You can experience how this no-trouble rhizomatous ground cover earned its common name if, following a rain, you rub a leaf between your fingers—but it is Bergenia’s fine firm foliage mass and Saxifrage-like, waxy flowers that justifies its presence in the garden. With bold, rounded outlines, the great, glossy, and nearly evergreen, rich green leaves are a handsome backdrop for dense heads of lovely spring blooms that rise above the cabbagelike rosette on stalwart, red-tinted stems.
In winter, leaves become tinged with burgundy and are most welcome in holiday arrangements. Bergenia endures neglect, poor soil and some drought, but performs best in part shade.
Click on any thumbnail image to view the large version.