Green Flowered Hellebores

helleborus-corsicus.jpgThe herbaceous perennial helleborus is represented by 20 or so species.  It is a member of the ranunculus family.  This incredible picture of a flower of Helleborus Corsicus, from, tells the tale.  Hellebore flowers are comprised of 5 sepals, which persist in fruit.  The fact that hellebores emerge from the ground and bloom very early in our gardening year is plenty enough reason to grow them.  But the fact that the 5 sepals hang on for months-during and after the time that the flower sets seed-is even more compelling. The lustrous green foliage grows vigorously, and persists in my garden throughout the winter.  My plants are virtually care free.  They get sun, adequate moisture, and are protected from winter winds by an old stand of dwarf spruce-picea mucrunulatum.  I have never divided them, nor do I feed them.  I do spend plenty of time looking at them-they are that good looking.

helleborus argutifoliusI had a mind to grow helleborus argutifolius, as I am very fond of green flowers.  This species grows quite tall, and features shiny and spiny leaves.  I had no idea at the time that hellebores are divided into 2 groups-those that bloom on the leaf stalks like helleborus argutifolius, and those whose leafless flower stalks emerge from the ground in the spring.  I was never successful with this hellebore-the Michigan winters invariably rotted the buds before they could open in the spring.  I finally ripped them all out, in favor of those hellebores whose flowers were kept safely below ground until the freezing winter weather had passed.

helleborus-viridis.jpgHelleborus viridis is fairly uncommon in the garden.  It is usually the darkest green, and the shortest of the green hellebores.  You can find excellent photographs and descriptions via Graham Rice.


Helleborus orientalis has in recent years been the subject of considerable hybridization.  You can find beautiful green hellebores for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Garden, Pine Knot Farms, Plant Delights Nursery, Fraser’s Thimble Farms and Arrowhead Alpines.  If you love green flowers, and perennial plants that are beautiful the entire season long, try some green hellebores.  To follow is a collection of pictures that will give an idea of wide a range of green flowering cultivars are available.




early-and-late-green-hellebore-flowers.jpgThis picture from my own garden shows the flower in full bloom on the left, and the sepals still intact on a flower from the same plant on the right.

double-green-hellebore-flowers.jpgMany of  these pictures come from – an excellent reference, if you are looking for more information.

pale-green-helleborus-orientalis.jpgThis photo is from  My hellebores at home are just beginning to throw their flower stalks.  The next month will be such fun-watching them develop.

green-hellebore-flower.jpgThese flowers are incredibly beautiful.  Looking fore a plant that is worth all of your love and then some?  Try a hellebore.



I Can Be Fancy


If I had to,  I could live on artichokes,  good bread and butter (with enough butter for the artichokes), and sandwiches from ham, asparagus, and hard boiled eggs.  Peanut butter would be good, too-and liverwurst.  In matters of living, I like the slightly mildewed taste of water from the hose, an occasional whopper and fries from a certain east side location that serves them fresh,  hot, and with a hello, and how are you, my garden,  and a clean house after a long dirty day-not too fancy.
But I can be very particular about the plants I love.  My hellebores are holding court right now-HOW I love them.  I am especially wild for the big species, helleborus argutifolius.  Then helleborus corsicus.  Then Helleborus lividus-you may get from this that I have a big love for green flowers. Then the white and green versions of Helleborus orientalis-I could go on.  Being a zone 5-6, some hellebores are dicey;  I make the time to baby them.  On my small city lot and one half,  I give space to the striking argutifolius, paired with beech ferns.  What a happy combination-under my Princeton Gold maples.  Every day, at the end of the day, I look at this combination over a cocktail, and celebrate my good life. My good life is my good garden-I am sure you know this about me by now.

befancy1Its important to figure out what you really love, and what you can do without.  This is expressing your voice. Its also the engine that powers your design.  Add hellebores to your dictionary if they enchant you-if they don’t, what would go in your dictionary?
Its the season for hellebores-give a look see.