Garden Diary - April 2011

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Thursday, 28 April 2011
Bleeding Heart Flower Legend

One of Spring's most popular, old fashioned garden flowers is the bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis.
Happy growing in light to moderate shade, ignored by deer, the only drawback is its early dormancy.

Its common name of bleeding heart refers to the locket-like shape of its dangling flowers.

Another common name is "lady in her bath." She is easily revealed when the
two pink petals on a mature flower are gently teased apart to reveal the bathing beauty.

There's another folk tale, with minor variations, delightfully entertaining for small children
and easily amused gardeners. I do appreciate the stories we attach to plants. Are you ready?

There once was a young man who was in love with a haughty lady. While trying to win her heart

he brought her a pair of pink rabbits. "Rabbits, shmabbits." she said
with a toss of her head, "A fur coat, now, that would be different"

Nothing daunted, he brought her a pair of earrings. She whipped out a jeweler's loupe for
a closer inspection. Tossed the earrings away, muttering something about "no jewels, the fool."

Somewhat discouraged, the young man thought things over. She didn't want the rabbits, disliked
the earrings . . . . What could he give her that would show his love. Aha! He got a pair of cozy
slippers. Surely she would see how forever after he would cosset and care for her. Alas. She
rejected this gift just as she had the previous ones, spurning all his amorous advances.

Desolate, the would-be lover took his dagger and stabbed himself in the heart.

As he lay dying the haughty young lady suddenly realized how foolish she had been.
What greater gift could he have offered that what he had, true love. And ever since,
on the anniversary of his death it is her proud heart that now weeps and bleeds for love.

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