A relatively new plant for me is the Lenten Rose, so named because of its early bloom time. An old heirloom plant, it was planted by the front door in the Middle Ages in Europe and Asia. It has become popular in the United States with the introduction of new colors, new patterns, double flowers and widespread availability.
Lenten Rose has quickly won my heart for a number of reasons. It is super hardy and does well here in Flagstaff. Although it grows very slowly, it eventually forms a nice clump, but is never invasive. The pretty, glossy, bright green foliage stays green until December. It is animal resistant, to deer and elk, and our other small, furry friends, rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels.
The best attribute of the Lenten Rose is the beautiful blooms! It begins blooming in late February or early March here at 7,000 feet in cold, snowy, Flagstaff. Each stem holds 3-5 buds. A large, mature plant can produce up to 30 flower stalks. What a fantastic bouquet they make! The colors are muted shades of yellow, mauve, pink, peach, white with pink, pure white and a spectacular black, think of the darkest cloud you have ever seen. Not only are the flowers pretty and welcome so early in the spring, or should I say winter, but they LAST SO LONG! I began cutting them for a bouquet and put them where I could enjoy them, by the kitchen sink. The blooms lasted a full three weeks. I recently cut the individual flowers cut and floated in a bowl, as the picture depicts. I like them this way as you can fully see the intricacies of each flower. I had the bowl on display at my Farmstand and these blooms also lasted three weeks.
The only downside of the Lenten Rose is that it is expensive! I think in time; prices will come down. I also understand they will freely reseed, but my plants are not at that point yet, so at this time, is only wishful thinking for me.