3/03/2012

Up to the top of Hellebore Mountain


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On our way down the mountain after a day spent at Barry Glick's Hellebore Farm I said to Nicolette "It's going to take me a long time to process today."

A few hours later, en route to Charlottesville, the last leg of our southern tier flower farm tour she said to me "Today ranks high on the list of days."

Helleborus. What is it about this plant that gardeners and floral enthusiast find so captivating?
They are early bloomers - often pushing up flowers through snow cover. They are phenomenally deer resistant. They stand up well to dry periods. Their delicate blooms face down more often than up, a quiet and modest specimen. On Barry's eight hillside acres of planted hellebores we ran around for hours in muddy boots and jeans yelling to each other ...

"You have to come see this one!" Bending over flipping up flowers to the dappled sunshine (shade plants!) pulling out iphones and cameras in a feeble attempt to document and capture the gorgeousness that these few weeks in February and March make possible; small, impossibly detailed flowers. We got the fever.

A few hours in, we had spent too long already on the hillside (home to over 50,000 stock plants) and needed to go find Barry in the greenhouses to do our business. The business of trying to wrangle a few fully developed plants from the most serious hellebore grower. We succeeded, and brought back around 15 gallon plants that will be cut up in tomorrow's hellebore focused flower arranging class and then planted in the handful of gardens that exist between the two of us.

At the beginning of the day, after a harrowing 5 mile drive up the side of Barry's mountain we arrived at Sunshine farm and were rushed by a haggle of old dogs and an ornery horse named Morgan who promptly tried to eat my camera strap..."We have to bring Jill here next year." I said. She would love it.

To be able to travel to the far reaches of this world in search of the best specimens is an overwhelming privilege. To be able to share some part of that with students and followers is the best part of the process.
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We encourage you to visit Barry's website here. Another fantastic hellebore grower we visited earlier in the weekend was Pine Knot Farm. Some people have asked about the fragility of hellebores as cut flowers - the key to keeping them longer than a few hours in water is to cut only the stems that have already been pollinated, after the seed pods have begun to form. At this stage they should last 7+ days in water.

18 comments:

  1. if there could only be one flower in the world...i would choose this one

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  2. I think you just caught a glimpse of Heaven. Wow.

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  3. I want to go there. Suddenly, I need a hellebore garden...

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  4. I have many lovely Hellebore growing in my garden. If you cut their stems all the way up the sides and leave in water up to their necks in a dark place overnight, they will last many days. I also "prop up" their heads with a little florist wire.

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  5. This is the best post. Further fuel for the annual spiral of hellebore lust that settles over me from February to June. I hope they thrive in your gardens!

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  6. These are one of my favourite flowers. I'm so jealous! I have to find a variety that can grow in my backyard...

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  7. Hellebore has been on my mind, most of mine have disappeared. This post took my breath away. OMG that black one. I would love to grow them but you know, they cost a lot and I'm a cut flower grower. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Thank you for bringing the spring closer to here in the North.

    What a beautiful trip you made to the flowers.

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  9. My hellebores are rocking the blooms right now...well, at least I thought so until I saw those stunners from the flower farm. I'm going to his website right now. Your images are magnificent, and you just helped him get a new customer! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  10. what camera do you use? these are beautiful shots.

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  11. Thanks Aero!
    We both shoot with a canon 50D

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  12. awesome. my god those purple ones are to die for. that definitely looks like my kind of day.

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  13. Looks like heaven!! Acres of hellebores, who knew.

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  14. Sooo Beautiful blog, I actually searching some thing like your blog, and finally I have got may favorite blog, all the beautiful pics on your blog, your posting something like heaven. Keep shearing....

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  15. Heliabores I've just discovered and read with relish your adventure at the large grower in Virginia.

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