Friday, March 2, 2012

Garden Shinanigans in Oregon Part 1: HELLEBORE HOOPLA

Discussing LinderaA recent trip to Oregon offered many wonderful moments and much needed down time with close friends and colleagues. My buddy, Matt Berberich, a fellow landscape professional up in Port Townsend, met up with me for a plant guy's weekend joined with one of this friends and former classmate at Longwood Gardens, Erik Petersen. Erik is an avid plant collector, specialty nurseryman and recently has taken a position with Oregon Garden, a botanic garden in Silverton, OR.

I sort of spearheaded the trip down to Oregon with the main objective that we pay Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne of Northwest Garden Nursery in Eugene a visit to see (and yes, buy) some of their fabulous Winter Jewels® Hellebores!!! I've blogged about their Hellebores each winter and a visit to their gardens about two years ago. I can't say enough about how incredible their plants are: the well designed and maintained their gardens and what wonderful people that they are.

Hellebore Shopping
 Hellebore Plate at Northwest Garden Nursery
Despite the most erratic and sometimes miserable weather we endured during the drive and even upon arriving at the garden, they seemed quite busy with a flurry of Hellebore enthusiast looking over their remarkable nursery stock turning each nodding flower up to observe and admire the exquisite colors, shapes. and forms of what really are the jewels of the winter garden landscape.

Matt checks out black and white hellebores        . 

Helleborus 'Apricot Blush' 1
Apricot Blush strain
Double Painted strain

Helleborus Rose Quartz 5
Rose Quartz strain

Helleborus 'Amethyst Gem' 2
Amethyst Gem
Helleborus 'Harlequinn Gem' 1
Harlequin Gem

Helleborus Jade Star 1
Jade Star strain

Helleborus Cherry Blossom reverse (2)
Cherry Blossom strain reverse
Helleborus Cherry Blossom group
Cherry Blossom strain

Helleborus 'Painted' 1
Painted strain
That was just a handful of the many wonderful selections they have. Marietta kindly let me through their breeding houses to check out the next generation of Winter Jewels® and boy was I in for a treat. TALK ABOUT BEING LIKE A KID IN A CANDY STORE!!

Helleborus 'Peppermint Ice' in stock house close up

Helleborus 'Golden Sunrise' in stock house 2

Helleborus stock house with double purple close up


Helleborus Rose Quartz 2

It was such a treat to be allowed to see these creations. AND EVEN MORE TEMPTING to select a few to take home!! So, Matt and I selected a few: he picked out some for a client, for his own garden and a special selection for his partner, Rebecca. I shopped for myself to have a few of these plants grace Landwave Gardens. This was our opportunity to meet with Ernie and Marietta and just share in the joy and love for plants and gardens. I'm always inspired and end up just feeling good when I visit!

Checking out

Next on this series, a tour through their amazing gardens!!!



  1. Wonderful photos Riz Very interesting post Thanks for sharing

  2. Looks like you had a blast...can't wait to see the next part!

    1. Just posted! Wish we could have crossed paths while we were down there, but we were kind of pressed for time. =(

  3. I think the O'Byrne's have single [perhaps double] handedly thrust this beguiling genus back into the spotlight that they so deserve. I think I have four of the Winter Jewel cultivars at the present, but am always on the lookout for more. That trip would definitely have been hortgasm worthy indeed. Looking forward to your next instalment!

    1. I totally agree, Barry! As much attention as their plants have gotten, I'm so thankful for the fact that they're also wonderful people and so generous!

      HORTGASM!!! Hhhahahaah. Love it! So now, I'm the proud owner of the following:

      Apricot Blush (a form of it pictured above)
      Harlequin Gem x 2 (Pictured)
      Peppermint Ice (a form of it pictured above)
      Black Diamond (pictured)
      Double Painted (pictured)
      Cherry Blossom (my favorite of the single strains)

      There's quite a few more, of course, but I can't afford to break the bank and, of course, there's always next year!


  4. I need to go here with you next time you go here. I would have gone crazy. Need more helleborre! What is the variety name on the dark black helleborre? I NEED IT!!! Not want, I must have it!

    1. I love to see you CRAZY!!! hahahah.

      That black one is 'Black Diamond' and it is simply exquisite. I posted on Facebook about this strain; they're all equally dark and exquisite!

      You shall have your very own!

  5. Dear Lord, those hellebores are breathtaking, all of them. Do I even dare ask how much one of those doubles would set me back?

    1. Let's see if I remember correctly. The doubles in 1 gallon were like $15-20, I think, and for 2 gallon it was $25 or $30. Then Marietta brought out large 3+ gallon size specimens from their breeding house that were between $30-$40 dollars for a mature clump!!

      Pretty good deals direct from the breeders for such exceptional plants!


  6. I am totally with Barry, hortgasm worthy to unspeakable limits!LOL
    I have collected 14 different cultivars and I am so addicted it is a good thing I will never be at such an event because I swear I would drop dead happy there amongst all these beauties .. yet on the other hand ? I pine away at not being able to have a chance to see so many awesome hellebore all at the same time.
    Wonderful pictures .. so I want to thank you for that !
    Joy : )

    1. Hhahhaah. That would make for a great story for this blog on on the evening news about someone passing out at a specialty nursery over these plants called HELLEBORES!! hahah

      Thanks for checking out my blog and photos!


  7. Replies
    1. Oh, me too, Bridget!! We have a nice clone of it they donated for UWBG that's blooming now! I want to see if it seeded itself! hahaha

  8. Those are incredible. I've never thought of plant breeders as artists before, but looking at those pictures I think Ernie & Marietta clearly fall into that category.

    1. Hey Justin, how have you been?!

      Dude, if you were to have walked through their breeding houses, OMG, each plant and flower is a work of art that improves with each generation. It's spectacular!

      Hope all is well,


  9. Hi Riz...Just found your blog and it's lots of fun poking around to see where you've been! I am heading out to OR and WA in a few weeks to attend the HPCO April 7 & 8 and hope to see the O'Byrnes there as well as loads of other plant geeks! I'm also a part of the American Primrose Society which is holding its national show there as well at the same time. Then it's up to WA for a week of nursery & garden visits!! Any suggestions would be well appreciated. I work for a small specialty nursery here in VT and we carry loads of Hellebores which I have been slowly adding to my own collection! Love your photos!!! Thanks!