You don't know how spoiled you are as a gardener until you grow a hellebore. Up here in the northern states we are not used to seeing flowers in January, maybe some evergreen foliage under a somber sky. Most of the trees are gray and leafless and the usual sights of the garden are tired dried stems of decorative grasses left to over-winter for cold season interest.

In the middle of this landscape the hellebores look like they are pasted from another picture, one with lush gardens basking in warm humid air that smells like humus and mushrooms.

I thought last year they sprung up extra early, but no, they really do bloom in January. There is something monastic about these flowers, a self-effacing manner, a muted color scheme, a crisp simplicity that feels so at home in the cold winter air. For two whole months they rule the garden, there is nothing else but them until the spring bulbs bloom again.

They last in the garden for months until their beautiful flowers swell into star shaped fruits, brightening up the shade garden, faithful, graceful and care free.

There is absolutely no work involved with hellebores: they don't get diseases, they don't need trimming or deadheading, they stay green all year and they thrive with whatever they can find in their environment.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”, "Letters to Lelia"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.