Hellebores or Lenten Roses make an excellent winter hardy shade perennial for the woodland garden. I tried a variety of plants in my backyard, wooded area but thankfully I stumbled upon these evergreen plants that have thrived under the trees and require only minimal care. They bloom during the Lenten season when practically nothing else is ready to poke their heads above ground until they are certain that freezing temperatures have past.
These plants also self-propagate by bursting their seed pods all around them at the end of the growing cycle. The plants were originally grown for their medicinal properties. And although they are toxic, the trait makes them prized deer-resistant garden plants for areas that suffer from wildlife pressures.
We found a nursery outside our community that actually specialized in growing these plants and was appropriately named Gethsemane Gardens! The flowering heads of these reverent plants are generally bowed in the garden and its always a surprise to bend down to their level and look into the face of God, as we move from the Christmas season of God appearing in the flesh on this vibrant Earth and defeating sin and death at this imminent time of Easter.