For those of you who have hellebores in your gardens, it's time to go poking around in the fallen leaves for hellebore buds. Some hellebore species are months away from bloom but the bloom season is beginning for others. Here's a picture I took last week of a hellebore just beginning to show bud. You have to look closely to see those three white buds just peeking above the mulch.
Then this morning, something caught my eye from the kitchen window. When the rain let up enough so that I could go outside and explore, here's what I found.
These two plants are in the Helleborus niger species, the Christmas rose. They are among the earliest blooming hellebores; typically mine begin blooming in early to mid-December. I'm always excited when I see the first buds because that signals the start of a very long hellebore blooming season.
So if you have Helleborus niger in your garden, you might want to poke around in the leaves to see if your plants have started blooming yet. And if you don't have any of this species in your garden, December-January would be a great time to see them in bloom at your favorite local nursery.