|Small shrub Hebe with tiny leaves, in a rain garden.|
Another thing that gives gardeners the jeebies about hebes is pruning, as there is little, if any information about how, and when, or even if we should prune them. My experience has been that if they get leggy and out of control, a good hard pruning results in full, lush, controlled growth. If hebes freeze I have taken the same approach. When spring arrives, we'll see if the hebes I cut within 4-6 inches of the ground reappear. If so- "yippee", but if not, I'll probably go back to the garden center, buy a few to replace them and start again.
By now, the reader is wondering "where do the hellebores enter into this story"? Below is a picture of a large leaf hellebore which will sport a magnificent deep purple flower, that appeared growing up in the middle of a hebe I had transplanted from a friends garden about 3 years ago. There was no evidence of the hellebore until late last spring, when it appeared without warning. Three large leaves appeared first, then the flower, but because the hebe was quite large, one had to look closely through the branches to see the hellebore making it's way into the center of the hebe. My plan was to dig up the entire root ball this winter, separate the hebe from the hellebore, and replant each in a suitable place. When the hebe seemingly froze to the ground we cut it back, which pleased the hellebore immensly.
|Hellebore which seemingly "appeared from nowwhere"|
|Purchased in fall, 2005, this "Ivory Prince" blooms each January with little or no maintenance!|
|Helleborus foetidus, "stinking hellebore" has lime green flowers and toothy leaves|
This desert transplant gardener only ever dreamed of growing Christmas Roses and plants from New Zealand when she lived in Arizona... and is filled with wonder at the sight of translucent papery blooms lifting their heads above shiny green leaves in the midst of the darkest January weather. Like a long lost friend suddenly re-appearing, the blooms bring joy to the heart. And as for hebes, well I'll have to just go and buy some more if they freeze and don't recover, because they just make me happy to look at them!