Look, look, look at what I found when I was raking the shredded leaves off the top of my flower beds today.

A plant that I have nurtured for three years is about to bloom.

By nurtured I mean simply that I gave it water and didn’t pull it out of the ground even though it has never produced a flower or acted at all interested in being in my garden.

This is why I don’t pull anything out of my flower beds unless it is 100% really and truly and completely dead.

(Or unless I think something is starting to take up too much space, in which case I give some of it to a friend. Which is one of my favorite things about gardening, by the way. Plants produce more plants, for free!)

Apparently, the garden does what it does on its own time and in its own way.

And today, it decided to surprise me with some very unexpected color at this very early date in a Minnesota spring.

Ché bella sorpresa!

Hellebore, aka Lenten Rose

Helleborus are also known as Lenten Rose or Hellebores.

Helleborus are a part of the Ranunculaceae family of plants.

The value of helleborus which can be hardy evergreen or leaf -losing perennials, lies in the fact that they provide welcome flowers during winter and early spring, and for that reason can claim a special place in the garden.

Helleborus plants grow from 18 to 24 inches high and have large, often glossy, leaves.

All types of hellebore prefer to grow in a sheltered position where they are protected from the effects of icy winds during winter and spring – these cold winds can cause damage to the emerging flower buds and leaves.

Hellebores grow best in a heavy neutral to alkaline soil with plenty of organic matter added.

Top up the soil with a mulch of organic compost in the spring and autumn.

In April a soil mulch of equal parts rotted manure and leaf-mould should be given and the plants watered with liquid manure during April-May.

The blooms of the earliest types of hellebores should be protected from soil splashes
in wet weather by means of a handlight, or moss, round the plants.

Plants are increased by lifting the old clumps in April and dividing them into pieces,
each of which has four or five buds.

This is how it might look in full bloom…of course I will take another photo when that happens.