Vampire’s Garden: Bleeding Heart

Vampire's Garden: Bleeding Heart, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Bleeding heart plant, garden, gardening, vampire, vampires
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained when she was still human, she continues to study plants and have a garden. This post is fourteenth in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Caution: All parts are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. Coming into contact with the plant can also be irritating to skin.

Botanical Name: Laprocapnos spectabilis (AKA Dicentra spectabilis)

Common Names: Bleeding Heart, Lady’s Locket, Lady’s Heart, Lyre Flower, Fallopian Buds, heart flower, lady-in-a-bath

History: Native to northeastern Asia. There is a Japanese legend that claims the flower sprang from the blood of a brokenhearted suitor (read it here). Another version has the princess’s heart bleeding eternally for her lost suitor. After being introduced in the UK, it became so popular that it was once called “the finest hardy plant of the 19th century.” And then it fell out of fashion for being too common (fickle Victorians). Bleeding Heart is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve circulation, treat bruises and sores, and as a painkiller.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Compassion

Cultivation: Zones 2 to 9. Perennial. Prefers shade or part shade (you can get away with full sun if you live in a northern area). Bleeding Heart likes rich, consistently moist, well-draining soil, and appreciates organic mulch to help with moisture retention and nutrients. Plant in spring or fall. Bleeding Heart usually goes dormant in summer– you can cut back the stems once the leaves have turned yellow or brown. Continue to water/keep moist while dormant. To get better blooms, work slow-release fertilizer and compost into the soil around the plant when it first emerges in spring. Grows to about 1 metre (3 ft) tall and 30 cm to 1 metre (1 to 3 ft) wide. Propagate by division every few years. Bleeding Heart is deer and rabbit resistant.

Uses:

Houseplant (not recommended if you have pets or young children): If you can recreate the preferred growing conditions for Bleeding Heart, it will grow as a houseplant. Ideally it prefers a room temperature of about 18C (65F).

Cut Flower: Flowering stems will last up to 2 weeks in a vase.

Crafts: The flowers are ideal for pressing. From Almanac.com: Pick flowers early in the morning after the dew has dried. Put the flowers between paper and place between the pages of a thick book. After a couple of weeks you’ll have perfect flat, papery hearts.

Mara’s Uses: With its red shoots, heart-like flowers, and “bleeding” name, Bleeding Heart would definitely be on Mara’s list of plants to try for her herbal blood substitute.

Further Reading:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Bleeding Hearts Flower Care- How to Grow Bleeding Heart

How to Grow and Care for Bleeding Heart

Almanac

Bleeding Heart: An Old-Fashioned Charmer

Wikipedia: Laprocapnos

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

Vampire’s Garden: Queen Anne’s Lace

By Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15779192

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained when she was still human, she continues to study plants and have a garden. This post is thirteenth in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Warning: Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii), and Fool’s Parsley (Aethusa cynapium) are toxic plants that can easily be mistaken for Queen Anne’s Lace. Don’t harvest wild QAL unless you are absolutely sure you have the right plant!

From Wikipedia: D. carota is distinguished by a mix of tripinnate leaves, fine hairs on its solid green stems and on its leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in the center of the umbel.[9] Hemlock is also different in tending to have purple mottling on its stems, which also lack the hairiness of the plain green Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot) stems.

Botanical Name: Daucus carota

Common Names: wild carrot, bishop’s lace, bird’s nest weed, lace flower, devil’s plague, bee’s nest

History: Native to temperate Europe and southwest Asia, and naturalized in North America, Australia and New Zealand, Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild form of the carrots in your vegetable drawer. The white flower clusters sometimes have a dark red or purple floret in the centre, which inspired the name Queen Anne’s Lace. The dark spot is said to be a drop of Queen Anne’s* blood, a result of pricking her finger as she was making lace (the spot actually serves to attract insects). Queen Anne’s Lace has been used as a food throughout history: the roots have been eaten as a cooked vegetable, and thanks to its high sugar content it has even been used to sweeten other foods. In England it was once believed that the dark floret could cure epilepsy. First Nations peoples used the plant medicinally to treat blood disorders, skin conditions, and diabetes (please do not try this at home).

*The Queen Anne in question could be Queen Anne of England (wife of James I), Anne of Denmark, or even Anne Boleyn.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Sanctuary

Cultivation: Biennial. Prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Blooms from late spring until autumn of its second year. Queen Anne’s Lace is easy to care for and requires only occasional watering. If you plan on growing carrots for seeds, don’t grow Queen Anne’s Lace– the plants will cross-pollinate and your carrots will produce QAL seeds. Don’t plant QAL near apples if you’re going to eat the roots, because apples affect the flavour, making the roots bitter. If you don’t want it spreading everywhere, then it’s best to plant Queen Anne’s Lace where it can be contained. You can help prevent the spread by deadheading the flowers. Remove plants by digging them up (be sure to get the entire taproot). Can be found growing wild on roadsides and in fields, but don’t harvest it unless you’re 100% able to confidently identify it.

Companion planting: Queen Anne’s Lace attracts beneficial insects, and has been found to be especially helpful when planted next to blueberries and tomatoes.

Note: Some states and provinces have listed QAL as a noxious/invasive weed, so check with your local government or invasive species organization before planting it.

Uses:

Culinary: the roots can be cooked and eaten like carrots when they’re young and tender. You can also dry, roast, and grind them to make a coffee substitute. The flowers can be battered and fried, added to salads, or used in drinks and to make jelly. Chop young leaves (from first year plants) and add to salad. Use the seeds to flavour soups and stews.

Medicinal: The roots and seeds are used as a diuretic. The grated root can be mixed with honey and used as a poultice to treat minor wounds and sores.

From The Woodrow Wilson Foundation Leadership Programs for Teachers:

“It is still used by some women today as a contraceptive; a teaspoon of seeds are thoroughly chewed, swallowed and washed down with water or juice starting just before ovulation, during ovulation, and for one week thereafter.”

Dye: The flowers produce an off-white colour. Using different mordants will result in yellows, golds, shades of orange, and forest green.

Science Experiment to Demonstrate Capillary Action: If you place the freshly cut flowers in coloured water (make by adding food colouring to water and mixing well), the flowers will slowly change colour to match the water.

Wildlife: Queen Anne’s Lace attracts beneficial insects to the garden. It’s a food source for Black Swallowtail butterfly larvae. Some birds also eat the seeds.

Caution: Do not consume Queen Anne’s Lace if you’re pregnant (the plant was traditionally used as an abortifacient). Be careful while handling the foliage as the leaves can cause photo sensitivity and dermatitis.

Mara’s Uses: Mara might use QAL in some of her herbal remedies, but its association with blood would probably interest her more.

Further Reading:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Wikipedia

Growing and Caring for Queen Anne’s Lace

Edible Wild Food

Detailed Description of Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace: Symbolism and Meaning

Queen Anne’s Lace: Butterfly Host Plant and Blueberry Protector

Three Herbs: Yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Indian Pipe

Instructions on Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

A while back I read a great article about how travelling can enrich your writing. In it, the author outlines how travel is unpredictable, fosters empathy and reflection, and creates authenticity in your writing. Now that travel is slowly getting to be possible again, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of how much it can add to our lives. Here are four more ways travelling is good for creativity (even if you don’t go any farther than the other side of town)…

It breaks up your routine

Even the most imaginative person needs inspiration, and, as many of us have learned these last couple of years, nothing is less inspiring than doing the same things and seeing the same few places over and over again, day after day. Going somewhere new shakes you out of your rut, gives you a fresh perspective, and re-ignites creativity.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Alex Zhernovyi on Pexels.com

It helps you learn

If you go somewhere you’ve never been, you’re bound to learn something, whether it’s a few words in another language, facts about local history, or even a new skill (so many places offer classes and workshops for tourists). What you discover can be the spark you need for your current project, or the inspiration for something new.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It gives you the chance to be a different kind of creative

There are all kinds of opportunities to be creative while you travel, and if you can do so in a new (to you) way, even better (I’ve written before about how creativity begets creativity). Take pictures, write a journal entry (or poetry, short fiction, a song…) about your trip, sketch what you see, take part in a workshop, visit galleries and bookstores, talk to interesting people you meet along the way. Use it all as creative fuel.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

It can help you in unexpected ways

When I was having trouble finding the right image to use for the cover of Love Lies Bleeding, a photo I’d taken in Paris turned out to be just what I needed (I posted about it here). My Paris trip photos also came through for the cover of Blood Magic, and I have a third one in mind for the next book. I didn’t go to Paris to take photos for my covers, but my travels led to exactly what I needed. You never know what going somewhere new could end up doing for you.

4 Ways Travel Can Help You Be More Creative, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Mohamed Almari on Pexels.com

You don’t have to travel to be creative, but it really does help. Even if you can’t make it to another country, try exploring a different nearby town, or visit a neighbourhood in your own town that you’ve never been to. The important thing is to break out of routine and try something new. It could lead you to places you never expected.

Has travel helped your creativity? Share in the comments…

Download my books and find out how my travels have influenced my stories, and not just the covers…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Books in Miniature

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale
Found on Etsy

Miniatures are perpetually fun. I don’t know if it’s because they remind me of my childhood toys, or if it’s simply the wonder of seeing everyday objects rendered tiny, but I never get tired of miniatures. And if those miniatures happen to be books (especially the kind that can still be read), then get me a shrink ray and point me to the nearest dollhouse with a library (finally, an affordable real estate investment)!

If you’re a bibliophile, mini or otherwise, I think you’ll appreciate these tiny works of art….

I’ll start with a mini bookcase and books after my heart (found on Etsy). Can I also get this full sized?

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, vampire. vampires. coffin, creepy

This is a library I would love to get lost in (check out the artist’s site!)

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, Marc Giai-Miniet
Room by Marc Giai-Miniet

Or how about this amazing doctor-themed bookcase?

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale
Found on Etsy.

The only thing better than this book with a secret hiding spot for a potion (or poison?)…

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, secret potion

…Is this Illuminated Medieval Manuscript by the same artist! Anyone who doesn’t think this is a work of art probably also says beige is their favourite colour.

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, illuminated manuscript

According to the etsy listing, each of these 150 miniatures has been designed to resemble a real antique book. Who wouldn’t love to explore these shelves?

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale

I adore this little book on bats. Unfortunately, I found it on Pinterest with no source given (an image search didn’t help). If anyone knows the artist or source, please share in the comments!

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, illustrated, illustrations, bats, Pinterest

This is the library from Astolat Castle, the world’s most expensive dollhouse, appraised in 2015 at $US8.5 million. I take back what I said earlier about affordable real estate. But at least looking is free (see more here).

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, Astolat Castle, world's most expensive dollhouse

Finally, if you’ve been inspired by all these miniature books, here’s a tutorial for making your own (and here’s Part 2, as well). You never know– you could end up building your own miniature library (or castle!)

Books in Miniature, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, mini books, miniatures, dollhouse, dollhouse furniture, mini rooms, 1:12 scale, tutorial

What do you think of miniature books, or miniatures in general? Share in the comments…

Looking for a good book that you can read without a magnifying glass? I’ve got you covered…

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

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