This is the season for hellebores—in Northeastern gardens at least. I’ve been impressed by the way mine bounced right back up after being completely flattened and wilted by freezing temps earlier this month. Though they’ve been a perennial plant of the year, and are becoming a common sight in more North American gardens, here in Buffalo there are still only a couple places to buy even the mainstream variety, helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose). I’ve mail-ordered all of mine, and yearn some day to order some of the new hybrids (doubles and unusual colors) developed by Dan Hinkley.
I’m not an expert on hellebores by any means; for that you need to check out Transatlantic Plantsman Graham Rice, who (with Elizabeth Strangeman) wrote the book on them: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hellebores (two versions of it). So that’s why I leave it to Rice to comment on the new American book on hellebores by C. Colston Burrell and Judith Knott Tyler (with a foreword by Hinkley), which he calls “invaluable.” Here’s an excerpt from the review he published on his blog, Transatlantic Plantsman
The increasing number of hybrids between species, some extremely surprising, are discussed and illustrated while the treatment of the vast variety of forms of H. x hybridus steers a commendably realistic course. There is no long descriptive list of cultivars, so few of which are actually available. Instead there are fascinating accounts of the work of a range of breeders and growers from both sides of the Atlantic. Readers will be impressed by recent achievements in North America building on earlier work in Britain. This generous inclination to recognize the work of other enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic is a striking feature of the whole book.
I have nothing more to add except that Timber Press has sent me a copy of this beautiful book (shown above), which I have not opened and would love to pass it along to a Garden Rant reader. It’s not exactly swag, but after the lively discussion of the ethics of giveaways and freebies, I’d like to reinforce our determination to share with our readers whatever comes to us through our love of gardening—and writing about gardening.
So, do you grow hellebores? Have you tried any of the new varieties? How do you keep hellebores from wilting in the vase when you cut them? Did your hellebores make it through our hideous early spring? Do tell!
At 4 p.m. EST today, I will put the names of all who have commented about hellebores in a hat and pick one person, to whom I will send this book. (If you don’t want the book but are commenting anyway, then just say so.)
We will be working with Timber and other publishers (we hope) to arrange more giveaways of recent releases on gardening. Stay tuned!
AND THE WINNER IS:
Thanks everybody for playing along. This is a great book, Nancy. You’ll astound your friends with your hellebore knowledge.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: