Bluebells and Bleeding Hearts
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and Old-Fashioned Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are among the most endearing blooms of spring.
One reason for this is that they look so good on their own or in combination.
Virginia Bluebells require a little planning, because once they set seed they just keel over. You need something to step forward and continue the show when this happens.
Even so, it must be acknowledged that Virginia Bluebells are just wonderful. They just are. I don’t want to engage in gratuitous nationalism in these fractious days, but the English and Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta and H. hispanica) are simply no competition.
To prove my internationalist credentials, though, I must say that I far prefer the Old-Fashioned Bleeding Hearts, which hail from East Asia, to the North American Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia). The North American species is just a bit too plain for me (and they’re not even in the same genus anymore).
False Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophyla) is another companion for Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart that offers a blue/pink color combination.
False-Forget-Me-Not also goes by the common name Siberian Bugloss. I prefer the straight species to the variegated cultivars, which are often easier to find in garden centers. Brunnera macrophylla is not an ephemeral; in fact it can make a satisfactory ground cover through the summer.
Blue and pink is nice, but personally I think blue and yellow is even better. This is one reason why I have lots of Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) mixed with Virginia Bluebells in several shady corners of the garden.
Both Celandine Poppy and Virginia Bluebells will spread freely by seed. Arguably, the Celandine Poppy spreads a little too freely – you may find yourself digging up clumps of it. I consider this a small price to pay, though.
Here’s a corner tucked up against the back of our attached garage and the back porch – just a mass of Virginia Bluebells and Celandine Poppies at this time of year.
What’s your favorite blue/pink or blue/yellow flower combination for spring?