Video: How to Grow, Hydrate and Hold Cut Hellebores
Susan from Shady Grove Gardens is joining us to share some information on growing, hydrating and holding cut hellebores! Susan has been working with flowers for 31 years and has been so gracious to come and share.
If you've ever been captivated by the charm of the hellebore you are in for a real treat!
The first time I saw a hellebore was at my friend Foxie's garden. She has an amazing event venue and flower farm in Tyro, Virginia called Pharsalia. Foxie is well-known for her peony collection, but let's be honest, she has ALL kinds of amazing collections beyond peonies. Flowers start blooming at Pharsalia in the winter and in my first season of working in flowers she was just short drive from home. I think Foxie is one of the reasons I fell so hard for flowers. That winter garden fueled my excitement. She has ALL kinds of hellebore varieties.
Shortly after visiting Foxie I traveled to Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, Virginia. Judith and Dick let me explore their amazing collection of hellebores. I wanted to test processing and strength of bloom. It was widely accepted they were not a viable cut flower at the time. I processed them in quick dip with cool water and they performed so well — making not only the trip back to Lynchburg, but then up to Pennsylvania for my very first wedding. I remember proposing the flower to the bride and being so nervous about being able to actually find the flower (since they were not really sold on the wholesale market at the time) and having it hold up. They did so well, and my experiment flowers held for a strong two weeks, with the Pink Frost variety lasting even longer! Delivering those blooms to Anna and getting over my fear of them not being a viable cut made me feel really happy.
Over time, they garnered attention and started becoming more readily available on the wholesale market. However they performed terribly when shipped. Over time, this too has changed, post-harvest practices have evolved, and I find they do fairly well when shipped. I use the same techniques to process the flowers, the vase life is just not as strong as local hellebores. It's like dahlias — local is just better.
Hooray! Hellebores are a great cut flower. The plants Susan shows in this video lasted over two weeks outside a cooler. We shot this video (they were clipped a few days prior) and I used them in the How to Photograph Flowers class 13 days later.