Monday, May 11, 2009

Shady Garden beneath the lilacs

Falls the weird spirit of unexplained delight,
New mystery in every shady place,
In every whispering tree a nameless grace
~ C S Lewis

Today the Bleeding Heart is my favorite flower. Such a fanciful bloomer with graceful arching branches and delicate color. Common Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a native of Asia from Siberia to Japan. This is the species most often seen in gardens. It does very well in the semi shade of my lilac bushes. Planted in compost enriched soil with lots of leaf mulch added every year it has been unaffected by drought, heat, cold or any insect pests. It will die back by mid summer so I've planted hosta and other shade lovers near by to limit the the hole in the garden.

Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) is native to the woodlands of the Appalachians. It is a smaller plant less than two feet tall in my garden and the foliage is deeply cut and fern-like. It seems to have a longer bloom period and does not disappear during the warmer months. The blooms are paler, a little differently shaped and they do not have the wonderful arching habit of spectablis. This plant does quite well in full sun in my father's garden.

Alba is a pure white blooming variety of the common bleeding heart. It makes an elegant and graceful presence in a shady spot. I don't have this one yet but perhaps will add it soon.

These plants will not tolerate poor drainage and will self sew in perfect conditions.


Chloe m said...

I used to have bleeding hearts growing in Nebraska, I miss them! I haven't tried them here in Co. I don't have much shade. Now I want to give them a shot here. Thanks for CS Lewis quote, love him.

Unknown said...

I have one little bleeding heart that bloomed just 3 hearts this year, I cannot wait for it to get as lovely as yours! Hugs...Brooke

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love the bleeding heart and am envious; I've tried it twice, in two different gardens, and it's never come back for me. I noticed my mom has a bunch under her evergreens, so maybe I'll (ahem) relieve her of one later in the season! :)

Jan said...

I planted 4 bleeding hearts this spring. I wanted to try them after learning they did so well in shade. They have grown in size and look lovely, so far...We'll see if they come up next spring!
I've never seen the fringed variety...that's different! Not sure I like it as much, though...

What a wonderful post this is, Marnie!

JC said...

I have a few in my front yard. The Winter snow was hard on them this year and I lost two.

sweetbay said...

Dicentra spectabilis is well named, isn't it? So showy.

What are the little white flowers in the first picture? Are those Lilac flowers?

I have the native Bleeding Heart and it blooms the whole growing season. I've been very happy to see it seed around some too.

tina said...

I love these plants so much. Thanks for showcasing them. Such beautiful pictures too. I always think old style gardens and romanticism when I think bleeding hearts. Not sure why.

marmee said...

i love these beauties...of course the name makes them a must have.
i feel the same way tina feels vintage ole style to have them and so romantic.
i have a weakness for such things.
thanks for letting us see your arching hearts.

Gail said...

I love Bleeding Hearts but the kiss of death here is sharp drainage! The spectabilis is beautiful with the arching branches (lovely photo Marnie!) but, the native dicentra has a lot to recommend it, including that longer bloom time and great fern leaf. Gail

Unknown said...

Just beautiful. Mine is just now peeking out of the ground.

A Wild Thing said...

Wild phlox 'Sweet William' are my fave spring flowers. My Granny knew it too and used to tickle my nose with them when I was sleeping, I'd always wake with a smile!

Ahhh, the memories!!!

Have a sunny day! (I hope)

Unknown said...

Beautiful flowers! I like their colour very much!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rosey Pollen, I know they don't do well in every area. It's too bad.

Brook, hope it matures quickly so you can enjoy lots of blooms.

Monica, good luck with the next one you try. They are nice if you have the right spot for one.

Hi Jan, I don't like them as well. I should because they are native.

JC, that's too bad. Watch for seedlings, maybe you'll get lucky.

SweetBay, your plant must be very happy where it is. The white flowers in the background are False Rue Anemone.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hey Tina, they do have an old fashioned charm and of course an old fashioned name. I would be very sad if I lost mine.

Marmee, I know just how you and Tina feel. I'm the same way. Romantic blooms with romantic names really capture my imagination. I can picture them in Victorian gardens.

Hi Gail, the native ones are pretty too. The flower is very interesting, a more stylized heart. Of course the extra bloom time is a big bonus.

Darla, it's odd yours come up so late.

Hi Sharon, those memories are what give us a love of growing things. Sweet Williams are one of my Mother's favorites.

Hi Silvia, the pastel colors are pretty in the shade. Not very heart-colored but that's ok.


Randy said...

Oh, I'm so jealous you can grow Bleeding Hearts! Our sun would fry them to a crisp!--Randy

Anonymous said...

They really are the perfect shade loving perennial at this time of the year. Yours are lovely. I added the Alba cultivar this spring. No blooms yet, but it is pushing out foliage quite nicely. :) I have a white flowering fern leaf variety too.

oldcrow61 said...

Your Bleeding Hearts are lovely. Mine, only one, is just coming up. You are well ahead of me.

Kathleen said...

I love them all too Marnie although right now I only have the common pink one in my garden. It freely seeds itself about in my rock pathway so that I'm constantly pulling up young plants. I sow annual seeds late in April/early in May to plant in the holes left by their yellowed foliage. It took me a while to figure that out when I first started gardening. I never was happy with either the bleeding heart or poppies for that reason. Now that I've learned to work around it, I love them both!

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

Very pretty. The lilacs are just beginning to bloom here, I can't wait to take some pics and do a post. I am looking forward to seeing your lilacs as well as the bleeding heart.

BeadedTail said...

Bleeding hearts are one of my favorites because I just love hearts on anything! We worked in the yard this weekend but I spent most of my time sniffing the lilacs since I just love, love, love their fragrance!

Susie said...

Those are so pretty Marnie. I tried growing these once several years ago. Unfortunately I didn't have much luck with them so I haven't tried again.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Beautiful photos, Marnie--beautiful flowers. Another plant to put on my list. I have so many ever-growing shady areas, I am looking for more plants that will work in those areas.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Fantastic shots of your Dicentra (as always)! Ours pink ones are in their full glory right now and the Alba whites shouldn't be far behind. You described perfectly what they like ... rich composty organic soil, steady moisture and good drainage.

Our original plant is 10 years old this spring and is, as always, huge! It sticks around well into July before getting yellow (by then the ferns have taken over) and always produces a bunch of seedlings that we dig and give away to interested gardeners who promise NOT to plant them in full sun ... the quickest way to kill them (just ask my sister who made that mistake multiple times). Ours is right outside the living room windows on the north side, so we can gaze out the windows from the couch and see them right there, in with the ferns.

In my not so humble opinion, this is a must have plant for any garden unless all you have is full sun ... they just want a nice, shady and cool spot to thrive.

Meems said...

Hi Marnie,
C. S. Lewis... one of my all-times faves.
Your bleeding heart is very pretty.

I've just planted my first one this spring. The only ones that work this far south are Clerodendrum thomsoniae. So maybe they aren't the same thing at all... not sure. This type is actually in the vines and climbers category ---in the Verbenaceae family.

The pink color of yours is just perfect!
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Jamie and Randy, that's a shame. Several gardeners from the southern states have said the same.

Perennial Gardener, I have to make up my mind pretty soon if I want to add Alba this year. I haven't seen a white in our native variety.

OldCrow, yes, ours must be a few weeks ahead of yours.

Hi Kathleen, the hosta and ferns fill in when my dies back.

Hi Gayle, I do have some lilac photos to post. Lilac time is one of my favorite times of the year.


Roses and Lilacs said...

BeadedTail, I know what you mean. It's hard not to just bury your nose in them and not move;)

Hi Susie, must be the heat they don't like. Several southern gardeners have mentioned it.

Hi MorningGlories, these would be a good addition. Very pretty and romantic.

IVG, I agree, it's a prefect addition to a shady spot.

Meems, I'm not familiar with Clerodendrum thomsoniae. I googled it and it's lovely. Don't believe it's in the same family but the look is somewhat similar.


joey said...

Your Bleeding Heart is stunning, Marnie ... also one of my favorites. I have pink at the lake and shocking dicentra ‘gold heart’ here ... takes my breath away :) Your tulip Angelique, also a favorite and a must in my garden. We have lots of similar stuff going on ... aren't we lucky! Keep your fine eye and camera handy ... love your photos!

Sherri said...

I love Bleeding Hearts! They are so graceful! I really need to plant some after we move!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Joey, I've seen photos of Gold Heart but never seen one growing. I'll bet it really stands out in a shady place.

Hi Sherri, maybe you will have a good, shady spot for one in your new home.


DP Nguyen said...

Bleeding hearts are so cool. I've never seen them before, but they are very beautiful. I'll have to look into them. I bet they'd make a great decoration to a walkway.

Naturegirl said...

Beautiful little hearts that are given to you by Mother Nature. I love the white..Alba you mention.
Thank you for delighting our senses with this post!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi DP, check around and make sure they will grow well in your area. They seem to prefer cool climates.

Hi NatureGirl, I had never seen an Alba until this year. At first I didn't like them, then they just sort of grew on me;) No pun intended.


Pat said...

Oh my goodness !
Wish mine look so lovely.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Beautiful photos of your bleeding hearts...I love the pink ones and we used to have them but now we have only the white (Alba) bleeding hearts...

Rose said...

They're such beautiful plants; I love the arching branches of the first one, too. For some reason, I haven't had much luck with bleeding hearts, but I noticed a few buds on one of mine yesterday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed:)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Patsi, we've had a perfect spring here for woodland plants and spring bulbs.

Hi Nan, I'm still thinking about adding an alba. They certainly are elegant.

Hi Rose, they are kind of finicky. I know they don't do well in some places.


ChrisND said...

I have been admiring the bleeding hearts in bloom as we take walks in the neighborhood. It is nice how they can fit in under shady areas.

Kim said...

Bleeding hearts are one of my favourite plants, and finally I have one that is thriving, after many dissastrous attempts (naughty chickens)!!!

Kim x