Floral Inspirations: Hellebores Beauties

11 March 2013

Originally helleborus could be found in South Asia all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Dramatic climate fluctuations from warm to cold temperature allowed the plant to delay growth and flowering. Hellebores have five petals surrounding a ring of small, cup life nectaries.  Today, helleborus is best used as an indoor plant but some do well as a cut flower.

Every year, I treat myself to a small posy of hellebores.  I love arranging them simply in a heirloom bud vase.  Each flower has unique freckles as I call them.  They are stubborn, individually unique blooms, some opened, some closed.  No matter what, I find them riveting and pleasing to the eye in their imperfections.

Their heads are sometimes naturally droopy but in their inconsistencies lie such mystery and intrigue.  Arranged in sweet cups and vases, they naturally bring a subtle elegance to any room.  Like the anemones, I find them long lasting.  The ones that I typically get are sage green and pale green with burgundy hues. At the SF flower market, I don't often find stalls who carry hellebores so you have to shop early and often.  When I do find them, they are usually at Torchio, Neve Brothers and Brannan Street.

Best Shown:  Believe it or not, one of the favorite method of showing off a hellebores is to cut the stem rather short and I mean short...about roughly 1 to 2 inches.  Float the cut flower heads in a shallow and wide bowl of cold water.  This will allow the flower to drink as the temperature of the water comes to room temperature.  On the other extreme, due to their fragile petals which don't always open, they don't often make the best boutonnieres or corsages.

Best Pairing:  I love hellebores with other spring flowers like lilac, ranunculus, jasmine, flower branches, anemones, ranunculus, sweet peas, lisianthus, ferns.

Color Combinations:  I love seeing hellebores with greens, plums, mulberrys, eggplants, blushes, lavenders, whites, chocolates, black hues.  But be creative and don't feel constrained.  Try them with orange, cerise, lime.

The buds begin to develop in late fall and early winter so by February, most plants will be in bloom and they continue blooming through March and April.  

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