About this time every year our eyes focus on the subtle blooms of the Lenten Rose (Helleborus hybrids). They’re a wonderful early sign of spring and with a winter like this they’ll be a welcome sight! They often bloom when you can still see piles of snow, and the soft pinks, lime-greens, creams and maroons are not your usual spring colors. What we think of as flowers are actually a modified calyx which fade slowly to a muted green and last for months. They’ll form large clumps of evergreen leaves that are deer resistant making them a great choice as a groundcover. In addition they’re low maintenance – just prune off last season’s spent foliage at bloom-time for a neat clean look. Plant them where the snow first melts – against a wall or fence or use them to under-plant deciduous shrubs. Moist well-drained soil in part shade will keep them happy. Looking for what to plant on the north side of the house? This may be just what you need!

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