The combining of plants happens naturally in the wild. Those things that enjoy the same growing conditions, light, moisture and soil type find each other without an online dating service or even well intentioned relatives.
So it is with hellebores, Helleborus orientalis which have seeded and spread themselves in the Fairegarden for over a decade, now carpeting the steep slope behind the main house and the daffodils, Narcissus ssp.
The beauty of this combo is that the hellebores have such a long bloom period, with the flowers remaining intact and still attractive for several months while the daffodils flower and wane, with the bench warming reserves taking up the baton as early, mid and late season cultivars go through their time in the limelight.
Both the hellebores and the daffodils are tough troopers, able to withstand close quarters and the competition for nutrients, moisture and light caused by living cheek by jowl together with no ill effects. In fact, that very closeness will allow the large, leathery hellebore leaves to disguise the curing daffodil foliage as it passes through the unsightly yellowing stage that is necessary for future blooming.
The partners begin their dance here in USDA Zone 7a in February in most years, with the pale pristine flowers of the white hellebores, those seem to open the soonest, joining the very early Narcissus psuedonarcissus. Click here to read about this very special daffodil. The yellow and white color scheme brightens a garden and the mood of the gardener as winter still is delivering its chilly oratory.
As the early daff recedes into the background, mid and later season Narcissus come into play. H. ‘Blue Lady’ featured in the opening image of this post entertains the delightful N. ‘Sailboat’ in the Woodland Garden. N. ‘Mount Hood’ with its large trumpet and sepals of purest white continues beautifying the composition over on the steep slope.
The double daffodil, N. ‘Tahiti’ escorts the hellebores as those flowers fade and the large seed pods form that add even more interest and texture, not to mention oodles of offspring. Some of the seed pods are nipped off with nimble fingers to prevent germination. A post about that maneuver can be read by clicking here.
As with nearly all of the pleasant pairings of plants here, I can make no claim of clever clairvoyance. Holes are dug and bulbs are thrust into any open ground, to be sorted out later, if needed. It just happened that the Helleborus orientalis and Narcissus spp. hit it off so well. Spontaneous serendipity.