One of the first signs of life in my garden are the hellebores, which actually started to bloom about a month ago. They are in full bloom now and I have been cutting them and bringing them inside. But you can hardly see the flowers on the plants because of all the old foliage, so yesterday I tackled my first job of the season in the garden--cutting back all those yukky leaves. It felt like spring yesterday, seriously, in the 70s. It's nice to hear all the kids in the neighborhood outside playing, the thump of the basketballs next door. Anyway, I cut back the old leaves, here's what one clump of hellebores looked like before:
You can see all the old foliage is blackened and coarse and really overwhelming the flowers. And here is the after:
They look so much better and I can really see the flowers from the house now. It's funny because I cut the leaves back early in the day and by late afternoon the flowers were already standing up taller because they had room to breathe I think! They looked a little more pink too, for some reason.
And look at this clump, you can't see any flowers at all:
And here you can see how many hellebores I have. They re-seed themselves easily, so after a few years you can really have a lot of hellebores. I started with one and look at all that I have now. I don't move them--I just take the seedheads in the summer and sprinkle them around and they seem to take very easily. Oh, and they do grow new leaves so there will be more green later in the season, but for now, the flowers are the stars of the show!