Helleborus Festivalis


Detroit Garden Works plans to hold its first ever spring festival the weekend of March 21, 22, and 23.   We are calling the event the Helleborus Festivalis, in celebration of one of our most favorite spring flowering perennials, the hellebore.  Rob has spent weeks traveling to and ordering from nurseries all over the US and Canada, in order for us to have a collection available that will enchant both gardeners unfamiliar with hellebores, and long time serious collectors.  I have had lots of emails requesting more information on exactly what plants we have available, and in what sizes.  This post is some about our love for hellebores, and more about the specifics.  600 hellebores have been delivered over the past 2 weeks-to follow is a the Helleborus Festivalis preview.  Helleborus Onyx Odyssey, pictured above, is certainly one of the most striking varieties we have been able to obtain.

Helleborus-Black-Odyssey.jpgThis very dark and inky wine red double hellebore was bred by Marietta O’Byrne in Eugene, Oregon, and and introduced into commerce in 2008.  We have 20 in bloom 1 gallon size stocky plants available.  This cultivar is most definitely not the helleborus orientalis my Mom grew.  The O’Byrne’s breeding program has turned over the hellebore world.

helleborus-orientalis-hybrids.jpgOther 1 gallon size hellebores, pictured above from left to right, helleborus Spring Promise Conny, which features white blooms with distinctive dark wine red speckles.  Also pictured,  Spring Promise Elly, a double rose pink, the heavy flowering single flowering Merlin, and Spring Promise Bridget, a frilly single pink.  As with helleborus Onyx Odyssey, these hellebores are all blooming.  Have the idea to scout what cultivars you might want to grow or add to your collection?  We have other hellebores in bloom.  Mahogany Snow.  Icebreaker Fancy.  Icebreaker Prelude.  Our Icebreaker Corsica is already sold out-sorry.

helleborus-Snow-Frills.jpgSnow Frills is a semi double to double pure white.  Breaktakingly beautiful, the flowers of this hellebore.  This sturdy plant comes in an 8″ pot with multiple blooms, as pictured.  Snow Frills is that new cultivar of hellebore which features outfacing or upfacing flowers.  If you like white flowers in the spring, this cultivar may interest you.

one-gallon-hellebores.jpgBoth Snow Frills and Merlin are substantial blooming plants in 8 inch pots.  Merlin is a single blush pink, and clearly a heavy bloomer.

Helleborus-Spring-Promise-Elly.jpgThis picture is a closeup of the bloom of the Spring Promise cultivar known as Elly. The double flowers are astonishing in color and form .  We have a limited number of 1 gallon blooming plants available.

spring-promise-hellebores.jpgWe have a select group pf 4.5 inch pots of hellebores ready.  Though these are smaller plants, many of them are blooming.

helleborus winter-jewel-Golden-Lotus.jpgGolden Lotus is a strain of double flowered yellow hellebores exhibiting subtly different characteristics.  Though every plant is distinctly individual, every member of this seed strain group is stellar. All of our 4.5 inch plants are blooming.

helleborus-Black-Diamond.jpgBlack Diamond is just that-jet black.  None of these 4.5 inch plants are in bloom.  If you have a mind to have faith in a long history of breeding and a plant not in flower, we have healthy lustily growing plants available.

perennial_m_Helleborus x hybridus Winter Jewel Cherry BlossomWe have  four flats of 4.5 inch helleborus Winter Jewel Cherry Blossom available for purchase.  Only one plant has a flower. This cultivar is a must have, in my opinion.  Most nurseries offer just a few cultivars for sale, in their green state.  This makes them easy to miss.  Hellebores grow slowly.  Few cultivars grow on to blooming size in one season.  If you are a gardener willing to take chances, sign up for a Cherry Blossom.  Next spring, the anemone flowered blooms will enchant you.

helleborus-festivalis.jpgIn this picture, Spring Promise Bridget is sharing the stage with flats of English daisies.  We do have a number of other spring flowering perennials in stock as companions to our hellebores.  Bellis, double flowering primroses, and several cultivars of auricula primroses are available along with dwarf daffodils and hyacinths.

helleborus-Pink-Frost.jpgWe do have some 2 gallon pots of hellebores available.  Joseph Lemper is a white hellebore blooming very early in the spring.  The Pink Frost Hellebore pictured above- big plants.

perennial_m_helleborus x hybridus winter jewel golden sunrise9

This Winter Jewels Golden Sunrise-we have this plant in one gallon size.  Though our plants are not flowering, the promise of what is to come is clear.  We also have good sized divisions of the pale yellow hellebore, Spring Promise “Sally”.

helleborus-festivalis.jpgThis has been a very long and very trying winter.  Detroit Garden Works has the idea to jump start spring. Helleborus Festivalis-a week from tomorrow. With a collection of hellebores and accompanying plants that are eminently garden worthy.  If you are a collector, or a gardener willing to gamble, we have a few divisions of rarer hellebores available.  White Lady, Frilly Kitty, Tiffany, Valerie, WD Elegance White, WD Pale Pink, Winter Jewel Sparkling Diamond, Winter Jewel Double Painted, Winter Jewel Jade Tiger, Winter Thriller Green Gambler-email me for details. We are ready for spring-what about you?


  1. It’s a wonderful idea to jump start Spring, regardless of this insane weather!!! I would love to come, but I live in NYC … not quite a good commute. Do you ship?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Antoine, the plants got shipped to me, so I am sure I could ship some to you. Let me know if you are interested in pursuing that. Thanks, Deborah

  2. JoyceB in Atlanta says

    Hellebores are high on my list, and I add more each year. I had no idea what I was doing 10 years ago when I planted 6 of them under a Japanese maple. Those plants are now huge, and seem to bloom till mid summer here in Atlanta – they began blooming in February. Wish I lived closer to your shop – it looks more artistically laid out than the nursery I go to down the street, and you seem to carry some of the rarer plants. Of course, I say I wish, but I cannot trade the climate here for anything there!! Customers in your area should flock in droves to visit your beautifully laid out plants, and I’m sure you’ll have very few, if any, Hellebores left very soon! The pictures are so pretty. Thanks for this post.

    • Yes…we flock, and flock, and flock to Detroit Garden Works. We are very lucky to have it here.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Joyce, they are so long lived and carefree if they are sited where they want to be. One client remarked that she thought they were too beautiful to be hardy! The flowers are stunning, yes. And I think we have a fairly extensive collection available. Thanks, Deborah

  3. I think I want to “go steady” with Elly…she’s a stunner and has stolen my heart!

  4. I hope you have a lovely Festivalis! I love the black hellebore! I have ruse black and onyx odyssey. I just got them last year, I think. RB hasn’t bloomed yet, but OO is lovely. Nice and dark. I am new to the hellebore world. In fact I did not know what they were for many years. 😀 Black diamond is gorgeous. And REALLY black? I must have it.

    One of my favorite hellebores is Cinnamon Snow. I do not have it, because it was really chaCHING and I didn’t have a spot for it, but WOW. I have never seen a picture do it justice. IRL it was beautiful. The name is apropos.

    Hmm am I ready for spring? Well, I’ve started pruning and transplanting. I also bought some mulch and soil today. I have also discovered the joys of Edging and have edged up a STORM. I plan to plant about 40 small shrubs and trees in the next 3 months.

    That sounds like a lot, but I know I am not alone. I am sure I can get it done. I may cry uncle and get some help.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Schmoo, we have a good supply of Cinnamon Snow-it is indeed beautiful. Sounds like you have a busy season ahead of you. Best, Deborah

  5. Jean Guest says

    I so admire your determination to celebrate Spring, whether or not the weather is willing to co-operate. You have certainly had to endure the most difficult winter conditions and I applaud you for giving your loyal customers something to look forward to… your Helleborus Festivalis. What a wonderful treat for everyone. The photograph of your shop full of fresh blooms warms a gardener’s heart, let’s hope it won’t be long before your garden warms up too. Beautiful flowers.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Jean. We’ve had a lot of people in, soaking up the spring atmosphere. This is the toughest part of the Michigan winter right now-the last dregs of it. Deborah

  6. Can’t wait!!!

  7. mary griggs says

    I just received three black diamonds for a bday gift. So excited! I just adore Hellebore they are so easy to grow. Deborah you are such an inspiration. If I ever get to Detroit your shop is my first stop. Keep it coming.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mary, that Black Diamond is amazing-the closest to jet black I have ever seen in a flower. Everyone who has been in the last two weeks is as ready for spring as we are, and appreciative that we have something to look at. best, Deborah

  8. Starr Foster says

    Wouldn’t miss your Helleboris Festivalis. I imagine you will sell a lot before then, after sending out these beautiful photos.

  9. You and Rob have done a great job! It’s not often you can see a collection like that all under one roof. I would be sorely tempted by several of your goodies 🙂

  10. I love your blog, but the large white social media box that floats on the right hand side is very annoying and distracting. Is there anyway to disable it? Hope you have a lovely spring after the winter you’ve had. Thanks!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Pam, I do not see what you are seeing, but I am passing this along to my IT person to see if she can figure it out. Thanks for letting me know. Deborah

  11. Carol Czechowski says

    Deborah and Rob,
    I love the Spring Picks of the Garden Store. Having a Helleborus Festivalis is a splendid way to celebrate Spring.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Carol, a festival in honor of the perennial hellebore-why didn’t I think of this years ago? Happy to hear from you lovey. Deborah

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