Hyacinths and Hellebores

I like hyacinths.  They’re so fat and fragrant I can’t help but not like them, and even though I don’t think I use them well in the garden they will always get a spot here.  -Even if they’re all girly pink and white like some Easter wedding bouquet 🙂

dutch hyacinths

Pink and white dutch hyacinths. I like them, but not so much with the bright blue of the scilla siberica “spring beauty”.  Also the pastel combo reminds me too much of the bathroom we still need to remodel.

The darker blue and purple shades are something I’ve been trying to add more of around the garden.  I think they complement the daffodils and tulips well and I’m glad to see that several are making offsets and beginning to clump up.  Dividing them would save me a few bulb dollars that could be spent on other goodies!

miss saigon hyacinth

“Miss Saigon” hyacinth (maybe?) with a mix of other spring bulbs.  Notice the freeze damage on the tulips, they didn’t enjoy last week’s 20F nighttime lows.

The large, heavy blooms of hyacinths can look a bit awkward in the garden and tend to flop, so I’m really loving the looser multi-flowering types.  I think this is hyacinth “Anastacia”.  Each bulb of this type sends up several smaller bloom stalks rather than one large congested head, and the dark purple flower stems only add to the effect.  Too bad the only other colors I can find these in is pink and white…

hyacinth anastacia

If you remember, we had a hard freeze last week and although most things made it through just fine, there has been some damage to tulip foliage, hyacinth blooms (a few randomly turned to mush), and hellebore stalks.  Hellebores are trying to put on a show now, but this garden is pretty wide open, and hellebores take a beating.

freeze damage on hellebores

Hellebores with some freeze damage to the blooms, but still putting on a show!

Between last summer’s drought, last winter’s freezes, and late spring cold snaps it’s a wonder that I get any blooms.  Maybe pity will be the motivation I need to reward these clumps with some better prepared soil and a less weedy location.  It’s a shame these and some other cool anemone flowered plants are forced to suffer like this!

pink spotted anemone hellebore

Pink anemone flowered hellebore with spotting, grown from Elizabethtown seed sown around 2008ish.

I hate having my hands in pictures, but to get the full effect you really have to take a look inside these blooms.  Maybe someday I’ll collect a dishful and float them in water, but until then you’re stuck with the hand shots.

white anemone flowered hellebore

A little beat up by the cold, but still a nice white anemone, -also from Elizabethtown hellebore seed.

These were also raised from Elizabethtown seed, and now that Elizabethtown has closed down retail seed sales, I’m at a loss for a new seed source.  I could go with tissue cultured hybrids or buy seedlings of some of the better strains, but I like the adventure of raising from seed, even if it takes a couple years for your first bloom…. plus it’s so much more affordable (unless you’re eyeing Ashwood seed from England!)

dark red double helleboe

A nice red double and some yellow picotee seedlings blooming for the first time. They also took a beating from the cold.

I don’t know if this last one counts as anemone flowered, but the neatly arranged petaloids(?) or nectaries(?) inside the bloom give a similar effect.  The plant photographed well and the color looks more apricot than it really is, in person the flower leans more towards interesting than towards beautiful.

blooming hellebore

Hellebore blooms padded with extra petaloids, these plants are sheltered by the house.

Sorry about the poor picture quality, the day was a little dull for my point and shoot skills to get good pictures, but I wanted to get a few in there before I get lost in the world of daffodils and tulips!  The early ones are just starting now and between trying to get things transplanted and trying to enjoy every new flower it’s hectic.  Viva la Spring! 🙂

17 comments on “Hyacinths and Hellebores

  1. Christina says:

    I agree with you about the larger hyacinths (I think it is Miss Saigon btw) but mine looked bettter the second year when they were a little less fat! I very much like the dark stemmed Anastacia, does it have the same perfume?

    • bittster says:

      I have to check up on the fragrance, it might not be as strong as that of the others…. In fact I have to check all if them, I was informed yesterday that they need to be moved since “every time I go out the door the smell makes my head swell up”.
      I also like them more the second year onwards.

  2. Chloris says:

    Christina is right Hyacinths are a lot more delicate after a few years in the garden and they lose their obesity. I love your blue one, Anastacia.
    Your Hellebores are lovely and do you great credit, having grown them from seed. Things are starting to happen in your garden now. At this rate you will be catching up with us soon.

    • bittster says:

      I’m so glad things are moving along in the garden now… but they’re going so fast! I hate to think it will be a whole year before I can see a new batch of snowdrops and crocus!
      But the tulips and daffodils sure do ease the pain 🙂

  3. Pauline says:

    Well done for growing your Hellebores from seed, I don’t think I would have the patience, how many years is it before they flower? I too find that Hyacinths are much better the second year after planting out, they are far more natural. Hope your weather warms up for you and stops stressing your flowers!

    • bittster says:

      If good care is taken, some of the hellebores will bloom the second year after sprouting. These seed were from an Australian source so sprouted as soon as they were planted…. Normally they need a warm period and then cold.
      I don’t know if my success says anything for patience! Maybe more neglect, since I plant them and am surprised a few years later when something blooms

  4. Have you ever checked out the hyacinth selection at Old House Gardens? They are pricey as hyacinths go, but since hyacinths thrive for you it may be a worthwhile investment. And they certainly carry non-run-of-the-mill kinds.

    • bittster says:

      I just checked and yes, you’re right, they are special. I wouldn’t mind a few of the doubles…. odd that for most flowers the modern plants are double, for hyacinths it’s the old ones that are over the top!

  5. Cathy says:

    I really like the dark purple hyacinths Miss Saigon – I bet they all smell lovely! The last Hellebore really is pretty. How patient of you to grow them from seed.

    • bittster says:

      When growing hellebores from seed it helps to have a few potfuls coming along each year.
      The first time bloomers are always the most fun, and I should have a couple new ones every spring for at least the next three years!

  6. Frank, your garden is alive and kicking this spring. I have the typical hyacinths finally in bloom, but the hellebores are still tightly budded. That is a flower way behind for the season.

  7. Annette says:

    Anastacia is a beauty – I have made a note and hope to get it somewhere. Lovely hellebores too, I especially like the dark red one as it looks so baroque and darkly elegant. Wonder whether mine will seed about? Hope the weather is behaving from now on. At least you don’t seem to have nasty squirrels like poor Donna! Have a great weekend, Frank 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Annette, I’m sure your hellebores will sow about eventually. The red is a favorite of mine too, it doesn’t show up well in the garden but upon closer inspection you get your reward.
      I think we have too many hawks here to have troublemaking squirrels…. They have to keep on their toes to watch out for other things rather than a bulb planting gardener!

  8. Jean says:

    I share your love of hyacinths. Who can resist all that heady fragrance on a spring day?

  9. Amy Olmsted says:

    Hey Frank…..Your bulbs are looking fine and I love that red stemmed Hyacinth! I’m still waiting on my first Hellebore bloom from seed sown a couple years ago. The last one in your photos is really special! As for a seed source try Barnhaven Primroses, they’re in France and have gotten into breeding Hellebores. Here’s the link…… http://www.barnhaven.com/hellebores/hellebore-seeds
    The owners are friends and are really great folks.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks for the link Amy, I had no idea Barnhaven was dabbling in hellebores, if they’re anywhere near as successful with breeding hellebores as they are with primroses then it will be hard to resist trying out just a few…. this isn’t some trick to just get me to want more primroses, is it? They have such an amazing selection.

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