Welcome to day two of rarities from Glen Pace’s collection in Birch Run, Mich. Yesterday we posted photos from Glen’s garden, where he grows lesser known varieties of standard favorites. Now, in spring, many of these early blooming plants are beginning to show up.
Tibetan hellebore (Helleborus thibetanus, Zones 5–8) is still a very rare hellebore. Though first discovered in the wild over 120 years ago, it had eluded plant hunters for years until it finally made its way into cultivation in the early 1990s. Most hellebores are native to rough, scrubby habitat and have thick, tough, evergreen leaves. This species grows in shaded, moist, woodland conditions and is a spring ephemeral, coming up early, blooming, and then going completely dormant in the summer.
Helleburus thibetanus blooms very early, with lovely pink flowers, and the new foliage has a lovely pink and silver hue.
Helleborus thibetanus flowers range from nearly white to pink. This is a particularly dark, richly colored rose form.
The Christmas rose (Helleborus niger, Zones 3–8) has beautiful pure white flowers, but this particular plant is a variegated form. The leaves are streaked and spotted with a subtle pattern of silvery pale green.
Hepatica × media (hybrid liverwort, Zones 5–8). Hepaticas are one of the great underappreciated early spring bloomers. Different species are native in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. They all want moist, rich, woodland soil and shade, and when happy they can put on incredible displays of early spring blooms. This hybrid form is vigorous and has masses of rich, blue flowers.
The Japanese hepatica, Hepatica japonica, has long been collected and selected in Asia. Sometimes fussy in the garden, this is a very nice pink selection.
Another selection of Hepatica japonica with dramatic bicolored pink flowers.
Double flowered forms are what REALLY get hepatica collectors excited! This Hepatica nobilis ‘Shirin’ is a slow grower and has taken years to settle in, but WOW, what a display of blooms!
Finally, a beautiful eastern U.S. native wildflower, the snow trillium (Trillium nivale, Zones 3–9). This beautiful little plant is native over a wide swath of the U.S. but is never very common. It is easy in the garden, however, and starts blooming nearly the same time as snowdrops each year.
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