Some time ago, 17 years to be exact, we moved to a lovely wooded junior acre. Just close enough to the city to enjoy cultural activities and an easy commute. And also near good medical care, easy shopping, and a great church home.
We now refer to this luscious setting as Meyer Woods. You see there are about 25 old growth Douglas firs, several cedars, and one lonely pine dotting our property. And beneath them grow shade loving plants — ferns, azaleas, holly, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and many others. But there was one spot that hadn’t been landscaped and cultivated. Our future perennial garden would lie there.
As we began to think about what to plant, I discovered a plant neither of us knew much about — helleborus. All its characteristics fit perfectly:
- Soil preference: moist and well-drained. The Pacific NW has no problem providing the moisture, and the drainage was excellent.
- Light requirements: partial sun, partial shade, full shade. Perfect!
- Pests: none serious. Excellent!
- Attributes: deer resistant, rabbit resistant, good in rock gardens, and naturalized areas. Another positive.
So, home we came with three plants. They were planted, watched, carefully monitored. The next February to our delight they began to bud. We hadn’t paid much attention to the varieties we had bought except to be pleased with one that flowers white and the others a rather dusky pink or rose color.
The rose-colored buds began to open first. Amazingly it was the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday when we noticed the blossoms. I was curious just what the name of this odd-colored plant was. Locating the tag from the plant was easy, and to my surprise the varietal name was Lenten Rose.
How timely I thought that its blooms appeared near the beginning of Lent. I did a little research and found that their timing was not peculiar to our region but peculiar to the plant itself.
Now each February, I watch and wait — and they are blooming now. I must confess the photo is not one of ours. The rains and the wet weather have made photography almost a non-event with my camera lately, so I borrowed this from Dayton Nurseries.
What a lovely addition to our Lenten experience each year. The blossoms are another reminder of the season and the cost paid on the cross. God’s gift, a cross and nails, and the forgiveness of our sins.
you put him to death by nailing him to a cross. But this was God’s plan
which he had made long ago; he knew all this would happen.
God raised Jesus from the dead and set him free from the pain of death,
because death could not hold him.
Acts 2:23-24 (NCV)