Lessons from a Lenten Rose


HelleboreThe Royal Horticultural Society says, “Hellebores … are perennial garden plants with elegant flowers, perfect for brightening up shady areas during late winter and early spring. Some species are grown for their striking evergreen architectural foliage.”

When purchased sixteen years ago, these two plants were simply labelled “Helleborus Orientalis (Lenten Rose)” and I intended and expected they would be identical. Not so. One is a dark pink with red spots, and looks like it might be ‘Rosina Cross’, but the other is a lighter pink, almost white, with dark pink spots, much like a ‘Cherry Davis’. Since neither was named, however, I’m not sure what they are, except that they both have down-facing blossoms.

Hellebore 2Some nurseries insist there is no such thing as an up-facing Hellebore but others advertise them, suggesting the blooms face outward, rather than down. All I know is that mine are regularly battered and spattered by mud whenever it rains hard, as it did last week.

I wonder if I should be taking a lesson from them — something about keeping my head up through any storm if I want to come through the downpour unscathed.

It sounds reasonable until I think about facing the wind with head down, chin tucked into my scarf, the only way to stay warm as I walk.

Hellebore 3


Maybe there isn’t a lesson at all. Maybe it is enough to remember that these beauties have survived here sixteen years; they’re sturdy and persistent, returning to try again every winter, always bringing me a smile when I discover them unfurling despite rain, mud and snow.

Then again, maybe there’s a lesson in that!


“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

[Samuel Beckett]


Helleborus Orientalis

 ~  ~  ~


5 thoughts on “Lessons from a Lenten Rose

  1. Beautiful flowers! It reminds me of the scripture that we are cast down but not destroyed.

  2. Judith Robl says:

    Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these. Gorgeous flowers as well as persistent.

  3. S. Etole says:

    These are such a fascinating flower.

  4. Carol says:

    Thanks to each of you for your kind words. There are many wonderful perennials available, and I love how enduring they are, returning year after year. The Hellebores manage to be both sturdy and exotic-looking AND they do well in the shade. Perfect choices for around here.

  5. I love this post. It’s amazing how you can take a shot of nature and demonstrate how linked we are, beings and flowers, beings and nature. Flowers don’t sit around in the rain and muck and complain about their misfortunate. They certainly don’t pin all their hopes on winning the lottery either. LOL. Something to learned, for sure.

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