Helleborus?

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Truly insane pricing - here in Nebraska (zone 5) I've been seeing them priced between $10 - $15 mostly. Of course, like you, I'm waiting until the "% off" sales before I buy... The one I got 3 years ago for $8 was covered with flowers this spring (actually still covered with them) - and its so nice to see something the rabbits haven't grazed to the ground!
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These plants are the victim of "the latest craze" syndrome. New varieties are hybridized regularly, and some people are willing to pay for the newest, even though they are no prettier than the older ones that are 1/5th the price. Same with daylillies, roses, and quite a few other plants.
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I know. We found some roses that used to be patented Jackson Perkins varieties, but the patent ran out. We got some for $3 a bush ( bare root ) at Home Depot a few weeks ago. I planted them and they're putting out new leaves now like crazy. Compare that to JP's patented stuff, that sells in their catalog for about $17 and up!
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Consider starting out with reasonable mature plants.
Mine have self seeded and four years later their babies are starting to bloom.
Fair Weather Gardens has a few different varieties. The below book lists many places. Watch out may turn you into a Hellebore lover ;))
Wonderful book perhaps in your library system.
Bill
Hellebores isbn 0-88192-266.-8
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wrote:

Do deer eat them, or aren't you in a deer zone, Bill? I'm just finding out why none of my neighbors have anything but evergreen shrubs, and my vegetable garden is wired like a prison yard.
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Deer no problem so far. I made a mistake on the ISBN should be 0-88192-266-8 . These plants started blooming here about march 1 maybe Feb. 20.
Makes you realize that rebirth is on its way in dark times. Who can ask for more ?
There are many varieties . I'd look for upward facing blooms like I do with tree peonies. Pricey to start but sometimes we have to bit the bullet.
Another place to spend money below;))
http://www.pineknotfarms.com/
Bill
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Witch hazel is another like that. Saw one at Longwood Gardens many years ago, making flowers half the size of a dime, with a gorgeous scent in mid-March.
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I have two witch hazels about. That seem to be prone to vole damage so I have to be vigilant. In a away we are just trying to extend the bloom. Lovers of beauty. In difficult times it is easier to see. Once the glut arrives we may have to throw out our early mistakes.
Being ruthless.
Bill
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Voles? Do they climb? The witch hazels I saw were almost 7 feet high.
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About the roots asshole.
Bill
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Asshole? Hmm. Seems like everyone's drunk tonight. Is this the way you spoke to your family when they asked you things like "We just made popcorn. Want some?" Is this why they all left?
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Spring........and voles live in fear around Fairy Holler. I have felines that adore capturing them, interrogating them to bloody proportions and then leaving their battered bodies for me to toss into asshole's yard across the shared driveway. felines don't eat voles, poisonious, but loads of fun nevertheless for kitties to learn how to hunt proper. no voles, no chewed roots and the like.........(they also eat worms and such, and I kinda like my worms, they can have all the grubs they can manage to snatch on the run from my cats) maddie
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On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 16:04:47 -0400

Speak for your own felines! My daughter's cat catches 2-3 voles/mice per day, and eats them all. Of course she throws them all back up again too... bleh.
I have a couple of young witch hazels in full vole colonies, they seem OK so far. Hadn't heard about voles causing a problem for the roots.
As for the Hellebore subject, they are notoriously difficult to grow from seed, though perhaps not as bad as something like Paperbark maples that need 2 year stratification and have a 1% success rate. Personally, I'd buy established plants.
Don't know about growing them in colder zones though. I'm in what passes for 8, and mine took a real beating this winter. They're only just blooming now, usually we have them in january if not earlier.
-E
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One of our cats, working at a slightly faster rate, has caught and eaten (roughly) fifteen thousand voles in her lifetime. She surgically excises the liver and some other small vole organ (without breaking or damaging them) and leaves them on the floor. She's never sick. I suspect those might be the bits that less skillful cats can't eat or digest.
Our other cat, the world's laziest feline, has never caught anything in her entire life. At age 16 she still has perfect looks, like a kitten.

I have found voles are a pain at girdling bark on witchhazels, hazels, and many young trees. I always used guards until the bark was tough enough not to interest them. Keep grasss away from the stems, otherwise in snowy weather they use the grass as a teepee with food laid on.

Not if you sow them in autumn as soon as the seedpods are ripe and split; then they come up like mustard and cress the next spring. Older hellebore seeds or ones that have dried out in a seed packet are very reluctant to germinate (not worth wasting money buying seed imho).
Janet
Janet
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But once you have one or two plants, you're set, at least with some hellebores. Last year after the seeds on my Helleborus foetidus ripened, I laid the flower stalk on the ground and brushed a few leaves after it. Two of them, actually. Now I have two sets of about 30 - 40 seedlings.

Here in 6b they've been in bloom since February. OK, so the year before the H. foetidus bloomed in November! Anyway, most hellebores are hardy to zones 4 or 5.
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Rachel, Janet:
On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 15:38:16 GMT

Interesting, I've never seen mine poke up seedlings. I've got 4 nice clumps, established before we bought the house.
I remember someone used to post a nice site to URG, I think, with lots of great pics. Tried googling but didn't turn it up. He/she is/was a big collector of the things and spoke of the difficulties of seed exchange IIRC.

Thanks for the info. I avoid those zones, in winter anyway! :)
Janet wrote:

Our Lucy is less scientific, which is to say she loses her mind when confronted by raw flesh, or the chance at it, and once the prey stops moving she ingests.
Very useful in the garden, she more than makes up for the damage she does in "crazy mode." (Or at least has so far, hehe.) My main complaint is the size of her range: she seems to hunt over several hectares, but invariably throws up the remains near the front step.
[]

Not much snow here, or not for long. Anyway I weed and mulch the base of all young shrubs and trees, and I do use a bit of plastic grilling at the base. So hopefully I'll be OK. Thanks for the advice.
-E
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I do nothing and they self seed sometimes. Can you speak about laying flower stalks down ? I'd like to help the process as so far it is mystery. Still looking about and identifying plants is fun.
We spend a lot of our time searching here for Japanese Maple gifts. Hellebore's now on our list too.
Thanks!
Bill
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I really have no experience and followed no principles from books or elsewhere, only I knew that the seeds don't travel well and had heard that the plants do reseed right where they are. I don't want a zillion hellebores next to the one where I have it by the front steps, so I tried two places - one there and one elsewhere. I waited till the seed pods sticking out of the middle of the blossoms had turned black and really looked ripe (it was late May, even into June, maybe), and the flowers themselves were looking raggedy and finished. I cut the flower stalks at the base with scissors. One of them I laid on the ground a foot away from the mother plant, and brushed some pine needle mulch up around it. The other one, I took to a different, desirable location at the edge of the woods (oak forest), pushed the previous year's leaves aside and put the flower stalk on the bare ground, then pushed the leaves back up around it. That's all. About three weeks ago the seedlings came up, tons of them. It really looks as if maybe 80% of the seeds on the stalks germinated. They'll have to be thinned, and some of them transplanted, but a few I'll leave in place, because I hear they don't like transplanting, either. I have just about limitless numbers of places for them to go, on an acre and a half of woodland, with a clearing for the house, and paths. ... Just now everything is beautiful with native Cutleaf Toothwort and Claytonia Virginica (Spring Beauty), plus some Virginia Bluebells and Bloodroot that I got started a couple of years ago and they're spreading - and that's even though my efforts to eradicate the invasive Garlic Mustard and Japanese Honeysuckle from the forest floor are slow and laborious.
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Are the seeds good sized or tiny?
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Sorry, I'm really not sure. The black things sticking out of the blossom are pretty large, about half an inch long (on H. foetidus), and four of them. But I think they're pods. And don't mess with them unless you know what you're doing, because I believe they can irritate the skin badly if you start cutting them open.
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