Friday, 16 January 2015

Christmas Roses

Our Winter has been quite mild so far. A few cold days, the odd frost or two, but no snow or long periods of freezing temperatures (yet). One of the effects of this is that some plants have started blooming much earlier than usual, and some have not stopped blooming since last year.

An example of the latter is my white rose - a real "Christmas Rose"

It has been flowering constantly since about June last year. Right now the bush has about a dozen flowers on it - though admittedly no leaves! The petals have a distinctive pink tinge to them, especially during the colder months.

Having posted a photo of this on Twitter the other day, I think I have now identified it as "Iceberg". Anyone out there want to give me another opinion?

The reason why I chose the title for this post is that my other "Christmas Roses" - the Hellebores - are just coming into flower now.

Helleborus Orientalis "Red Spotted Hybrid"

 I have been looking up the origin of the name. If you are interested, have a look at THIS. Hellebores don't look much like roses as we know them, but I suspect that at the time they were given the nickname "Christmas Rose" they did look more like roses. The rose as we know it today has been significantly altered by selective breeding, so to see the resemblance between a Hellebore and a rose I think we need to make the comparison with the Dog-Rose, which has a much less complex flower structure.

Well, my Hellebores have missed flowering at Christmas by a long way. It seems to take ages for the buds to open. I keep going out to look, hoping that the flowers will be open, but they still aren't!

Looking back at the label from the one I bought last year though, I see that the flowering period is shown as December - April, so perhaps I'm being too impatient...


  1. I had a hellebore at my last house. It used to bloom in April for me, before the daffodils bloomed. I always laughed because they called the hellebore a winter bloomer, but I guess they meant in other climates.

  2. I've seen so many roses continuing to bloom through winter this year. Flighty should be able to tell you if your rose is Iceberg, he's got one on his allotment.

  3. It looks like Iceberg, I always thought of hellebore niger as the Christmas rise and the orientalis group as lenten roses but the RHS have them all the same. No doubt they know better than me so for all these years I have been wrong!

  4. I've tried to find my hellebores this year but it looks like they've become slug fodder. Not sure how to combat that and it's disappointing to lose plants. The gardens here are dotted with flowers that have continued flowering through the winter - I hope they don't get caught out by a January frost!

  5. Love your Christmas Rose - great to discover your blog.
    Enjoy the weekend


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