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Hellebore Hunt Hike

What’s a gardener to do during the dreary days of winter? Enjoy the blooms of hellebores, of course! This hardy, long-lived perennial, also known as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose, will bring color to a perennial bed for 6 weeks in winter and early spring when little else is blooming. The nodding, cup-shaped flowers come in shades of white, pink, and rose-purple, and are held on stems that rise above the evergreen foliage.  Hellobore orientalis can be found throughout the MBG grounds, so we encourage you to take a hike this season to see them in bloom. Places to look for them  include The Sensory Garden, the Asian Garden, the dry creek bed on Daffodil Hill, several of the beds surrounding the Container Garden and the Hosta Trail.

Hellebores grow to 12-24 inches tall, and prefer a rich, well-drained soil in part to full shade. Plants will mature into large clumps that add color and interest to a shade garden, and welcome color in the cold months. All parts of the plant are poisonous, so they are not bothered by garden pests, and they have no serious insect or disease issues. If cold winter winds damage some of the foliage, simply cut the tattered stems back to the ground, and fresh foliage will replace them.

Hellebores have been hybridized extensively for a wide range of flower color and petal count. Some notable varieties include ‘Snowbells’ (bright white flowers), ‘True Love’ (large, double, maroon-red), ‘Confetti Cake’ (white with burgundy speckles), and ‘Sandy Shores’ (rosy apricot with a purple center). Pick your favorites and plant them near a window, walkway, or patio where the early blooms can be fully enjoyed. You’ll appreciate the splash of color when the rest of your garden is still sleeping through the winter.   -

By Jill Maybry, Staff Horticulturist

Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at 1:42 PM


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