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May Hearts and Flowers: GBBD, May 2013

May 15, 2013

gburg bleeding hearts 2013In my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden, the late spring display is not quite as far advanced as it was last year at this time. Hardy geraniums, for example, are covered with buds but have not  yet begun to bloom. But the star of the May garden is, as always,  the large bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) that dominates the front flower bed.

This bleeding heart plant grows to dominate the front flower bed each May (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Each year, I’m amazed all over again at how quickly this plant grows from small red shoots to a 5’ wide shrub-like presence that has whole other plants buried underneath. At one end, the flowers of Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ are peeking out amid the hearts; at the other end, a few last flowers of Pulmonaria provide a similar touch of blue. (Click to enlarge to really see the blue flowers.)

gburg bleeding hearts & pulmonaria gburg bleeding hearts & brunnera

In the back flower bed, it is the flowers of much smaller bleeding heart plants, both white and pink, that peek out around the hosta foliage.

gburg white peeking bleeding hearts gburg pink peeking bleeding hearts
Gburg columbines The scene-stealers in the back are the tall, volunteer columbines (Aquilegia) that bloom each spring by the patio. I love the various colors of these, from violet to mauve to coral pink to cream; and I’m happy to have their display last extra long this year.

Gburg columbines_1

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at  May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s in bloom today in gardens from many climates.  Post your own blooms there and join the fun.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2013 11:41 pm

    Gotta love those bleeding hearts-aren’t they cool? 🙂

  2. May 16, 2013 11:22 am

    Your bleeding hearts look wonderful. The columbine too, though I prefer A. Canadensis.

    • May 21, 2013 8:07 pm

      Dreamybee, I agree; it’s hard not to love bleeding hearts — especially when they grow as extravagantly as this one.

      Jason, I’ll admit I like these soft colors better than the yellow and red of A. canadensis.

  3. May 16, 2013 2:54 pm

    Five feet across – wow! Will your pulmonaria stop flowering altogether now, Jean? I’m sure mine here in the UK just go on and on.

    • May 21, 2013 8:12 pm

      Cathy, Because I’m never in Gettysburg during the summer, I don’t know how long the pulmonaria keeps on flowering; it looked like it might have some new buds as I was leaving. I think it is one of those plants, like most varieties of hardy geranium, that are not very heat-tolerant — and it gets seriously hot here in the summer.

  4. May 16, 2013 2:58 pm

    I agree about the Bleeding Heart…what a fabulous plant! I wish I had some of those Columbine colors about…perhaps I need to introduce some fresh bloom!

    • May 21, 2013 8:37 pm

      Scott, These columbines grow as volunteers all over Gettysburg — some in these colors and others in dark blue-purple colors. I assume that these are self-sown offspring of garden escapees, but I don’t know which species their ancestors were (possibly A. canadensis and A. vulgaris?).

  5. May 16, 2013 8:06 pm

    That huge pink Bleeding Heart bush looks magnificent, but I have a soft spot for that stunning white variety. Love the pretty Aquilegias too.

    • May 21, 2013 8:38 pm

      Bernie, I love the white bleeding heart, too, but it never grows as vigorously for me as the pink ones do.

  6. May 16, 2013 10:19 pm

    Jean the flowers are beautiful…I love both these flowers….my columbine have not bloomed yet and the bleeding hearts are missing again even after I planted more this fall…

    • May 21, 2013 8:41 pm

      Donna, The first bleeding heart that I planted in my Maine garden has all but disappeared, but the new ‘Gold Heart’ variety that I planted in the Serenity Garden is huge this year.

  7. May 17, 2013 7:19 am

    Volunteer is too nice of a name for the Columbine, how ’bout infiltrator.. but at least it is a nice infiltrator. As far as the Dicentra, I still refuse to call it that convoluted mess of a new name.

    • May 21, 2013 8:43 pm

      Reed, These columbines are not only lovely, but they also mostly stay put in this one place in my Gettysburg garden. If they started seeding themselves about with abandon, I would probably love them less.
      Regarding the genus change from Dicentra to Lamprocapnos, if you get in touch with your inner science geek (and I know you have one :-)!), it’s much easier to accept.

  8. May 17, 2013 8:04 pm

    It really is amazing just how much real estate those bleeding hearts take up. and then they fade again just as quick.

    • May 21, 2013 8:46 pm

      Marguerite, I usually plant the bleeding hearts between a couple of big hostas so that by the time the bleeding hearts start to go dormant, the hostas have filled the space. Last year, though, the new Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ in my Serenity Garden surprised me by maintaining its foliage all summer long. This year, I’m planning to move one of the nearby hostas forward about a foot to give it more room.

  9. May 20, 2013 7:39 am

    So true about the bleeding heart. ANd after all the excitement – like the rock star of the Spring garden – it then fades and disappears in SUmmer. Also like the aging rockstar!

    • May 21, 2013 8:50 pm

      Jayne, What a hilarious comparison! I must confess that bleeding hearts seem too gentle for me to imagine them jumping around onstage pounding on electric guitars. (Maybe I need to think about them as rock stars with a more mellow sound.)

  10. May 21, 2013 9:35 pm

    Bleeding hearts are one of those flowering plants that, like Virginia bluebells, capture the essence of spring for me.

    For some odd reason however, I have none in my yard. Maybe next year.

  11. May 22, 2013 4:17 pm

    Brunnera is one plant I really want to grow. I hadn’t heard of the variety ‘Looking Glass’ before and I have added it to my ever growing wish list! I think the leaves are such a beautiful shape. Thanks for the inspiration – hope you are enjoying the finer weather.

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