Bergenia

bergenia2

I’m not really sure why this plant is still in my garden.  Usually, when I plant something and it does absolutely nothing for 3 years, I yank it out.  This plant, Bergenia winterglut, or winter glory, was ordered from a catalog, and planted in 2006.  For most of that time, it was just there, not growing, not flowering, but not dying either.  This fall, the leaves started turning a bright red color.  Finally, a sign of life!

Bergenia is an evergreen perennial, which is native to central Asia.  It’s a low growing, spreading ground cover type plant.  In the spring, it is supposed to get cone shaped flowers bergenia1on a rhubarb-like stalk.  I only know this because I’ve seen photos taken by other people.  I’m also told that in Michigan, it may rebloom in the fall.  Something I found quite interesting is that the leaves change color in the fall, and then change back to green again in the spring.  That splash of red is about the only cheery thing in my otherwise blah yard right now.

Officially, this is called Bergenia cordifolia, of the family Saxifragaceae.  Unofficially, it has many names such as Elephant Ear, Saxifrage and Heartleaf Bergenia.  My personal favorite is Pigsqueak.  Apparently, if you rub the leaves, they make a squeaky noise.  I tried this, but didn’t get much sound out of them.  Other websites describe the leaves as leathery, and I can confirm that is true.  These interesting looking leaves are often used in flower arrangments.  I’m hoping that the colorful leaves are a sign that maybe I’ll have blooms in the spring.  I guess it can’t hurt to wait a little longer.

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