At long last, the Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) are blooming. It seemed they would stay in bud forever.
It’s hard not to adore these flowers. They bloom for me from February through late May, have evergreen foliage, and are as tough as my old biology teacher. They grow everywhere except in the baking sun and are quite happy in the dry clay at the feet of my post oaks and thirsty Japanese maples. They represent a much better ground cover choice than English ivy, which is invasive here. I give my hellebores a quick drink when I plant them and then leave them to it, revisiting them only to trim back dead foliage once a year and occasionally move their seedlings about.
They’re pricey at the garden center, so see if you can’t find a fellow gardener to share a flowering clump. Hellebores flower three years after starting from seed, but the ground cover effects begin immediately.