Where in hell are my hellebores?
Hellebores have always been the saving grace of the February garden for me.
You have to love a flower with the spunk to bloom in defiance of winter.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a story on hellebores and their biggest champion, David Culp, after it had been awarded a long overdue Plant of the Year in 2005 by the Perennial Plant Association.
As always happens when I write a garden story for The Baltimore Sun, I spend money on my topic, and I bought hellebores.
Eight, to be exact. And I dotted my garden with them so that no corner would be unrelieved by their dark leaves and delicate cup-like flowers.
Hellebores are native to Asia and eastern Europe. They were documented in literature over a thousand years before the time of Christ.
But modern hybrids bloom in a spectrum of colors, from the traditional white and creamy pale green and yellow, to newer red, violet and blue hues. There is even a near-black hybrid and I bought one of those, too.
But my hellebores are buried under about four feet of Mid-Atlantic snow and ice right now, and I worry that they may be crushed by the weight of it all.
They call the hellebore the "Lenten Rose," because that is the time of year in which it blooms. But they keep blooming until June in my garden, so there is some hope that I might see them.
The hellebore has one more charmingly resilient quality. The flowers face the ground and so you have to lift them up to see their faces. Why?
So the blooms are not broken by falling snow.
"The hellebore is queen of the winter garden," said Culp. "And theperfect cure for cabin fever."
Photo credit: file art