Christmas Rose on a Stick

We’ve always loved the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and a few years ago, European breeders were able to cross it with Helleborus argutifolius. Helleborus niger is a white-flowered species with below ground flowering stems (acaulescent), while Helleborus argutifolius is a green-flowered species with above ground flowering stems (caulescent). The hybrids, known as Helleborus x nigercors, have white flowers like Helleborus niger, but on branched above ground flowering stalks, which creates a truly impressive show. Bellow is Helleborus x nigercors ‘Ice Breaker Gala’ in flower at JLBG today.

Helleborus x nigercors ‘Ice Breaker Gala’

3 thoughts on “Christmas Rose on a Stick”

  1. Please stop promoting these. They are the worse thing I have ever planted, worse than Spirea japonica ‘Little princess.’ (Pomiscuous lady!)Trying to get rid of them now…more difficult than Liriope and periwinkle. Love the natives offered in your new catalog, but it took me forever to find all of them. Suggestion: Have them in a special section, or on your website, have a special section. I am too old to browse through all the pages!! Glad to hear on Sat.’s session the promotion of your nursery for natives! Cannot remember if it was Mark. Know it was not Pam. You should thank them, whoever it was.

    Keep up the good work. I did make a small donation to you endowed garden space. Your knowledge and passion are appreciated.

    1. The hellebore in this blog is 100% sterile. We need to be careful to use good science instead of discriminating with a broad brush. Sadly, human society has a rather long history with this type of stereotypical discrimination. Here’s a great example of what happens when things are written based on emotion and not science: The NC Native Plant Society has this on it’s site: “Please note that NCNPS considers all the species on the invasive list—including the so-called “sterile hybrids” of those species—to be invasive. Many supposedly sterile hybrids have proven, through cross-pollination and other means, to be able to produce fruit and spread.”

      There are several problems with that statement. Unfortunately, it is not valid or scientifically based. If so, where is the supporting scientific data, actual examples, and publications? Fundamentalists of all stripes are prone to making broad statements like this, but never bother to provide real data to back up their claims. Let’s examine the statement further, starting with the claim that there is all clones of a species should be assumed to be equally problematic. What if we applied that logic to our own species, Homo sapiens. Are you really saying that all Homo sapiens are evil because we have jails full of serial rapists and murders? Seriously?

      This statement doesn’t even take in to account the difference between self-sterile plants and fully sterile plants. Self sterile plants will indeed become fertile when grown near a genetically compatible species. Fully sterile plants are either seed sterile, pollen sterile, or both. To simply lump all “sterile” plant together for the justifying a cause is intellectually dishonest. This chicken little approach is why there is so much distrust of many ecological claims. To be taken seriously, it is imperative that claims not be made, which cannot be backed up by good science. As a naturalist and lover of native plants, this is maddening.

      We share a concern about using fertile hellebores near natural area. This is something we believe strongly should never be done. We have seen gardens taken over by fertile hellebores, after 50 years of no deadheading. This is exactly why we have been pushing the sterile hellebores as a great alternative.

      Every plant in our catalog is clearly labeled with it’s origin. We have customers around the world, so it would simply would not be possible or logical to list plants from each ecological region together. On the website, however, you can use the search feature, and chick the box for US natives, which will easily narrow down your search. We want people to grow great plants, regardless of where they originated. In other words, treat ornamentals the same as we do our food crops. Thanks for writing and for being willing to listen.

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