Joel In The Garden

Flowers offer an early dose of spring

Flowers offer an early dose of spring

Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays

EUGENE, Ore .— Spring flowers are starting to spring up around Oregon.

And this weekend, several gardeners will head to one greenhouse outside Eugene to snatch up an early bloomer that can survive just about anything

Early signs of spring are returning to Northwest Garden Nursery west of Eugene. And this weekend, many customers will return, eagerly hoping to buy this season's blooming hellebores.

“They come back every year. They're here at 9:30. They park. They're not allowed to shop until 10:00. And at ten o'clock, we ring a bell and it goes crazy,” nursery owner Marietta O’Byrne said.

It's easy to see why the flowers are a big draw. The exotic hellebores are cultivated from parts of Europe and Asia. They require little care and can be grown almost anywhere in the US.

“They live for 20 to 30 years,” O’Byrne said. “They're very long lived. And they're very hardy. It's just, they're slow. Like all good things, they're slow.”

Raising hellebores is a meticulous and time consuming job for the O'Byrnes. They hand pollinate the hardy flowers in order to keep the colors from mixing together.

“Not just once, but usually three times,” O’Byrne said. “Because you want to be sure it makes seed.”

The O'Byrnes keep their supply limited and only offer them up for sale two weekends out of the year. That includes several different colors, young and old plants, singles and doubles. And she'll gladly explain the difference.

“This is making seed,” O’Byrne said while showing off a double hellebore. “Little ones. It'll enlarge later and the second row has fallen off. In a true double, it doesn't fall off. It stays.”

But these flowers may not stay for long come Saturday afternoon. The hellebore open garden sale is open February 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The O’Byrnes will also be selling more younger blooming flowers on March 8th and 9th at the nursery.