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.