A hazard of my collecting numerous cultivars of a plant is that each must be marked for later identification or the names quickly become jumbled and forgotten. My memory is not so great to start with, and with too many similar items to recall, the effort seems hopeless. Which is fine for my purposes, but when I’m documenting the garden through the year there are times I’d prefer to know the specifics of what I’m describing. To recommend planting hellebores in general is acceptable, I suppose, but are Pine Knot hybrids superior to ‘Ivory Prince’, or whatever?
In fact, I am quite familiar with both, and these are superb selections, though there are no hellebores more vigorous than the Pine Knots. Except, the Pine Knots in the garden have been around long enough that dozens of seedlings have grown alongside, which is another issue since now I can’t distinguish seedlings from the hybrids (which, of course will also be hybrids, but not Pine Knot hybrids). ‘Ivory Prince’ hardly takes a backseat in its exuberance, and with an abundance of blooms a reasonable argument can be made in its favor. In fact, many more of the hellebores in this garden are splendid, except I haven’t a clue anymore what they are. I could, and I suppose I should, do better.
In the garden’s early days I placed a small marker beneath unique varieties to help me remember, but these became too obtrusive, I judged. And, it seemed a bit presumptuous to label plants, I thought implying that the garden was more grand than it is. In earlier days I had no idea that I would ever share the garden with anyone who cared to recognize one hellebore or iris from another, but here we are. So, again I’ve purchased a first batch of copper tags, and I’ll give it a go.
Of course, this helps little with cultivars planted in the garden’s first twenty-five years, but we’ll manage to muddle through.