder flower production. Make sure the crown of the plant is just slightly buried beneath the soil.
  • Hellebores contain toxins that are harmful to pets and humans, so keep them out of reach.
Want to read more?  This Master Gardener from the University of Wisconsin post rounds up all the details for gardeners like me in a northern zone (5b) including their mature heights (18" to 24") and widths (24" to 30").

My plan calls for ten of them.  I haven't been particularly attuned to Lenten Roses/Hellebores in the past, so I'm uncertain if they are readily available at places like Home Depot.  But, that hasn't stopped me from looking around online.  I've been drawn to this multi-colored variety called Royal Heritage Strain of Lenten Rose from Jackson and Perkins:

Photo of the Royal Heritage Lenten Rose via Jackson and Perkins - not my photo.  (Source)
The bed where these are spec'd for on the northside of our property isn't in one of the three priority areas that I wanted to tackle this season.  So...this one will stay low on my list, but who knows?  If I come across them IRL, I likely won't be able to help myself.


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