Wet and white Christmas rose

Wet and white Christmas rose

Helleborus niger, black hellebore

to this noble Plant
You ought the Empire of the `Garden grant
(A. Cowley)

Its buds as they were one month ago: in the icon of the post Combed and disheveled

and in the first photo of this post.


One bud is half eaten up (by snails in autumn?), you can see the inside of the bud.


They were living under snow and frost (-10o C) and remained buds, today’s view (26.12.2012):


They blossom shyly all winter and only very heavy frost can bring them damage.


This white Christmas rose (bought in 2010) survived the strong frost of the last winter 2011/2012, but not without some loss in vitality.

Full blossoms can open up in late autumn, but the best photos I have are form February – see the gallery of Feb. 2 (and the next, a week later)

and from March.




The blossom has resemblance with wild roses – or the “blushing rose” from the poem of Abraham Cowley (1777), where “she” appeals to the Spring’s court of chivalry for the crown of Empress of all flowers as the only one who withstands winter:

Helleborus Niger, or, Christmas Flower

I Mean not now my Beauty to oppose
To that of Lilies, or the blushing Rose;

Trusting to this, and not the empty Name
Of Beauty, I the flowry Empire claim.
Nor will this soft, luxurious, pamper’d Race
Of Flow’rs, were things well weigh’d, deny me place;
For lo! the Winter’s come; what change is there,
What looks, what dismal aspect of the year!
The winds from Prison break; no mercy yield,
But spoil the native Glories of the Field.
First on the Infant Boughs they spend their rage,
And scarcely spare the poor trunks reverend age;
Either with swelling Rains, the ground below       280
Is drown’d, or covered thick in beds of Snow;
Or stiff with Frost; the streams Ic’d o’r
Are pent within a bank, unknown before.
Each Nymph complains, and every River God
Feels on his shoulders an unusual load;
Nature a Captive now to Frost become
Lies fairly buried in a Marble tomb.
And can you wonder then that Flow’rs shou’d die,
Or hid within their beds, the danger fly?
D’ ye see the Sun, how faint his looks; that tell
The God of Plants himself i’ n’t over-well.
Now let me see the Violet, Tulip, Rose.
Or any of ’em their fine face disclose,
Ye Lilies with your snowy Tresses now
Come forth, this is the proper time for Snow.
Deaf to the call, none of ’em all appear,
But close in Bed they lie half dead with fear.
I onely in this Universal dread
Of Nature dare exalt my fearless head;
Winter with thousand several arms prepar’d       300
To be my death, still finds me on my Guard.


Back to my garden. Today (second day of Christmas) the “beds of Snow” are gone.

A short break in winter, with temperatures around +10 C.

No wonder that one ladybird woke up. Will she also claim the crown of insects that resist winter? Photos next time.

© 26 Dec. 2012


Informacje o Andrzej Dąbrówka

Tenured professor, Institute of Literary Research (Polish Academy of Sciences), Warsaw.
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