Monthly Archives November 2013

HOW TO GROW THE BLEEDING HEART – Dicentra spectabilis

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By (Simon Eade)

The ‘Bleeding Heart’ – Dicentra spectabilis is one of the most popular of all the early flowering herbaceous perennials, and why wouldn’t it be. The emerging foliage is so fresh and succulent that it looks good enough to eat (don’t eat the foliage) and the beautifully heart-shaped flowers produced on arching stems are truly exquisite.

It is a native to Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan, and it is from Japan that a legend behind the ‘Bleeding Heart’ name originates.

‘…It begins with a young man who is trying to win the heart of the one he loves.

As a gift he gave her a pair of rabbits which represents the first two petals of the flower...

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By (Simon Eade)

It is a flowering plant that you may well be familiar with, but the obscure common name for Dicentra spectabilis – ‘The lady in the Bath’ – couldn’t be more perfect!

Reminiscent of a Victorian, roll-top bath, the pink outer petals open up to reveal an elongated protective structure within. With a little imagination this white structure appears to be a willowy figure sitting up in the bath.

Of course, the above image has been inverted to prove the aptness of the ‘Lady in the Bath’ common name, but in nature the flower hangs downwards on arching flower stems. Viewing each flower the correct way up, and not quite so ‘blown’, they strikingly resemble the conventional heart shape, with a droplet beneath – hence the more popular common name – Bleeding Heart.

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