This is certainly not my favorite topic. It is a long story, but to be brief, hellebores do not do so well in the chaparral climate of the Santa Clara Valley. They are happier here, just a few miles away, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. By our regional standards, they performed remarkably well this year.

1. Is this Corsican hellebore? There are only a few. They are all the same. Their neat spacing suggests that they were planted intentionally. I find this pale greenish white to be rather boring.

2. Most of the feral hellebores look like this. It is like a spotty pink, with a bit more white around the edges. The individual plants are more numerous than I remember them being last year.

3. This one is more purplish pink or perhaps pinkish purple, with those same spots. I did not notice the herd of aphid to the left. Otherwise, I would have found a more exemplary specimen.

4. Color does not seem to be represented well by this picture. I really thought that this one was more reddish purple than it seems to be, perhaps like burgundy red. I am no good with color.

5. White is, of course, my favorite, even with the reddish purple spots. This one seemed to stand upright better than most of the others. I remember it from last year, but it was not so pretty.

6. If this one did not live right on the edge of a walkway, I would guess that it is one of the cultivars that was originally planted intentionally, and produced some of the seedlings for all these feral hellebores. It is doubtful than it would have been planted there though. It is the most profuse in bloom, although that blushed white color is rather bland. It is very popular with aphid. (This is the same hellebore that was the first of my Six on Saturday for last Saturday.)

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Hellebores!

  1. You really have a nice selection of hellebores. I know them as one of the first to flower in the garden at the end of Winter. I have only the so-called white Christmas Rose and the pink Lent Rose. They are still flowering and will probably do so until the end of March. They seem to like the cold Wintery Swiss Climate.

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    1. They have been here for years or decades, and most are feral seedlings from the originals. I dislike them because they do not do so well here, and because I was involved with growing them years ago, for clients who I did not believe should sell them to their clients. I am pleased that they are as pretty as they are this year. This is not normal.

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  2. The leaves of the hellebores are also an asset providing a good good cover in shady places, I have yet to plant any in our small garden, but you never know….

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    1. Yes, in other gardens. However, they do not perform so well here. I do not know why. It is unfortunate, since they are visually compatible with redwood forests. I mean, the look like something that ‘should’ grow on the forest floor.


  3. Welcome to the hellebore club, although you might be a little more enthusiastic 🙂 Lovely selection and yes I think the first one is the corsican, lovely plant and might enjoy your conditions better. Where is the extra special Rhody cultivar?

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    1. Oh, I am definitely not in the Club yet; and if I were, I would not admit to it. I do take good care of these hellebores though, even though I am none too keen on them. Someone planted them a very long time ago, and they survived for all these years, so that makes them important.
      Rhody was omitted this week. I should not post a picture of him every week, even though everyone loves Rhody. I mean, that is sort of like posting pictures of the same redwood for many weeks consecutively, . . . although more popular.

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  4. Nice to see your wild hellebores. My favourites are number five and six. It’s a pity they don’t form clumps, because that’s a big part of their beauty. I grew some dark ones from seedlings perhaps 20 years ago and my mother still has one of them. I always wish I had given her more than just one or kept one myself.
    You may know this, but if not, the camera, left to itself, imagines that everything you ask it to take is an average lightness or darkness – a mid grey. If I am photographing a dark flower, I underexpose it a touch. On an iPhone, which I use, you can just press and sweep your finger down a fraction.

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    1. #6? Well, that happens to be the most prolific. To me, it seems to look most like what a hellebore should look like, with a stout clump of foliage and bloom. However, it also nods downward like hellebores do, exposing a bronzed exterior. The blushed pinkish white flowers are only visible by flipping them upward. Aphids like it. I should move it back from the edge of the walkway, but do not want to tamper with a good thing. I mean, it is happy where it is, and since I do not know why, I do not want to move it to a spot where it might be less happy.
      I do not work with the camera much. I really never learned how to use them. I think I was more proficient with ‘photography’ when cameras took film. It was important to get the picture right with as few shots as possible.


  5. I’ve never seen a hellebore. They seem lovely, and people crtainly seem passionate about them. I finally figured out that all the business in the center reminds me of one of our native clematis species. I’ve yet to get a decent photo of the inside of the clematis, because it tends to hang down, like these. Your photos are great.

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    1. Wow, I thought everyone knew hellebores. Yes, they are very popular. I feel rather guilty about not appreciating them, as well as snowdrops, like so many others do. Actually, clematis is another genus that is difficult to appreciate here, because they do not perform so well. Only Clematis armandi is happy in this climate, and Clematis montana does reasonably well.


    1. They must perform much better there than they do here. I think they perform better in most regions than they do here. I am still skeptical of them here, but will do what I can to take care of what is here.

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  6. They do well in my garden and seed prolifically, I think pools of them look better than isolated ones. I introduce new ones now and then so the progeny is not too wishy washy.

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    1. Ours are in a broad colony, but still look trashy. This simply is not a good place for them. Feral seedlings are abundant, as if they ‘want’ to live here. They just never perform well. I really should remove all the other intermixed perennials that I had been leaving to compensate for their sparse foliation. They might perform better. I do not know, but since I refuse to remove them, I should try something different. I would be SO pleased if they were pretty. Even though I dislike them, they are some of the few flowers that some of our guests recognize and comment on (as if they are actually pretty).


    1. They are not mine. I do not know who put them here. Nor does anyone else. They have been here longer than anyone can remember, which is why I can never get rid of them. They seem to be feral, and likely seedlings of those planted decades ago. Since no one remembers the originals, no one knows if they were actually cultivars. Because I can not get rid of them, I would like to make them happier. There are more than enough to relocate a few, just to determine if I can find a spot where a few would be happier. However, I will never move all of the old plants from the original location. Although the oldest landscapes here are barely older than a century (since 1906, but not including the redwoods that are a few centuries old), familiar ‘historical’ features are important.

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