May 10, 2012
Red Hellebore 'Velvet Lips'
My two year old 'Velvet Lips' hellebore from Heronswood has been lovely this year. Eventually it will grow to about 2 feet tall and wide, and it's very happy in mostly shady conditions.
The flower stalks emerged in early spring like hydra heads on deep maroon stalks. Although the leaves are evergreen, by this point last year's set were looking ratty and had been cut off.
Wine-red buds began to show at the tips . . .
. . . and were especially pretty when backlit by the morning sun.
The flowers opened over the next month.
As they aged, the blooms lightened to a rose color and the leaves lost their reddish coloring.
The flowers look down at an angle. This keeps nasty spring weather from damaging the reproductive parts.
After over a month in bloom, the flowers are now turning greenish.
A few of them are producing seed pods. The seedlings may or may not look similar to the parent plant.
New leaves are stretching out and will last through most of next winter here in zone 5.
Since I'm too impatient to wait until summer to take new pictures, I'll end with this photo from last year of mature leaves. Both leaves and flowers are attractive on this great plant for shade.