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.


  1. VW girl !!!
    I am such a fan of hellebore and I have some of the Winter Jewels collection .. Golden Lotus is one I am so looking forward to seeing this Spring.. I also have Apricot Blush, Onyx Odessy, London Fog, Peppermint Swirl, an Orientalis of some sort .. and a few others.
    I love seeing them in other gardener's posts so this was a treat : ) thanks !

  2. Hi VW,

    Wonderful photos :)
    I love Cherry Blossom and Black Diamond the most, they do look absolutely amaazing!

  3. These are gorgeous photos. I love the dark colored ones but the pink ones--ooh, la, la! Look forward to more of your posts.

  4. Hi VW, What beautiful hellebores! I have definitely joined you in being a true fan. :-) Thank you for your post - now... how many do you have in your gardens? Do you have a long "Wish List?" (I do!) ;-)

  5. These are beautiful. I especially like that last photo of the hellebores and the fern -- gives me hope for a combination that looks like that in my new serenity garden :-). -Jean

  6. Hi SG,
    Here is my hellebore list: Jade Tiger, Peppermint Ice, Sparkling Diamond, Cotton Candy, Onyx Odyssey, Golden Lotus, unnamed burgundy double, Kingston Cardinal, Pink Tea Cup, Velvet Lips, Double Queen, Apricot Blush (or Apricot Shades, can't remember), white single with lt green leaves, white single with dark green leaves - 14 types total. So far :-)

  7. I had never heard of hellebores until blogging taught me differently. Now I see lots of different colors and even doubles! Wow, my little single plant needs some friends in its life. I can only hope that one day my small specimen will be as large as the ones you show...

  8. Your photos are beautiful and also your hellebores :) Have a nice day !

  9. Hello VW - I awarded you "The Stylish Bloggers Award" over at my blog, will you come by and get the details? I'd appreciate the visit!

  10. I discover your blog and it's a real pleasure to read your articles..
    Your photos are beautiful. I love hellebores: those flowers are a benediction in winter..
    The specimen you show are wonderful!!!
    Excuse my bad english..

  11. I liked this flower.. it has got a very different color... nice one


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