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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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