Monday, February 29, 2016

Finding Hidden Treasures (aka Hellebore Seedlings)

Jack made good use of the beautiful weekend weather to cut back the liriope foliage. Our usual gardening practice is to cut back the old, winter-damaged foliage just before the new spring foliage emerges on the liriope and evergreen ferns. Some people use a strim-trimmer or other power tool to do this, but Jack likes the neater look that using a hand pruner gives. 

Trimming by hand put Jack up close and personal with several hellebores planted a few years ago, and he discovered hellebore seedlings, the first that our hellebores have produced. I was so happy because I think that growing hellebores from seed is so much fun.  Here's a picture of Jack's discovery.

Here is a look at the mother hellebore. You usually find the seedlings protected underneath the parent foliage. I parted the old foliage to take this shot. It goes without saying that I'm not among those that cuts back the old foliage when it first begins to look tattered from winter damage. I like to leave the old leaves, at least until spring when they begin to die back, because I think the leaves might be still be supplying nutrition to the plant. Now I have another reason: they protect those babies.

So far, the hellebore above is the only one we have that has produced babies, and, unfortunately, it is a rather plain-looking one. But I'm really hoping for babies from this one. 

and this one. . . . 

So I'll be letting the blooms remain on these plants this spring far beyond the time when they are still attractive. 

Both of these are one-of-a-kind hellebores in our garden and are seedling-grown, passed along from either my mother-in-law's garden or my sister's garden. I got seedlings from both gardens a few years ago and don't remember whose seedlings I planted in what areas. Growing hellebores from seedlings is easy and it is so much fun to see what you get. (Neither my mother-in-law nor my sister has a hellebore like these).

If there seems to be interest, I'll talk more on the topic of growing hellebores from seeds in a future post. Leave a comment if you are interested.

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