I’ve begun to notice another spring bloom in gardens around the neighbourhood. Although its gruesome name may turn some off, Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) is a lovely perennial flower that begins to make its appearance in late spring or very early summer, but doesn’t bloom for very long before losing its leaves and becoming summer dormant. It is a shade-loving flower, and will grow anywhere between 15″ and 30″ high, depending on its age, the climate, and the precise species planted. It will tolerate full sun if provided with enough moisture.
Bleeding Heart gets its name from the way in which the ends of the petals enfold a tear-shaped drop, said to resemble a drop of blood. Its other traditional names include Lady in the Bath, Venus’ Car, Dutchman’s Trousers, and Lyre-Flower. It was introduced to western gardeners in 1857, as it was originally grown in Japan and Korea. As it was not cultivated in England before this time, it has no meaning within the Language of Flowers, and very little written about it poetically.
The illness associated with the consumption of bleeding heart make it an unwelcome plant for many farmers, as it may result in skin irritations and convulsions. It is also prone to attacks by slugs, aphids, and snails. As a popular plant in the landscaping of formal gardens from the Victorian period onward, many painters and embroiderers have captured the image of the bleeding heart on their canvases and needlework. To see an example of this, check out this vintage cross stitch pattern or this piece of needlework. Bleeding heart is a lovely flowering addition to a springtime garden, and its unusual blooms look just as nice in a well-tended yard as they do in a hanging container.
On a separate note, I realize that I am one day behind in the Beauty Calendar – apologies. So today will be a double dose:
Friday: teeth and eyes. Look at your teeth in a good light and see if there are any discolorations. If so, try the bicarbonate of soda hint. Turn your attention to your eyebrows. If they are uneven, pull out the odd hairs with tweezers. Try to spare twenty minutes or half an hour for the eyes themselves. Dip pads of cotton-wool in strong cold tea which has been strained. Lie down and cover your eyes with the pads, renewing them occasionally. This rests and refreshes the eyes and makes them brighter.
Saturday: Very special bath and care of the feet. Make this a really ceremonial bath. Don’t just pop into the tub and out again. Wallow in that warm water. Put some your favourite bath salts in it. After you have thoroughly dried yourself, use a spray with eau-de-Cologne. Then have your weekly pedicure.