Matchmaking with Hellebores


Whether you’re already addicted to growing hellebores or are considering them for the first time, you don’t want to miss:

Linden Hill’s 15th Annual Hellebore Festival on April 1 and 2  2017 (10am to 4pm)

We’ll have a glorious abundance of blooming-size plants with wide selection of flower forms, colors, and markings, so you’re sure to find something special.

Match Making with Hellebores

When choosing beautiful new hellebores for your garden, don’t forget to think about companion plants too. Well-chosen partners can enhance the seasonal bloom show, complementing or contrasting with the hellebores’ flower colors.


Hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus) with Italian arum (Arum italicum ‘Pictum’) and ‘Chameleon’ euphorbia (Euphorbia dulcis)

Pairing hellebores with foliage companions is one easy and dependable way to go. Take advantage of perennial partners with evergreen leaves, such as heucheras and ‘Evergold’ sedge (Carex oshimensis), for color you can count on no matter what the weather does. Surrounding your hellebores with low-growing groundcovers, such as black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’), European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum), or moss serves a practical purpose too: They keep soil from splashing onto hellebore blooms during heavy spring rains.

Perennial companions that offer showy new growth, such as the bright yellow blades of golden wood millet (Milium effusum ‘Aureum’) or the pink-blushed leaves of a variegated creeping Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), also offer exciting possibilities for subtle or dramatic color combinations.

Hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus) with ‘Touch of Class’ creeping Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans)


Hellebores bloom for such a long period that they can pair with a variety of flowering partners through their yearly show. To complement the first blooms of Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) and bearsfoot hellebore (H. foetidus), pair them with early risers such as snowdrops (Galanthus), winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), and Crocus tommasinianus. By the time the earliest hybrid Lenten roses (H. x. hybridus) open, snowdrops are usually still in bloom, joined by reticulated iris (Iris reticulata), glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) and hybrid crocuses.

Bearsfoot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) with glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae) and Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens)


As the season progresses, so do the possible flowering partners for hellebores. Take advantage of other spring bulbs, such as squills (Scilla and Puschkinia), grape hyacinths (Muscari), checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris), and early daffodils like ‘February Gold’ and ‘Tete-a-Tete’.

Hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus) with checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris)


By mid-spring, options increase for flowering perennial companions that complement hellebores of all sorts. Consider primrose species and hybrids, for example, and epimediums too, for a wide range of colors. Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla), forget-me-nots (Myosotis), lungworts (Pulmonaria), and early phlox (like Phlox divaricata and P. stolonifera) are beautiful for blues and whites; many of these offer pink options as well.

Hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus) with red epimedium (Epimedium x rubrum)


Don’t forget about pansies and violas, either. They come in a rainbow of hues—and black and white and bicolors, too—so you can experiment with interesting new combinations each spring.

We’ll have lots of these and other beautiful bloomers at our 15th Annual Hellebore Festival, so plan on joining us next weekend and stock up on some much-needed spring color.

Also happening on Saturday only will be Springfair. Located in the barn and featuring local vendors offering seasonal gifts and food treats.

Cap off your visit with a walk through our gardens, particularly the Metasequoia Allee , to get even more ideas for charming hellebore companions.



Jerry Fritz Garden Design and Linden Hill Gardens – Gearing up for Spring!


Jerry Fritz Garden Design & Linden Hill Gardens – Gearing up for Spring!single-hellebore5 green-hellebore-with-bee double-hellebor3

Hellebore Festival is this weekend at Linden Hill

Saturday and Sunday 9am – 4pm

Can it be that spring has sprung at last? It seems Mother Nature is taking her own sweet time to warm things up for us this season. While the weather may not be optimal for planting out of doors, it is a good time for planning!

I thought I would share with you a teaser of just a few of the plants I am especially excited to be offering this year both to my landscape clients as well as at Linden Hill Gardens. Stop in soon and hear about what else we have planned for 2015. It’s going to be a great year! –  Jerry

Regular Spring hours are: OPEN Thurs – Sun 11am till 6pm


bergenia ciliataBergenia ciliate – Unlike any other bergenia you have seen, 12” hairy leaves with white flowers and pinkish/red-streaked throat. Leaves turn brilliant red and orange in fall. (Hardy zone 5 – 8)

epimedium amber queenEpimedium ‘Amber Queen’ – Grows 24” tall with an abundance of bright yellow, spider-like flowers tipped with orange-red.

patrina scabiosifoliaPatrina scabiosifolia ‘Golden Lace’ – Grows 5’ tall all summer long. Displays bright yellow, see-through lacy blooms.  Even with the extreme height, rarely needs staking.


digiplexis 'Ilummination Flame'Digiplexis ‘Illuination Flame’ – Grows 36” tall by 18” wide and blooms from May to September. The spectacular orange/apricot flowers attract butterflies and like full-sun to part shade. Sterile (Hardy to zone 8-10)


fagus sylvatica var. heterophylla 'Aspendiifolia'Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplendifolia’ – Fern leaf beech with long slender and deeply lobed leaves creating a fern-like appearance.  With an oval form and low branching habit this is a superb tree for attracting wildlife.

ptelea trifoliataPtelea trifoliata – (Hop tree) This native tree grows 15 – 20’ with a rounded form . Good choice for planting in heavy shade.  Blooms May/June with creamy white orange-scented clusters attracting butterflies and is also an important caterpillar food source.  Shiny, yellow to green leaves turn yellow in fall.  Also makes an excellent hedge.  (Hardy to zone 3)


leucosptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel'Leucosptrum japonicum ‘Golden Angel’ – (Japanese Shrub Mint)  Grows to form a 3’ tall x 3’ wide mass of golden yellow leaves which become topped in October and November with bottle-brush like flowers. (Hardy to zone 4a-8b)


I hope to see you all again soon! Let us know if you have any questions

LHG colored


Hellebores for Your Garden

Hellebores for Your Early Spring Gardenhellebores gold collection

After the long cold winter, I can’t think of a more wonderful plant to see emerging in the spring than Helleborus orientalis.

Fun Facts and Attributes:hellebore white elegance

 – Despite names such as Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose and Winter Rose, they are not related to the rose family at all, but it’s bloom does closely resemble a rose. They are actually members of the buttercup family.

– It is one of the four classic poisons, together with nightshade, hemlock, and aconite. In fact, the name hellebore comes from the Greek “elein” meaning to injure, and “bora” meaning food. It is poisonous if consumed.

– Hellebores are native to southern and central Europe.  They are often found in mountains, and on stony clay soils

– Valued for their winter and early spring flowering period, the plants are frost-resistant and many are evergreen.

-Hellebores tolerate shade very well and it is a perfect plant for naturalizing in a woodland garden.

– On a practical matter, which is important in our area, they are deer resistant.

– The most popular Hellebores for garden use are undoubtedly Helleborus Orientalis and the colorful hybrids (Helleborus x hybridus)



I like to weave them through plantings of hydrangeas because the hellebores will offer evergreen foliage during winter months and then flower early – before the hydrangeas leaf-out.  When the hydrangeas do leaf-out they provide cover and shade for the hellebores.  Try also planting daffodils in the mix for additional spring color.



The wide range of colors add to the versatility of hellebores – making these plants true early spring gems for your garden.












A Cross Country Journey for Some Very Special Plants

A Cross County Journey

I will soon be travelling to Oregon with Peter Dubose, my Operations Manager, and partner in our new endeavor- “Premium Plants, LLC”. We are going there to hand-dig an entire private collection of hellebores for shipment back to Ottsville.  It all started thanks to my good friend, Dan Heims, of Terra Nova Nurseries in Portland Oregon. Dan phoned me saying “Fritziee….Call me, I have an opportunity for you.

So, with that said, we have purchased the entire inventory of the well-known hellebore nursery, Honey Hill Farms. Jim and Audrey Metcalf have been growing and breeding hellebores for over 40 years. They are responsible for two very valuable hellebores – ‘Honeyhill Joy’ and ‘Honeyhill Peace’.  Their successful business all started with a casual plant trade- they swapped some goutweed for a pretty white hellebore, and an obsession was born.  As their fervor and interest grew, they delved into breeding better plants with larger, more up facing blooms, improved form and color along with cleaner foliage.

double-hellebor3single-hellebore11 single-hellebore5

Peter and I are honored that the Metcalfs have selected us as the recipients of their prized collection of breeding stock. We will soon be offering a selected inventory of these beauties for sale, once they complete the cross-country journey from Portland, Oregon to arrive at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.

In anticipation of high demand for these one-of-a-kind specimens, we will be offering select days/times when our loyal Linden Hill customers can come preview the collection and have the first opportunity to select and purchase these amazing plants for placement in their own gardens.

Think spring and be well,

Jerry Fritz

PS I am also excited to announce that I have an article on hellebores appearing in the early spring issue  of Garden Design Magazine. Please click here to preview!


Saving Your Amaryllis & Tips for Winter

White Amaryllis Red Amaryllis

Saving Your Amaryllis & Tips for Winter

The amaryllis plant you received for the holidays does not have to be disposable. You can keep it and enjoy the spectacular blooms next year. After your amaryllis has died down, cut off the tall flower stalk, but make sure to leave the rest of the foliage. Now treat your plant as you would a houseplant that requires high light. Place your amaryllis in a very sunny indoor location, such as a south-facing window. In spring, when the danger of frost has passed, move the plant outdoors to a sunny place, such as a patio. Proceed to water the plant regularly and liquid fertilize monthly to boost nutrition for next season’s flower production.

If you desire a blooming amaryllis for the holidays, in fall (September or October), cut off the foliage and bring indoors, to a cool, dark area that stays about 55 °F. Keep the bulb dry for 8-10 weeks, at which time, new growth may begin emerging. Bring your pot into a sunny location, 60 °F + at this time. If you would like, re-pot the bulb into a new decorative container. Remember not to bury the bulb completely, leaving 1/3 of the bulb above the soil. Begin to water your amaryllis on a regular basis  whenever the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Enjoy the big, bold blooms at Christmastime then repeat this process again.


In the Early Winter Garden

Helleborus Josef Lemper dec closeup

Blooming brightly in the early winter garden is Helleborus niger ‘Josef Lemper’ (The Christmas Rose). The niger hellebore begins blooming in November and continues through February. Consider planting this wonderfully tough and deer resistant beauty in containers or in the ground when able. The plant enjoys part sun and will provide blooming relief  in the winter months. ‘Josef Lemper’ is a part of ‘The Gold Collection’, a group of hellebores from the German breeding program of Joseph Heuger.Helleborus niger Josef Lemper dec


As we finish the final nursery clean up and miscellaneous tasks for winter, two things I feel worth mentioning are: providing food for the birds and protecting tree trunks from mice damage (especially young newly planted trees).

Plants, insects and seeds are now becoming scarce and it is great to provide nourishment and energy for the birds. The best for winter feeding is black oil sunflower seeds and high quality suet. A sheltered feeder placed in a place that is out of the wind would be ideal.woodpecker

Protect young trees from gnawing mice by putting hardware mesh around the trunks. Anchor the mesh in place at the bottom with sod staples so that mice cannot dig or burrow under snow cover and get to the tree. By creating a metal cylinder, you will block critters from damaging the trunk.Protect your trunks from mice damage

From all of us at Linden Hill –  we would like to thank you for your support this past  season, we are looking forward to an exciting 2015. While we will be closed for retail in January and February, please email us if you have any needs or questions that we can help you with. Mark your calendars for the very popular Horticultural Chat Room February 21st. Our 2015 events listing will be available online soon. Please check our website for updates.  See you soon! Jerry and JessicaLindenHillDrawingleaf