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Helleborus (Christmas Rose/Lenten Rose)
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Including Helleborus foetidus, Helleborus hybridus, Helleborus niger, and Helleborus nigersmithii

Helleborus

Helleborus

Christmas Rose/Lenten Rose

Stories about this genus are countless. In medieval times, it was considered a weapon against witches, madness and evil spirits. Hellebores deserve a place in every garden, not only because of their supposed power, but because they bloom for a long time, early in winter, when the weather is cool and most other flowers are still dormant.

They like moist, loamy soil with lime and leaf mold. We like them as ground covers for deciduous shrubs, conifers, or broad-leafed evergreens, and when possible plant them in an elevated spot to admire their nodding flowers.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Helleborus argutifolius  full sun  partial shade
Corsican Hellebore
Helleborus argutifolius

This native of Corsica and Sardinia is one of the largest Hellebores, with big racemes of light green, cup-shaped flowers nodding well above gray-green foliage. The sturdy leaves of this bushy, subshrublike plant have veins of ivory and small teeth that turn red with age. Try it as a foil for Omphalodes ‘Cherry Ingram’ and Pulmonarias.

Blooms February–April.

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Helleborus argutifolius (P-0087)
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Helleborus x ballardiae ‘HGC Pink Frost’  full sun  partial shade  shade lover
Helleborus x ballardiae HGC Pink Frost

An exciting new cultivar from The Helleborus Gold Collection, hybridized by German plantsman, Josef Heuger, ‘Pink Frost’ is esteemed for its captivating floriferous display and its robust versatile bearing. A multicolored effect is created as a legion of burgundy buds unfurl antique-toned pink petals, which encompass blonde clustered stamens, and eventually mature to a deeper rosy red.

Forging a silver dappled evergreen clump of thick, small-toothed, red-petioled leaves, this Helleborus lividus and Helleborus niger progeny is tailor-made for container culture and obliges a wide range of light conditions including deep shade, full sun and everything in between. (USPPP)

Blooms January – March.

Size: 9"–15" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘HGC Pink Frost’ (P-1618)
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Helleborus foetidus ‘Wester Flisk’  full sun  partial shade  shade lover
Helleborus foetidus Wester Flisk

From the banks of Scotland’s Tay River, ‘Wester Flisk’s fantastic foliar effect and extraordinary coloration will leave you spellbound. Large finely dissected palmate leaves with narrow jagged-edged finger-like leaflets interlace in a singular geometric fashion, creating a dark green dome that casts rich maroon shades from fall to spring. Set off by red stems and stalks, the airy chartreuse clusters of perfectly shaped bell flowers are rimmed in red. This exceptional selection maintains its composure when exposed to sun or shade, rabbits and deer, and dry, moist or clay soil.

Blooms February–April.

Size: 18"–2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

AVAILABLE LATE SEPTEMBER 2015


Helleborus foetidus ‘Wester Flisk’ (P-0276)
Each $10.00
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Helleborus x hybridus  full sun  partial shade
Helleborus hybridus

Perhaps one of the finest low growing, early flowering plants, this Helleborus is easy to grow, requiring only shade and some moisture. The nodding flowers, which range in color from blush white to plum, are usually spotted on the inside with crimson and maroon. Lustrous and dark green, the 12 in. wide evergreen leaves are divided into seven to nine segments.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 18" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.


Helleborus x hybridus (P-0243)
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Helleborus x hybridus ‘Blue Metallic Lady’  full sun  partial shade

Deemed some of the finest low growing, early flowering plants, the hybridus Hellebores are easy to grow, requiring only shade and some moisture, and those in the “Lady” series, innovated by Gisela Schmiemann, are renown for their beauty. ‘Blue Metallic Lady’s darkly alluring, cupped and upfacing flowers boast lavish midnight purplish blue hues with merlot and pewter overtones and a bright cluster of champaign-colored stamens. Lustrous and dark green, the broad evergreen leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments.

Blooms February–March.

Size: 15"–18" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

AVAILABLE LATE SEPTEMBER 2015

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Blue Metallic Lady’ (P-1617)
Each $11.00
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Helleborus x hybridus ‘Mardi Gras Slate Shades’  full sun  partial shade

One of the prized outcomes from Charles Price’s complex breeding programs, this new Hellebore offers darkly alluring, cupped and upfacing flowers, which boast charcoal hues suffused with blue, plum and wine tones and sprightly champaign-colored stamens. Broad dark green leaves are divided into 7 to 9 segments and retain their lustrous finish throughout the year.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 15"–18" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Mardi Gras Slate Shades’ (P-1734)
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Helleborus x hybridus ‘Picotee Lady’  full sun  partial shade

Another stellar Hellebore from the highly touted Lady series, ‘Picotee Lady’ affords ample feminine appeal with uniquely etched fanciful blooms. The cup-shaped greenish white flowers flaunt rosy wine rims, pink or red veins, darker pink flipsides and a starburst of flaxen stamens. Thick lightly toothed dark green leaves craft a glistening dark green foundation that can be easily grown and relished nearly all year, especially when nestled next to Pulmonaria ‘Dora Bielefeld’.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 14"–18" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Picotee Lady’ (P-1805)
Each $11.00
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Helleborus x hybridus ‘White Lady Spotted’  full sun  partial shade
Helleborus hybridus White Lady Spotted

This elegant empress will take command of your winter garden. Warmed by a maroon freckled center and distinctively showcased against a dark green, thick-leafed evergreen base, each beautiful rounded white blossom appears to be sculpted from snow. Her glorious bearing is the result of Germany’s Gisela Schmiemann’s outstanding Hellebore breeding program.

Blooms January–April.

Size: 14"–18" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

AVAILABLE LATE SEPTEMBER 2015

Helleborus x hybridus ‘White Lady Spotted’ (P-1340)
Each $11.00
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Helleborus ‘Midnight Ruffles’  full sun  partial shade
Helleborus  Midnight Ruffles

Flaunting three times the petals of most Hellebore blossoms, large lusty black double flowers, enhanced by buttery yellow stamens, distinguish this marvelous new Chris Hansen introduction. Borne on strong stems, the swank outfacing blooms, which span over 3 in., maintain their splendor for twice as long as their single flowering counterparts and unleash tantalizing drama into any garden setting. Rare, highly coveted, and deer-proof, ‘Midnight Ruffles’ also furnishes glossy good-looking evergreen foliage for your year-round enjoyment.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 18"–22" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.


Helleborus ‘Midnight Ruffles’ (P-1760)
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Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’  full sun  partial shade

Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio.

Blooms November–January

Size: 12" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’ (P-1806)
Each $11.75
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Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’  full sun  partial shade
Helleborus nigersmithii Ivory Prince

Also known as Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’.

With dark dusky pink buds and outward facing, easy-to-view ivory-petaled blooms, this vigorous Lenten Rose is aptly named. Innovated by the truly gifted English breeder David Tristram, and vegetatively propagated, ‘Ivory Prince’s exquisite flowers reveal a subtle infusion of colors, from soft green and antique rose on the inside to earthy plum hues on the exterior. Sturdy wine-tinted stems and princely, deep green leatherlike foliage marked by light prominent veining and toothed margins maintain a pleasing evergreen presence all year long.(PPAF)

Blooms March–April.

Size: 12" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’ (P-1325)
Each $13.00
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Helleborus ‘Red Racer’  full sun  partial shade

After 15 years of meticulous record keeping and careful hand crossing by American breeder, Chris Hansen, this vigorous richly colored Hellebore is the first selection to be released from the Winter Thriller series. Enormous 3 ½ in. wide, long lasting mahogany red flowers are perfectly rounded, as sumptuous as velvet and copiously produced, exceeding some 70 per plant. Poised on sturdy pencil thick stems, the glamorous outfacing blooms showcase bright platinum-colored stamens, and when mature, transmute unusual green hues well above the evergreen bed of thick, dark lustrous leaves.

Blooms January–March.

Size: 18"–22" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Helleborus ‘Red Racer’ (P-1761)
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Helleborus ‘Sunshine Ruffles’  full sun  partial shade  new plant
Helleborus  Sunshine Ruffles

Beaming large sunny yellow double flowers with magenta-laced margins, this vigorous Chris Hansen cultivar introduces a new floral color to his Winter Thriller Hellebore series. Perky bright green nectaries embellish the aptly named cheerful blooms, which can number up to 50 or more, atop strong stems and a shiny Yew green bushy base of winning evergreen foliage. The ruffled flowers make a fulgent counterpoint to Pulmonaria ‘Bertram Anderson’s silver-dappled leaves and blue blossoms in shady garden niches.

Blooms January-March

Size: 18"–22" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.


Helleborus ‘Sunshine Ruffles’ (P-1843)
Each $11.75
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Straight from the Border: Waterwise Tips

Has the drought got you down? Are you thinking about ripping out your lawn or other water thirsty plants? Don't worry! Digging Dog Nursery is recognized by Dave's Garden as one of the top five mail order nurseries for our wide selection of drought tolerant plants. We carry a fabulous variety of Cistus, Euphorbias, Thymes, Sun Roses,  Sedums, Kniphofias, Origanums, Eryngiums, Lavender, and hard to find, lesser known grasses such as Poa cita, Pennisetum, and Schizachryiums.

Consider planting waterwise groundcovers between your existing plants, or positioning plants close together to reduce the amount of exposed soil. This in turn will reduce evaporation. Heavy mulching with organic matter will also conserve and retain moisture. Compost, well rotted manure or humus from a local dairy or vineyard can benefit your garden in several ways: weed suppression, water conservation and fantastic fertilization!

Try to be conscious with your water use, remember that selecting a drought tolerant plant is only the first step. Once it is established, deep and frequent waterings help train the roots to grow down rather than out, preventing crown rot and helping your plant become much more drought tolerant in the long run. If the drought becomes very severe in your area, a hard and aggressive pruning combined with a heavy mulch can work wonders in preserving your precious perennials!

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This weeks favorite plant is Sorbaria sorbifolia. This back of the border, cold hardy shrub never fails to steal the show with it's cream colored fluffy flowers

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