Barry Glick is known for his “Sunshine Selections” of Helleborus x hybridus…
No matter where you live, whether you make your home in the snowy American Heartland, warm subtropical Florida, the frozen mountains of Maine, sunny southern California, or the moist Pacific Northwest, you can grow flowers like these in your own backyard.
Even if you believe that you’re cursed with a “Black Thumb”, you will succeed. That’s how easy they are.
Not only will they grace your table with beautiful cut flowers, they’ll provide color in your landscape at a time when there virtually is none. And….they’re such long lived perennials that they’ll still be thriving when they plant you in the ground.
The ‘Sunshine Selections’ of Helleborus x hybridus are the result of over 30 years of painstaking attention to detail, careful parental selection, worldwide searching for the best germplasm and hand pollination. These evergreen, long lived, deerproof, perennial plants are guaranteed to reward you with a continual bloom in Feb, Mar, Apr and May. I’ve been addicted to Hellebores for quite some time now and I’d love to share my obsession with you by inviting you to come see more than 6 acres of Hellebores in full bloom. The best time for peak bloom is mid March – mid April. Please email me for an appointment.
“Focus on Hellebores
: Doubles, Semi-Doubles, Anemone-Flowered and other Outrageous Hellebores
” is Barry’s title for his talk to the Hardy Plant Society of New England — Connecticut Chapter’s meeting on Sunday, March 22, 2015.
The meeting is being held at the Solomon Welles House in Wethersfield at 7pm. Please join us… Members are free, and a $5 donation is appreciated from visitors.
Barry will have specimens of his Hellebores available at our meeting…. Here he demos the helleborus root systems…
His dedication to native plants is well-known also…. Here he describes past experiences with Native Plants ….
When Thomas Meehan, a Philadelphia botanist, died in 1901, I’m sure he went
to the big forest in the sky feeling proud that Nathaniel Lord Britton (1859-
1934) named a genus of plants in his honor. I’d also bet that he didn’t know
how wonderful his namesake plant was. In fact, most people don’t know how
wonderful Meehania cordata is. Charles and Martha Oliver are proprietors
of the Primrose Path Nursery in Scottdale, PA, and are dear friends of
mine. I’d noticed Meehania cordata listed in their catalog. After reading their
description and hearing them extol the virtues of this charming little plant,
I asked them to please bring me one on their upcoming visit. I’d requested one
the year before, but it always seemed that they were sold out. So I was emphatic
that I must have one, and intimated should they not bring me one, they
might end up sleeping in my barn that chilly autumn night.
In My Own Backyard Tiarella, Heuchera, and Heucherella are the main focus of
their breeding work, so we had planned a day of Tiarella-hunting in Wolfpen Hollow,
a hauntingly mysterious woodland area near my farm. We’d just descended
a summit into the foggy creekbottom when I heard Charles laughing hysterically behind
me on the trail. I turned to see what he found so amusing and saw him pointing to the ground.
There,all around him, the ground was covered with “Meehan;s Mint.”
Talk about getting caught not “practicing what you preach.” Me, who in all of
my lectures on native plants makes a point of telling people to “look in your
own backyard!” Well, after I recovered from my initial embarrassment, we
looked further and found the entire West facing slope of the hill down to
the creekbed was a veritable carpet of dark, glossy green, cordate (heart-shaped,
hence the specific epithet cordata) leaves, vining over rocks and decaying tree limbs,
basking in the deep shade of the Hemlock and Oak woods above the water.
Starting From Cuttings
I took some cuttings, not knowing whether they would root so late in the
season, but I had a gut feeling of optimism. Sure enough, they rooted in a
matter of weeks.
The following spring, I checked in on the population and found that the new
growth was thick and lovely. In June, I went back to observe the flowers and
found a sea of lilac, pink, and lavender trumpet like blooms at the tips of the
stems. They reminded me very much of Scutellaria, another member of the mint
family and close relative of Meehania.
Now, having many plants from the rooted cuttings that I overwintered
under a dark bench, I proceeded to plant them under a small grove of Lilacs
and Viburnums. They responded to the rich humus that had accumulated
under these older shrubs and almost immediately started to wind their way
around on the ground.
Mint by Relation Only
Taxonomically speaking, Meehania cordata is a member of the Lamiaceae
(Mint) family. In North America, Meehania cordata is a montypic (single)
species in the genus. Its reported range is from southwest Pennsylvania
to North Carolina and Tennessee. Its heart-shaped leaves are on the diminutive
side, averaging 1-1½” wide at the petiole and are about 1″ long. I suspect
that it’s hardy to zone 4, maybe even 3. I know of at least one other Meehania
species in cultivation, that being Meehania urticifolia, Meehania cordata’s Asian
cousin. It can be found growing through the woods of the mountain forests in
the Honshu area of Japan.
The specific epithet, urticifolia, refers to the nettle like foliage. Unlike other members
of the mint family, Meehania cordata could NEVER be considered invasive or even
aggressive. It’s also very easy to propagate from stem cuttings and by division.
Meehania cordata is one of the best plants I can think of for those dark and
foreboding corners of the garden where there isn’t enough light for most other
plants. Even if it didn’t have the added benefit of those brilliant, colorful flowers,
I would recommend it as a very useful groundcover.
Barry Glick, the self-proclaimed “King of Helleborus,” grew up in Philadelphia in
the ’60s, a Mecca of horticulture. Barry cut high school classes and hitchhiked
to Longwood Gardens before he was old enough to drive. In 1972, he realized there
was just not enough room for him and his plants in the big-city environment, so
he bought 60 acres of a mountaintop in Greenbrier County, WV, where he gave birth
to Sunshine Farm & Gardens (www.sunfarm.com), a mail-order plant nursery. Barry
grows more than 10,000 different plants and specializes in native plants and hellebores.
He can be reached at 304.497.2208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry is doing a Propagation of Native Plants talk & demo for the Connecticut Master Gardener’s Association (CMGA) “Productive Beautiful Fun Gardens
” Symposium on Saturday March, 21st.