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My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Posted by campanula UK Cambridge (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 22, 12 at 17:36

Mr Campanula, as a sign of his devotion (he says) drove me on a 70 mile round trip to buy one plant....and it wasn't even a rose. OK, I know 70 miles is like a trip to the corner shop for you guys but for us, we are practically packing a suitcase and looking for our passports. Anyway, I came home with a new hellebore - a clear primrose yellow which I have been wanting for ages. Looked for a good red for my open pollinated seedlings (have pinks, speckled white and a very deep slate blue) but didn't get one. Almost bought a couple of H.Ericsmithii....but prudence prevailed (it doesn't prevail very often so I thought I should take heed of the little whisperings from my conscience regarding finances). It was a particularly brutal windy day in the wilds of Fenland and a few minutes of grovelling around trying to read labels and keep my cloak dry put paid to any more expenditure. Nonetheless, it is sitting where I can see it, waiting for the white martagons to grow up through the leaves. Mmmmm, mended my bicycle and fitted a child seat for grand-daughter so a fruitful day all round.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

There are people here who commute 90 miles one way to work. I'm not one of them-my driving sucks. I only drive 7 miles to work.
The children and I were studying the map of Europe and thought it was a teeny little place. Look, I said, it's 298 miles from Amsterdam to Paris and you get to see three countries.
It was 325 miles from Amsterdam to London. But we were puzzled(not really) why it took six hours. People here just drive out in the country a little ways and then have a charley horse in their foot, which doesn't go away until the car's up to 85.
The speed limit's 70. We used to not have a speed limit at all, but they began to make fun of us in the national press.
It's over 700 miles from the northwest corner of Montana to the southeast corner, and the last hundred miles has no towns at all.
Most of this is pretty boring to drive. Mountains, more mountains, then sagebrush, more sagebrush, and all along the way one is keeping a sharp eye out for Montana's disappearing treasure, the Little Old Lady Cafe.
You know the ones with the hand-cut french fries, chicken fried steak, pancakes, etc? Gone.
Always gas up in Billings, because you will find signs out there which read "No gas the next 100 miles."
I could be wrong, but I'd bet the nearest hellebore is in Seattle. I hope you had fun. I've been starting begonia seedlings. My germination rate from 500 seeds was 80. Each seedling is the size of an eyelash. Stokes seeds claim they will be a big blooming plant by June, but i think they're lying.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Mr Campanula is definitely a peach!! I don't think you have to take his word for it anymore. He showed it with his actions AND his gas money! Even though I have no clue what a hellebore is (don't feel like googling right now), I'm sure it's lovely and precious. So glad you got it.

I don't drive anywhere anymore. 4.5 miles to work and my shopping is mostly on the way home. Florida is big end to end, but it's not Montana-big. I love your Montana stories, Kaylah. The wide open spaces of the west are amazing, but I've only seen it in the movies. Obviously, we in the east are more clustered together with more clusters.

I got some begonia seeds this year, too. I haven't started them yet. Thanks for the reminder, Kaylah. Campanula, begonias are more my speed. I saw a new double hybrid at Lowe's recently that could have passed for a pink cupped rose. It was gorgeous. I resisted the impulse to buy with a freeze on the way, but I hope they still have them.

Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Well, I only drove as far as one of our two local nurseries, Summerwinds that used to be Woolworth's. I bought my second lilac of this year. Lilacs are a problem in this climate because we don't get enough chill to set bloom, but there are ones specially bred for it. I've had one called 'Sensation ' for years, dramatic coloring but with only a mild scent. Last week I planted another low-chill lilac called 'Angel White', one of the Descanso hybrids. Then I read that it also has only a mild scent. Darn! Well, it is going to be so pretty so I decided to keep it. Then I did Even More research and discovered that the most fragrant of the low chill lilacs is called 'Blue Skies'. Can you guess who bred 'Blue Skies'? It is the rose world's own Ralph Moore! Okay, I now had to have it. I shopped around, found a nursery that had it in stock, and bought it home to plant at dusk this very evening. Looks like it is own root -- I see that it is sending up suckers, as own-root lilacs are wont to do. It even has flower buds. I am going to have the fragrance of lilacs this year, and how truly wonderful a blessing it will be.

Rosefolly


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Hey Kaylah - great hearing from you, kiddo. Hope all is well in Big ole Montana (a place which is almost as big as the entire UK).
Oh Rosefolly, what have you got, like 10 acres or so? One of my customers has a big garden I tend where the lilacs have been running amok for the last 16 years (along with forsythia and wisteria). This was the house which finally persuaded us to part with a vast sum of money for a good petrol chipper!
Mind you, the sight and fragrance in spring is a joy as they are also stuffed with philadelphus, deutzias (my faves) and, of course, roses.
Ah Sherry, yep, sweetheart is a pretty decent guy - he has been putting up with my sharp tongue and lashing temper for the past 27 years and has still kept his hair (weirdly ungrey), his figure (thinly elegant) and his sense of humour. Many times, people mistake him for my son!(gnashing teeth....or at least I would be if I had any decent ones) Yes, he was a bit of a toyboy (8 years diff) but somehow, I am the one who is haggard, grey and stooped. Could this very same sharp tongue be the cause of prenature aging.....or could it be the 3 ingrate offspring who all love me so much they cannot bear to leave home. Shouda beat and starved 'em.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Yes but, Oh Ancient Nose of the West - did you know that you could bury everyone who has ever lived, side by side, in an area the size of England and Scotland combined?

Some may think this a fine use for this little island. I just think what fine compost it would make . . .

Best wishes
Jon


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

We like nothing better than to get in the car and go nursery hopping. We don't even need a specific idea. We just browse. There's always something that we can't live without. The coastal nurseries are only 20 miles away. Sonoma County is full of great places 50 miles south. We also stop further afield when we're on vacation.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Jon, now I've got a picture of the entire island full of little tombstones, row on row with a bicycle trail winding through the rows for the last survivor, He Who Must Not Be Named.......or Trometlov, spelled backwards......his nickname is Lord Trauma Love in this county.
Sherry, here's a picture of hellebores.

Here is a link that might be useful: hellebores


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I have California Rose. A very pretty lilac that has nice scent. I heard Blue Skies is just wonderful. I go to Descanso every year just to smell the lilacs. I'm the only one who has a lilac that I know of around here.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I don't know who's the funniest on this thread, Camp, Kaylah or Jon. Compost, indeed.

Camp, my husband is 16 years older than I, and he also is tall, slim and elegant and sometimes looks younger than I do. Genetically blessed people can be rather revolting sometimes.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Our hellebores are blooming now, and are the freshest, purest flowers imaginable. They love living under deciduous trees and shrubs with clay soil and a slope for drainage, so are ideal for the more developed parts of our garden. Hellebores also have the lovely habit of readily producing handsome seedlings. But Suzy, don't get me thinking about special varieties: I don't need another passion! My garden varieties are mostly forms or hybrids of H. orientalis, I believe, and we also have the native H. foetidus, and the less common H. viridis. The latter we dug up from a local colony, and I wish I had more of it.
With gas at $8/gal. and going nowhere but up, I try not to drive much. Also the adjacent Po Valley has some of the worst air quality in Europe. Italian nurseries are well behind U.S. and British ones, too, in my experience, so I do most of my shopping online. Going plant hunting in a nursery sounds like so much fun!
On the other hand, so is rambling around my garden as it emerges from the snow. I'm looking forward to seeing the shade garden soon, there are some special plants down there. Our Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' came through the Great Cold just fine and is now in profuse fragrant bloom.
My husband is genetically favored as well, just turned seventy-seven and still bouncing with enthusiasm and energy.
Suzy, enjoy your new hellebore! Folks, thanks for my morning's entertainment.
Melissa


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

My toy boy,(well, he is only 6 years younger than me, but still my toy boy,) will happily drive me anywhere!
Although with petrol at 1.85 euros per litre, that is 1.57 pounds sterling or 2.47 U.S.dollars... can't work that out to price per gallon, we don't go out very much at all.
We go into the local town for shopping and my weekly Greek class on market day.
The two local garden centres are pretty rubbish, but there are a couple of plant stalls in the market that sometimes come up with some goodies.
Nothing is labelled and none of the garden centre owners or staff know the names of anything.
If you point to a rose and ask, "which rose is that", they look at you as if you are mad and say, "It is rosa!!!!"
I found this pretty anisodontea on a market stall last autumn. It is still in it's pot and has flowered profusely all winter.
I could see that it was an anisodontea, but not one I know.
Luckily, one of the people on the Mediterranean Gardening Society forum, was able to name it as Anisodontea capensis El Rayo.

Photobucket

Suzy, you have bought back a vivid memory I have of visiting Margery Fish's garden at East Lambrook Manor many years ago.
It was early spring and the garden was absolutely thick with hellebores.there were carpets of them everywhere. Wonderful!
I have planted my first hellebore this winter. It is a pure white orientalis. I am hoping to see some flowers on it next winter. It is still a young plant, but has settled down and is producing new growth.
Daisy


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

When I discovered that hellebores would live in the many very shady spots in my clay soil garden, I was so happy. Now have them in three areas - they are marvelous. Here is a bowl of them I cut for a luncheon the other day (all h. orientalis):

Photobucket


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Oh, Jacqueline, you have some lovely ones there. I have none of the doubles or anemone flowered ones but I am looking forward to a spot of hybridising with the ones I have. Bet you get some great seedlings as they are as promiscuous as aquilegias, cross pollinating with each other all the time. I love the single white with that vivd green around the nectaries.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Thanks - I love how they will grow & bloom in the most difficult situations - under Annabelle hydrangeas, for example. When I finally got around to pruning the hydrangeas, which had completely smushed & eaten all of the hellebores, there they were underneath - in full bloom! Also I stupidly planted some where they were eaten by English ivy, but two weeks ago I saw the flowers peeking up, and was able to dig them up and move them. I have moved several when they were blooming, and they have not missed a beat - just opened more flowers. That is the kind of plant I need!

Jackie


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I never paid much attention to hellebores until Ron Robertson showed me his with much pride. I now have several growing in that most difficult of locations, a half shady spot between the cottage and a cluster of four redwood trees. They thrive.

Rosefolly


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Ah, I have several "Lenten Roses" here residing in my shady areas and those coupled with my Winter Daphne are my
bridge to spring plants. :)


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

The light blue, and the red-purple iris reticulata are both in bloom, the crocus ancyrensis that started this all off are just about gone, but the crocus Tricolor are still making a good show.

Some Ballerina tulips are starting to send up shoots-it will be 8-9 years now from them! The large white late crocus are just sending up tips in the last day, and the daffodils are up about 5", and there are more bird calls in the woods.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Oh yep, Phoebe, Ballerina are reliably perennial for me, along with most of the lily flowered group. I grow them with T,Batalini and Lady Tulips (clusiana?) underneath the yellow wild roses - cantabridgiensis, primula and hugonis - not a subtle picture but I crave vivid colour after a grey winter. The only crocus I grow in spring are the purple tomassianus - they open like flying saucers with the merest hint of sunlight...and I also spied a little reticulata iris popping up amongst the alpines. Spring is certainly moving on.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 12 at 15:56

We go nursery hopping in April and May every year. It's nothing to put 70 miles on the car doing that but maybe not this year with the gas prices climbing like mad now. I can't help but think this will be another blow to an already sluggish economy. A lot of place will probably end up closing again. I know we'll probably have to cut back on everything and so will a lot of other people which will mean a lot less in sales for the nurseries.

Ack! You are all making me feel very inadequate. I have tried to grow hellebores several times in several places around the yard with no success at all. Seeds never germinated and plants bought grew fine all summer and then disappeared in the fall never to be seen again. Is there some trick I don't know about?


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I took this picture yesterday. This morning, everything was under a couple of inches of snow.

Helleborus niger


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Seil,

Hellebores like it moist and shady, especially the Christmas Roses (H. niger), which is probably why they like clay soil. They can take dry shade once they are established which is a year or few. Much of Michigan is sandy. Do you have sandy soil? The other issue I have found is slugs. They consume the all new H. niger seedlings every year unless prevented which takes constant vigilance. Do give it another try and good luck!

Cath


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 12 at 23:20

Thanks, Cath! I'm on reclaimed lake bed which is pretty much clay with some kind of fill dirt over it. I've tried them in the two shadiest, dampest spots in the yard and neither one lived. I planted seeds I got from someone and nothing every came up. Oh well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Okay, Texas checking in here... our "texas lilacs" are vitex, we just don't get enough cool weather for true lilacs so we do with what works.

I have one whole hellebore, it made it through last summer, and is blooming now, but must move it since cutting down the tree that gave it some shade. For the time being, I have two pots on top of each other to give it some shade. Gardening is so fun, isn't it?


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Suzy,
That overgrown garden sounds like how I hope our garden will be one day. All those shrubs do well here, where so many plants aren't suited, and I love them all. Of course I don't have a gas-powered chipper, but that's a problem for the future.
You folks with the early spring bulbs are so lucky. I try them, but most of them get eaten by the wild boars (or by mice if it's close to the house). This is particularly irritating because I love bulbs and they do really well here. Thank goodness narcissus are poisonous and get left in peace.
Daisy, your nursery people sounds like ours: not good with names. They grow things well, though.
Seil, I wonder whether your hellebores could be suffering from too much summer water or poor drainage, or both? We don't water ours in the summer and they go months without rain and are perfectly happy. In nursery catalogs you quite often read that a plant needs "moisture retentive but well-drained soil"; that translates as clay on a slope. They need moderate summer water at first, of course, to get established, like all plants, but after that are better left mostly dry during the summer.
I was out working in the garden yesterday continuing my 'winter' cleanup. I had on a t-shirt and was hot. The weather is beyond bizarre.
Melissa


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I planted a small packet of lily of the valley this winter - was that a mistake?

Does anyone grow trilliums? I'm trying some for the first time...


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Lily of the valley are known to run about a bit - if possible, a good use for them is to edge a path. Really though, even a bit of anarchy is OK with convallaria as they are so lovely. As for the trilliums, well yes, I did actually manage to grow some from seed - 5 years! The longest I have waited ever....and then they were miserable and finally diminished as my soil is just not peatily acidic (but I didn't know much about soil conditions, all those years ago when I was first given seeds.
Seil, I can only grow H.orientalis well - the niger usually fail after a couple of years so I gave up with them. As for the seeds, they are like primula and need to be sown while fresh - the best way of getting seedlings is to look under established plants - if you have friends with them, have a rummage - there will be lots of fat little seedlings which will transplant easily.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

I planted a Lavendar Lady lilac last fall, supposedly having a "low chill" requirement. So hoping it will survive in my climate. I grew up with the most amazing yard full of heavenly scented purple lilac bushes and I've been pining for one for a long time.

Was tempted to try some hellebores in my shady area where I'm finally finding success with camellias. But in reading this thread I think my pure sand soil and very hungry snails will make it too difficult.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

noooo harmonyp, take a look at hellebore foetidus (and ignore the stinking bit, it is when the leaves are crushed and it is nothing as bad as codonopsis for example). The Wester Flisk group will grow in sand, in sun, in cracks in a wall. Also, Corsican hellebores (h.argutifolius) is a similar but fabulous bright green cupped flowered plant with stately foliage. Then there is H.Thibetanus, H.Sternii and amazing hybrids between them all. Many will grow in full sun and are not fussy about soil. Many have brilliant marbled and ornamental evergreen foliage. In fact, the most difficult tend to be the most common (The Christmas rose, H.Niger and Lenten rose, H,orientalis). Do not despair, these are fascinating plants and well worth a try out.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Again, I agree with Campanula! I did cross some H. orientalis once to get the blossom color I wanted. ("Once" only - I must have a short attention span.) A word of warning: for three days after I popped the seeds out of their husk, the area under my thumbnail was sore. Be careful. They are highly poisonous.

I do grow trillium. Avert your eyes if you do not approve of collecting from the wild. About 2 1/2 hours from here a friend of mine and I found an area where many hillsides were covered with Trillium, Dutchman's Breeches and fern. We dug a shovelful each of the Trillium and the fern. The Trillium grew well for several years then died. We happened to be back that way again and I dug a second shovelful of Trillium. It has endured for many years and increases slowly. A few years ago I split up the clump and planted some in another part of the garden. Both prosper. There is more and more construction in the area of that wild stand of Trillium. Sooner or later it will occur on those hillsides. I do not feel the least bit guilty taking those three shovelsful. In fact I believe that it is the only way, in the end, that we will preserve our wild treasures.

Cath


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Cath, will you and your friend try to remove the wildflowers when construction does start there? They're so beautiful it would be a tragedy to let them be destroyed. Painful to think about.

I planted 5 rhizomes of the red trilliums and hope they'll naturalize through a small wooded area. I've thought about getting some of the white as well. I read they're very slow to reproduce, which sounds like your experience.

Daisy, that's almost $10 per gallon for gasoline. I pretty much stay put with gasoline at $3.75 a gallon. My life is a circle of about six miles. Probably sounds boring, but I like my life without so much traveling.

While getting the trillium rhizomes I did buy a hellebore the other day. My one other hasn't bloomed and I don't know what it is. this one is called 'Pink Frost' - it is really beautiful. All your pictures really inspired me.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

When we lived in upstate New York we would drive along miles of country roads that had steep hillsides of trees, and the trillium of all colors were part of the understory. We heard that if you needed to make a plant rescue, the best thing was to take a soil sample, and look at the surrounding vegetation-and dig up the plant with enough soil to have plenty of microbes to help the plant re-establish itself in it's new spot.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

The Trillium with reddish flowers grew in our wooded area when we came and makes its home here wherever it wants. The Trillium that I dug was Trillium grandiflora. I never even thought to specify the species. To me it is the Trillium. My friend and I haven't been to the Trillium hillsides in a number of years. It is far away and we do not go on plant related excursions as much as we used to. You might have wondered why we did not take the Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). That is because a neighbor had already given me some that he had dug from a property that was going to have a house built on it. I don't even know where that property was. The Dutchman's breeches did not thrive where I planted it but has made itself comfortable in other areas. I figure that it knows best.

Cath


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

$3.75 a gallon!!!! I s'pose it is just as well, living in such a big place but we cough up approx $18 a gallon here....in fact, it is so expensive, we only buy it in litres. Many of us have been trying out cooking oil experiments and there has been an outbreak of fuel stealing from farms, even though the pink gasoline is illegal for use in road vehicles. Propane and butane are also through the roof so we have been to recycling workshops to make our own rocket stoves (which will burn tiny amounts of fuel, unseasoned wood and even dry weeds). Knitting has soared in popularity as a nation attempts to keep warm the old fashioned way (extra cardies and woollies). Anyway, as a cyclist, I have been a bit immune to petrol costs (although we do have an old Ford pick-up for work, we never use it about town).
Phoebe, you sound up on stuff like microbes and all - have you ever tried making your own mycchorhizae? Look up Sunseed, a desert garden and alternative tech centre in Spain for a recipe - I am in my second year of catch pots and mycchorhizal capture - truly fascinating stuff.Although at this point, I have to deviate from some of the wackier proposals of the biodynamic crew with their secret preparations involving animal horns dug at midnight under a full moon when Saturn is in the ascendant blah blah.


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RE: My new herald of spring - but not a rose (yikes)

Well, surprise, surprise. Hellebores will grow in Florida, except for the southernmost tip, according to Mr. Google. I just had always assumed we couldn't grow them. I shall have to order me some.


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