Shade is precious in my North Texas garden. Though we have plenty of large trees, our property is situated at an odd corner of a cul-de-sac, with the house situated at an even odder angle. Both the front and back gardens receive sun from early morning to late evening year round. I have just a few shady spots, the perfect convergence of house, fence and tree.
That is why, instead of purchasing garden plants in my normal “laissez le bon temps rouler” fashion, I carefully select my shade loving perennials. Hellebores are one of the plants I have deemed well worth every sacred bit of shade.
Hellebores, or Lenten Rose, are evergreen perennials which bloom for several months on end. Their common name comes from the fact that the blooms look slightly like a rose blossom and they start blooming during the season of Lent. It is not unusual for this perennial to hold its blooms up to four months straight. The hellebores’ thick leathery foliage holds up well to our Texas summers and our winter cold.
Hellebores come in a range of colors from near white to green to hot pink and dark purple, and may feature single, semi-double or double blooms. Be sure to shop your local specialty nurseries for hellebores in late winter, when you can see the colors available. Because hellebores are slow to propagate and grow to market size, they are seldom found for sale in box-garden centers.
They are quite at home anywhere from quaint cottage gardens to shady tropical enclaves. The variegated foliage on the hellebore below is just screaming out to be featured in a tropical garden!
Hellelbores need moist, well drained soil, and are extremely hardy once established.
Their leaves are toxic, therefore the wild rabbits that inhabit (curse!) my garden leave them well enough alone.
Be sure to soak hellebores in diluted seaweed water and tease out their root system before planting.