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! 🙂

Surprise Hellebore

I planted out a bunch of neglected hellebore seedlings early last fall and hoped they would have time to root in before winter really set in.  Apparently they did.  This double red seedling from Elizabethtown seed really took off and even put out a bloom.double red hellebore

The rest of the seedlings are much smaller and may consider a flower by next year, this one really surprised me.  Needless to say I’m pleased as punch since this one is my first seed grown double…. so far….

My biggest issue with late plantings such as these is frost heave, when freezing and thawing pushes the plants up out of the soil and kills them through exposure, but that’s usually the only problem for these tough growers.  I’ve found a nice mulch of chopped leaves gives them enough insulation to protect them throughout the winter, even in this exposed spot.  Then the mulch just stays there as they start to grow.  Good drainage in the raised beds is also a plus.

They’re in the middle of the vegetable garden, which might be the next problem.  It’s full, baking sun which they seem to like unless they dry out too often too severely.  Hopefully when I pass by each day I’ll be smart enough to keep an eye on watering needs.

Now I just need to find a new spot for the tomatoes.