Love’s stricken “why”
Is all that love can speak-
Built of but just a syllable
The hugest hearts that break.
Emily Dickinson (1368, year 1876)
The Bleeding Heart is a shade-loving plant. It blooms in April/May and then disappears mid-summer–leaving an open spot in your garden. Marta McDowell warns us to mark them well, lest we accidentally uproot them after they’ve gone.
Their beauty–the pink drooping hearts–and their absence–is like “young love”, she says. And, it seems to be true, since who can’t remember all the great “loves” of our lives that have come and gone when we were young.
I planted two together a few days ago. They’re in partial shade. I’ll need to plant something else around them, possibly Hostas, to make up for their disappearance when they are done blooming.
Though the term “bleeding heart” has come to mean excessive emotion–I prefer to think of it as having a heart at all–and using it, sometimes, to guide us. It’s better to be accused of loving someone or something too much than not loving them at all. I don’t know too many people who complain–Hey, you LOVE me too much!
That’s not to say that “Love” equals “spoil”–spoiling something we love can do it harm–like overwatering a plant or overfeeding a dog (or horse). Love means doing the best for them–even if it’s not what we wanted. And, if you’ve raised children you know, sometimes what is best for them is hard for us.
If you’ve lived and loved, you’ve probably experienced a bleeding heart–an emptiness–a letting go. This is a wonderful flower to symbolize just that thing–all the many, many times our hearts have been broken.
I have a few losses I will think of when I look out at them.
What do you think of the Bleeding Heart? Do you have any experience with them?
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