I'll be ordering Helleborus from Vesey's too. I saw many of them at Canada Blooms back in spring and was intrigued by them. At the show, I picked up Gardening Life magazine--it has a Helleborus on the cover and a good article on them. I dug it out recently so I could get some background on them.
Vesey's offers H. orientalis and H. Rasbuis. The orientalis has speckled throats, comes in a wide range of colours and often self-seeds. It self-hybridizes so the colour will change each season. This is the Lenten rose which blooms February / March.
I can't find H. rasbuis in the magazine but I suspect this is the earlier bloomer--Christmas rose.
Helleborus prefer a woodland setting under deciduous trees where they have much sun when they're blooming and dappled shade protection for the rest of the year. They like relatively moist soil and should be planted in a very large hole so their roots can fan out. Plants should be left alone for 4-5 years before moving them so think carefully about their placement beforehand. Never move them during a drought or hot spell.
They enjoy much organic matter worked into their soil-compost, manure, chopped-up leaves. They respond especially to leaf-mould and leafy mulch--what you'd find on the forest floor.
Helleborus can take at least 3-4 years to establish themselves but then grow to great proportions--up to two feet and flower profusely. Sometimes they bloom out of sync with their usual season in the first year and then may bloom in the fall before it resumes its normal blooming routine next year.
Helleborus is becoming really popular throughout North America--we'll likely see more of them at nurseries next year.