January 12

English Weather

Despite a short spell of frigid cold, we have had so many days this early winter of mild weather with the thermometer hovering around fifty, early-blooming perennials and shrubs are lulled into thinking spring. I have never seen the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, flowering for the holidays as it does in England–until now. One patch opened shyly in late December, and now two patches are in full flower a good month and a half before they usually bloom. The difference between the  Northeast and Britain is that we don’t have consistently temperate weather, and those beautiful pink-tinged white saucers will inevitably get slammed by bitter cold, ice and snow later this month and in February. One of the things I most love about hellebores is how long their flowers linger, glamorously dressing our small strip of woodland all of March, April, and May. These Christmas roses might be exhausted by then.