Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ladies in a Boat

Day 103
The Daily DuBrule

Where have I been? How is it possible that I gardened for over 25 years and never knew this cool trick with bleeding heart flowers until I was in my 50's?! You take a bleeding heart blossom and oh so carefully peel it until the lady pops up. Look at her! She has her hands on her hips and the boat is most surely a pink gondola. I remember the day I was first shown this, I squealed with glee. I am simply a big kid at heart.
I just goes to prove that you can have fun with flowers in so many ways. I love old fashioned bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis). They are so hardy, and the they grow in sun or shade, and they bloom early, and they make good cut flowers. Deer don't eat them. What's not to love? Well, the fact that they turn yellow and go dormant in July after taking up a three foot diameter circle in the garden may be a problem for some, but I manage to deal with it by planting them under butterfly bushes which take up the slack later in the season. Sometimes I plant Japanese anemones around them. They sprout later anyway and then take off as the bleeding heart is dying down. 

I use bleeding hearts in just about every deep shade garden where deer are a problem. I love the pink, but the white works better with gold and green variegated plants and yellow daffodils if you are not a lover of deep yellow and rich pink next to each other. 

My grandfather used to take pictures of flowers. He had a special lens that allowed him to get super close. When he died, I inherited his slide collection. Trunks of them. I went through them, astounded to see pictures of me in so many gardens. That's probably where I got the love of gardening as I never actually owned a plant until I was 20. Anyway, not only were the boxes labeled, most of the slides were labeled too. On a box containing lots of bleeding heart pictures he wrote "flowers that look like turkeys hanging upside down". He didn't really know the names of anything he was photographing except for the thousands of roses in Elizabeth Park in Hartford. But he loved them anyway. And, in the process, he inspired me to love them too. 

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