Lenten roses are one of the first signs of spring where I live. Their name comes from the religious season of Lent in which they generally bloom. As Lent helps the believer prepare for the joy of Easter, these plants help us transition from winter to the new life of spring.
You have to know where to look, though. These plants grow low to the ground and often seem to be more leaves than blooms. And the blossoms are quite shy and often hang their lovely heads over, as seen above. Maybe from the weight of their large centers, or maybe shielding themselves from the cold.
I had some lenten roses once upon a time. A sweet older lady who volunteered with our reading program at school asked me if I wanted some hellebores. I had to look up this scientific name, but of course I said yes because I knew she was quite a gardener. No matter what they were, I knew they would be healthy and attractive. The ones she generously gave me were white.
They did not meet with a good end in my care. I can’t remember for sure, but they were either never transplanted into the right spot and eventually thrown out by my husband (“They never bloomed,” he said.), or possibly they were planted, like the coral bells I also once had, but were mowed down by the weed eater (“They never bloomed,” my husband said.). So now I have to admire them from afar. Again, when I know where to look.
Although we don’t have much snow in my part of Tennessee, I do know that even a good dusting can bring out the real joy in these plants. What is a more hopeful sign of spring than seeing flowers blooming in the winter?
Thankfully, spring is definitely on the way. Maybe by next winter I will have some lenten roses in my own yard to enjoy!