If you haven’t fallen for Hellebores yet I hope I can entice you. If you already are under the spell of these lovely moody little flowers, then you know.
A couple of years ago I visited Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm on his mountain top in Greenbrier Co., WV. It was such an amazing experience to see his huge mountainside garden of hellebores and I’ve been trying to get back ever since. (And I do mean huge—I think he says it’s 6 acres. Visit his website for pictures! www.sunfarm.com )
The year before my visit I had planted a new bed of hellebores from Barry, but they had not reached flowering size yet. Seeing his beautiful beds made me wish time would pass more quickly. Well, time has passed and this year they are flowering big time! The rain we had last summer seems to have reinvigorated most woody plants, trees and perennials at my farm and this spring has been incredible.
After seeing the way Barry planted I decided to cover the hill behind the house, which is a nice shady area, with hellebores. It’s some of the most inhospitable rocky soil imaginable, but about three years ago I layered on several inches of compost and let it get to work. This spring I planted a couple hundred hellebore plants, some from Sunshine Farm and some from Walters Gardens. While I would not describe the soil as beautiful or loamy, I could at least dig holes and added more compost as I went.
In a couple of years it will be a beautiful patch of flowering plants, ready to cut and used for lovely occasions.