April Fool's! The second picture is more accurate.
The catalogs know it works. Extreme close-ups of amazing blooms. Their profiles captured in much crisper detail than my own attempt at catching the hellebores in my garden. The pictures are always perfect and often color enhanced. It's hard, though, to tell what draws me in faster, the close-up shots or the too good to be true descriptions. I read promises of six months of blooms, new unique colors and I'm caught. I can't resist. I convince myself that they must have been conservative with growing zones, that I can make my soil work for it, that I do have enough sun!
I wonder if things would be different if they showed me the whole picture? Pretty, but mostly downward facing blooms surrounded by a significant sea of mostly dead foliage. I'd like to think I'd resist the urge to purchase it, but I suspect I wouldn't. For me, despite the not so pretty picture, the magic is still there. The draw of color in the garden, even a little, way before anything else is blooming is significant. It's the advance promise of what's to come!
Hellebores that spend five months alternating between freezes and thaws and heavy snow and heavy rain may not pass the ten foot rule this time of year but that's OK. They can be improved on with a few minutes with some shears and they go a long way in getting a zone 5 gardener through the horrid month of March. They sure are easier to take care of than tomato seedlings,
My frame was 46 degrees when I left for work this morning and 100 degrees when I came home. Today's crazy wind blew down my venting brick and a sauna was born. It might have taken more care with it had I known that the temperature was going to reach 55 instead of the predicted 43. Crazy wind, wild forecasts...yep definitely April. Not a minute too soon.