Hellebores are one of the first flowers to bravely emerge in early spring, often pushing through frozen ground. Even before snowdrops or crocuses, they burst through with new life to bring a thrill to the late winter/early spring garden. The beauty of these small blooms is often overlooked because of their drooping habit. The flowers have evolved with the heads down to defend themselves against the elements hence protecting their pollen. Because of their growing habit, they often go underappreciated except by avid gardeners who prize and collect them. The best way to appreciate the intricacy of their design is to crawl beneath a clump and view these darling drooping star-shaped flowers from below, or by gently lifting their heads to admire them. These subtle flowers are deer proof and will naturalize, multiplying year after year in the garden. They require little maintenance although I cut off their winter foliage to better see the flowers. They provide ground cover through all the seasons. There is so much to love about these flowers.
Hellebores are commonly known as Lenten Roses( H orientalis) since they bloom around the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, or Christmas Roses(H niger). They are native to Europe. They are hardy in zones 5-9, although H niger can tolerate zone 3. They are from the same family as clematis and peonies: Ranunculaceae or the buttercup family.
Using hellebores in floral arrangements is not easy. They often get lost because of their tendency to flop down. Propping them against other flowers can help and so can wiring them with florist wire. The best and simplest way in my opinion to use them as cut flowers is to reduce their stem to 1/2 inch and float them in water. This allows one to see them closely to appreciate their intricate beauty.
With more than 20 species in a multitude of colors from mauve, cream, yellow, crimson, black, purple, wine and peach, their versatility in arrangements is boundless. In my garden I grow more common varieties in purple, cream, green-pink and in this blog, I’ve presented 3 ways to display them in floating arrangements.
Here I have floated several blooms in a shallow art glass dish. Spectacular!
For a stunning dinner party centerpiece, consider floating hellebores in a silver punch bowl with floating candles illuminating your table, as I have done here, or in any other vessel of your choosing.
Arranging a few blooms in a stemmed etched glass compote makes a pretty display in a powder room or on a nightstand.
I hope you have gained a new appreciation for the subtle but spectacular beauty of hellebores. Hello Gorgeous, indeed!