The Lenten Rose

Helleborus. Latin for hellebore, a perennial flowering plant from Europe and Asia. Most of the hybrid hellebores found in gardens in North America and Europe are often called the Lenten Rose, since they bloom in February and March, during the Lenten season.  Many years ago, a friend gave me two Lenten Roses from her parents’ garden in the mountains of Virginia. I brought them with me from my former garden and have let them seed about, resulting in flowers ranging from cream to pink to dark rose.  This year, they began blooming two weeks earlier than usual, a welcome sight in a dreary winter.  Today, more blooms have opened, including a few rarer ones purchased for their dark mysterious colors.

Deer resistant, first to bloom in spring, happy in shade or sun, dry or wet, and dressed in handsome leathery foliage, this is a plant for all gardens.  Enjoy the gallery of photos!

For more beautiful hellebore photos, including double forms and unusual colors, visit:
Pine Knot Farms
Northwest Garden Nursery
Sunshine Farm and Gardens
The Lenten Rose

To learn more about the beautiful hellebore, including its history and its variations, visit: hellebores.org
The Lovely Lenten Rose 

Think spring!  More music next week.

33 thoughts on “The Lenten Rose

  1. A great set of photos. We have some hellebore in our garden too but I have never photographed them. Maybe I will now, if they are still in bloom.

    • Thanks, Ehpem! Mine are still in bloom here, they still have some buds though others are dropping their stamens. I like them at all stages of bloom and planting some in more shade than others extends the bloom season by a few weeks.

    • Robin, I think they would love your garden. They like any soil, will tolerate dry shade but do well in wet soil too. Great woodland plant, since they bloom so early. I’m hoping to add more new ones this year 🙂

    • The foliage is attractive almost year round, too. It is virtually evergreen, and as the winter takes its toll, the old foliage gets cut back just as new leaves appear. Otherwise, very carefree. Spring and winter are still fighting it out here, we just got 2″ of snow, but now it is melting. Typical March weather!

  2. I had never heard of Lenten Rose until a friend of mine recommended it for us (sometime in 2011). Then, I recently saw some at our church, and now here. Hmmm … I guess we should get these. Thanks for the tips regarding their location. Nice pics Lynn!

  3. These are so beautiful. I just planted one late last summer that I brought from my Aunt’s garden. I’m not sure if it will bloom this year, but I hope so!

    • They establish pretty quickly, Paula, you may get a bloom or two. Once they are established, they bloom for about 2 months. Even the spent flowers are pretty; I leave them on and let them go to seed. It doesn’t seem to hurt the vigor of the parent plant and I’m getting some nice areas filled with the seedlings, with lots of color variation in the blossoms.

  4. Lynn. These are so lovely. I am a gardener as well and I can hardly wait until spring. My favorite flower is the hibiscus, not only because of its beauty, but because it attracks hummingbirds. There is no peace like the peace a well-appointed flower garden or deck brings to the soul. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of your garden when it is in full swing this summer. Cheers!

    • Eleanor, a gardener too! We have so much in common, it seems 🙂 I grow a lot of salvias on my deck to attract the hummingbirds, and they visit every morning during bloom season. “There is no peace like the peace a well-appointed flower garden or deck brings to the soul.” You are absolutely right in this – it is truly sanctuary.

  5. Just gorgeous! What a treat; we had an amazing storm last night and everything’s coated with snow. Beautiful, but–wow–the hellebores photos really sing to my spirit today! Thank you ofr such a lovely break and reminder of what lies ahead.

  6. We were surprised to see some in Riverside Park already a couple of weeks ago. They looked a little wilted, like last year’s left-over flowers. But they were trying!

    Deer-resistant? 🙂

    • Well, there are no “deer proof” plants. But, the high alkaloid content of hellebores make them relatively pest resistant in the garden. Mine have bounced back from snow and bitter temps, and have gone from limp to upright with no losses. Last season’s foliage is tattered, time to trim it back to show off the blossoms and new leaves.

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