Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Although I mentioned the hellebores in another post they need their own separate mention.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet the incomparable Barry Glick of Sunshine Farms in West Virginia and my original hellebores are seedlings from his breeding program. They have now matured and are absolutely fantastic. Some are very near black and are especially amazing.
Last year I added many new plants from Walters Gardens and these plants, although new, are producing a few flowers which are very impressive.
Below is a collection of this year’s hellebore pictures
There is a lot of advice about how to pick and use hellebores. I have found that dipping the flowers into Quick Dip immediately upon picking, then placing them into a bucket of hot water is very effective. (I keep Quick Dip with me in the field for picking many flowers and it is the floral industry secret to cutting lilacs and hydrangeas.) I allow the water to cool to room temperature then put the bucket of flowers into the cooler. If you have room in your refrigerator this is an important step that really helps to ensure the flowers will maintain hydration. Just be sure to remove all fruits and vegetables while storing flowers in a refrigerator--fruits put out a gas that kills flowers. Hellebores last for up to a week when picked and conditioned in this way. I use flowers a little less mature than some recommend, but I cut out the centers. This prevents the stamens and seed pods from dropping out of your arrangement. Very immature flowers will droop no matter how they are treated and should be left on the plant to mature. If you are willing to experiment you may develop your own method, but this has worked well for us. A close look at the pictures above will show that most are uncut hellebores. And the cut hellebores do not have the centers removed--these are hellebores that were not used for customers. All of those little anthers fall quite quickly after cutting and if I were going to use these in arrangements I would try to remove everything in the center, including immature seed pods and stamens. When the seed pods puff up I leave them intact.
Below is a picture of hellebores prepared for cut flower use.