The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Joanna's Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia with Indian Pot and Stone Pedestal

According to my gardening journal, on May 5, 1997, I got a division of Bergenia cordifolia from the late Joanna Reed's garden in my hometown of Malvern, PA. I didn't know the plant but was willing to try anything Joanna suggested. I brought a single plant home and every year I divided it. One year, I happened to plant a division on the shapely drained slope flanking the granite steps down to what I now call the Blue Bench Terrace. It was the right plant in the right spot and it prospered beautifully there.

The bergenia's russet-colored leathery paddles of foliage contrasts well with the gray granite steps and the bluestone patio this time of year. It is also the perfect compliment to the rusted Indian pots from Michael Trapp's Connecticut shop I got about a dozen years ago. In April, it will have rose-colored blooms that seem to hang on for several weeks. Here in New Hampshire, any plant that peaks in December and April is highly prized.

Bergenia cordifolia is an extremely useful plant but what I treasure most about this unnamed cultivar is that it came from Joanna's garden. It is a lasting memento of her garden and the time I spent there when I was just beginning to learn about gardening.


  1. That is the perfect plant for a special container - the plants in my garden given by garden mentors, some of who have passed away, are treasured.

  2. Cyndy,
    I agree. Having these pass along plants from gardens and gardeners we love is one of the best aspects of gardening. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I have this thing for Bergenias, especially in winter. Envious of that pot too.

  4. James,
    I love the pot too. Unfortunately, it is slowly disintegrating. I suppose that makes me prize it even more.



Related Posts with Thumbnails