Did you know that
the flower of Bleeding
Heart is perfect for making Valentine's Day greeting cards?
If you've never seen
a Bleeding Heart, please let me introduce you to a perennial dear to
my heart that will thrive in your maritime Northwest garden. This
droopy, heart-shaped flower whose Greek name, Dicentra,
means "two spurs" is very popural. Some 150 varieties of this flower are
found in North America, western Asia, and the Himalayas. But the most
popular type descends from a single plant brought to England in 1846
from the Chinese island of Chusan by an English botanist named Robert
common name, Bleeding Heart, may sound gruesome but Dicentras add a
delicate touch to the moist woodland garden. Turned upside down, the flower looks like "a lady in the
bath" or a "lady's locket," its other names.
Old fashion bleeding
heart blooms from late spring to early summer. This perennial prefers
partial shade and adequate moisture during the summer period and grows
to about 2-3 feet. If well watered, the foliage remains attractive
well into the fall. If rainfall is light or soil dries out the foliage
yellows and disappears by mid-June and the plants go dormant for the
summer. A filler plant should be used to cover the bare spot left
behind. This is an excellent perennial for the shade border where
soils are moist but well-drained. Cultivars to look for include 'Alba'
and 'Pantaloons' both white flowering varieties.
If you have a moist,
shady corner, consider growing bleeding heart only because it is
perfect for making Valentine's Day greeting cards. Since the flowers
are naturally flat in shape, they can be pressed between pages of a
book. There they will soon dry out and can be pasted up singly, in
clusters, or if well pressed you can use an entire stem. The leaves
are also attractive and may be added to the card.