Northern Shade Gardening

My Favourite Hellebore

Friday, April 30, 2010 Category: Perennials

Helleborus ‘Walhelivor’ (Ivory Prince) is a terrific hellebore, with upward facing flowers and distinctive foliage. They look attractive in the garden, from when the snow first melts in spring, until the next winter’s snow covers them up. You couldn’t ask for more from a plant.

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) pretty buds

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) pretty buds

The Ivory Prince flowers are very attractive in all stages, from bud to faded bloom. In the above photo you can see the pretty buds, with a delicate pink outside. The buds are large and showy, making a beautiful sight before they even open. When they first appear, shortly after the snow recedes, the flower buds are a deep rose colour, and then the colour lightens as they start to open.

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) and Chionodoxa

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) and Chionodoxa

Here is a cluster of flowers that  have just opened, most are still buds. Inside the bracts, they are a creamy colour with green tinges. The complex multi-hues of ‘Walhelivor’ blooms make make them interesting to study. The flowers face upwards and sideways, so it is easy to see them, without having to turn the flowers over, unlike many hellebores. The actual flowers are the little part within the large decorative bracts, but the whole package looks like a large flower. After the small flowers inside decline, the sepals continue, so it looks like the flowers last a long time. In zone 3, these flowers start in April and continue until June. They are the first perennials to bloom in spring in my garden.

In the back of the picture above, there are  some white Chionodoxa (glory of the snow) bulbs flowering at the same time as the Helleborus. You can also see the decorative burgundy red stems of the hellebore.

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) back of flower

Helleborus 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) back of flower

This photo shows the beautiful pink striations on the back of these flowers, with a cream border.

Another decorative part of Ivory Prince is the nicely shaded leaves. They have a faint marbling pattern to them, a good shape, and a stiff texture. Surprisingly, these leaves leaves survive under the winter snow, giving a quick start to this zone 3 garden when the snow melts in spring. Even if they didn’t have those pretty blooms, I would still grow the Helleborus ‘Walhelivor’  for the early greenery in a cold climate.

Here is an earlier post with more photos and information about Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince‘, and here are some photos showing how good the Helleborus still look in late fall.

20 Responses to “My Favourite Hellebore” »

  1. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    April 30, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Beautiful! So nice that the blooms face upwards.

  2. Marnie :
    April 30, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I can see why it’s your favorite. Such a lovely shade of pink (my favorite flower color). For me the fact that it faces upward would be a big plus.
    Marnie

  3. Birgitta :
    April 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Very beautiful. I like the soft shade of pink.
    Birgitta

  4. Northern Shade :
    April 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Rebecca, it’s good to be able to see the full bloom, although they are not all of the flowers are open, yet. The cooler weather this week slowed down the bloom opening.

    Marnie, the flower has shades of pink, with cream and some green. It’s a nice combination.

    Birgitta, they do look pretty, and the blooms stand out.

  5. The Garden Ms. S :
    April 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Northern Shade, I think this has to be one of my very favourite of your plants! It is truly beautiful and I love that the flowers face up.

  6. Northern Shade :
    April 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, it is one of my favourites, especially at this time of the year. My other perennials are mostly still small, but six of these Helleborus make a nice grouping. The garden doesn’t look as bare, while waiting for everything to develop. So far, it’s just Ivory Prince and the bulbs blooming.

  7. Garden Observer :
    April 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    They’re beautiful and I’m jealous. For some reason, the two hellebores that are in my garden decided not to bloom this year.

    /krys

  8. Laura :
    April 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I love that shade of Hellebore. It has such a classic elegance to it. I planted my first Hellebore this spring, and am now smitten.

  9. Northern Shade :
    April 30, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Garden Observer, it is unfortunate that your hellebores skipped this year. Since they bloom when there is not as much activity in the garden, they would be missed.

    Laura, between the long lasting flowers and the evergreen leaves, they have a long season of interest.

  10. easygardener :
    May 1, 2010 at 4:33 am

    None of my Hellebores look upwards – part of their charm I know but still, it would be nice to see their faces without undignified crouching!

  11. Joy :
    May 1, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Hello there NS !
    This was my first Spring with Ivory Prince and I have been very pleased with “him” ? LOL .. those flowers are very distinctive and the foliage is as well .. very pretty combination with that cultivar indeed !
    I have planted a few hellebore in the same bed and they compliment each other very nicely .. I have to say I am a hard core hellebore fan indeed !
    Do you have Apricot Blush by any chance .. I just received one in a mail order group and I was wondering if anyone has seen it through a season or two .. how it performs etc .. ?
    Joy

  12. Northern Shade :
    May 1, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Easygardener, luckily hellebore flowers look good from behind, too. Although, it is nice to be able to study the flowers easily. You have a nice hellebore bed in your garden.

    Joy, hurray for early flowers that remove winter’s neutral colour scheme. There are some other of the Helleborus x ericsmithii that I would like to add, too, since they have such such good looking foliage.

    I haven’t grown Apricot Blush, but the colour sounds like it would look pretty in a spring garden.

  13. Kathleen :
    May 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Oh yes, this is the one I “need.” Upward facing flowers sold me! You told me that before when I was lamenting not being able to see the blooms on the ones I purchased last year. Yours look fabulous. I have decided the plants are too young in my garden for the foliage to make much of an impact. Hopefully each year will get better. I can see why you enjoy yours (almost) year round.

  14. Northern Shade :
    May 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Kathleen, I like the showy blooms of Ivory Prince, and the plants form a decent sized clump. I have my hellebores squeezed in between the large roots of a willow tree, quite close to the trunk. They do very well there, considering the competition, but the ones about 120 cm (4 feet) from the trunk grow twice as big as the ones 60 cm (2 feet) away, and get more flowers, too.

  15. Linda :
    May 3, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Northern Shade: I’m thrilled to see “real” photos of an ivory Prince growing in somebody’s garden. I picked up a tiny plant a few weeks ago and did not know that the blooms face upwards. I look forward to blooms in the coming years.

  16. Northern Shade :
    May 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Linda, I’d like to plant a second group of Ivory Prince, because they have such a strong presence in the spring garden.

  17. Sweet Bay :
    May 4, 2010 at 7:19 am

    An upward-facing hellebore! — I knew breeders were going for that tendency, but this one has that trait most marked of any I’ve seen. Beautiful blush and ivory color.

  18. Northern Shade :
    May 4, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Sweet Bay, there are a few other hellebores with upturned flowers that I’m looking at ordering, but I’m not sure of their hardiness. However, Ivory Prince was supposed to be for a warmer zone, and I’ve had it for two years now with no problems, so I will take a chance on the others, too.

  19. Lisa at Greenbow :
    May 22, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Ahhh yes, the Prince is happily enthroned here in my garden. He is such a handsome dude.

  20. Northern Shade :
    May 22, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Lisa, I’ve found this Hellebore does very well here, and I’m always pleased by how it handles the spring snow and frost.

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