Ah, March. The big tease. We got a dumping of wet, heavy, mushy snow this past Wednesday here in Richmond. All that remains is a memory and a few spots in nooks and crannies on the north side of the house.
But the queen of the March garden reigns supreme. The so-called Lenten Rose, the lovely hellebore. I have two species of hellebore in my garden: helleborus argutifolius (Corsican hellebore) and hellebores foetidus (stinking hellebore).
They seem to thrive where other plants won’t; in fact, for me they are practically cast-iron. The picture above shows a detail from the bed around my patio. In 1998 I planted 3 little crape myrtles in this bed, which is L-shaped. Today they are huge and provide a dense, dry shade for the plants below. The hellebores love it whereas other shade-lovers seem to simply peter out after a while.
But in early spring it is glorious with the blooms of hellebores, white daffodils and new green growth on the boxwoods.
These pictures were taken in March 2012 after a warmer winter than we had this year. Interestingly, though the hellebores are already in their full glory – indeed they have been blooming since the end of January (another big plus) – the daffodils and other plants are a couple of weeks behind.
Hellebores make a divine cut flower, too. I have a cutting from the fabulous chartreuse “stinking” (a terrible insult of a name) hellebore in the kitchen windowsill that has been there since early February.
So hail to the hellebore, that takes me out of a wintertime funk and provides beauty for months on end. Queen of the garden, indeed.