Saturday, March 24, 2012

Deadleafing 101

 Day 65
The Daily DuBrule

Yesterday I came upon a magnificent stand of Helleborus orientalis, the Lenten rose. They were in full bloom, yet they looked bedraggled because they were still wearing their winter leaves. They needed deadleafing.

This is a process where you carefully go into a plant and remove the tired, old, ratty looking foliage to the base, dancing around the new leaves. It is a grooming technique to make plants look a thousand times better. 

Deadleafing is often done in late summer to Alchemilla mollis, Brunnera, and a host of other foliage plants showing the effects of drought and heat. It is a renewal process, a new lease on life for the plants. Fresh new foliage continues to emerge and within a few weeks, the plants look fresh as a daisy.

With Hellebores, its often hard what to decide to do as the green, leathery leaves are often the only game in town in the shady perennial garden in the winter. I say "off with their leaves" as soon as the flower start to show. They deserve all the glory, and tired looking foliage just brings the display down.

By the way, these Hellebores have downward facing flowers. The new ones are being bred for upward facing flowers. That is a VAST improvement. The insides of these flowers were speckled and spotted and stunning but unless held them in you hands and faced them towards you, or unless they were planted on a hill and you were viewing from below, you would miss this.

I Hellebore heaven right now, with all kinds of gorgeous new varieties in full bloom everywhere I go. What a wonderful perennial this is.

1 comment:

  1. I only have feotidus that I bought from you in tiny pots 2yrs ago. They are extremely vigorous but I put them around the edge of a planted area. I now know I should have put them in the middle. They are big and I love the foliage (the real reason I bought them).