Hellebores are one of the earliest flowering perennials. Note that these plants are often sold in grocery stores in early spring and people think they should just throw them out but NO! Plant them for next year. Many a good perennial is sold and accidentally thrown out if the owner doesn’t realize the treasure they have! Another great example is in Sept/Oct timeframe you’ll find Montauk Daisies sold as little gift plants. These things are workhorses and need to be planted for one of the few flowering fall shrubs.
Anyway….hellebores look a little mangey. Some of the old leaves are brown and flattened on the ground but look closely as the little flowers will start to show themselves in March. They’ll add leaves and perk up through April. They come in a lot of different colors and are slow growing – mine has taken a few years for my first to become a bit intimidating. They also need just the right spot and can be finicky. Mine seem to like a spot under a tree that does get some direct sun. I had a few in a more shady area and they did not do well. I have started a little hellebore garden now outside my office window. Note that if they are in the right spot, you can abuse them and they still do well.
What to grow with? I often interplant them with tulips and they are growing with a huge hosta and some Jack Frost Brunnera underneath a magnolia. It is a bright spot in my yard in early spring!