winter flowering plants

Honeyhill Farms

a Portland area treasure trove of winter-blooming beauty

By Kate Bryant February 21, 2012

Honeyhill Joy hellebore — the Metcalfes’ own hybrid. This lovely plant with upright, creamy white, long-lasting flowers has been growing in my garden for over five years. (Hot pink flowers in background belong to Cyclamen coum, a charming little plant, growing from a tuber, which produces vibrant pink to white flowers from December to March.

If you’re interested in buying some of the most beautiful hellebores in town, just pick up the phone and ring Jim and Audrey Metcalfe. Because the Metcalfes do business the old-fashioned way…. just give them a friendly telephone call and set up an appointment to visit their Southwest Portland home and nursery.

Their nursery, Honeyhill Farm is in their back garden so they keep the hours of 2-5 pm daily during hellebore flowering season, which runs through February and March most years. But make the effort to call and visit, and you can expect to be charmed, not only by the wonderful winter-flowering hellebores and spectacular sheets of pink and white Cyclamen coum, but by your sprightly and interesting hosts.

The Metcalfes have been growing and breeding hellebores for some 40 years. It 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 upfacing blooms; better form and color; and cleaner foliage. Mostly 1-gallon and some larger 2-gallon plants are sold at their home nursery, as well as at the Hillsdale Farmers Market, the Tryon Creek Plant Sale in April, and occasionally at other plant sales.

Jim has a great eye for a good plant, and searches the seedlings for the best-looking plants to sell. In fact, one of their best hybrids, Honeyhill Joy, was picked up and licensed by wholesaler Terra Nova. (See photos in slideshow.)

Make an appointment by calling Audrey and Jim at 503-292-1817. They are open daily while plants are in flower (usually Feb and March), from 2-5 pm daily except Wednesdays.

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