Garden Photo of the Day

Hurray for Hellebores!

Celebrating one of the first flowers of spring

Today we’re enjoying some hellebore photos from Nancy Mellen’s Massachusetts gardens.

Attached are pictures of some of the hellebores that are now in bloom in my gardens, which are just south of Boston. All but the white one were donated by Burpee to five of Garden Design School’s 2011 graduates, of which I was one, to be used in the garden we created for the Boston Flower and Garden Show 2012. These hellebores are from the Heronswood Songbird series: Painted Bunting, Winter Wren, Starling, and Phoenix.

A lovely pink hellebore. Hellebores (Helleborus × hybridus, Zones 4–9) are nearly all grown from seed, so each one is a little different. When possible, shop for them in person when they are in bloom so you can pick out the forms and colors that appeal to you the most.

A beautiful slate-green hellebore. These plants are loved for their toughness, deer resistance, and unusual colors, including green tones in the blooms. The amount of green in the flower usually increases as the flower ages, so be sure to compare newly opened and older blooms to get a sense of what a plant will look like throughout the bloom cycle.

Double hellebores are always popular, and I love the pattern of darker spots on these petals.

Most white hellebores are tinged with green, which makes them no less beautiful. If you want a really pure white flower, look for the species Helleborus niger (Chrismas rose, Zones 3–8), which blooms very early and has pure white blossoms.

In addition to great flowers, many hellebores have beautiful leaves as well. Often the varieties with the very darkest flowers also have leaves that emerge a wonderful dark purple color. Usually the leaves fade to green later in the season.

One complaint with hellebores is that the flowers hang down. But it is always fun to get down and look up at the flowers to see the beautiful patterns. If you will always look down on your hellebores from above, be sure to shop for them based on what the backs of the flowers look like. Many varieties give a great, colorful show, even though the flowers do hang down.


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 04/16/2019

    I love hellebores and yours are stunning! Thanks for sharing.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/16/2019

    Love hellebores too. Pics are great.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/16/2019

    Hellebores are such a blessing in late winter and early spring. Seeing their fat buds and opening flowers really lifts a gardener's spirit. Yours are beautiful, Nancy and it's hard to pick a favorite.

  4. cheryl_c 04/16/2019

    These are beautiful - are they making babies yet? It's always fun to see what color the new additions are when they hybridize freely. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures!

  5. nwphillygardener 04/16/2019

    For those frustrated by that nodding character, two ideas:
    #1.) If you have a bank where you can walk on the low side, Hellebores in bloom put out a more satisfying show.
    #2.) Cutting and floating some of the blooms of Hellebores is a great way to appreciate the subtle differences of the flowers and they great way that different colors harmonize perfectly together.

  6. paiya 04/16/2019

    Your hellebores are magnificent. We would like to see photos of them in your garden and at the Boston Show. It took several years before we appreciated them, as they were facing down, but after moving them as NWphilly gardener suggested, we enjoy them in early Spring . Thank you

  7. btucker9675 04/16/2019

    Hurray indeed - so beautiful!

  8. user-7532987 01/20/2020

    After watching such pleasant and good-looking Hellebores from your source, I have purchased them for the decoration purposes of my house. I often visit original site to get written my papers flawlessly. Everyone is appreciating them because of their unique beauty.

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