In recent weeks, overly dense and cluttered clumps of hellebores were thinned from an area that drains from the earliest planted hellebores in the garden. A Chinese dogwood interrupts the flow of rainwater, and here a layer of silt and leaf litter has collected that is apparently ideal for hellebore seedlings. As is often the case, a complete accident has created a splendid scene, but one that was becoming over crowded.
There are only seedlings in this area, no planted hellebores, but all from seed germinating in the silt and leaf litter. The clumps were undisturbed, with mature plants and tiny new seedlings until recently, when I became particularly impatient with the long winter and roamed the garden looking for anything that could be done while ground in much of the garden was frozen. Of course, beneath inches of matted leaves the ground was thawed. The garden knife quickly dug handfuls of the heaviest hellebores in bud and mid winter bloom, which were then planted beneath bare stemmed shrubs.
The flowers of seedlings that were dug, and others transplanted in prior years, are not substantially different from parent plants, though slight variations are seen. I expect no seedling is worthy of distribution, except for sharing with our sons and acquaintances who are unconcerned with acquiring named varieties. In any case, these are treasured for spreading winter flowers more widely in the garden. A flower in January is highly prized, no matter that it is a seedling or a thirty dollar new introduction.