Blooms that Brave the Frost

Hellebore, with its subtle vintage charm and lovely cupped petals, braves the frost as one of winter’s first blooms of the new year. In the language of flowers, it means “protection” but can also symbolize "to overcome scandal or slander”. Both meanings are as powerful and speak to hellebore’s strength and ability create beauty even during the darkest days of winter’s hold.

In Christianity, the plant is associated with the nativity and is often referred to as the Christmas rose. According to legend, a young shepherdess named Madelon was on her way to see the baby Jesus but had nothing to offer him. She wept, and as her tears fell to the ground, they transformed into hellebores. Madelon presented the flowers to the baby Jesus, who touched them, causing them to turn from white to pink.

In Greek mythology, hellebore was said to have been created by the god Apollo as an antidote to the poison of the Hydra.

In medieval Europe, hellebore was associated with magical and mystical powers. It was believed to protect against witchcraft and was used in love potions.

Today, hellebore is a popular winter garden plant and is often grown as a cut flower in floral arrangements. I fell in love with hellebore last year and now grow five varieties in my garden.

hellebore winter christmas rose
Also known as the summer snowflake, Leucojum blooms in early spring, usually just after daffodils. The name “Leucojum" comes from the Greek words "leukos," meaning "white," and "ion," meaning "violet." This refers to their white blooms and violet-like markings. In Greek mythology, Leucojum was associated with the goddess Persephone, who was the goddess of spring growth and rebirth. According to legend, Persephone was gathering flowers in a meadow when she was abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld. As she was being taken away, she dropped her basket of flowers, which included Leucojum. The flowers, stained with her tears, became known as the "teardrops of Persephone."

Leucojum symbolizes purity, innocence, and memory of youth, perfectly delicate meanings to match their delicate demeanor. With fresh water daily, these adorable blooms can last two weeks or longer in vase. Aren’t they just darling?

A complete glossary of flowers, herbs and other botanicals and their meanings can be found in a book I co-author with Lisa McGuiness, called The Love Language of Flowers. In it, you will find a visual glossary of flowers and their Victorian meanings organized both alphabetically and by meaning, so you can find the perfect botanical combination in every season. It also includes instructions and floral concepts as a foundation for creating sustainable focal arrangements like the one shown here, along with how to incorporate unexpected botanicals and other interesting elements to bring a fresh look to your arrangements. Perhaps most importantly, it includes 30 slow botanical designs with meaning that have a wild yet elegant edge accompanied by strategies that honor the seasonal rhythms of nature, build confidence, and provide flexibility to let your own creative voice develop along the way.  It is truly an excellent resource for those seeking to grow their botanical creativity in a meaningful way. 

leucojum winter flower


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