Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Helleborus Niger


In Europe Helleborus Niger is a traditional seasonal plant at Christmas time.  Why call it a Lenten Rose then? It should be called an Advent Rose shouldn't it?  I digress.  In the middle ages it was considered a medicinal plant by herbalists. The Greeks mentioned the use of Helleborus Niger in philosophical books as a melampode.  Thats just another name for the Helleborus Black Rose.

The Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose or Helleborus Niger is a rhizomatus rose in its native habitat in the mountains and flowering from December through April.

Botanically, the Christmas Rose belongs to the family Ranunculacae. Helleborus is Greek for H. Orientalis "elein" to injure and "bora" food.  Niger refers to the colour black of the roots.

In my garden the Helleborus Niger makes its appearance as soon as the snow is gone and the days grow warmer or about late March or April.  This particular variety of Helleborus is cold hardy to Zone 5. It is growing in a sheltered spot under an old rose bush.  I have tried planting the prettier "Orientalis" but it bit the dust never to be seen again.  My BFF has the prettier one but her green thumb is greener than mine. At the moment the plant is covered in little white buds that just appear at ground level.  There blooms even when fully open are not very tall and nod to the ground as if they are afraid to show their pretty faces.

Do you grow this plant in your garden? Tell me how it performs for you.

5 comments:

Christine B. said...

I'm afraid it would be called the "Memorial Day" rose here, as it blooms for me in (gulp) late May.

Christine in Alaska

A Garden of Threads said...

Soon yours will be in full bloom with the warm temperatures forecast. I have two Helleborus orientalis in a north facing garden, but up against the house. They only receive a couple of hours of sun during the summer. I mulch them well every fall with chopped leaves. They are at the same stage as yours.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

My helleborus niger was in bloom when I visited my garden on March 13th, right through the snow. I hadn't been up since the 27th of February, so I have no idea how long it had been flowering, but the stems were quite elongated. You can see pictures on my blog if you are interested, March 15th entry. I am going to try the orientalis and see how it does next.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

My helleborus niger was in bloom when I visited my garden on March 13th, right through the snow. I hadn't been up since the 27th of February, so I have no idea how long it had been flowering, but the stems were quite elongated. You can see pictures on my blog if you are interested, March 15th entry. I am going to try the orientalis and see how it does next.

Marydon Ford said...

I don't have one but will sure enjoy yours!

Happy Easter!
TTFN ~ Marydon