In The Garden Now…..Red Hellebore ‘Ice N Roses’

Thursday, January 31, 2019

‘Ice N’ Roses Red’ Lenten Rose
Text and photo 
by Victoria Gilleland 

About this time of year we’re all starved for garden color. On a recent trip to Sky Nursery I discovered a wonderful display of blooming hellebores.

While many were quite beguiling, the one that beckoned to me was a dark maroon variety named ‘Red.’ 

This little beauty is said to be an unusually long bloomer, flowering from early winter into spring. 

Of course bloom time is dependent on weather and growing conditions in a particular garden.

‘Red’ holds forward facing or slightly up-tilted flowers on stems 12 to 16 inches tall. This is an improvement over many hellebores that have downward facing or nodding flowers that are difficult to see in the garden

Placement of hellebores in the garden is important. They bloom in the coldest months when we are least likely to be in the garden. So they won’t be missed, plants are often placed near paths and entries where people walk. Alternatively they might go into a container or garden bed that can easily be seen from a house window. The photo above was taken with the plant positioned against a large blue pot which provides a wonderful contrasting background for the dark blossoms.

Since our Northwest soils tend to be acidic and hellebores like neutral to alkaline soil it’s a good idea to apply garden lime yearly to keep hellebores happy and healthy. As with other hellebores, old and damaged leaves can be cut to keep plants looking neat and clean. They can be grown in shade to sun, are drought resistant, deer resistant and available for pollinators in the coldest months of the year.

All parts of the plant are poisonous so keep pets and children away from them.

Take a look around your place and see where you might find a spot for one of these winter charmers. If you aren’t a fan of red or maroon, hellebores are available in an array of colors including white, ivory, pink, purple, chartreuse and multi colored blossoms. There’s probably one that you would love to have in your garden!

(Botanical Name: Helleborus x glandorfensis The Helleborus Gold Collection Ice ‘N Roses Series “Red”)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 25 years.

She can be reached at


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