Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Shrove Tuesday / Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose at Ordnance House
The word shrove is from the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for sins by way of confession and penance. Shrove gets its name from the shriving that Christians were expected to do in order to to receive absolution before Lent begins. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide".Pancakes are associated with Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.

So, to take your mind of food if you are fasting for Lent, take a walk round the garden and gaze in wonder (similar symptom to low blood sugar level) at the gorgeous injection of colour provided by the Lenten Rose (you may need to take several walks to fully take your mind away from food if you are partaking of a serious fast, but it will be worth it to see these flowers in all their glory).

Just to confuse the Lenten Rose is actually a member of the Hellebore family (the flowers are simlar to small roses) whose early blooming season happens to coincide with Lent - injecting colour into the early spring garden after a long, bleak and dull winter-scape.
The petals of the Lenten rose are actually sepals, and do not drop as with other flowers, but last for a couple of months. Darker purple blooms often fade to a pastel pink over the 8- to 10-week bloom and fruiting period.They have coarse-textured, dissected evergreen foliage, which combines especially well with delicate foliage such as ferns or rounded foliage of hosta. Eagerly self seeding, soon small seedlings will appear in dense clusters around the plant which can be easily be transplanted to additional sites.

Enjoy this plant as spring is definitely on the way.