Garden Diary - March 2009

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Saturday, 28 March 2009
Hellebore Weekend at Linden Hill

I learned, after last month's trip, that regardless of what my GPS urges me to do I cannot follow Geigle Hill Road to Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, Pennsylvania. A bridge is out, something of which the satellite system is clearly unaware. After an irritated muttering of "recalculating" by the navigation system I was detoured down a dirt road. That, I can do at home. This time I chose a different roue, all on my own. The impetus for the admittedly modest journey is Hellebore Frestival, another of Jerry Fritz' Plant Event Weekends at Linden Hill Gardens. Gray day, damp and chilly. No matter. I'm going to see hellebores, perhaps my very favorite of the early Spring perennials.

A casual combination of hellebores, with forget-me-nots and heuchera.
True, they're all in pots but this is a good way to profile combination
before planting in the garden. They'd rather not keep moving about.

A large bench filled with pots and pots and more pots of hellebores.
Most are selected forms of Lenten rose, Helleborus × orientalis,
and also some Christmas rose, Helleborus niger. Healthy, well grown plants.

A Lenten rose with flowers the rich color of a glass of merlot.

Another one with sweet, speckled / freckled pink flowers.

And a double white. I know double flowered hellebores are all the rage.
Myself, they look rather fancy and florid, especially at this time of year.
The simplicity of the traditional flower form is more appealing to me.

Hellebores are really easy-care plants. Just a soupçon of Spring cleanup
and established plants are preapred to come on the garden stage and perform.
And Jerry was ready to get down and dirty in the garden with a demonstration/

Here's a hellebore. New leaves emerging and flower buds swelling.
The appeal is diminished with the tatty old brown leaves from last year.

A pair of hand pruners and you're ready to tidy things up.
I clip in Spring, as does Jerry. Old leaves provide winter protection.
They stay green until the worst weather arrives at winter's end.

It takes just a few minutes, and the fresh new leaves and
ready-to-bloom flower buds are tidied up and much improved.

Another attractive pairing, of deep plum colored hellebores
and sunny yellow 'Tête à Tête' daffodils. A combination
I might just replicate here at BelleWood Gardens.

The next Plant Event Weekend at Linden Hill Gardens
is Early Risers on April 18th & 19th. You're invited
to come and discover a bounty of spring bloomers
to brighten your early borders. I'll be there.

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