This year I made a real effort to get out between rain showers and photograph some of the flowers blooming in my garden. The bleeding hearts and the stem of delicate multi-blooming flowers are shade perennials. The lilacs and rhododendron are flowering shrubs and for the first time this year they were both quite showy with blooms. The lilacs especially were weighted down with all the rain.
The old fashioned bleeding heart is also known as lady’s locket and lady in a boat. This classic perennial is well loved for its early blooms and ability to thrive under myriad conditions. Generally, the cooler the location, the longer the blooms will last. Most species come from the forest floors of deep woods and moist canyons and are thus well acclimatized to shade gardens.
Lilac is a very popular ornamental plant because of its sweet-smelling flowers, which bloom in early summer just before many of the roses and other summer flowers. Apparently lilacs tend to flower profusely in alternate years, which can be improved by deadheading the flower clusters after the color has faded and before seeds form.
Large, leathery leaves that persist through winter distinguish a rhododendron from the smaller azalea. Clusters of bell-shaped flowers, often fragrant, appear in early to late spring. All members of the rhododendron clan must have adequate moisture and a well-drained acidic soil to prosper.
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