I saw this in my backyard yesterday, while playing basketball with Carter.

I’ve posted pictures of my Lenten roses before, and written about how they came from my grandmother’s garden, and how they always miraculously seem to bloom during Lent (I mean, I know that’s how they got their nickname, but it’s still fun to me how they do it so reliably, when Lent starts at a different time every year).

But this one is different. It’s blooming out in the back, in the natural area that I had envisioned as my shade garden years ago when we built the house and I asked Bill not to cut down all the trees in the back yard. Why is this one special? Because this is the first time it has bloomed.

It turns out, shade gardens still need a little bit of sun sometimes. Depending on what you plant, winter and early spring sun is crucial. Shade from the hot, overbearing sun of summer is more necessary. And I guess I just had left too many trees. Even in the winter, limbs bare, not enough sun filtered down to warm up the ground and encourage this hellebore to bloom.

Last fall, we had six trees cut down. All of them white pines. Of course, I didn’t want to cut them down. I loved the trees in our back yard, and I hate change. But three others had already fallen, and we wanted to pre-empt any damage to surrounding outbuildings. Or the trampoline, heaven forbid.

You wouldn’t think taking out a few pine trees would make that big of a difference, but boy, it has. I could tell it was sunnier back there. And now I have proof, in this beautiful little flower.

Now I’m excited. The shade garden is finally working. Time to look for more plants!