I've been postponing writing about my trip to the farm because I've been doing an experiment — the hellebore experiment. Last month I went to visit Judith, Dick and their friendly dog Holly at Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, Virginia. Judith and Dick say the trip is like going back in time, and I'll have to agree. As I drove down the picture-perfect lane to the farm I started to spot them. One, then two then a whole slew of hellebores — just happy and growing in the woods.
Judith and I walked through the garden cutting flowers for the experiment. Do hellebores hold for cut flower arrangements? I've heard many say no, but my hypothesis was naturally, "Yes! We just have to figure out how they like to be handled."
I have always had really great success with Quick Dip, a hydrating solution that cleans those dreaded air bubbles out of the flower stem and gets water up those stems fast as lightning! So that's what I did. Then I kept them outside in the gentle rain until it was time for the photo shoot and Anna's wedding. They hold. They hold well! "Pink Frost" is the queen of them all. Twenty-two days away from her roots and she looks just as pretty as the day she was picked.
I love hellebores because they remind me of what I love about people. There aren't two exactly the same. They also look a little different and change as they age :)
Enjoy the photos, and be mindful of the great art that is involved in breeding such beautiful plants. Unlike the cut flower industry who breeds plants for vase life and how long it will hold out of water for shipping, the Tylers breed for beauty. Many, many thanks to the Tylers. That day goes down in the record books for one of my favorite ones yet!
If you are a hellebore fan, head to their farm next weekend for their big open house! We went yesterday and brought quite the spoil home for dad's mountainside garden. :)