From humble beginnings in 1992, Northwest Garden Nursery has become the major breeder of Helleborus here in the Pacific Northwest.
The O'Byrnes acquired their original breeding stock as seed from breeders Will McLewin in the U.K. and Gisela Schmeimann in Germany. Additional stock was hand selected on buying trips to England and Holland at Ashwood Nursery, Blackthorn Nursery, and de Hessenhof. Over the years other branches of the business were downsized in order to concentrate on their main love of creating and propagating hybrid Helleborus of superior quality and vigor ideally suited for life in the Pacific Northwest.
Northwest Garden Nursery's breeding program is both rigorous and comprehensive. All the stock plants are hand pollinated and then isolated from other pollinators. Every seed head is individually bagged and harvested by color strain. Qualities selected for are clean, clear colors, evenly shaped petals, overall vigor and disease resistance, and plentiful flower production. In single flowered forms they also select for vertical, outward facing blooms with interestingly colored reverses.
Double flowered forms are additionally selected for blossom fullness, evenly spaced petals, and overall texture. As it is important that the foliage does not overwhelm the blooms, plants are also selected toward finer foliage. Each year they gather a few of the choicest new hybrids as stock plants to be added to the next year's breeding program, while discarding any that are deemed inferior. Through this constant and ruthless upgrading they make yearly progress toward the "perfect plant" for your garden.
Northwest Garden Nursery Helleborus are low growing herbaceous perennials with short-stemmed, often toothed, palmate foliage. Their most impressive feature is their five petaled, bowl shaped flowers which appear from late winter into spring in colors as diverse as white, cream, apricot, yellow, green, slate, every tint of pink, maroon, and even black! With all they have to offer it's not hard to see why the Helleborus was chosen Perennial Plant of the Year for 2005.
Here at Portland Nursery we are very excited to be able to offer the unique series created by the O'Byrnes.
The Winter Jewels Series covers the whole spectrum of floral color and form: singles, doubles, anemone-flowered, speckled, picoteed, veined, and nearly every color and combination of colors imaginable. Since plants are seed grown no two are the same. Every garden should have at least one.
Apricot to peach with red reverse and rays, some with picotee edge.
Deep slate to black shades with burgundy rays and chartreuse nectaries.
Pale pink flecked and/or veined richer pink with bubblegum nectaries.
Warm, clear yellow, some with red veining and/or speckles.
Bold green with red or purple reverse, rays, and veining, chartreuse nectaries.
White to pale yellow, heavily flecked with purple to maroon spotting.
Light apricot to golden blush tones.
Rich rose to wine red with deeper speckles and /or picotee.
Palest blush to rich rose, some with darker picotee.
White, heavily marked with purple to maroon spotting.
Various yellow tints with or without red picotee and/or spotting.
Lush red or plum with darker tips and/or veining.
Vibrant greens with maroon spotting and/or picotee.
Dusky maroon, slate, or black, some with darker picotee edging.
Purest white, some with red or green eye.
We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.