Clarksville, VA - A Clarksville couple has a passion for horticulture.
Now, their love of a plant that is unique for its late winter blooms, is bringing them attention from national media - including Martha Stewart and the Wall Street Journal.
Some call it the "Christmas rose", but it's actually not a rose at all.
Hellebores are flowers that bloom in cold weather, when most others can't, and they've been big business for the owners of Pine Knot Farms.
Judith and Richard Tyler have had their nursery since the 80's, but it wasn't until a trip overseas in 1990 that they began working with the plant that they would later become known for.
"We started importing plants from England to breed with and that's when it really took off, " said Richard Tyler.
Since then, the Tylers have been featured in magazines, newspapers and TV shows for their knowledge of the winter plant.
And they won an award from the American Horticulture Society for a guide book they wrote in 20007.
"It was nice to be able to travel and interview a number of other growers all over the world, " said Judith Knot-Tyler.
In their nursery, Judith has taken on the role of a bee, using a paint brush to cross-pollinate the plants and create hybrid breeds.
And the response from their customers has been great, with folks traveling from as far as Michigan for the Tyler's annual Hellebore Festival, but those who can't make it to Clarksville aren't out of luck.
"We've mail ordered plants all over the country, and actually, we've sent plants to every state but Hawaii, " Richard Tyler said.
The Tylers are proud of their business and the accolades they've received, but for them, having a positive impact on the Southside's local economy is just as rewarding.
"We love this part of the world, and we're happy to do something that can bring a little bit of prosperity - small though it may be - to Southside Virginia, " said Judith Knot-Tyler.
Scientists at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville have been working on ways to clone the Tyler's hellebores.
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