Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Lenten Rose Parade has begun!

WOWEEEEE!! Check out this selection of Helleborus x hybridus hybrids available these days. It's really amazing how far they've come in just a few years. Leading the way are the stupendous hybrids of Ernie and Marietta O'byrne of Northwest Garden Nursery. Their Winter Jewels Series are just exquisite with exceptional color and form.

I've raved about their hellebores before and, to be honest, I really can't get enough of them; I just can't afford to buy them for myself retail, but I REALLY CAN'T GET ENOUGH of seeing them on the nursery tables at Wells Medina Nursery and observing the subtle details of the dazzling array they offer. I still remember when the deep purples and blacks were all the rage, a true clean yellow was so illusive, and a messy double form commanded your attention and an additional zero at the end of each check issued.

Since 1992, the O'byrnes have sought out the best forms from the best and most meticulous breeders around the world to generate a genetic pool that yielded the most promising hybrids.

So, check this out this list of their color groups with an example of each. Keep in mind that these are seed strains so there will be variations, but each cross is very controlled so color can pretty much be guaranteed:

Yellow Apricot soft purple streaksApricot Blush
Black Slate PurpleBlack Diamond

Pink Purple AnemoneCherry Blossom

Clear Yellow StrainGolden Sunrise

Jade StarPhoto from NW Garden Nursery website.

Mahogany SpottedPainted

OMG, and then there are the doubles!!! I've always been a fan of double flowered plants, but some people think they're messy mutants that don't have a place in the garden, but I just tell them to shut up and marvel at these magical specimens

Soft Yellow Pink Picotee doubleAmber Gem

Double Deep Purple spottedBerry Swirl

Cotton Candy Photo from NW Garden Nursery website.

Double Painted Photo from NW Garden Nursery website.

Double light yellowGolden Lotus

Harlequin Gem Photo from NW Garden Nursery website.

Double Green Double spottedJade Tiger

Double Deep Purple 2Onyx Odyssey

Intense Pink PicoteePeppermint Ice

Sparkling Diamond Photo from NW Garden Nursery website.

As gorgeous as all these are, I've been quite critical of many of these hybrids and one trait I sort of dislike about Hellebores is the fact that most of them FACE DOWN! I'm having to lift every single flower to observe and admire them. I've been wanting people to try them as permanent hanging basket plants as shown here:


While some hybrids are getting closer to being more outfacing, I will be most excited when we have an upfacing hybrid! But for now we must kneel, lift and admire Helleborus OR admire the reverses of the sepals with markings that are quite interesting.

Soft Yellow pink blush undersides Underside observation




  1. My favorite was the Peppermint Ice. Talk about "star power"!

  2. Thanks for the info about these folks and some awesome new introductions. Barry Glick at Sunshine Gardens is doing some outstanding work with hellebores, too.

  3. I really like your hanging basket idea. That looks stunning.

  4. Thanks! I really like Cherry Blossom and Peppermint Ice.

  5. Stunning... I have a soft spot for the bicoloured green ones, and Berry Swirl looks fantastic!

  6. Aren't they great!

    They are the best hellebores I've seen and I have to admit that I'm addicted to them!

    Although... you could have done a better job taking a picture of the woman in the background of the last photo. If I'd known my picture would be posted, I would have done my makeup and put in my contact lenses... :)

  7. @Seattle Puppy, my apologies! I could have cropped you out of the pic. But "people" photos make certain compositions more real! hehe.
    I think there might be another one I had that had you that I can send. Actually, it might be on my Flickr page.
    look for the set with Hellebores.

    How many plants has your addiction resulted in? =)