Pristine flowers early in the season
Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ is treasured for pristine white bunches of flowers in late winter and early spring. The snow white heads sparkle against vivid foliage colours in this valuable early season flowering.
‘Bressingham White’ is renowned as being one of the most prolific blooming of all the Bergenias. The bell shaped flowers are tightly clustered in heads on strong, 35cm. stems. So they show so well above the thick carpets of lovely foliage.
It is an historic variety, but has never been bettered where a white flowered Bergenia is needed.
While the flowers are lovely – it is really all about the foliage
Vivid winter foliage colours are a special treat.
Bergenia leaves remain evergreen all year, but really become a wonderful colour feature in winter. Cold weather promotes a symphony of reds, burgundies and plum shades, and they simply revel in frost. Cold weather and poor soil conditions bring out the colour even more beautifully.
During the warm months the handsome leaves are deep green, glossy, and leathery tough. Heart shaped leaves form neat handsome rosettes.
Bergenias are renowned for their toughness and hardiness in far from ideal conditions.
Tough & tolerant of a wide range of conditions
Part Shade to Full Shade is best though not essential. Bergenia are very hardy, and often chosen for Dry Shade or Deep Shade gardens. They cope extremely well under big old trees and shrubs.
However they are tough enough to also grow in Sun, though the leaves will not be as large or lush, and may scorch. They much prefer shade in hot areas, where they can tolerate periods of dry very well.
Poor soil & seaside – anything goes
Bergenia accept a wide range of soils, including poor soil. They are happy in soils from sandy to clay, with pH from acid to alkaline lime. Prime performance is in humus rich soil with average, normal moisture, but they really don’t mind much if you cannot provide.
They are a wise choice for seaside and coastal gardens, as the leathery, waxy leaves make them tolerant of salt laden winds.
Bergenia are not thirsty plants, and can tolerate periods of dry very well because they have such fleshy, robust root systems to store water and nutrients effectively.
Tough, weed suppressing ground-cover
Bergenia look wonderful planted as a ground-cover carpet. Several plants massed can completely cover the ground surface with lush foliage, so weeds are blocked. Bergenia is not invasive.
Solid root systems make Bergenia indispensable as binding plants for banks and slopes in shaded areas where they can effectively bind the soil from slipping. While the complete foliage cover means you don’t have to be down on hands and knees weeding on the slope.
Low maintenance & undemanding
Bergenia are very low maintenance plants, needing little if ever attention, so again no need for you to go scrambling about on the slope. A tidy up after winter is all the maintenance required (and they won’t care if you forget).
They are renowned as being undemanding, and virtually disease and pest free.
Where to use in the garden
Bergenia are a wise choice for planting under trees and shrubs; in dry shade or deeply shaded gardens; on banks and slopes that need a binding groundcover; as an evergreen edge for a shaded garden or path; and gravel gardens. They are a traditional choice for decorative pots and urns because of their tough health, interest all year round, and lush look despite poor conditions.
They look marvellous mixed with hostas as foliage contrast.
Lovely in garden & vase
Both the showy flower Heads, and the beautiful leaves, make excellent cut flowers for vases indoors.
– Height with flowers: 35cm. approx.
– Width: 60cm. approx.
– Position: Part Shade to Full Shade is best. However they are tough enough to grown in Sun, though the leaves will not be as large or lush, and may scorch. They put up a very creditable performance almost anywhere, including Dry Shade.
– Soil: Accept a wide range of soils, from sandy to clay, with pH from acid to alkaline lime. Prime performance is in humus rich soil with average, normal moisture. They are not thirsty plants, and can tolerate periods of dry very well because they have such fleshy, robust root systems which store water and nutrients effectively.
– Fragrance: Most Bergenia, including ‘Bressingham White’ have little or no scent.
– Frost: Very frost hardy and resilient. Cold temperatures and poor soil brings out even better winter foliage colours.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Abundant flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar are a big help to bees and butterflies in the late winter and early spring, when other flowers.
– Care: Very low maintenance, hardy and easy.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: The leathery leaves are not attractive to rabbits or deer.
– Origin: Bergenia hail from the east, from central Asia, Afghanistan and China, where they grow in woodlands and rocky outcrops.
– Myths & Legends: Bergenia has acquired many common names, but one of the most unusual must surely be “pig squeak”, because of the noise produced when you rub a leaf between thumb and finger. Kids love it.
Other common names include “elephant’s ears” – referring to the shape of the leaves, and “red hearts” – referring to the vivid winter colours of the leaves, as well as ‘heart leaf’ for obvious reasons.
The Bergenia genus is named after German botanist and physician Karl August von Bergen who was a great plant collector and author.
‘Bressingham White’ was a particular favourite of that marvellous plantwoman, Beth Chatto, as well as Edwardian garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Neither imposing lady would have ever tolerated a plant that was not a top performer.