It's cold and windy Wednesday, after a freakishly warm day yesterday. I went outside this morning, sure I would find some buds peeking through but all I could find were some hellebores (Helleboris orientalis) just starting to bloom. These plants are one of my favorites--they look good all year long, with their dark green foliage, and start blooming in the winter, thus their common name, the Christmas Rose. They self seed, so the one plant I bought probably ten years ago at Merrifield Garden Center has now grown to 5 or 6 large clumps in various parts of my back garden. They prefer shade but will survive in some sun as I learned after we cut down our goldenrain tree two years ago, which had shaded them for many years.
The flowers are sometimes hard to see, as they hang their heads and are often hidden by their large leaves. In a few weeks, I will cut back a lot of the raggedy leaves, which will expose the buds and make the flowers stand up a little taller, and encourage new growth.
I like to cut a few stems in the winter and put them in tiny vases. I just read somewhere that the best way to show the blooms is to float them in water.