Hellebores are new to my garden this year, and in this article I describe my joy at seeing the flower buds coming up for the first time!
I am beside myself with joy right now, after an afternoon of cleaning up leaves for the 74th time from one of the backyard garden beds.
I made myself a cup of tea and I’m smiling as I tell you that my Hellebores have flower buds on them!
Actual flowers are forming!
How my love affair with Hellebores began
A few years ago, I attended the Philadelphia Flower Show — you can read my article about it here — and was enchanted by the wonderful Hellebores in some of the stunning Spring garden displays.
I knew they would be on my list to add to my garden when the time was right.
Being new to Hellebores, I did what I always do: geeked out on learning about them. I even found a wonderful book called Hellebores (Amazon link) that is filled with helpful info. (I purchased it two years ago. Now it’s out of print, and the remaining copies are ridiculously expensive!)
One of the things I learned is that not all Hellebores are outward-facing (or upward facing, depending how you are looking at them). I wanted the ones that are upward/outward facing, so I can fully enjoy them in the garden.
Last Spring, I found a wonderful variety called Candy Love — part of the Winter Magic Series — at my local nursery. I bought three of them, and promptly planted them around what will hopefully be a wonderful Redbud Tree someday.
Did I tell you about my Redbud Tree?
It’s a stick right now. I bought it last Spring as well, as a bare root tree. It is about 5 feet tall, and for the first few months, nothing happened. No new growth, no nothing. I ordered from a fantastic company and after sending them some photos to show them my concern, they offered to either replace the plant, give me a refund or give me a credit to future plants. I chose the credit, because I still was holding out hope that this Redbud Stick would do something someday. Like grow.
Well, I finally got a few small branches growing very low to the ground, and it looks like another branch may form a bit higher. At this rate, I’ll have a Redbud Tree probably in another 10 years. But I’m determined not to give up on it just yet.
(If you want to see what the stick looks like after a few months of “growing” — be sure to watch my “Fall Mulching and Quick Fire Hydrangeas” video on my YouTube Channel. There is indeed hope!)
Back to the Hellebores
So my idea was to plant the Hellebores underneath the Redbud, as the perfect spot. And when I planted them, one of the Robins who had made a nest in one of our Red Tip Photinia trees was carrying on. For some reason, not happy with me even though I was nowhere near their nest. I kept going, wanting to get my new Hellebores planted. And then? Splat! The Robin pooped on me as I was bent over digging a hole.
Some people say that if a bird poops on you, that’s good luck. Who in their right mind thinks this? However, on one of our first dates, my husband and I were walking around Boston and a seagull pooped on our hands as we were holding hands. I kid you not. And people told me then that it was good luck. Well, I guess it was because we are happily married!
Perhaps the good luck from the Robin poop will be that the Redbud Stick turns into an actual tree! And that I won’t have to wait 10 years for that to happen!
Back to the Hellebores again
Today I was cleaning up leaves, and it took me awhile to get into a rhythm. I was muttering to myself how the bark chips which we bought accidentally last Summer to mulch the bed seem to hold onto every single leaf. A rake doesn’t work nor does a leaf blower. I have to pick the leaves out by hand.
So eventually I got into the mental zone I love, where I cease to think about anything, and just go about gardening. Time passes. I love being outside and it feels good to literally see my progress as the bed gets cleaned up.
I was just about to stop at the halfway point, when I spied something underneath the Hellebore leaves. Could it be? It was! Actual flowers are forming!
I kept saying over and over to myself, “It worked! It worked! It really worked! I’m getting flowers on my Hellebores!”
So I kept going. I was determined to remove the leaves from the other two Hellebores and see what I could find. I was on a treasure hunt! And sure enough I found flowers forming on all of them!
It was getting dark, so I ran inside to grab my camera and these photos are the result.
Yes, the leaves aren’t looking 100 percent great, but I don’t care! I’m doing a happy dance — even though I’m sitting down having some tea right now — because I can grow Hellebores! Whoo-hoo!
Seriously, I was nervous about growing them. They seem so beautiful and delicate and I just wasn’t sure how they would do in my garden. But hooray for me because I’m looking forward to seeing beautiful flowers!
I don’t know how long it will be until they fully bloom, but I will enjoy watching them develop!
The magic of gardening
And this is what gardening is all about. A million things can go wrong — we all have garden mishaps that happen. But one day, you discover something beautiful that you weren’t expecting to see. And you’re instantly reminded why you love to garden. For these moments of wonder. For the joy it gives you and the peaceful feeling and the smile on your face even though your nose is running because it’s getting cold and dark already.
At least that’s how it was for me on this fine mid-January day!
I wish the same for you in your own gardens.