Perennials

Plant applause for: Bergenia

A cluster of bergenia.

A cluster of bergenia.

One of my favorite spring-blooming groundcovers is in its glory this week. Bergenia have large lobed, waxy leaves, like giant green tongues, that can sometimes have jagged edges, but in a soft, friendly way. Rather cabbage like in feel, rub the leaves and you will understand how it earned its common name of Pig Squeak. The flowers are stunning at tulip time, in bursts and clusters atop six to eight foot stalks. Their foliage remains an interesting textural accent in the summer border.

Bergenia: a deeper shade of wine

Bergenia: a deeper shade of wine.

Small-statured at 12-18 inches by 12-18 inches or so, they are ideal at the front of the perennial border and also fit well into a rock garden. Hardy to zone 3, they turn a lovely rusty-bronze in the fall, and with many varieties available, they offer up a plethora of shades of purple to pink to wine, and even white. Check out what’s available to suit your taste. Very low-maintenance, with no real pests or diseases threatening them, they love full sun and even full shade. My goodness, they are agreeable!

Bergenia cordifolia close-up.

Bergenia cordifolia close-up.

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