Gardener's Grapevine 2013.02.27

Written by David Green.

This past week I’ve had spring on my mind. Spring is my favorite season. I seem to get a burst of energy in the spring that I don’t have any other time of the year. I guess I like the idea of what could be.

I love a flower called a Hellebore. It is also called the lenton rose. Its name comes from the fact that it is one of the earliest blooming perennials; often appearing before crocuses. Depending on the zone, they bloom as early as December and can continue well into April.

They come in white, green, pink and burgundy. Many have a variegated leaf, and with the dullness of winter bring a much needed pop of color and renewed life. They are evergreen and deer resistant, but not urine-resistant which will kill them rapidly as with most plants. Keep dogs and cats away from them.

They are a European flower that has been slow to catch on here in the states. They are also a bit on the pricey side, but well worth the money and time. Usually you will not find hellebores in your common garden centers. They are available at upscale garden centers and by mail. I have just ordered two new varieties.

I used to have a nice three foot by three foot patch that I cultivated from a three-inch pot. It was the first to bloom in the spring and I left out the best part—they smell heavenly. Sadly, my little garden met an unfortunate end, so I want to start over and see if I can regain what I lost.

If you like plants that are a bit unusual and not what everyone has, this might be for you.

I love to scope out the garden supply websites. You find some of the most unusual plants and also a great variety of garden tools that are not available locally. A personal favorite of on-line nurseries is Spring Hill. They offer $25 off your first order if you sign up for e–mails and they offer a wide variety of plants at very reasonable prices.

Our year is moving closer to spring and it’s time to be thinking about sprucing up the outside. Consider hellebores and you won't be sorry.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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