we like it wild: happiness is a hellebore


Spring is just on the horizon, but before winter winds down, we want to give a shout out to those cold-weather bloomers that keep us going: hellebores. Just because they’re tough, doesn’t mean they’ve compromised on looks. In addition to their amazing hardiness as plants (many are frost resistant), hellebores have an impressive and unusual color range thanks to hybridization. They can be deep purple and antique green with specks, swirls and gradations, and we often buy a whole bunch at the market just to get our hands on that one special blossom. Some stems even made an appearance in one of our favorite bridal bouquets ever from this beautiful elopement video! For this week’s We Like It Wild, we rounded up a few of our favorite hellebore arrangements and visited our local nursery to get some tips on planting. And check out Weeder’s Digest from a while back for some more stunning specimens! — Studio Choo

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post after the jump!


Hellebores can be short-lived as a cut flower, so we always enjoy them while we can! When we buy them at the flower market, they usually last about five days, but the ones we cut from our own gardens tend to last a bit longer. They can also be a little messy when the pollen starts to fall, so keep them on a wipeable surface if that sort of thing concerns you. Since the flowers nod (droop downward) to protect their pollen from the elements, they can be challenging to use in arrangements. They look stunning displayed in a bottle as a single stem in their natural nodding form, but we love to use them in combination with all sorts of things in arrangements and bouquets. The samples above include a cast of ranunculus, peonies, succulents and even basil. To showcase their faces more, we will often rest them right on top of another sturdier flower or piece of greenery. (And a note of caution: this plant is poisonous. The roots are especially toxic, so use caution around kids, pets, etc.)

Alethea spotted her first hellebore in her grandfather’s garden under a shady tree and instantly fell in love with its saw-toothed leaves and delicate, unusually colored flowers. We are lucky enough to have a few modest hellebore plants in our gardens now; the images above are of our homegrown specimens. If we had more time and space, we’d like to order from this amazing wholesale grower in Oregon who has a collection of drool-worthy varieties. Apricot Blush? Yes, please. Jade Star? Um, yeeah. Onyx Odyssey? NEED IT!

On a recent visit to one of our favorite Bay Area plant spots, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, we spoke with some knowledgeable lads about the care of their many varieties of hellebores. These plants are deer resistant, and a good soil base makes them happy. Hellebores aren’t too picky about where they live; they do best outside in the garden but can also be great potted plants. They actually don’t mind if it’s a bit shady, making them perfect for gardens and yards lacking light. But the accommodating hellebores will take some sun, too. We wish all houseguests were so easy.

  1. What truly beautiful arrangements! I love the organic approach to the arrangement in the first photo – really working with the natural qualities of the flowers.

  2. Rene says:

    This is quite possibly my favorite flower. The arrangements are stunning!

  3. gowsithkaran says:

    nice to look all flowers.. my hearts ready to fly..

  4. gorgeous arrangement…all of them…such a harmonious blend…xx meenal

  5. one of my *favourite* flowers of all time. such good work ladies – always keeping us on our toes!

  6. amy walters says:

    Ooh this makes me want spring even more. Beautiful flowers ;D

  7. fabulous arrangements of one of my very favorite plants. mine are budding now and I can’t wait for them to open.

  8. I love the hellebore. I planted a few in our garden after seeing them at a friend’s house. What a lovely surprise it was to see them emerge with tons of blooms from under all the snow and ice was had this winter. I

  9. patti says:

    one of my very favorite garden plants! thanks for all the lovely photos.

  10. Natalie says:

    Thank you for this inspired post on one of my favorite blooms…a great Friday morning find! The arrangement of hellebore with succulents and sweet pea is breathtaking. Such a charming woodland flower! My Design Sponge fix always pays off!
    Btw, if we were SF-based, we’d be in trouble because our office would be constantly inhabited by Studio Choo masterpieces.

  11. Thank you for this inspired post on one of my favorite blooms…a great Friday morning find! The arrangement of hellebore with succulents and sweet pea is breathtaking. Such a charming woodland flower! My Design Sponge fix always pays off!
    Btw, if we were SF-based, we’d be in trouble because our office would be constantly inhabited by Studio Choo masterpieces.

  12. Mandy Doubt says:

    you ain’t seen nuttin’ till you seen the Black Hellebores: http://www.woottensplants.co.uk/plview.asp?ID1=5551

  13. The third bouquet is dreamy, a master’s still-life come to life. It just needs a little bumblebee and you’re set.

  14. April P. says:

    Nice to see our elopement video shared again.

    My bouquet was and will always be my favorite bridal bouquet ever. I can’t thank you enough for the love that went into it.

    There are a few bouquet pics on Jeremy’s Flickr- http://www.flickr.com/photos/deucer/sets/72157625257463078/

    xo,
    april

  15. Novi says:

    I didn’t know hellebores are poisonous… learn something new everyday! I still like the blooms, love the fourth arrangement from the top. Looks like they come in a variety of colors, combines well with others as you’ve shown. Thanks so much for the bright post on this rainy day!

  16. Alicia says:

    I love helleborus, they’re so delicate!
    Thanks for all your inspiring ideas! Love your bouquets!

  17. Rosie says:

    *hardiness. Not “heartiness”.

    1. grace says:

      rosie

      thanks for catching that, sorry ;)

      g

  18. Hellebores definitely get me through that last leg of winter…they lift my spirits, reminding me that spring is on its way and soon the trees of Portland will be blooming with magnolia blossoms and cherry blossoms!

  19. I love the hellebore. I planted a few in our garden after seeing them at a friend’s house. What a lovely surprise it was to see them emerge with tons of blooms from under all the snow and ice was had this winter.////

  20. Sabina says:

    I love looking at flowers pictures…it relaxes me

  21. Phrag E says:

    Just lovely!
    On the fifth picture down, is the bottom left flower also a hellebore? The peachy colored one…

  22. cynthia says:

    any advise on keeping some of the hellebors from drooping soon after I add them to an arrangement.

  23. Roni says:

    Fabulous, stunning,gorgeous arrangements. Real inspiration.Love them all.thank you

LEAVE A COMMENT

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.