2005 Perennial Plant of the Year--Helleborus x hybridus
'Royal Heritage' is a beautiful hybrid strain of Helleborus that includes a wide range of sumptuous colors such as purple, near-black, white, pale green, yellow, pink, rose, and red. Some flowers are attractively spotted or brushed with a contrasting color. (Plants should be purchased in bloom if a specific flower color is desired.) Each blossom has overlapping petals, forming a cup-shape about two inches in length. The evergreen, leathery, serrated leaves form an umbrella-like covering which sometimes coddle the nodding flowers.
Hellebores are the harbingers of spring, blooming for six weeks or more beginning in late winter. They are often flowering during the Christian season of Lent, from which they get their common name, Lenten Rose. This is the perfect plant for naturalizing in moist, woodland areas where its extensive root system will spread as far as it is allowed.