Hellebores are hard to beat for winter interest, from the Whistling Gardener

Hellebores are tough as nails and rarely need to be divided once they are planted.
For winter interest in the garden or containers Hellebores are unsurpassed for long lasting blooms and ease of care. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.

If you are looking for a sturdy perennial that will grow in shade or morning sun then look no further than Hellebores.

These perennials are tough as nails and rarely need to be divided once they are planted. Mostly disease free and only occasionally visited by aphids they are easy to grow and non-demanding.

I have several clumps in my garden that were planted many years ago and other than cutting them back once a year I do absolutely nothing special to them.

If you don’t have a clue what a Hellebore is then perhaps the terms of Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose might sound more familiar.

The Christmas Rose and all of the new hybrids start blooming as early as November and continue into the new year. The flowers are mostly white but newer hybrids are showing some shades of pink.

Some also have marbled foliage and speaking of foliage, hellebores are evergreen which means they won’t melt away like a Hosta at the first frost.

Lenten Roses start blooming around the first of the year and continue into spring with both single and double flowers in an array of colors all the way from white to black and everything in between except maybe blue.

They can be picotee or frilled or freckled or just solid colors and once planted rarely ever need to be divided or transplanted.

For winter interest in the garden or containers they are unsurpassed for long lasting blooms and ease of care. A once a year removal of last year’s foliage is all that is required along with of course cutting off the blooms once they have finished.

Join us for our class November 15, 2014, at 10:00 am.

Sally Isaiou from Skagit Gardens in Mt. Vernon will share her expertise in combining hellebores with other winter interest plants to create enticing containers for all winter long interest and also share growing tips to help you succeed in your own gardens.

As with most of our classes, attendees will receive a 20% discount on Hellebores the day of the class.

WREATH MAKING IS ALMOST HERE! That’s right, it’s just around the corner and for anyone who has made a wreath here at the nursery in the past they can attest to what a fun and unique experience it can be.

What makes wreath making at Sunnyside Nursery so different is all the special greens and twigs and berries we collect from around the area that can be incorporated into your wreath.

Every year it gets more difficult to find sources for these special evergreens so we are asking you to help us out by letting us know if you have any plants that you could share with us.

If you live in the Marysville, Lake Stevens or north Everett areas and have plants that might need some light pruning please let us know. We will help prune them in exchange for the greens. Just call us and let us know when we can come by.

Also, if you are coming in to make a wreath and would like to include some greens from your own yard to customize the wreath then feel free to bring them in for you to use and share with others.

Finally, if you have a group of friends that would like to make a wreath as a holiday activity then call and reserve a time when you can come in. You can bring beverages and food and really make it special (as long as you share them with me!).

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at


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