Whenever I check the statistics on the dashboard of this blog I find that, inevitably, my post on Helleborus niger 'Praecox' (24 November 2010) is the most viewed.
I suppose this is not surprising as it is the most amazing plant, that in this climate (zone 6b) blooms from November to March.
Of course in the depth of winter it slows down, and although it's flowers are bowed by sub-zero temperatures, it still has unopened buds curled up close to the ground and under the protection of its leathery leaves. Remarkably, these buds take advantage of any mild spells and will open up in the hopes of encountering a passing pollinator.
Today I decided to clean up my plant and removed last years leaves and found amongst the dozens of perished flowers a few that were still alive and in pristine condition