Lenten Roses for the Last of Lent

Lenten roses, aka hellebores, are rather un-sung heroines of the garden–in the US anyway. In Europe they are much beloved as some of the earliest bloomers, hence their name marking mid-February as the time their their petals begin to peek out. With hundreds of species ranging in color from chartreuse to deep claret, hellebores deserve to be seen and sung! And they grow in the shade! Raise helloebore, I say!

Lenten Roses at Rancho La Zaca
Lenten Roses at Rancho La Zaca

Marian MacEvoy wrote a wonderful piece on hellebores for the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, which you can read here. Says Marian, “They’re beautiful, refined, long-lasting, frost-resistant and low-maintenance. They’re eager to bloom, sometimes appearing when the snow’s still on the ground. They have intriguing nicknames—”Lenten Rose,” “Christmas Rose” or, as one of my garden-obsessed pals recently put it, “the Cadillac of the flower world.” They come back every year, thrive in the shade and deer hate them. What’s not to love?”


I confess hellebores are not the easiest to arrange as they are quite floppy, though I did my best, cramming them into a wide round glass cylinder with larkspur and – oh what is that Queen-Anne’s-lace looking flower? Somebody will tell me I know. Thank you in advance. Happy Easter.

Update: I think, as one reader has pointed out, the third flower is yarrow. That seems right…


  1. You are absolutely right about Lenten Roses….the stars of anyone’s shade garden. Pine Knot Farm in Clarksville,VA. is a superb grower of these wonderful specimens!!!


  2. Frances
    Sorry to write this so late but I do not see any Queen Anne’s Lace in the pretty arrangement. Will send you a photo when it blooms in Georgia. Not floppy and grows wild along the roads.

    1. Thank you Becky! I know it isn’t the common white Queen Anne’s lace that is the wild biennial – but in the arrangement is something that isn’t larkspur or hellebore (they’re the floppy ones), and a third thing – not floppy – but multi-flowered head like QA lace but isn’t. One reader suggested yarrow. Suzanne, below, is a real gardener but I think was too polite to say? 😉

    1. Ann Rumble you darlin’ thing. Yes I am sure. But I am going to tell Carolyne you asked – as the highest form of flattery. thank you! xox Frances

      1. Tell Carolyne that I loved hearing her at The Woman’s Club in Richmond last week. You both provide me with so much pleasure. Thanks! Ann

      2. Oh Ann I am glad you saw her! I was wondering who of my friends there might have been in her lucky audience. 🙂

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