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Winter rose. Photo credit: Karen Kao

Shanghai Noir

This is a helleborus niger, a winter-blooming plant the Dutch call a Christmas rose. It was a gift from a very kind dinner guest. According to the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain, the hellebore grows well in half-shadow and blooms in the late winter and early spring. This is good news for me since I have plenty of the former and little of the latter. So when I get tired of looking at these delicate white blossoms from the comfort of my couch, I'll plant this hellebore next to the viburnum. May they both bloom and grow.

So what's a Christmas rose doing on my newsletter? To be honest, my plan was to post a photograph of our cat, Sam. But Sam has disappeared, as cats are wont to do, and I settled for this. Neither white flowers nor grey tabbies have much to do with the new year, But I figured you've all seen enough firework emojis to last you a while.

I have no best-of-2018 reading/music/movie recommendations for you. You'll have to ask Barack Obama for his. I've also made no resolutions to mark the start of this new year. In fact, I was sound asleep when 2018 turned into 2019. Yup, pretty exciting life.

Alas! I haven't broken with tradition entirely. I promised in last week's newsletter that I would give you a look back at 2018 and a tiny peak forward into 2019. So here it is: 2018 | My Year in Food. There's nothing quite like writing about food to get me going. For those of you who read until the end, you'll find a little surprise bit of news from me.

Wishing you all a safe and sane 2019!

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