Our Hellebore Festival

greenhouse-frog.jpgThe Helleborus Festivalis starts at Detroit Garden Works at 9am tomorrow-sharp.  What has taken months to put together is just about ready for the curtain to rise.  Rob has done his usual incredible job, sourcing interesting hellebore cultivars of size and in bloom for our gardening clientele.  The resident greenhouse frog approves of our case of baby tears.  All of us feel, given his appearance, that our festival will be a good one.  We had David and Mary Moore in today, owners of Stone Cottage Gardens in Gladwin Michigan.  We had a young man in the area on a business trip choosing hellebores for his gardener girlfriend. He made this older gardener happy.  Young gardeners, older gardeners-I welcome all of them.  As for avid collectors of hellebores, we will ship when the weather moderates, to Rochester Minnesota, Cleveland, Ohio, and Flint Michigan.  I like this.

helleborus-festivalis.jpgWe have lots of companion plants to the hellebores.  Honeysuckle boxwood.  Euonymus and myrtle topiaries.  Silver pilea.  baby tears.  Hyacinths throwing bloom stalks.  Every plant Rob chose is a celebration of the spring.  A celebration of green.  This first day of spring, we are ready for the chance to garden again.  And ready for those other gardeners that grace our doors.  Conversation about the garden over a boatload of well grown hellebores-a pleasure for everyone.

spring-containers.jpgMy garden at home still has lots of snow.  But I can see the signs of spring.  I hear the birds in the morning.  The evergreens in my garden are emerald green, not that black shade of winter green.  I put away my winter coat-I was so tired of it.  We had sun today.  The ice is melting.  The hellebores in my garden are still under 3 feet of snow.  Not my first choice of a garden situation.  In the greenhouse at Detroit Garden Works, there is a different situation.  Spring on our schedule. Though we know we have little influence over the state of the garden, we can create a spring of our own.

spring-container-planting.jpgIt was pure serendipity, deciding to do a March festival especially in honor of the hellebore.  Both Rob and I are big fans of this particular perennial.  The flowers of cultivars of Helleborus Orientalis – the Lenten Rose – are showstopping.  The plants are vigorous, meaning they show up every spring without any handholding.  The petals cure and hold on for 6 weeks or better.  They seed generously.  The foliage is almost evergreen.  What’s not to love?  An event given over to the spring flowering hellebores made us plant lots of spring flowering containers.  This box of cyclamen, grape hyacinths and white bellis is a sure sign of what is to come.  Spring-what could possibly be better?

Detroit-Garden-Works.jpgWe had no idea the winter would go on so long.  As in, we still have winter here.  Our spring hellebore celebration has a special meaning we never anticipated.  Though nature has been amazingly uncooperative in making a change of seasons, our idea is to bring a celebration of spring of our own to bear.  Gardeners make the garden.  We hear their voices.  If you are in our area, pay us a visit.  We promise you will not be disappointed.   Hellebores make great container plants that can tolerate being house bound until the garden is ready to be worked.

hellebores-in-the-greenhouse.jpgOur small greenhouse is stuffed with decent numbers of 28 cultivars of helleborus orientalis.  Rob added pots of double primroses to the mix.  These prikmroses are hardy to 30 below zero.  Given our past winter, that root hardiness rating may be appealing.  We have pots of primula obconica. There is more-auricula primroses just coming in to bloom..  Honeysuckle boxwood on standard.  Bellis in bloom. Hyacinths and daffodils in pots.  A celebration of spring in spite of a winter that will not let go.

spring-festival.jpgHow spring starved we all are makes all of Rob’s choices that much more to treasure.  I have dirt and moss stains on my hands-how great is that?  I have been planting spring pots.  What a relief-what a treasure.

spring-2014.jpgIf you garden in our area, I would suggest that our helleborus festivalis might be just the jumpstart of spring that will bring a smile to your gardening heart.

double-primrose.jpgdouble primrose

spring-flowering-branches.jpgforced forsythia and cherry branches

pots-of-hyacinths.jpgpotted hyacinths

myrtle-topiaries.jpgmyrtle topiaries and white hyacinths

potted-hellebore.jpga hellebore in a pot with curly pussy willow

spring-container-planting.jpgA spring container planting with hellebores.  We are ready.  We would guess you are too.


  1. Stunning spring display. Your shop looks beautifully refreshing!

    • Love the shop, I wish I wasn’t 20 hrs. away. I need the concrete bench in the pic labeled- potted hyacinths. Please advise. thanks

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Belinda, refreshing is a goal every gardener is after now! I still have lots of dirty snow in my garden. The greenhouse in Detroit Garden Works-a fresh breath of spring. Best, Deborah

  2. Wish I wasn’t so far away. Your photos of Hellebores Festivalis are most compelling! Another plus for Hellebores…deer are not interested in them.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Laura, I have a lot of clients with problems with deer. They stay away from the hellebores-you are right. They are so adaptable. Mine in full sun are better than 15 years old. Love that from a perennial. Best, Deborah

  3. sudie bercheck says

    Everything looks mouth watering, as DGW always does. You’re gonna have one helluva fabulous weekend, and so well deserved!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Sudie, you are absolutely right. I did not expect so many people today, a Friday-but we were swamped. It feels like spring. What a relief! Best, Deborah

  4. Ah, so nice to see, Good luck with the Hellebore Festival! Wish I lived closer.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Trish, the festival is going great-we were swamped today! I’ll keep posting pictures, I promise. Thanks, Deborah

  5. I wish I could be there to see all of these cultivars. Mine are done blooming here in California which makes me sad.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Deb, your hellebores done blooming-wow. Mine are under a snowbank still 4 feet high. But it’s great to think that gardeners in very different zones can grow and enjoy them-they are so beautiful. Best, Deborah

  6. Julie Friedman says

    Even with the cherry blossoms trying to push their way towards the sunshine we will gratefully receive this weekend in Washington, I’m chomping at the bit to road trip to Detroit to see your incredible hellebores and your beautiful shop. Ever since I discovered your blog and website, I am inspired daily to replicate your magic! I hope to have a chance to visit soon! Best of luck this weekend!
    Julie Friedman

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Julie, come anytime-just let me know in advance. I would want to meet you. The hellebore collection is sensational-Rob did an incredible job. Thanks, Deborah

  7. Ros Turner says

    Congratulations on creating an oasis of Spring. Your store looks so beautiful and tasteful, I am sure you will have a sell out!

    Best wishes from the UK.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ros, we sent a lot of hellebores home with gardeners today. What fun! Best wishes to you from the US. Deborah

  8. oh wonderful ! a big kiss to you, to Rob and to the cute toad !

    • Deborah Silver says

      Delphine-the toad is a resident that makes Rob and I feel like we have a genuinely good environment. He seemed perfectly content yesterday, in the baby tears. The little things matter much, don’t they? Love to you from both Rob and I, mon cherie. Deborah

  9. Jackie Nygaard says

    Love, love ,love the shop! It looks beautiful! I also wish that I wasn’t so far away. I adore your blog and have it as my daily bright spot. I am thankful that you are a happy place for me to go when i need something lovely and interesting to inspire me! thank you!

  10. Oh what beautiful morning! I want it all.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Nancy, you know how to say it all, in just a few words. Hope you and I both get it all! Best, Deborah

  11. Susan Roubal says

    What a lovely festival atmosphere you have created! I am forwarding this to some area friends who might love a look, in my place. If I were not up in the U.P., I would so be there at the door!
    I drooled over the pictures!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Susan, our place was packed today. It was more than I expected for a Friday. What fun for me. So much talk about the garden. My thanks to you, for sending friends. Hope you can visit someday in person. Best, Deborah

  12. Your nursery is amazing. I live much too far away to visit but I was wondering if you ship. Hellebores are one of the few things the deer don’t eat. I definitely need more.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Fran, right now we have 7 shipments of hellebores going out of state-when the weather moderates. Let me know if we can help. Thanks, Deborah

  13. Lynn Fiorentino says

    The store looks lovely and conveys a sense of hope and serenity. Only wish I could see it in person. Hopefully I will some day!!! Happy Spring

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lynn, Someday-I hope for that too. What a busy happy day today-all kinds of gardeners talking plants. Loved it! Deborah

  14. Dirt on your hands?! Lucky you! Just the sight of all those flowering plants made me smile. Thanks for the breath of Spring.

  15. Marilyn Palmer says

    Beautiful pictures! I LOVE Hellebores and have added several varieties to my gardens in the past few years including a couple of very special doubles. I fear mine are still snow covered also. Can’t wait to return home and check them all out. Looking forward to the spring show in April, last years show was wonderful.

  16. Your shop is beautiful. I wish I were near by to visit!

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