Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bleeding Hearts

I’m a huge proponent of keeping native plantlife around the cabin. I don’t do lawns, because in addition to all their work, a lawn is pretty much a sterile environment that isn’t wildlife friendly. In fact, the main reason why I bought the cabin is because it doesn’t have a lawn.

I have native violets at the deck stairs, Spring Beauty lining the driveway (as well as poison ivy, unfortunately). The front forest includes wild raspberry bushes, a couple of beech trees, sassafras trees, tulip poplars, mayapples, the occasional Indian pipes, etc. The back forest is mostly mature oak and hickory trees that tower over the cabin.

I have one exception to my rule. And that is a small wild bleeding heart shrub that I planted several years ago. I love bleeding heart. Wild bleeding heart is native to the Appalachians, but mine was purchased at a nursery and planted in the front forest. It didn’t spring up here naturally, so I feel a bit guilty about having it, but only a bit.

Have you ever pulled apart a flower of the bleeding heart and noticed the different things contained in each one? You get a pair of pink rabbits, a pair of old-fashioned (bootless) ice skates, a pair of ballet slippers and a baseball bat. My grandmother first showed me how to delicately pull the flowers apart to reveal the small treasures within each one. As a young girl, I was thrilled and fascinated, and I’m sure this is where my love of the plant comes from.

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