Home Page Image

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

After the wettest Driveway Sale EVER, we took some time out and visited the iris fields in Oregon.. Schreiner's, SnowPeak, MidAmerica. It was a muddy trip, all the stories about the rain in Oregon starting in October and lasting to May may be true! But we were ready with muck boots and rain jackets.
There nothing like standing at the edge of a field and seeing iris and more iris, stretching as far as the eye can see. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to one's face, rain and all.

Happy Father's Day, Belle
Green Thumbs Galore LLC

Grow Helleborus from Seeds

by Dava Stewart

Christmas Rose. Lenten Rose. Hellebore. Helleborus. Just the name of this plant could be confusing for a new or inexperienced gardener! Never fear. You and I both have Belle to guide us through the process of growing these beautiful plants.

First, let’s look at some basic facts:

  • Helleborus” is the genus name for this plant. They are often referred to as hellebore, and the common names are Christmas rose and Lenten rose, however, hellebore and roses are entirely different!  
  • Most hellebore provide interesting, evergreen foliage in the garden.
  • In general, hellebore bloom from December to March, although some begin blooming a little earlier, and some continue blooming until as late as May. The variety and the climate are both factors in when and for how long the flowers bloom.
  • Propagating hellebore successfully requires certain conditions.
  • Hellebore grown from seed may not look anything like their parents, because each open-pollinated seed produces a new and unique plant.

Since this is what Belle refers to as “that time of year for hellebore seeds” you might want to consider collecting some seeds and expanding your garden. (Aren’t we all usually thinking of ways to expand our gardens? I definitely am!) If so, here are the key things you need to know:

The seed must be stratified or it will not germinate. Wondering what that means? I sure was! Stratification means pre-treating seeds to simulate natural conditions that a seed must endure before germination. For helleborus seeds that means exposure to at least six weeks of warm, moist conditions, followed by six weeks of cold, moist conditions. (All those seeds that germinate in 7-14 days are fast compared to hellebore!)

You can free sow your seeds, and let Mother Nature do the stratification for you. Also, it's easy to mistake the hellebore seedlings for weeds when they do finally emerge, Belle successfully weeded away about 500 seedlings one spring!

One easy way to avoid the seedling/weed dilemma is to put some potting soil around the base of your hellebore while it is blooming. Then, completely ignore it. Don’t water it or poke around in it. Instead, let nature do all of the work of stratifying. Your seeds will germinate and come up (looking like weeds) around January of the next year. By April they will have at least one true leaf and be recognizable, and can be transplanted to wherever you want them to grow.

If you choose to plant your seeds outside, away from your existing hellebore, try "Belle's Brick Method'. Sow seeds normally and then cover them with a flat rock or brick.  Using the brick solves two possible problems: 1. the seeds drying out and 2. critters thinking them a tasty meal. Just remove the brick in January so the baby plants can grow; if they have already sprouted and are flat like pancakes under the brick, don’t worry! They will be standing tall in no time.

Pot sowing hellebore seeds works, too. Fill a pot with soil, moisten, add the seeds, lightly cover, and moisten again. Put the whole pot into a Ziploc bag, zip it closed and stick it somewhere warm, like a non-air conditioned room, or outside in the shade. In November, move the bag with the pot outside if you had it in the house. Start looking for the seedlings in January. When they emerge, unzip the bag and by April, you will see at least one true leaf and can either plant your new hellebore in the garden or keep them potted for another year.

When you are ready to transplant, try to handle young plants by the leaves. The stems are fragile and touching them too firmly may cause damage - and you are 1/3 of the way to a blooming plant already! Patience is definitely in ordert, It takes three to four years to go from seed to blooming plant.

In general, hellebores are tough. I don’t know about you, but for me that quality is not only desirable in the garden - it’s required! The only problem they seem to be especially susceptible to is damping-off fungus. If you plant your seeds outdoors and the seedlings emerge but then just seem to die, you may need to get them started with sterile soil in pots.

My garden is crowded at the moment, but I feel pretty sure I can find a little space to try growing some hellebore. I’m intrigued by the idea of growing a plant that will take three to four years to bloom and that 'Brick Method' sounds easy and fun!


June in the Garden:

Hellebore Seeds :
Cool Drinks :
Repel Mosquitoes :