Dicentra spectabilis

Colloquially known as bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis is an exquisite her-baceous plant from Siberia and Japan, with tiny flowers unlike any others in the garden. In early summer, racemes of rosy red heart-shaped lockets, with white petals protruding from the centre, dangle from arching stems about 2 feet (60 cm) tall. The grey-green leaves are particularly fine-cut and feathery.

This Dicentra likes a shady, sheltered position in light soil with plenty of humus, and must not be disturbed, for the roots are brittle. Mrs Fish grew drifts of it in front of Solomon’s seal in her famous cottage garden in Somerset, counteracting the effects of lime in the soil by good cultivation, for it is not noted as a lime-lover. It was a favourite cottage plant with the Victorians. Some gardeners find other Dicentra species easier to grow, especially D. formosa from North America, which makes a ferny mound from which rise mauve-pink flowers of the same heart shape. The variety ‘Adrian Bloom’ has crimson flowers, and there is a lovely white form, ‘Alba’, but they have not the curious parti-coloured effect of the red and white D. spectabilis.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.