Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

Imagine a rose that is less picky than any other in your garden.  One that doesn't like to be messed with, hides in the shadows of large shade trees, yet provides color in the garden when most plants are still withered to the ground from winter.

I'm not talking about a rose in particular, but about a type of hellebore called Lenten Rose.  These wonderful evergreen perennials are a must in any shade garden.  The flowers, which are actually sepals, first appear in early spring. In fact, mine have already started blooming and they will bloom throughout the summer.

They are perfect for woodland environments where deer continually eat my hostas. Lenten Roses enjoy partial to full shade and can reach a height between 18-24'. They are hardy in zones 4-9 and can easily be divided. However, don't expect flowers the following year because these plants don't like to be disturbed. They don't like having their root system wet, so make sure you plant in an area similar to a forest floor that stays moist but provides good drainage.

Although this plant has many perks, it does take a long time to establish-usually between 3-4 years. Because of this, it is beneficial to find a mature plant if you decide to purchase  one. Once they are established, they will propagate from seeds or division.

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