Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Choosing, harvesting and Conditioning Hellebore
What we call "petals" on the hellebores is actually sepals that protect the tiny flower. If you look carefully at the flower below you will notice tiny petals that surround the stamens. These sepals become more hardy as the flower matures.
Wait for the flower to be fertilized before picking. You will notice that the tiny petals and stamens drop and the seedpod develops. This is a sure sign that you can harvest and successfully condition the flowers.
Cut out only the mature flowers to design with.
Dip the stem in boiling water for a few seconds before designing with it. Remember to protect the flower from the steam.
A mature and fully developed Hellebore is also best to use in body flowers and will last for almost a day without water. But to be safe, I always add a tiny drinking straw test tube (see Tutorial below)
Design Note: Some designers also suggest you push a pin up the stem into the flower or dip it in a chemical designed to conserve cut flowers like "quick dip". I find, that just by harvesting the flowers later you can avoid any additional conditioning time.