Winter’s Rose you would assume, like anyone, was some gorgeous variety of rose bloom. And fair enough, too. But in this case, you would be wrong, much like when people think a ‘peony rose’ is a rose. It is not.
The Winter Rose, or Helleborus, can also be known as a Snow Rose, Lenten Rose, Christmas Rose (more for the Northern Hemisphere as Christmas occurs in winter) and Oracle Rose however it comes from the family Ranunculacea, and has 20 herbaceous and perennial evergreen flowering species. As their name suggests, they tend to flower in late Winter and into Spring.
I love Helleborus, as I find their ‘faces’stunningly beautiful, and the range of colours are to die for. After years of cross breeding and hybridisation, the colour range has been transformed with them available from darker plum shades, burgundy and almost blacks, to vibrant yellows, bright, clean whites and a whole range of pinks and soft greens. You will also find some of the blooms are plain, whilst others are intricately patterned.
They make a gorgeous addition to any garden and tend to favour more shaded spots, underneath the canopies of deciduous trees, with little attention required, and left to go to seed. They flower from late winter to spring, and the blooms last months on the plant. Throughout the autumn months, the plant provides a clumpy green covering. They are also often planted among other plants with complementary colourings where they can grow up throughout creating a wonderfully intricate display.
These days you can get your hands on all the standard varieties; flowers shaped like a cup or bowl, mostly single, with five petals, as well as double-flowered and anemone-centred plants. It is no surprise really that, they are a popular wedding bloom, and fittingly so, have just come into season in time for the starts of wedding season!
I love Helleborus as a cut flower, and certainly have a special spot in my heart having used them in a very dear friends wedding some years ago. Each year as the time approaches and I see all the wonderful ingredients we used begin to appear again and I am reminded of their anniversary and the hoot we had in the Southern Highlands, freezing our socks off, working on the outdoor porch making the arrangements.
The only problem with the Helleborus as a cut flower is that their heads tend to droop rather quickly, so they are best used with other flowers or foliage used to prop them up and support them. Some people also find the age old trick of scolding the base of their stems helpful in extending the vase life.
To scold flowers; simply cut the base, and place about an inch of the flower stem into boiling water for approx 30 secs, remove the stems and place directly into a vase of cold water.
Alternatively, why not cut off their heads and float them in a bowl of water? That way you get to enjoy all the intricacies of the blooms without watching them droop and decay so quickly, and you know what, anybody can make that vase of flowers look good! You’re welcome 😉
Gorgeous featured image by Marcia Mitchell