As someone who has worked in garden centers for 49 years, there's precious little of a horticultural bent you could share that would shock me. Been there, heard it. Still, I admire the optimism of people that want it all.
By that, I mean the (re)quest for the elusive plant that does something splashy every season of the year. I call it the "wish-upon-a-star" plant syndrome. If such a plant existed in the upper Midwest it would:
* bloom April thru October and be available in every color of the rainbow
* have intoxicating fragrance
* bear delectable, edible fruit
* display long-lasting fall color, but
* have evergreen foliage
* grow exactly the height and spread your site requires (sans pruning)
* be repugnant to marauding deer and bunnies
* be a way station for pollinating insects and hummingbirds
* tolerate sun or shade, wet or dry soils
|Winter Jewels Cherry Blossom|
|Ivory Prince with winter foliage, left, then 4 weeks later|
|Winter Jewels Berry Swirl|
Hellebores are a bit like peonies in that they're happiest planted and left alone. Slug damage is occasionally reported, but I'm happy to say that's only something that I've read about, unlike many Hosta varieties. Deer and rabbits eschew (not chew, haha) Lenten rose. Is there no end to this plant's virtues? The only drawback I hear from customers is that they're slow to mature, typically taking three years to reach blooming size in a gallon pot. One more asset- winter hardy to Zone 4!
When you wish upon that perfect perennial star put Hellebore hybrids at the top of your fantasy plant wish list!