Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Hellebores at the O'Byrne's Northwest Garden Nursery

For those who love hellebores, Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne—and their Northwest Garden Nursery—are legends. They are the plant breeders behind the Winter Jewels collection (read about their plants and process here). On March 11th I visited their nursery and garden (they live on site) and even was allowed to walk through the breeding program greenhouses—plants not for sale. Today I'm sharing some of the hellebore photos I took, Friday I'll share pictures of the garden.

This combination really spoke to me...

Onyx Odyssey

Golden Lotus
This is Jade Tiger—which looks very different from my Jade Tiger purchased in 2014. Mine is similar to the original shown on their "about our hellebores page", and this is the improved.

Apricot Blush

Cherry Blossom

Sun Flare

Picotee Pearl

Golden Sunrise

Another Cherry Blossom

There's Pam, my partner in crime for the day (and chauffeur)...

A few NOIDS that were too lovely not to share (meaning I didn't catch the ID, the O'Byrnes definitely know what they are). I think this one might be Peppermint Ice...

Here's what I went home with. First up this hellebore seedling dug right from the garden by Marietta, a selection of Helleborus foetidus with nice dark foliage and stems.

And Peppermint Ice, one of their Winter Jewels—if this looks familiar it's because I shared it in my Bloomday post on the 15th. If you look to the left of the big bright bloom you can see the backside of the petals are dark, the white only showing up on the front of the flower. 

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  1. I would have gone crazy in that place... (not unlike some when visiting an agave breeder). I too have an older Jade Tiger, as well as Apricot Blush, Rose Quartz, Black Diamond... I was smitten by Cherry Blossom but since I've already purchased 3 new Helleborus prior to discovering it, I felt obliged to stop myself. Gotta leave something for next year.

    1. None of these were for sale, so it was just a fun "wow! look at this!" adventure. There was a small table in front of the greenhouses with plants for sale however!

  2. I sighed through this entire post. I LOVE hellebores; however, I can only wish they loved me back. I was able to get a couple to establish here years ago, which led me to plant many more, the majority of which didn't survive. Then I had another good year so I bought more, repeating the same cycle. Two of the oldest plants are finally blooming now but it doesn't look like they're going to be bountiful by any means this year.

    1. Maybe when you move to the PNW you'll have a garden full of hellebores? ;)

  3. I like the original 'Jade Tiger' better and I bet it would look great with one of the dark varieties like 'Onyx Odyssey.' I am going to try H. argutifolius which is Z6 but I figured why not? I am also searching out varieties with different color or shaped foliage.

  4. I emailed Dennis 7Dess two days ago, asking if they shipped to CA. I specifically said I was interested in a plant I'd been looking for FOREVER. Crickets. I don't get it. So many companies absolutely ignore customers - and potential customers - no wonder many are losing business.

    If anyone has other leads on hellebores which can be bought online please reply. Thanks.

    1. It's probably my fault you tried to contact Dennis 7Dees. So I've done a little digging for you.

      Dancing Oaks Nursery has some and does mail order.

      Plant Delights Nursery (but you have probably already checked there)

      Petal Heads Nursery

      I wonder if it would be possible for one of these nurseries that already stock the winter jewels to get any they're out of if they're local?

      (I agree with you about how frustrating it is that so many nurseries do such a poor job with their online presence. No way to order, no information on what they stock. )

    2. Thank you so much. I will check both of these nurseries out.

      I've not seen Winter Jewels or anything like them at the nurseries around here. Ditto the Onyx Odyssey. Annie's Annuals used to carry the Onyx Odyssey but have not had any available in years. I missed my chance with them.

      Anyway, many thanks for your kind efforts.
      Blessed Be.

    3. Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery has most of the Winter Jewels and he ships. Check his website

    4. I love this thread! M, I hope you get your Onyx Odyssey!

  5. Oh, I think I would go crazy many lush, healthy, and beautiful hellebores. I have a few, and I'll probably add more...they're just so fabulous and encouraging this time of year. ;-)

    1. So much beauty, it was tempting to scoop up more than just the one (plus gift) but I reminded myself I had no room...

  6. Some lovely flowers. What a treat to be able to see their greenhouses. I happened to be in a garden center when a load of Winter Jewel Hellebores came in. Even though there is snow on the ground I couldn't resist and a lovely picottee cam home with me.

  7. Be still my heart. I'd plant quite a few of them in my garden if I could find them down here. Unfortunately, our selection is far more limited. You were so lucky to see them at the source.

  8. What a fabulous visit! I have more and more of these wonderful plants. 'Pennys Pink' I think it is with the white veining in the foliage doesn't even need to flower it is so beautiful. But its flowers are beautiful too.


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