Bleeding Heart

A few years ago I planted a Bleeding Heart for its nostalgic value. My mother had one, its clusters of heart shaped flowers so enticing to me as a small child I popped them in my mouth and ate them…or so I was told. Every spring when the green shoots pop, I anticipate the blooms: strands of tiny pink hearts spreading like necklaces  across the foliage. The sight of them and their distinct smell of the leaves zip me back to my childhood and to thoughts of my mother and her love for flowers.

Mom tended two large rectangular gardens in our backyard, which was actually a side yard. In the  larger garden, she planted vegetables: flavorful tomatoes for fresh eating and canning, green beans, cucumbers and dill for the best pickles around, and rhubarb for pies, torts, and jams. In the smaller garden closer to the street she grew flowers: among them shrub roses, poppies, tulips, zinnias, petunias, and geraniums.

Mom used to take cuttings of her geraniums and placed them in cans and wintered them in the  upstairs windows of our house across the street from the Catholic School.  The single cutting magically turned into full geranium plants  blooming  while the ground was frozen covered with snow. Once when I visited her, she showed me illustrated letters one of the teachers had her class write to her about the flowers in her windows. It pleased her so. That was a nice thing for that teacher to do.

So now, I surround myself with plants which remind me of my sweet mother:  her Christmas cactus, (It’s well over fifty years old), shrub roses, tulips, petunias, and bleeding hearts.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts


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