Archive for the ‘Perennials’ Category

Two Hellebore Sales: Clara Berger and Yew Dell Gardens

Posted by Mark Wessel on April 5th, 2013  •  Comments Off on Two Hellebore Sales: Clara Berger and Yew Dell Gardens


Just in time for a weekend that might actually feel like spring, there are two excellent Hellebore sales in our area. The timing could not be better. Usually by sale time, the plants are well past their peak. The cold, late winter and spring has delayed the bloom and extended the season. They are beautiful!

Helleborus x hybridus "Branywine"

The first sale is this Saturday from 10am -12pm, April 6th, at YewDell Gardens in Crestwood Ky. Yew Dell is located just 14 miles north east of Louisville Ky. A bit of a drive from Cincinnati, but well worth the effort. I could wax on endlessly about how diverse and wonderful the gardens are, but I feel it would be best to use the description from their website.

Helleborus x hybridus "Pine Knott Seedling"

“Yew Dell is a nationally-recognized center of gardening and sustainable horticulture that offers extensive display gardens, a diverse slate of educational programs, family-oriented community events, ongoing research into new and better garden plants, and a wide range of private event facilities. All of this activity is offered in a unique setting that artfully combines elements of Kentucky’s rural heritage with modern, cutting-edge architecture.”

Helleborus x hybridus unknown stock plant

Yew Dell’s collection of Hellebores is quite extensive with at least 90 to 100 varieties planted. They will be offering  at least four varieties from the Winter Jewels series developed by the hottest Hellebore breeder in the USA, Marietta O’Bryne.Red Sapphire, Amber Gem Sparkling Diamond and Onyx Odyssey.

I was told that the sale opens at 10am and they sell out by 10:30am. Don’t be late!

The second sale, Sunday, April, 7th, will take place at Clara Berger’s on State Road in Anderson Twp. She is located across from El Coyote.

Clara has had her finger to the pulse of the Hellebore world for 20 years. Her passion for Hellebores started with seeds from the legendary U.K. collector, Will Mclewin. Will scoured the Balkans as some of its native populations were being bombed into oblivion during the Balkan war.

Although the species and regional varieties from Mr. Mclewin lack the glitz and glitter of the new hybrids, they offer a sublime beauty that is wonderfully displayed in Clara’s Garden.

Helleborus ?

As the Hellebore renaissance has advanced, Clara has continued to keep up with all the new introductions.

This years selections include Rose Quartz,Double Ellen series, Hellorus x Ballardiae and the incredible Helleborus niger “Jacob“.

Helleborus x hybridus "Goldfinch"

She will also have a small amount of other plants for sale. The cool spring has limited the amount of non-hellebore offerings.

Between the weather and a few great plant sales, inspiration for the garden should be plentiful.

Posted in : Perennials, Uncategorized  •  Tags:

Helleborus x ericsmithii “Enthusiasm”

Posted by Mark Wessel on March 31st, 2013  •  Comments Off on Helleborus x ericsmithii “Enthusiasm”

Helleborus x ericsmithii

I am sure that some of my close horticulture friends tire of me singing the praise of Helleborus x ericsmithii. Frankly, I do not care. If they would only buy this phenomenal floristic spring blooming beauty, they too would be converted to “Ericsmithii enthusiasm.”

Where do I start the praise? First, they are floriferous beyond belief. The number of blooms per plant is truly remarkable.

Helleborus x ericsmithii

The floriferous nature of the plant resides in the fact that it is sterile. The flowers are not fertile and do not set seeds. This allows the plant to spend much more time on being beautiful.

H.x ericsmithii " Winter Bliss"

The second desirable trait is flower orientation. They hold their flowers above the foliage, facing up and out. Many of Helleborus x hybridus hang their heads down, requiring you kneel  to truly enjoy their flowers.

The foliage is also outstanding, always clean and healthy. Unlike the H.x hybridus, there is often very little annual removal of the previous years foliage. Only the occasional dead or torn leaf needs attention.

H. x ericsmithii showing nice clean winter foliage.

Helleborus x ericsmithii has a slightly complicated parentage. Helleborus niger was crossed with Helleborus x sternii. Helleborus x sternii is a cross between Helleborus argutifolius and Helleborus lividus.

The variation in Ericsmithii cultivars is minor. White, cream and pink colored blossoms often fading to pink with varying levels of leaf color, leaf venation and stem color account for most of this variation.

H. x ericsmithii "WInter Moonbeam" foliage

Until recently H.x Ericsmithii has been hard to find locally. Ivory Prince was often our only option. Last spring I started seeing more variety in the finer garden stores in our area. Pipkins Market and Greenfield Plant Farm would a good place to start you search in Cincinnati. Just a few weeks ago Lowe’s Home Improvement had a big rack of the variety “Winter Bliss”. Mail order is still going to offer the best variety. Pine Knot Farms and Fraser’s Thimble Farms have an excellent selection.

So go out and make the effort to find these plants. Stunning sterile flower power at its best.

Posted in : Perennials, winter bloomers  •  Tags: , , , ,

Orienpet Lily – Hybrid vigor at its best.

Posted by Mark Wessel on July 16th, 2011  •  Comments Off on Orienpet Lily – Hybrid vigor at its best.

'Conca d' Or'

With all the talk of Genetically Modified Organisms on one end of the spectrum and Heirlooms vegetables on the other, good old-fashioned hybridization seems to be taking a back seat these days.  It is, however, happening every day. As long as our desire for new and improved plant varieties continues, people will be smearing pollen from one plant onto the stigmas of another plant.

This week that Hybrid Vigor was never more evident to me. Until three weeks ago, I had never heard of Orienpet Lilies. Orienpets are crosses between Oriental lilies and Aurelian or trumpet lilies. Mostly American made, much of the hybridization started taking place in the late sixties and continues today.

'Conca d' Or'

I do love lilies; I just do not keep up with all the varieties available today. Their susceptibility to deer and various diseases have also discouraged me. Although the Orienpets are not resistant to deer damage, they are much hardier and tolerant of the weather of the Mid-west than their parents.

The sheer vigor of this one plant growing in my neighborhood is what grabbed my attention. The lush foliage, a stalk as big as a corn plant and big fat swelling buds demanded viewing. This is all before a single flower opened.

On my second visit, I met the owner of the property, Betty Davis. Betty welcomed me into her garden and explained the origins of the Orienpet lilies.

Dewey Holister and the Lily

Since becoming aware of this type of lily, I have seen them in two other gardens. All were big and beautiful, however, Betty’s was by far the most robust.

I would like to thank Betty for allowing me to photograph her lily and sharing a few plants from her garden.

Posted in : Bulbs, Perennials  • 

Harvest Thyme Hellebore sale

Posted by Mark Wessel on March 29th, 2011  •  Comments Off on Harvest Thyme Hellebore sale

Please plan to attend Harvest Thyme’s annual Hellebore sale. Clara’s gardens contain one of the finest collections of Hellebores in the Cincinnati region. There will be many other types of fine garden plants available  for purchase.

Posted in : Perennials  •