Columbine and Bleeding Heart. Two of my favorite perennials.
This year we certainly had no lack of April showers and as a result, spring blossoming flowers like Bleeding Heart and Columbine should be lush and full of bountiful flowers. Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve been drawn to the fanciful shapes of the blossoms on both the Old Fashioned (pink and white) Bleeding Heart and all of the Columbines. When my parents bought their first home in January of 1959, one of the first things they did when spring came was to plant a bleeding heart in a part sun part shade nook by our porch. For the next eight years until we moved back to the east side of Northfield, I enjoyed watching the bleeding heart leap out of the ground in just a few days time, soon producing their classic heart shaped blossoms of brilliant pink and white. Each arching branch gracefully held many blossoms that developed in a gradual succession, extending the enjoyment as the first blossoms faded and the newest ones came into their full glory. When Deb and I built our home, one of the first things we did was plant a group of 3 pink and white bleeding heart in a similar sun/shade location. For 22 years we have enjoyed those same three bleeding heart, a testament to the toughness and longevity of this garden stalwart. A love of Columbine goes all the way back to my boyhood as well. One day while helping my mother in our garden she told me that the little round ends of the blossoms were full of sweet nectar that was a favorite of the bees and hummingbirds, and that I too could taste the nectar. Mom showed me how to pick a blossom and gently bite the little round spheres at the ends of the flowers. Much to my delight, I was treated to a tiny burst of sweetness and forever fell in love with the Columbine. It was magic and I felt a oneness with all the natural world. A few years later when out on a hike with my Boy Scout patrol, I spotted some wild Columbine at the woods edge where enough sunshine fell to create just the right environment for them to flourish. I wondered if they too would hold the sweet reward of the cultivated varieties in Mom and Dad’s garden. I called the members of the Atom Patrol to gather round, and enjoy the sweet surprise at the end of the Columbine petals. Everyone had a taste and enjoyed their moment of discovery, and we made a pact to only sample a few blossoms each, and leave the rest for the birds and the bees. For most of us this was a part of our developing a deep and abiding love and respect for the natural world, and an introduction to the concept of stewardship of our planets’ resources. Perhaps you will enjoy introducing some of the young people in your life to the delights of Bleeding Heart and Columbine. Stop in and see for yourself. We carry multiple varieties and colors. It can be your own moment of discovery.