Note: This morning my post appeared not to be sent out as usual, so I’m re-posting it. My apologies if it comes into your inbox twice!
When the days are shortest, when dry leaves cover the garden, and all of nature is at rest, you come upon a crowded little blanket of soft white Christmas roses with bright spring-green and yellow setting off their fancy centers. “Here is the exact yellow,” I tell the brave new daffodil shoots nearby, “that you must remember!”
The Christmas rose oddly enough is in the buttercup family and has toxic black roots. Its pure white petals show a pink or green blush over the many days they’re open. I love how its delicate appearance seems to toughen when I think about the harsh weather it thrives in.
The Language of Flowers (1884) says that the gift of a Christmas rose means “tranquillize my anxiety”, as when a suitor might have wished for a positive reply from a lady. There must have been some confusion in the mid-1880’s, because the same book says Hellebore means “scandal or calumny”.
In late summer our hellebores sprout lots of new little plants all around, inviting us to transplant them anywhere there’s a clear spot in the yard or garden.
If anything could compare with these spirit-lifting sights, it would be the hellebore in snow, or in moonlight. I’ve seen those, too.
Happy Winter Solstice!