One happy acre of gardening opportunities... and 4 square feet of shade. Which is why the teeny tiny bit of cool, quiet shade I do own is full to overflowing with these.
In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd divulge... confess to the world what's my most favorite flower in the universe. Now, don't tell my other perennials, but I secretly think the Dicentra: Japanese Bleeding Heart is the most spectacular blossom in the garden.
(Get up close and personal to appreciate her clever creations.)
In spite of her delicate appearance, Bleeding Hearts are tough cookies ~ thriving as far north as Alaska and as far south as Florida. (They're also available in white but why choose that when you can have this delicious pink?) She stands a proud 4 feet tall in one of the few shady spots in my garden that stays damp and protects her from the sun.
As the temperatures climb toward the triple digits, flowering stems drape themselves onto this ceramic fountain - perhaps to keep cool.
About the only thing she doesn't like is dry soil. A soaker hose works well. Rock mulch keeps soil cool and damp. Water fountains are a terrific way to help perennials cope with desert heat.
* In the mountains, Dicentra spectabilis (Japanese Bleeding Heart) blooms in June, hardy to USDA Zone 3, goes dormant in the heat of summer.