Western Mountains and High Plains

January, 2010
Regional Report

Web Finds

Mailorder Gardening Association
If you like to browse garden catalogs and order seeds and plants that are not readily available in your area, visit the Mailorder Gardening Association Web site. It is chock-full of gardening resources, products, information, and services offered through many catalogs and magazines of its members.

Favorite or New Plant

Lenten Rose (Hellebores)
Despite their name, evergreen hellebores are anything but boring. If you're a gardener who sulks through the winter months, wishing that flowers could burst through the snow and put on a show of blooms, your wish may come true. If you planted hellebores in your garden, these perennials will start poking their way through winter's chill and snow, quietly putting on their show of luminous blooms.

Hellebores go by common names including Christmas rose and Lenten rose, alluding to the time of season they bloom. As you walk around the garden on pleasant winter days, you'll be pleased with blooms in colors from snow white, pale yellow, chartreuse, pale pink, rose and maroon, and even a pale purple. It's not the petals, but the larger colorful sepals (modified leaves at the base of the flower) that open 2 to 3 inches wide, making the hellebores look like old-fashioned, single roses.

Hellebores are hardy within their recommended growing zones. They can survive colder temperatures if mulched with loose organic compost or pine needles. They like compost-enriched soils, well-drained conditions and are fairly drought-enduring. During the late fall, protect the evergreen foliage from winter winds and direct sun by shielding plants with evergreen boughs.

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