february-27-2009-008-2There was a brief moment of sun in between rain events recently. Astonished at the sight of shadows on the slope behind the house we tossed aside the laptop, lept out of the lazyboy and grabbed the camera to take advantage of the superior light conditions on the wet landscape.february-27-2009-007-5A low purring whirring buzzing was darting around our heads as knees and elbows rested on sodden ground trying to look upwards into the innards of the bells of the blooming hellebores, Helleborus orientalis. Oh joy of joys! A little buzzer was dining on the nectar and loading his saddlebags with creamy white pollen. He was slow moving and methodical, manuevering from flower to flower as positioning was adjusted to get a shot of him.february-27-2009-013-2The pollen jockey was getting annoyed at the human breathing down his neck. He had a job to do. Let us leave him to his business and get on with our own.february-27-2009-005-3Hellebores are glorious late winter flowers with large substantial leaves and a tough constitution. However, the hidden beauty within is difficult to capture, even with the plantings on a steep slope such as ours. Contortions and joint popping positions push an aging body to its limits. Last year we wrote about looking for the blooms with freckles, or spots on the petals. Click here to read about that pursuit.february-27-2009-009-2What is this? A flower facing upwards to the sky! Wonder of the universe, an answer to a humble request. Could there be more of your kind growing on the hilly terrain here?february-27-2009-011-2Well yes, here are a couple more. Is it the uppermost flowers that deign to show their faces to the world? The bravest and best at the top of the heap?february-27-2009-015-2Gazing about there is another hanging down bell spied, or make that trumpet whose viewing is enhanced by the elevation of the slope. The inherited daffodil, spread about in every garden bed ad finitum, Narcissus pseudonarcissus is growing happily at the feet of fothergilla. Common in commerce around the time this house was constructed, 1943, this daffodil classified in the Trumpet group can be seen all over town in the older neighborhoods blooming brightly even on lots where the house is no longer standing. Woodlands and fallow fields hold these flowers by the thousands. It is treasured here for the bloom time, two weeks earlier than most of the other narcissi. Every garden should have some and ours have been shared with family and friends near and far. It is hard to stress enough the importance of time of bloom for many of the winter bloomers. Seen singly in a catalog photo the impact of a sea of yellow nodding heads atop glaucous blue green spears of foliage might be lost. Please if you happen upon this variety consider adding them to your space. You will not be sorry.february-27-2009-016-2Making its debut for 2009, N. ‘Jetfire’. Also among the earliest daffs are the Cylamineus group, named for their reflexing flower petals which resemble those of Cyclamen. Small and durable N. Jetfire is a good naturalizer too.
The hellebores are leading the way in the spring procession here, accompanied by the earliest daffodils, the small clump of snowdrops and the winter blooming heaths. Soon to follow are the quinces. More and more bulbs will join in, with the inherited grape hyacinths offering blue background to the brightness. Arnold and Diane witch hazels remain in bloom although Diane is beginning to fade. Each blooming sized hellebore is surrounded by numerous seedlings. Some of these are dug to be shared, some will be relocated and the rest will be left to fend for themselves until one day they will join in the show with their ancestors.

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71 Responses to Hellebo-R-Us

  1. Les says:

    Bless the Hellebores for making gardeners (even ones of a certain age) get down on their hands and knees to delibrately observe their beauty. The plant breeders are working on cultivars that face upward, perhaps this line of research should be stopped. Maybe we need more plants that require close inspection, even contorted, joint-popping ones.

    Hi Les, thanks for stopping by. You are so right about the need for close inspection of all the flowers. The easiest method here is to snap their portraits then study them in the comfort of the lazyboy. πŸ™‚ As I checked out the differences in the hellebores, so many seedlings grown up from the original four purchased plants, I thought of how breeders would single certain traits out to capitalize on, like the upward facing blooms or interesting coloration. The serendipity of the differences adds to the fun of gardening.

  2. Hi, Frances. Your garden has been going to town, so to speak. I’ve been down on the ground in my garden admiring the crocus and snowdrop blooms. No Helleborus blooms here quite yet, but it is just a matter of time!

    Hi Carol, thanks, it is revving up once again and it is so gladdening. Your double hyacinth, and the metal frame around it are marvelous!

  3. Cosmo says:

    Hi, Frances–Hellebores are some of my favorite plants, and yours are gorgeous. The viewfinder (if that’s the right term?) on my camera flips out and rotates, so I’ve been trying to get under the pretties as best I can, but I’m still ending up with muddy knees. The picture of that bee is wonderful–we have lots of birds, but no bees yet (and snow expected tomorrow, sigh).

    Hi Cosmo, thanks. That is a great camera feature to have the flip out viewfinder, that term sounds right to me! I have knee pads for certain jobs, but just dashing out with the camera finds me ill prepared in the shoe and clothing department. Time is short and there is no time to change clothes. The sunny period only last less than five minutes so I had to be quick. Very cold temps and arctic winds are here now, where do those little bees go then? It is worrisome.

  4. Gail says:

    Frances, My dear…the Buzzer capture is wonderful; he seems to be hanging/hovering in mid-air, as he checks out the hellebores. Beautiful, all of them, freckled or not; facing the sky or the ground. Isn’t Jetfire fantastic..I noticed they were up and adding a spark of color to the browns! Should we cut them and bring them inside to admire or let them take their chances with temps dropping into the teens? March isn’t playing nicely at all! But I can forget all that when I look at your garden~~it’s spring on the hillside~~ Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks, I thought you might like him since you are such a bee lover. Is he a honeybee? He was slow for it was fairly cold, not like the summer speedy ones. If you are to get teen temps, maybe cutting your jetfires is a good idea. They are only calling for twenties here and the flowers are all wet. I love seeing them out the glass doors of the addition and even spoiled enjoy the colors against all that brown. No snow for us, yet. How about you?

  5. Janet says:

    You (and a few others) have really tempted me with the Hellebores this winter. They are gorgeous. I do like the freckled ones. I will keep looking for the best place for some…front yard is really sunny and backyard is potential for flooding. 😦 Surely there will be a spot! Until then, thanks for sharing these photos so those of us who don’t have any Hellebores can enjoy them.

    Hi Janet, thanks. I do hope you can find a spot for the hellebores. They can take quite a bit of sun, don’t let the catalogs fool you. Ours were planted on the hill when the trees were quite small and didn’t provide hardly any shade. The trees now do provide shade, but the hellebores bloomed and did well before that. Drainage is way more important than shade, it is a must.

  6. Rose says:

    Frances, I am overwhelmed this morning by all your gorgeous photos! The one of the Hellebore with the bee is breathtaking. Thank you for risking joint injury to take this for us:) I am still waiting arrival of the Hellebores I ordered–I suppose they won’t bloom for me this year, but you’ve given me something to look forward to next spring.

    Hi Rose, thanks so much. Your muse day poem brightened my day too. Let us hope your hellebore arrives with blooms so you can enjoy them, but many places won’t ship until the danger of frost is well past and that is after the bloom time it could be assumed. But there is next year to look forward to, as you say so wisely. πŸ™‚

  7. Brenda Kula says:

    I found the cherished Hellebores at Blue Moon Nursery a few weeks ago. I was so happy! I thought to myself, now I will know what Frances gets so excited about!

    Hi Brenda, that is wonderful! I know you will enjoy your new purchase for many years to come too. Even your metal garden woman will throw her arms up with joy! πŸ™‚

  8. Frances, the photos are beautiful, but you had me laughing because I know how it is to try to photograph hellebores on your knees (and elbows) and looking up into their faces. I did this down at Airlie Gardens recently when I was photographing hellebores.

    I came home and…

    bought a new camera that has a tilting LCD viewer so I can frame a low growers!


    Hi Cameron, thanks. That viewer sounds like a godsend, but it does seem like you have to get pretty low to the ground still. I love when the flowers bloom along our four foot high wall and I just have to crouch a little to shoot them. I need to add more of the downward facing flowers there. Hmmmm. a good research project for a wintry windy day.

  9. teza says:

    How utterly gorgeous your display of Helleborus…and to think that they must have known you wanted to capture their beauty…’faces up now ladies!’ Ahhh, job starts next week and this is one of the first plants I am going to make sure we bring in enough of! Thanks for warming this gardener’s blood this morning!

    Hi Teza, thanks so much. Last year I had to hold the faces up to the camera and it is hard to hold the camera steady and do that at the same time. It was a lucky break to find a few with their heads held high! Good luck with the beginning of a new year of work at the garden center. I know there will be many who welcome discussing their gardening ups and downs with you. How fun! πŸ™‚

  10. Katarina says:

    Frances, those shots are adorable! Love, love, love the hellebores and am eagerly awaiting mine. But, as you say, I do wish they would lift their pretty faces towards the sky…

    Hi Katarina, thanks. I don’t remember any of these same plants facing upward last year but was very happy they decided to to look up at that moment. HA

  11. Tatyana says:

    Perfect! Inspiring! Thanks!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. I am so glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  12. Racquel says:

    Well they are certainly putting on a show in your garden today! How glorious all those nodding heads of spring color! Have to add these to my garden next year no matter what. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Hellebores would do well in your garden. They should be for sale in the nurseries soon where you can see them in bloom to choose the color and form. Last year I bought Blue Lady, she is still quite a small plant but the bloom is very dark and mysterious.

  13. Daphne Gould says:

    Those hellebores are beautiful. I can’t make up my mind if the white one with the sum shining through the petals or the pink one with the foxglove like spots on it is my favorite.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. White is usually not the color I take the photos of, it kind of washes out, but the bee only wanted to be on the white ones. It is hard to choose which is prettiest, for they are all beautiful, especially when so little else is blooming.

  14. Kathy says:

    If you inherited them, how can you tell they are Rijnveldts’? I bought some and they don’t bloom as early as some others that I inherited, but which are in a different (possibly warmer) location. Your remarks make me wonder if they are both the same variety, but how would I be able to tell?

    Hi Kathy, that is a good question. For years we just referred to them as the ones that were already here. Blogging last year led me to try to find out the name, with the early bloom being the first clue. I scoured blogs and catalogs comparing the photos with the ones growing here. The outer petals are slightly twisted and they are smaller than the later daffs. That they are Rijnveld’s is an educated guess, but one I am willing to stand by. I was especially interested in the photos and descriptions found by googling that name, once I had a name to search at all and in every instance it all fit what was growing here, including the time of introduction. I cannot be 100% sure, but that is what we decided they were. Besides the earlier bloom time, which eliminated many others, the slight twisting and occasional mulitple blooms on one stem helped with the ID. The ones in the sunniest spots bloom earlier than the shadier ones.

  15. tina says:

    I see lots of freckles this year at your place:) Looking great. I will keep an eye out for that daffodil. Some of mine FINALLY opened this week. A lovely thing in spring for sure.

    Hi Tina, thanks. I love the freckles too, but the solid ones have a purity that is refreshing, like two totally different types of flowers. That particular daff is known for being earlier than the others, is slightly smaller and the outer petals have a slight twist to them that I could only see in photos. I studied many many sites last year trying to ID that little daff and feel fairly confident with this name for it.

  16. How I wish I could be in your garden right now! This virtual visit will have to suffice. Your photos of that bee are awesome! Your Hellebores are also a sight for sore eyes. I ventured out in the cold yesterday to check on mine. No progress yet.

    Hi MMD, I wish you could too….no wait, the wind is blowing with that arctic chill and it is snowing off and on, maybe you had better stay put for a while longer. Things are blooming though, and it is great to admire them from inside the warm house. I hope the bee finds refuge until it warms up again later next week.

  17. Hi, Frances. Again your photo’s make me go “Oooooh my”, “and OMG how beautiful”, and the bees, well, they actually made me tear up. Have you seen “The Secret Life Of Bees” yet, or read it? Very excellent both. One question – are you working on or have you already done a book of your photographs? I am going to aspire to be as expert at it as you obviously are. Keep taking my breath away!

    Hi Kathryn, wow, thanks for those kind words. I have not seen or read that book but know about how good it is. Thanks for the recommendation. And thanks too for dropping the word verification, it is very trying sometimes to figure out what those letters are and if you get spam, just delete it. That’s what I do. I have only been blogging for just over a year and have not done any of those things you mention. I am so not an expert at anything, but do appreciate what you are saying. Just keep taking photos and see which ones seem to come out better. Reading the owner’s manual made a world of difference for me! HA

  18. marmee says:

    i must plant these next year.
    when is the best time to plant these lovelies?
    do you plant from seed or plants?
    i have so much to learn about tn plants.
    your photos have made me drool.

    Hi Marmee, these would be great in your garden, they love Tennessee, among other places. I would look for them now in the nurseries for they should be in bloom and you can choose your colors that way. I have tried to grow them from seed with no germination at all. The seedlings appear in the garden as if by magic. πŸ™‚ I have been told that they have a double dormancy, needing two cold cycles to germinate. The best luck with babies around the mother plant came with mulching it after the blooms had dropped their seeds, don’t deadhead! Two years later you will see the little ones peeking up around the flowering sized plants. These may be moved any time it is cool out, December through March. I would not try it in the heat and dryness of summer. Hope you can find some you like. All of mine are H. orientalis.

  19. Sunita says:

    Gorgeous, mindblowing photos, Frances! You shame my tropical garden. There seems to be more going on in your thawing land than in my ever-explosive one.
    Those freckled beauties are really eye-catching !

    Hi Sunita, thanks so much. But really, you and your garden have nothing to be ashamed of at all! Your post about the caterpillar and its story was totally mesmerizing! Just like all your posts. πŸ™‚

  20. Beautiful flowers, Frances. Sometimes it’s more rewarding if you have to work hard to see the flowers!

    Hi Happy, thanks. I agree completely that the difficulty of seeing them makes the blooms that much more beautiful. Life is just like that, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  21. Darla says:

    Beautiful photos of your flowers! We have a windchill factor in the 30’s right now on this dreary Sunday afternoon. Been running around covering tender plants and seedlings. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

    Hi Darla, thanks. This crazy weather, it can’t decide whether it is winter or spring. I don’t know how you are keeping the coverings on, the wind is blowing like crazy here. I like it but it is a little scary too.

  22. skeeter says:

    Mr. Bumble Bee is a welcome sight this time of year! Great pic of him buzzing by. Does that mean spring is on its way? I am beginning to wonder as we had 70 degrees one day and now calling for snow in the Deep South. Crazy stuff I tell ya!

    The Hellebores are wonderful and I must find some. I had never heard of them until all the recent postings on them. Any flower that booms in winter is a must for all gardeners if possible!

    I find it interesting to drive along country roads and to spot clumps of daffy’s in the middle of a field where a house once stood. The house is long gone but the golden beauties remain for years to come…

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. I agree, the weather is crazy. Typical but still crazy. The bloom time of the hellebore is a main attraction. It continues to bloom until June, but there is so much else happening in the garden that they get overlooked. Now is there time to shine here. Don’t you love that the daffs remain when a house is no longer there? The power of mother nature completely overshadows that of mere humans.

  23. Sue says:

    I’ve said this on several posts, but just have to say it again! I discovered hellebores at my sister’s new place, and she says they can’t be dug from where she has them. I don’t know if her kind has babies, but oh, well, I plan to find some to plant as soon as I can here. I have a good place for them now that we took our dog kennel out of the back yard. The hostas had not filled out the area, because I had replaced my large ones with small ones so they wouldn’t poke through the kennel and get chewed by the dog. Well, now you’re getting a longer version.

    I love hellebores more every time someone posts about them, and I’ve never even grown them!

    Yours are incredibly lovely, and the bee shots are great, too! Thanks for sharing!

    Hi Sue, thanks for the longer version, I love it! HA It is true that the hellebores should not be divided at all. The babies take two years to germinate and you must not deadhead the flowers but let them die down and lay on the ground where they will release the seed. Mulching in fall after the leaves have all left the trees seems to help. The seeds must need darkness to germinate. When I cut the old leaves off in January is when the babies can be seen, like baby chicks under a mother hen’s wings. The hellebores should be showing up in nurseries soon and might seem expensive, but think of the future babies that will be free. I started with four plants and now have more than can be counted with all those babies. Mine are H. orientalis.

  24. Ann says:

    Glorious spring has sprung in your yard. How lucky you are! Those hellebores are fabulous. On my wish list for new additions to the gardens this year.

    Hi Ann, thanks for stopping by. Spring is inching its way towards us, one flower at a time. At the moment the wind is howling like a banshee gone berserk and well below freezing temps for tonight. Typical Tennessee spring. The hellebores are worth growing in any garden for that early bloom and tough foliage, not to mention the possibility of many babies….free plants!

  25. commonweeder says:

    Beautiful photos as always – and this time they inspire me to figure out how and where I can plant hellebores – and to keep a good photo record of my plants with names. Thanks. Again.

    Hi Pat, thanks. I hope you are able to find a hellebore to your liking, for there is much to like about these tough early bloomers. πŸ™‚

  26. CurtissAnn says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this beauty! We’re on the edge of the high plains, and it is rather barren this time of year, but we sure can get some stunning evening light. I, too, notice the color of light.

    Hi Curtissann, thanks to you for visiting! Since I started taking photos of the garden for the blog rather than just my own records, the light is more carefully watched for that special glow.

  27. Monica says:

    First off, it’s March!!! But high (that’s HIGH) today was 25, and it expected to fall to 7 overnight. Argle blargle. That out of the way, I can say I love the hellebores, especially the ones with freckles, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who crouches around in odd positions on the ground to get a photo. I hope you didn’t injure each other, or the laptop, as you swung it out of the way to head outside!

    My Monica, what are these new words you are introducing here? Argle blargle? Sort of like banana bites? HA The laptop gets tossed to the sofa nearby and sits upon a bean bag type lap pad thingey that makes life on the computer grand. Thanks to The Financier. Sometimes I think I like the freckles best, but the pure simplicity of the non dotted ones is hard to resist, just ask the little pollen jock. πŸ™‚

  28. Phillip says:

    Frances, I just did a post on hellebores a few days ago and told folks that you posted nice photos of them. Are you pychic? LOL

    Hi Phillip, thanks so much, both for visiting and the link love. I like my family to think I have ESP, it keeps them on their toes! HA Your garden is pure art with or without the snow cover.

  29. Hostabuff says:

    Your Hellebores are so beautiful. I added my first plants last summer – hopefully I will have some beautiful flowers like this in April or May…do I really have to wait that long? I don’t expect my daffodils for two more months. It’s nice to see some color-even if it isn’t in my garden.

    Hi Hostabuff, thanks. It’s hard to say when you will get blooms. Mine open before the earliest daffs here, well before the main body of larger daffodils, so maybe your wait won’t be too awfully long.

  30. ryan says:

    Love the hellebores. I thought everyone chased the dark cultivars, but freckles make sense, too.

    Hi Ryan, thanks. The dark cultivars were quite the thing last year, I bought a couple myself after total failure raising them from purchased seeds. Blue Lady and Red Lady are both cultivars I have here. The plants are very small but the blues are starting to open now. We shall see how they seed themselves in years to come. Maybe some great mixes will occur with the freckled and solid lighter ones too.

  31. Monica says:

    Frances, thanks for the tip on pennyroyal in my blog. It’s one of those plants long on my list to try, that I never have. No one else has ever mentioned it as a cat plant–this is why I love blogging! πŸ™‚ (P.S. Yes, argle blargle (which my friend Pete coined) is directly equivalent to my own saying, banana bites!)

    HA Monica, you are most welcome. We had many cats in our other TN home thanks to Chickenpoet’s adoptions, we were like a shelter too. The pennyroyal in the herb garden where the catnip sometimes had to be covered with pails so the cats didn’t eat even the roots out of the ground during winter, really did the job with those fleas. Your friend Pete sounds like a jewel. πŸ™‚

  32. Joy says:

    Frances .. I am so eager to acquire more hellebore to keepmy one and only company and put a big smile on my face early in the season. Yours are beautiful ! Is that a new header picture I didn’t notice before .. those birds are so pretty .. not sure of what they are .. Juncos ? what ever they are they are gorgeous !

    Hi Joy, thanks. The hellebores do prefer company of their own kind, but can play well with others as well. πŸ™‚ The birds are cedar waxwings that came through my garden last week by the hundreds. I wrote a post about them



  33. Catherine says:

    I love your shots of the pollen jockeys! They are hard to catch in action, the best I could do was a blur with a couple of stripes πŸ™‚ Your hellebores an daffodils look so pretty!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. This guy was flying more slowly than usual, but kept moving away from me. I ended up getting so close I thought he was going to sting me! Some days it just isn’t possible to get a clear shot of them, I was lucky that day. The daffs make good companions for the hellebores, blooming together with such different colors. Then the enlarging leaves cover the dying daff foliage.

  34. Liisa says:

    What a lovely post. It is wonderful so see such hopeful signs of spring. Your hellebores are gorgeous – they have become one of my absolute favorite flowers. The daffodils Narcissus β€˜Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ are a sight, and I will definitely include them in my next bulb order.

    Hi Liisa, thanks so much. Anything that blooms early is worth adding to the garden. Hope yours do well. Those mystery plants were really something! Love the dogwood. πŸ™‚

  35. Frances, What beautiful photos of your beautiful hellebores! After this post, I’m getting REALLY excited to have Spring arrive here. But, patience is as patience does… or something like that! πŸ˜‰

    Hi Shady, thanks. It is hard to not be excited when we think of all the beauty to come. The weather gods are keeping us humble at the moment though, with temps in the teens predicted tonight. In the meantime the babies in the greenhouse are wanting to stretch their legs on the deck table in real sun and warmth. Patience my pretties, patience, just like the gardeners! πŸ™‚

  36. Stunning Hellebores. I love, love, love them. Thank you for sharing for the information on the Narcissus. Can hardly wait for spring.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. We are all playing that waiting game it seems, no matter what climate we live in!

  37. Ah, I’ve been waiting for this post! They make me so happy to see in your garden, Frances. Even though mine are still buried0–and I do mean buried–under heaps and heaps of snow. I figure I’ll see them in another month or so!

    Hi Jodi, thanks. At least you have to wait no longer for one thing anyway. πŸ™‚ Your hellebores and witch hazels will are safe and sound under that fluffy blanket, I hope and will reward your patience later when our spring is over. I love seeing spring again when it comes to your garden, reliving the glory.

  38. Kathleen says:

    Oh Frances, you rocked my night with these GORGEOUS Hellebore & daffodil photos. I’m like Racquel, I HAVE to add some to my garden again next year. The last time I tried, my dog decided they were his favorite thing to lift his leg on. Wouldn’t you know?? (Have I told you this before??) The bees were out in my garden today too but not so lucky as yours with pollen collecting. I think they will have crocus to visit tomorrow tho. Hooray. Happy Spring Frances. It looks like it has arrived early at Faire Garden.

    Hi Kathleen, HA, thanks for that laugh at the rocking night! I do hope you can find a safer spot for the hellebores than last time, what a sad way to die! I was surprised at the pollen on the bee, but there are many many hellebores blooming. Why I don’t equate them with pollen, who knows? One would think spring is here from the flowers blooming, I can’t say enough about those earliest daffs, but when you walk outside and get hit in the face with that arctic wind you’ll wonder what’s up with that! πŸ™‚

  39. andrΓ© says:

    That’s a set of beautiful pictures! In just a few more weeks we’ll hopefully have (at least) similar views here…! Thanks for lightening up this otherwise rainy and gloomy Monday.

    Hi Andre, thanks. Your views are already beautiful, especially in the greenhouse, but I know what you mean. Soon, soon, soon…………………

  40. gittan says:

    Oh! Now I loong for spring to come even more, if it’s possible. Thanks for charing your wonderful Hellebores and Daffodils with us. This rainy day seems suddenly a bit brighter. Now me and the carpenter are going to a huge greenhouse store – I wonder why… It’s the carpenters idea. I’ve just told him that our greenhouse could be a bit bigger…Could that be the reason why? I hope you’ll have a wonderful day my dear friend / gittan

    Dear Gittan, thanks. I know what you mean about wanting the warm temps of spring. We have the blooms but it is cold and windy still here. Have fun looking at the greenhouses. I have never seen one that the owner did not say it needs to be larger! HA

  41. Dave says:

    Beautiful pictures! I hope that little bee found a place to rest while the snow came your way. 70’s later in the week though, he should be pretty happy then!

    Hi Dave, thanks. Your bluebird shot made my day! We got no snow at all, but several inches of needed rain. Now it is cold and the wind is howling, but not as bad as yesterday. It sounded like a pack of wolves howling at the moon. Hope those warm temps come and stay awhile! πŸ™‚

  42. Not only do you have all of these beautiful flowers in your garden you have BEES!!! Wonderful!

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I worry about the bees, for it is quite cold here for a few days before warming up again. The typical roller coaster ride that is spring in TN. I hope he found a warm dry place to ride it out.

  43. Randy says:

    I can’t believe you found a bee! That’s a good sign! Maybe spring will be here soon!

    Hi Randy, thanks for visiting. Your snow photos were superb! I guess the flowers signal the bees to come around, even though it is quite cold still. There will be no denying spring soon.

  44. Frances, I don’t know if I should visit you too often, I lose my breath and go into shock! My goodness, how do you get these incredible shots? Just unbelievably amazing, Frances. I like the way you add interesting prose to your posts, no wonder everyone wants to hang out here:) I get a bit overwhelmed trying to visit all of the wonderful garden bloggers I’ve met and don’t seem to be able to get around as quickly as many others…and, I feel badly that I don’t comment as frequently. I have no idea how to manage that:) I guess I’m just a bit slow. I hope you have a great day…it is snowing cats and dogs here. Just in time for spring:(

    Hi Jan, thanks. Contortions of an old body into positions that are really hard to get out of are par for the course. Especially for the hellebores downward facing blooms. I was happy to see some facing up for a change. As for visiting all the wonderful blogs, we just do the best we can. πŸ™‚

  45. walk2write says:

    What cruel mind thought up names like hellebore and narcissus? They make you want to run and hide. I’ll just block out the names and drool over the pretty pictures.

    Hi W2W, HA. I never thought of the names that way. Just learning to say and spell them is hard enough. Just a bunch of letters. I think I have a book somewhere that tells how plants were named, usually for people or myths, like the narcissus, or the latin meanings describing attributes of growth habits. Very interesting stuff. But suit yourself and drool away! πŸ™‚

  46. layanee says:

    Magnificent blooms on the hellebores and such gorgeous varieties. Mine are now under 8″ of snow but at least I can visit yours and enjoy your bounty of spring replete with bees!

    Hi Layanee, thanks. They are just the species, no names here other than H. orientalis. These seedlings have lots of fun variations with and without the freckles though. Soon your hellebores and snowdrops will be giving you and the bees so much pleasure too. πŸ™‚

  47. Marnie says:

    Hi Frances, a few hundred miles makes a world of difference. You are so far ahead of us here. I agree with Walk2Write’s comment. Botanical names are cruel, Lenten Rose is so much nicer;) Anyway, yours are lovely, no matter what we call them.

    Hi Marnie, thanks. Location location location. Our winter is not over but the daffs and hellebores are blooming anyway. The later daffs are just barely up out of the ground. I agree that Lenten Rose is a more romantic sounding name too. πŸ™‚

  48. wiseacre says:

    I love flowers that bring me to my knees. Too bad Hellebores are too tender for my area, I’d love to grovel at their feet.

    I love that first photo. It wasn’t the bee that first caught my attention. It was the play of light and shadow with the leaves against the sky and the flower against the dark background. The bee frozen in mid-air took the whole up a couple of notches for me.

    Hi Wiseacre, thanks. My friend Jodi in Nova Scotia can grow the hellebores by covering them with a teepee of evergreen branches over the winter. H. orientalis. I don’t know about the other types though. I was lucky with the bee photo It had been raining all day and there a brief moment of sun in the late afternoon. The light looked good so I ran out quickly, took just a few shots and then it started raining again. Pure luck, as it usually is. So glad you enjoyed it. I felt the same about your deer shots. πŸ™‚

  49. TC says:

    Daffs, aka March lilies down home, are the queen of many spring gardens. And if you didn’t know it, Barry Glick is the king of hellebores.

    I’ve switched to a new template and you might need to reset my blog address if you were following or subscribed. Thanks!

    Hi TC, I agree about the daffs being queens. Nothing says spring to me like those first yellow blooms. I have to admit to never hearing of Barry Glick before. Thanks for sending me to him, lots to learn and see there. I like you new blog look, very clean and professional. It requires no changes here, wordpress doesn’t do the follower thingey.

  50. Grumpy Gardener says:

    Ok, I was GOING to post some hellebore photos on MY blog, but now that I’ve seen yours, what’s the point? Thanks a lot for raising the bar so high! On another subject, when you get time, please email me at GG. I have a blogging idea you might find interesting.

    Hi Grumpy, thanks. Do go ahead with your post anyway. I am sure you can come up with something much better. I will certainly contact you. My interest has been piqued. πŸ™‚

  51. gisele schoene says:

    Hi Francis, the hellebores are the herald the end of the winter, one ought to love this plant!

    Hi Gisele, thanks for stopping by. Seeing the hellebores and daffs in the garden really does mean that spring will soon be here, even when it is a cold blustery day like today.

  52. annetanne says:

    Those pictures are great.
    I especially like the first one, the light is so beautiful. (Is it H. argutifolius?)

    Hi Anne, thanks so much. Your photos are far superior! πŸ™‚ The hellebore is H. orientalis. We began with four plants, not named varieties, of white, dark pink, light pink and medium pink. HA All we have were begat from those.

  53. Wonderful photos…esp the hellebore and the bee. Kinda sounds like a title to a book! I went to Pine Knot Hellebore Farm’s open house this past Saturday. I have some planting to do!
    Helen Yoest

    Hi Helen, thanks. I saw your haul from the farm, and those looked like some great hellebores. Guess when the snow melts you can plant them. πŸ™‚

  54. lynn says:

    Frances, I’m giggling over the visual of you on your belly to capture these amazing shots..we gardeners are NUTS!! But SO worth it..and I can’t believe you have bees!!! I’m looking out the window and there is not a speck of dirt to be seen! School and office closed so a nice day to catch up on blogs. BTW, thanks for advice on the open URL problem..I THINK I’ve fixed it.

    Hi Lynn, thanks, glad you can laugh at the contortions of a camera wielder to get the shot! It was worth it. The bee was a total surprise. It is quite cold now and I worry about where he could have sought shelter. Enjoy your snow day! And thanks for changing your comment settings. It makes life so much more pleasant for us wordpress users. πŸ™‚

  55. Hmph! I’m not anywhere near that amount of bloom on helleborus or daffodils. Maybe another month for the daffodils. Might get an open helleborus in the next warm sunny spell. I have been seeing moths at night around the motion detector lights. The Spots like them as snacks.

    Ooooh, a snort of jealousy! I love it. Moths? It does seem too cold for them now. What could they be eating? Good for the Spots, eat ’em up. You may not have this particular daff, it is two weeks ahead of all others. I will stick some in with the LA iris for you.

  56. Sweet Bay says:

    Beautiful pictures as always Frances. I’m not sure if someone has already put this up, but that’s a honeybee. They’re always the first out here too, much earlier than the native bees.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. No, no one had given an ID of the bee and I know very little about them. On a warmer day last week I did see a bumble bee, the first of the year too. And a ladybird beetle. I should have gotten the camera, but was enjoying the warm sun on the back of my head in the chair and didn’t want to get up! Now it is cold again and I do hope the insects are hiding someplace warm.

  57. Chloe.M says:


    These are just spectacular photographs!

    I empathize with the difficulty of photographing these lovelies, but the shy, downward gaze is part of their charm.

    Chloe M.

    Hi Chloe, thanks. I couldn’t agree more, the bells are the charm and mine are even on a steep slope. That is supposedly the best way to view up into the blooms, and it is if you are 12 inches tall. πŸ™‚

  58. Alice Joyce says:

    Hi Frances, jumping on the bandwagon to agree that hellebores – your images – are certainly are a joy to behold! I just came inside after working in the wind to photograph a new variety, which tho I can’t believe it, has bloomed already. H. x sternii ‘Hot Flash'( Terra Nova Nurseries has a way with plant names). It was such a tiny thing in ’07 when I received it to trial. Its silvery leaves are quite stunning.

    Hi Alice, thanks and welcome. Your new Hot Flash sounds wonderful. I agree that catchy names will grab the attention of the plant buying public. Silver hellebore leaves sound divine. The one I bought died immediately in our drought-y summer. Probably should have been planted in the cooler wetter winter soil.

  59. Lola says:

    Aaww the sweetness of the beauty. The little buzzer will be quiet satisfied with his haul.
    I must find some of the beauties for my garden. I hope they would do good here.
    I believe some of my daffs are the Early Sensation. Others are white outer/yellow centers. I must look for the Jetfire also.
    Great pix too.

    Hi Lola, thanks. The bee looked loaded down, didn’t he? I wonder how they tell when they have had enough? I would think if you can grow daffs that you could also grow hellebores, but I really don’t know. Check with a reputable nursery would be my suggestion. The white with yellow centers sounds pretty also. I love all of the daffs, but those earliest ones are the most welcome.

  60. I’m sure the buzzers couldn’t get enough and went crazy on scanning your garden with so many bags of nectar! Such beauty! I’m envious of you for having bees around buzzing in your ears for I am craving for the same here!

    Hi there, MR. Chandramouli, thanks. It has been cold, down in the teens at the moment and I do worry about our little bee friends. Hope they found a warm and safe spot to wait for the next warm up.

  61. Rusty says:

    Your photos are WOW, incredible. I find bees to be very difficult subjects, your picture capture the moment perfectly

    Hi Rusty, thanks, so nice to see you. This was a slow moving bee, but even so he kept going to the flowers on the opposite side of where I was crouching. When I would move to get closer, he would move to the next flower. Persistence. πŸ™‚

  62. joey says:

    Joy of joys, Frances … looks and feels like a sure sign of spring!

    Thanks, sweet Joey. We have days that feel like spring followed by days that feel like the dead of winter followed by….well, you get the idea. Cold now but warmer days coming tomorrow. Then cold again. Sigh.

  63. linda says:

    Oh Frances they are simply gorgeous! I can imagine the contortions you must have gone through to capture them in all their glory. Hope you’re recovered now!

    I’m developing a serious addiction to hellebores.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I bounce back pretty fast, with the help of the heat pad and ibuprofen, my best friend. You can have many wonderful hellebores with all your shade. But I have found they can take some sun too.

  64. Melanthia says:

    The hellebores are amazing but the fact that you caught that bee as it was coming in for a landing is awesome. Mind sharing details of the setting and lens? I’m on a hellebore kick right now. Actually, a hellebore was one of the first plants I bought but I’m working to build the collection — despite the cost.

    Hi Melanthia, thanks. The bee was a slow mover, lucky for me. The settings I use are always auto. I don’t know how to do anything else and the photos seem okay without learning so I just don’t change it. I use the macro function for closeups. Hellebores are so wonderful, a collection sounds great. Just leave the seeded flower heads on and mulch the whole thing when they are done. Two years later you will be babies. Now this is for the H. orientalis. I don’t know about the others.

  65. Pam/Digging says:

    Great title, Frances. I’ve often wondered whether hellebores are worth the trouble, since you can never see their faces without getting on hands and knees and craning your neck. They are certainly lovely, though, and I appreciate your doing all the work here to let me enjoy them.

    Hi Pam, thanks. You are the only one to mention the title. Too corny for others to speak of? HA I would have to say that the hellebores are still beautiful even only seeing the backside of the petals. If you can grow them there, I would add some. You have the shade they like.

  66. Robin says:

    Wow, stunning photos, thanks for the post. I have been considering adding a Hellebore to my garden here in hot, dry Austin. We used to get rain, but we are in an 18 month drought that is currently the worst in the country, and the worst we’ve seen since the dust bowl. I think Hellebores like a lot of water, don’t they? Your discussion of the cold, wet weather, while you are weary of it, made me jealous! We are already hitting 90 degrees in February, which means we are in for another brutal summer. Do you think it would be a waste of time to try a Hellebore? Yours are absolutely gorgeous, as are the field of daffodils. Thanks for braving the weather and creaky knees to get the photos.

    Hi Robin, thanks. I am not sure about the hellebores in Austin. You might want to ask some Austin garden bloggers about that. Pam at Digging, which can be found on my blogroll would be who I would ask about that.

  67. kate says:

    Your Hellebore photos are beautiful, Frances ~ well worth trying to get pictures of their interiors. I love the amazing differences in the varieties you have. Your 2009 addition of daffodil is lovely!!

    Hi Kate, thanks. It is worth it to roll around on the ground, especially when a friendly bee shows up. Each of the seedlings is slightly different, just like people. The daffs have been very cheering while we wait for the ground to thaw. Tomorrow may be the day!

  68. I had to come back for another look at the lovely flowers in this post. They make me smile and have hope for spring…thanks, Kim

    Hi Kim, welcome back and thanks. The hellebores have been laying flat on the ground with the cold spell this week, but will spring back up shortly, I hope!

  69. Genevieve says:

    I am such a huge fan of both Hellebores and Daffs! Such lovely photos, as always, Frances. I’m chuckling over “pollen jockey”.

    Hi Genevieve, thanks. The term pollen jockey is from an animated movie, Bee Movie, where Jerry Seinfeld’s bee character wants to become a pollen jocky, a favorite of my three year old grandson. πŸ™‚

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