As March ends.

In Garden, sustainable living on March 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm

The weather has been fab here this week. Lovely and sunny with a high of 24 c on Tuesday. Very unusual for an Irish March. Today has been duller and 14 c. That’s why the Irish weather is called crazy! It is just unpredictable! Work continues on edging the beds with stone from the old building in the back field.  Coming on very nicely.

Dicentra spectablis is in flower in the bed nearest the house. This cottage garden favourite has collected many common names along the way. Dutchman’s Breeches, Venus’s Car, Bleeding Heart, Lyre Flower and Lady in the Bath.

Lady in the Bath is my fave name for it. She is a rather uncomfartable upside down lady in her bath though!

Dicentra likes a sheltered spot and does well in a woodland setting. The only requirement is a mulch each year after flowering. Well drained soil is also needed for this lovely plant to be happy.

Propogation is by seed or division of clumps in Spring or Autumn. The roots are very brittle.

There is also a white flowered variety and a golden leaf one which I’ve only seen in books. The only caution with Dicentra is that some people’s skin can be irritated by contact with it. I never touch it…just admire fondly from my kitchen window where it resides in the shade of the Birch tree.

Lamium or Dead Nettle is also in flower at the moment…somewhat earlier than usual I think. This also grows in the shade of the Birch tree where it is spreading nicely…covering an area where not much else would grow. There are about 50 different Lamiums…very useful plants for shaded areas.

The Spring bulbs are lasting well this year…the weather being a bit kinder than other years.

Loosestrife or Lysmachia to give it it’s proper name is emerging very boldly. The colours are very striking now…later they lose the mad pink. This is the variageted variety and like the more common one it spreads like crazy so be careful where you plant it. Again it is a plant that does well in shade. It also likes damp soil. Clumps can be divided every 3 or so years if you want more of it. Some people consider it a bit of a weed but I really like it. Ah well…they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  1. Love them. Heck some of the “weeds” are way nicer looking than the “accepted” plants!


  2. AHHHHH!!! Dicentra is a beauty! One year as it was just blooming in my Worcester (MA) garden, a dog BROKE the only one I had, off at the stem!!!! Now I know accidents happen, but the woman on the other end of the leash didn’t utter a word, despite seeing me standing on the porch!!!! I was so p*ssed!!!!!! Anyway, it’s so lovely to see yours spectacularlly blooming (and unmaimed!)

  3. I did not know there was a white version of Dicentra…it looks lovely. And I like the stones you are using to edge the garden bed…very nice.

  4. I’ve never heard of the name Lady in the Bath for dicentra! Dicentra is one of my favorite flowers, though it’s pretty picky about its site here due to the summer heat. I got the gold leafed one last year and so far really like it – it really brightens up a shady place!

  5. Bridget,
    Your spring looks a bit further a long than mine. No blooms as of yet on the Bleeding Hearts.

    In any event, I know the various blog awards require a lot of thought, but I did nominate you for The Sunshine Award.


  6. I am always amazed that Dicentra comes back every year – they look so fragile, but oh so beautiful.

  7. The stone edging is looking great. It has been beautiful here too, although all set to change with the word snow being mentioned. I’d be happy to see some rain but please no snow.

  8. Quite jealous of your abundance of stone, and such nice thick and flat ones. Every time I decide I really need/want a new dry stacked wall or other stone project, I have to buy them by the pallet. Then again, every time I build a new bed I don’t have to pick huge stones out of the ground first.

  9. I learn so much about plant names from you!

  10. Your stone edging looks great. I have brick walls around my flower beds which need re-grouting – the top bricks keep falling off. Your solution looks like it will last a last-time.

  11. Dear Bridget, We had an early spring too, and many plants are blooming early. Now it is quite cool and damp, so Ireland is not the only place with crazy weather! I never heard dicentra called Lady in the Bath before. What a lovely name! P. x

  12. That Dicentra is just fabulous! The stone edging is really looking great. I use a lot of stone in the garden beds here too. I just love the look of it. It’s great to hear you’ve had some fantastic weather. My son, who moved over there nearly a year ago now, says it’s because it was his first birthday in Ireland, so the weather gods were just helping out to make it a special occasion. Hope the great weather lasts a lot longer for you.

  13. A bird or squirrel planted our bleeding heart…I didn’t know they could be divided…another chore to add to the list!
    Jane x

  14. Your stones are looking fab Bridget – it must have been hot work in the week!
    The Spring bulbs and flowers certainly seem so much better this year though thanks to the weather… but it is a little strange!

  15. I love reading your blog! Bleeding heart is one of my favorite plants. I live in North Carolina in the U.S. Mine is just starting to show some signs of coming back from last year. Can’t wait! I also just discovered that my favorite little pink flowers that I planted around my flower bed, are Irish! I have pink and yellow shamrock flower (Oxalis). They were from my grandmother’s garden. I love it because I’m part Scot-Irish.

  16. So beautiful! Hard to believe April is here!

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