Sunday, May 18, 2014

Be Still My Sentimental Heart

I was anxious to finally get out and work in the garden today for a bit. Every year around this time I almost explode with optimism at the thought of a fresh start in the garden. It's always a challenge to get things back into shape and every year I learn something new. It looks like a few of our plants and shrubs did not survive the bitter winter; others show signs of significant winter burn. But I'm hopeful and waiting to see if they recover. Anything can happen at any time I've learned. You almost have to trust in miracles.

I read that if you shave a little off the stalk with your nail and it's green underneath, then it will recover. This rose bush has some green and a few buds growing so I'm not giving up on it yet.

Maybe I'm naive, but there's no way you can have a garden and NOT be optimistic. Remembering that only fifteen years ago there were no flowers and few pretty plants at all in this backyard  - just grass and dirt and a few hostas - keeps me going every year. Despite the shade and poor soil, I was determined to grow a garden and I did. Every year I try new things, new plants, and it evolves into something different. Some year I hope to have a cottage garden in the sunny front. I figure if  I can hang onto my optimism it just may happen.
The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something good for the world.
-Charles Dudley Warner
I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago to see one of my Bleeding Heart plants peeping up from the ground. It's a plant I've always loved (Romantic me. I'm a Sentimental Gardener too, I guess.) and while I've bought more than a few of them over the years and tried planting them in different locations, I've never had one that would bloom for me. Yet, for some silly reason I've never given up. So, even though I've have had a hard time growing them successfully, I tried it again two years ago and bought a few from a trusted local gardener at her perennial sale. Plants from a real gardener's garden and not from a greenhouse - how could I lose?  For the first time, I was able to grow them. They seemed to be doing well and flourished for 2 years in a row. But I was still afraid they were too delicate to have survived this winter's Polar Vortex. 
Then, a week after the plants appeared in April, a bright green spot in the brownness of my yard, I let the dog out and in her excitement at chasing a squirrel she bypassed the path and trampled one of the plants. Ran right over it and broke the stems.  Oh!  You can imagine how my heart sank. I didn't yell - it was my own fault since I should not have planted them so close to the path in the first place. Looking at the little crushed thing it had become, only a portion of it salvageable, I was sure I'd get no blooms from it at all this year.  In a fit of  hopefulness though, I put up a small wire garden fence to avoid any more puppy mishaps. A few days ago, I noticed the perfect little pink hearts bopping around on the stems. They're back!
Gardening is a humbling experience-Martha Stewart

I love my bleeding hearts more than any other plant in the garden and what a thrill it was to see that this one came back from near decimation after all. All hearts should be this resilient after being trampled . . . . There's a multitude of life lessons in a garden.

Grow what you love. The love will keep it growing. 
-Emilie Barnes

Now, let's see if the lilacs make an appearance again. They were stupendous last spring for the first time in years and I'm counting on them to give me another lovely show very soon. My heart is depending upon it.

At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous.  -Mirabel Osler



Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I planted two bleeding hearts last year and kind of forgot about them - then about a month ago I happened to look over to the far side of the yard under the trees and saw some color - walked over to see what was growing and there - two bleeding hearts both flowery - so happy to see them - the plants are growing quite large this spring

Robin said...

I've noticed a lot of what you called "Winter Burn" here in Wisconsin. I'm hoping some kind of miracle can help the evergreens. They were particularly hard hit. Loved seeing your bleeding hearts and am missing mine back home.

Nancy said...

Enjoyed your gardening quotes in this post. I too, lost my bleeding hearts so have purchase a pair to plant this year. Praying they will last this time.

Granny's Button Box said...

Hi, I love bleeding hearts, their other name in the uk is lady in the bath, if you carefully turn the flower upside down and gently pull the petals, you will see a lady with arms out holding onto the side of the bath! Oh, she has a mad hairdo as well. Enjoy you garden. Have you tried alpine plants?
regards Sharon

agullainquieta said...

Segur que aviat tindràs el teu jardi tot ple de flors i plantes agraïdes!
Una abraçada

Aunt TC said...

Thank you for sharing your Bleeding Heart plant. I loved having that plant in my yard when I lived in upstate NY near Bflo. In CA, we have many flowering bushes which I appreciate but I do remember feeling so hopeful when the green shoots appeared and I knew winter was past and warm, sunny days would soon be here. No guarantees we could plant flowers until after Memorial Day so if we took a chance, we kept our eyes on the thermometer.

moosecraft said...

Ahhhh... beautiful Spring! :-)

Nita said...

Having just moved from the arctic to a climate that grows fruit trees and vineyards, I am really enjoying spring and seeing what is coming in in my yard. :)

Karen said...

Kathleen, I just love reading your blog. You spill your heart out about your quilts, family and gardening. Today was no exception. You talked about my two favorite flowers...Lilacs and Bleeding Hearts. Those little hearts dangling from there limbs are so cute. And how could you not love the fragrance of Lilacs. I really enjoyed the quotes today as well.
Thank you for sharing your life and inspiring us as well.

jane nj/wi said...

Kathy thank goodness there is still a kind hearted gardener about. I am a "survival of the fittest" gardener. I have lived north and south and east and west....all I wanted was a slightly wild garden that I could tuck a few annuals in for experiment but have perennials and wild flowers take over and provide intermittent explosions of color....NJ has deer, and bunnies and drought/floods/cold and scortching problem I grew in in your neck of the woods....but bleeding hearts....they were my secret fascination. I bought several varieties only to find out they were Not the kind I was look for. They died or were eaten and done with that. Five Years ago I brought home a few plants from a yup-scale garden center and what I bought didn't survive...but they apparently harbored ...bleeding hearts small offshoots....I tried to move one first year....there were didn't like moving....but the other two bloom every year....huge!!! In a sea of shrubs nothing else flowery can make it past the deer. I will miss them when we move.

Jane nj

Jacky said...

The little bleeding heart plant is so pretty. I have never seen anything like that before. I do have lilac just like that in my garden, although it is nearly finished now. It was my mum's favourite flower.


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