A bleeding heart story

Today is cool and overcast, with a few scattered raindrops, so I am spending my day indoors. Looking out the kitchen window, I can see the white bleeding heart just beginning to fill out. The tiny white buds are pretty and the green leaves are especially lovely on such a grey day.

I have pink bleeding heart in my gardens, but this white one is special. It was given to me by L., a gardener extraordinaire from my congregation. Not long after I arrived in Oakville, I visited her home and she gave me a tour of her beautiful backyard. Born and raised in Scotland, she has a green thumb and a huge amount of experience with Ontario gardens.

I was so pleased when she gave me a little slip of her white bleeding heart to take home. I found the perfect spot for it in the shade garden near the back window–the perfect place to see it in the spring. It was just a tiny sliver, but it took nicely that first year.

The next year, however, there was a tragedy. My husband, who was working as a dog walker at the time, brought home a golden lab to play in the yard. And, like many of his breed, that dog most enjoyed himself when he was playing, rolling and digging at full tilt. He was having such a good time that he soon found a great spot to dig a hole: right where my tiny white bleeding heart was planted.

I was aghast. Pat yelled at the dog. The owners, who heard about it from Pat, were mortified. They stopped by the house later to give me money–could I buy a new plant, they hoped?

Well, not really. I didn’t mean to be grouchy, but a new one wouldn’t be from L. and it wouldn’t evoke the same warm memories as I watched it grow. I was disappointed.

Resurrection is a funny thing, though. It is always surprising. So when a couple of tiny new shoots poked their heads out of the ground (I assured them that the coast was clear) I was thrilled! It is now happily growing alongside a garden ornament painted by the Clerk of Session at my first church and not far from the varigated grass given to me by another friend, A.

The best gardens are full of stories. There are snippets of plants from friends, memories of seasons that were perfect (or awful), and dreams of what will be possible next year.

That is what–and who–I am thinking about today. I am also planting zucchini and cucumber in anticipation of the warmer weather. I am planting seeds for turban squash, too–a gift from my husband’s Aunt Sandy in BC. I hope they grow. That will be one more story for my garden.

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