February 28, 2011
Winter Jewels Single Hellebores
As promised, here are pictures of some single hellebores bred by Ernie and Marietta O'Byrnes and photographed during my Official Plant Fanatic trip to their nursery last weekend. Again, I'm guessing on names since all of these plants were growing out in their gardens and I didn't check name tags. The one above is probably an 'Apricot Blush'.
If you want to see the nursery gallery of single hellebores, click here. The O'Byrnes have decided to focus exclusively on the hybridizing and growth of their Winter Jewels lineup of single and double hellebores to meet increasing demand. So these gorgeous plants will become easier for gardeners to find and buy in coming years.
I have a lot of admiration for plant breeders, as it takes a combination of science, art and hard work to hybridize new plants. I'm fascinated with english roses from David Austin, siberian irises from Schafer and Sacks at JPW Flowers, New Millenium delphiniums from Dowedeswell, heucheras from Terra Nova nursery, and gorgeous daylilies and hostas from so many breeders. Plus the countless bulb choices developed by dutch growers over the years, all those new echinaceas and clematis . . . and surely I could think of more if I spent the time. Not every new plant introduction lives up to its advertising, but many of them prove to be wonderful additions to our gardens.
These two dark heucheras must fall into the 'Black Diamond' group. White Flower Farm is offering 'Black Diamond' in its spring catalog, along with 'Cherry Blossom' and 'Golden Sunrise' from the O'Byrnes.
Heronswood doesn't offer Winter Jewels, but has a large collection of single and double hellebores for sale. I'm especially tempted by their new 'Anemone Smoky Pink', which looks a lot like the pink hellebore in the photo below. I just love those pink ones!
My local nursery carried some 'Golden Lotus' hellebores last year, which are from the double Winter Jewels collection. So I'm sure that plenty of other local nurseries carry Winter Jewels as well. If your favorite nursery doesn't have any in stock, ask them to order some from Terra Nova (who are wholesale only) for you.
By the way, none of these companies have paid me for advertising. Really, that's a laughable thought for my little blog, so I want you to know that my reviews are completely unbiased by anything except my passion for pretty plants!
The picture looks like a 'Cherry Blossom' WJ hellebore, with its clean white and raspberry shades. Currently the Winter Jewels series and many others are seedling lines, which allows for interesting variation but makes it impossible to know exactly what you're getting unless you buy the plant in bloom in person. That is a drawback for any of us who are a little OC about getting exactly what we want. I have read that tissue culture propagation for hellebores has made great strides recently, so I expect that more and more strains will be offered that will be perfectly uniform.
This last photo shows a large pink-flowered clump nestled into ferns in the O'Byrne garden. I'll post more pictures from their beautiful garden - which includes much more than just hellebores - next week. If you want to see my post on the double Winter Jewels hellebores, click here.