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A spot of color in your bleak winter yard

Walking in the yard searching for my dog, I noticed a gaggle of petite white flowers in the mulch. Blooming in a shrub bed was a small perennial planting of Christmas rose, Helleborus niger.
It’s one of the species of Hellebores that bloom around the Christmas holidays. The plant is gaining in popularity because of its showy flowers during the early winter months when our landscapes are generally blank. This species includes several different cultivars including the Lenten Rose, Helleborus orientalis which blooms in the early spring of the year, usually during the Easter holidays.
Hellebores can be difficult to grow as they are exacting to exposure and cultural conditions. These winter blooming plants prefer moist conditions with organic soils. Hellebores also prefer areas with gently filtered light.
There are a several named cultivars available with varying bloom dates and colors, leaf textures and growth habits. It’s important to locate these plants in areas within the landscape where they can be appreciated in both winter and late spring.
Go to http://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/helleborus-orientalis/ for more detailed information about hellebores.

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