Outfacing, white, waxy cup-shaped flowers resembling single roses in late winter, evergreen leaves.
Size: 12-20” x 12” Care: part shade in moist well-drained soil Native: rocky places in Europe Awards: Received Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit.
The name Helleborus is Greek from hellein meaning “to kill” and bora meaning “food” referring to the plant’s poisonous qualities if placed in food. This species is ancient – known as long ago as 300 BC in Greece where it “purged and cured the mad or melancholicke daughters of Praetus with the roots thereof.” (Parkinson, 1629) Grown in the Eichstätt Garden, the garden of Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, prince bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, c. 1600. In Middle Ages petals thrown on floor to drive out evil and ward off power of witches. Gerard recommended it for curing poisoned animals. Sorcerers made themselves invisible by tossing the powdered plant in the air. The German name of Schneerose (snow rose) is perhaps more appropriate.
Penstemon hirsutus Downy penstemon Z. 3-9
Lavender-Pink outside and white inside funnels in June
Bushy plants bear showy, red-purple pea-like blooms age to rich purple in March-June. Ephemeral, dying back in August when you can cut it back. Spring gem.
Size: 12” x 12” Care: sun in north to shade in south, moist well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established Native: No. Europe - Siberia Awards: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit, Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden Great Plant Picks
Introduced to gardens before 1629. Parkinson called it “Blew Everlasting Pease.”