this Hellebore thinks It’s England, not NEW England

Photo by Maria von Brincken copyright 2011
Photo by Maria von Brincken copyright 2011

Winter Solstice Day I noticed this hellebore in my front garden. But it felt more like a discovery as it’s  fully budded and this in not England where they bloom at this time of year.

Because it was such an unusually warm day–50 degrees to start the day–I took the opportunity to cut back my large ornamental grass that was under a snow bank this time last year and the year before. While out there I continued to fill the “lawn” bags for pick-up later that day for the yard waste recycling.  The grass alone would have overwhelmed my compost bin in my small garden. Clipping away at long gone late blooming chrysanthemums, I noticed the hellebore. The ‘noticing’ stopped me in my tracks.

I’m fairly certain that this is actually the Helleborus niger or the ‘Christmas Rose’ (white blossoms) rather than orientalis or foetidus.  In the Boston western ‘burbs it blooms in March, if we’re lucky, but usually sometime from March thru May. As I write this Christmas Eve on a freezing winter day, I just peeked out my door, and the buds persist. Amazing. This is why it’s called the ‘Christmas Rose’ in England. In New England, we’re lucky if it blooms at Easter, more like May Day.

It’s leaves persist thru our winters which is why when my horticultural buddie Marylyn gave me piece a year or two ago I planted it in my front garden. I chose that spot so I could see it’s “evergreen” leaves in combination with a nearby ‘evergreen’ variegated plant. (See it in the photo’s lower corner–it’s a plant that I’ve not successfully identified, but looks great and does well).

The orange chord you see powers the tiny colored lights on the nearby conifer to celebrate winter and the birth of the new year.

I’ll let you know if this crazy weather pattern lets the hellebore bloom–I’ll check tomorrow–Christmas Day–just in case.

Hope your Solstice was happy and your Christmas is Merry whether you celebrate these holidays or not!

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