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Portland Nursery

HELLEBORE:
Northwest Garden Nursery

The Winter Jewel Series

From humble beginnings in 1992, Northwest Garden Nursery has become the major breeder of hellebores here in the Pacific Northwest. Their original breeding stock came as seed from breeders Will McLewin in the U.K. and Gisela Schmeimann in Germany. Additional stock was hand selected on buying trips to England and Holland at Ashwood Nursery, Blackthorn Nursery, and de Hessenhof. Over the years other branches of the business were downsized in order to concentrate on their main love of creating and propagating hybrid hellebores of superior quality and vigor ideally suited for life in the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Garden Nursery's breeding program is both rigorous and comprehensive. All the stock plants are hand pollinated and then isolated from other pollinators. Every seed head is individually bagged and harvested by color strain. Qualities selected for are clean, clear colors, evenly shaped petals, overall vigor and disease resistance, and plentiful flower production. In single flowered forms they also select for vertical, outward facing blooms with interestingly colored reverses.

Double flowered forms are additionally selected for blossom fullness, evenly spaced petals, and overall texture. As it is important that the foliage does not overwhelm the blooms, plants are also selected toward finer foliage. Each year they gather a few of the choicest new hybrids as stock plants to be added to the next year's breeding program, while discarding any that are deemed inferior. Through this constant and ruthless upgrading they make yearly progress toward the "perfect plant" for your garden.

Northwest Garden Nursery hellebores are low growing herbaceous perennials with short-stemmed, often toothed, palmate foliage. Their most impressive feature is their five petaled, bowl shaped flowers which appear from late winter into spring in colors as diverse as white, cream, apricot, yellow, green, slate, every tint of pink, maroon, and even black! With all they have to offer it's not hard to see why the hellebore was chosen Perennial Plant of the Year for 2005.

Here at Portland Nursery we are very excited to be able to offer three of the unique series created by the O'Byrnes:

The Winter Jewels Series covers the whole spectrum of floral color and form: singles, doubles, anemone-flowered, speckled, picoteed, veined, and nearly every color and combination of colors imaginable. No garden should be without at least one.

 

The Winter Jewels Series, Singles:

Apricot Blush Black Diamond Cherry Blossom
Apricot Blush- Apricot to peach with red reverse and rays, some with picotee edge. Black Diamond- Deep slate to black shades with burgundy rays and chartreuse nectaries.

Cherry Blossom- Pale pink flecked and/or veined richer pink with bubblegum nectaries.
Golden Sunrise Jade Star Painted
Golden Sunrise- Warm, clear yellow, some with red veining and/or speckles. Jade Star- Bold green with red or purple reverse, rays, and veining, chartreuse nectaries. Painted- White to pale yellow, heavily flecked with purple to maroon spotting.

The Winter Jewels Series, Doubles:

Amber Gem Berry Swirl Cotton Candy
Amber Gem- Light apricot to golden blush tones. Berry Swirl- Rich rose to wine red with deeper speckles and /or picotee. Cotton Candy- Palest blush to rich rose, some with darker picotee.
Double Painted Golden Lotus Harlequin Gem
Double Painted- White, heavily marked with purple to maroon spotting. Golden Lotus- Various yellow tints with or without red picotee and/or spotting. Harlequin Gem- Lush red or plum with darker tips and/or veining.
Jade Tiger Onyx Odyssey Sparkling Diamond

Jade Tiger- Vibrant greens with maroon spotting and/or picotee.
Onyx Odyssey- Dusky maroon, slate, or black, some with darker picotee edging. Sparkling Diamond- Purest white, some with red or green eye.

The Carousel Series

The Carousel Series takes elegant pinks to a whole new level. Ranging from the palest blush, through dawn and apple-blossom, to intense rose, this series explores the single, anemone-flowered form. It features pearly, evenly sculpted petals and enlarged nectaries, sometimes in alluringly contrasting colors. Sweet!


The Splashdown Series

The Splashdown Series pushes the envelope on splashy, contrastingly colored, “painted” flowers. Typically a darker color of spots like plum, red, slate, or purple over a lighter ground like white or cream, these plants are quite showy and eye-catching in the garden. The fancifully patterned, single flowers with large, mostly green nectaries make a playful addition to the shade garden.

Hellebore 'Shooting Star'

Hellebore 'Shooting Star'

FACTS: HELLEBORE

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Helleborus

Common Name: Hellebore, Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose

Culture: Hellebores can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions as long as plants have good drainage. They prefer woodland conditions with deep, fertile, humus-rich soil and dappled shade. Transplant or plant out in spring, being careful not to plant too deeply as this may impair flowering.

Maintenance: Heleborus x hybridus appreciate a yearly application of fertilizer in late winter to early spring. Top dress around the plant with compost or well rotted manure in early winter, but keep clear of the crown to prevent rot. Many authorities recommend removing old leaves to maintain a tidy appearance.

When flower stems are 3-4 inches tall cut off all the old leaves. This will enhance flower display and reduce the spread of disease year to year. When flower stems die back they may be removed as well. Seedlings that appear around the base of plants may be left if not overcrowded. Otherwise pot them up or move them in spring.

When plants are well established, or if they become congested, they may be divided. The best time to do this is late summer or early fall, when active growth has slowed. Be aware that recently divided plants may take a year to reestablish, and thus may not flower the following spring.

Garden Use: The fact that they bloom in late winter when everything else looks dead or conspicuously absent makes them the stars of the winter shade border. They are excellent companions for hostas, woodland flowers, ferns, and other shade-loving plants.

They are also deer resistant and somewhat drought tolerant once established. Being mostly evergreen, their large textured, dramatic leaves provide structure and color year-round. Combine all these desirable qualities with overall toughness and you get a stellar perennial worthy of inclusion in every garden.

Pest and Disease: Hellebores have few problems with disease but they are susceptible to black fungal rot. Keep an eye out for aphids. Slugs and snails are also known to attack young growth. Bait with Sluggo before damage becomes apparent.