New England

December, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Hellebores
My oriental hybrid hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus) draw more attention than any other plant in my garden, but of course when they send up their drooping, pinkish white blossoms in very early spring, they don't have much competition. Even so, the plants are beautiful -- resembling anemones -- and easy to grow. They bloom for weeks, then send up new foliage that remains healthy and attractive well into winter. The hybrids come in colors ranging from nearly black to pink, green, and white, and variations in between.

Hellebores prefer light shade and soil amended with organic matter. They are easy to grow from seed, and are easily divided. They also are becoming more widely available at garden centers and by mail order.

Clever Gardening Technique

Outdoor Evergreen Container
The faux clay pots made of insulated plastic are wonderful for outdoor displays in winter. Use a 12- or 14-inch size or larger, and fill with old soil, peat moss, or whatever material you have on hand that will anchor some branches. Prune some branches off evergreen trees and shrubs to use in the container, adding other greens and berries from a local nursery or florist, and some tiny white lights. Branches of holly berries add color for awhile until they freeze and turn black.

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