Charles Joseph Sauriol

Bleeding Heart

May 14, 1938
On this day, the Canadian conservationist and naturalist Charles Joseph Sauriol wrote in his journal,

“I have some most beautiful Pansies from the seeds of last year. Pansies are a surprise packet. You never know what to expect, and you are never disappointed if you [don't?] expect much." 
We found on Thursday night a section of Pine root with a Dogwood growing from its wood and rotted mold. Transplanted it to the Wild Flower garden. It will be exactly what I will require for certain Wild Flowers.
Planted a Bleeding Heart. Have wanted to do so for several years. It's an old-fashioned flower. Mother always used to have one in her garden when I was a small boy.”

Bleeding heart is in the poppy family. Additional common names for  Bleeding heart include “lyre flower” and “lady-in-a-bath.” Native to Siberia, northern Asia, and North America, there are several cultivars for gardeners to consider, including ‘Alba,’ which has white flowers, ‘Gold Heart,’ which has yellow leaves; and  ‘Valentine,’ which has red-and-white blossoms.
Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot blog says,

“No other plant bears perfect heart-shaped flowers like those of the Bleeding Heart. If you press the flowers between the pages of a heavy book, you’ll have papery-thin little hearts to adorn letters or valentines. If you turn a flower upside down and pull the two halves apart, you’ll see a lady in a pink bathtub, or perhaps you’ll see a white lyre with strings of silk.”

And then, she shares the interactive story of the bleeding heart that uses a blossom to tell the story.

“(To begin narration of the story, hold a heart blossom in the palm of your hand.)
Long ago, there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet, she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First, he presented her with two magical pink bunnies. 

(Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little pink bunnies.)
The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had one more gift saved for last – he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings.
(Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.)

Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince’s gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath, and stabbed himself in the heart. 

(Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.)

The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. “Alas,” she cried out. “I have done wrong. My own heart is also broken. I shall bleed for my prince forevermore!” And her heart bleeds to this very day.”

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Charles Joseph Sauriol
Charles Joseph Sauriol

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