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Bergenia emeiensis

2nd May 2015

I am fond of Bergenia. They have charm, exotic foliage, flowers in the winter and early spring and they make reliable perennials. Most importantly they make me laugh with their stupid humour. E. A. Bowles called them 'Pig Squeek'. If you rub the fleshy petioles together you will hear the pig squeek. It takes a bit of practise.
Last week I was weeding in front of a large clump of Bergenia in a pair of rubber coated gloves when it started to rain and as I pulled out some old leaves, suddenly I was surrounded by the sound of squeeking piglets. If anybody had asked me why I was kneeling in front of the border squeeling with laughter I would have been hard pressed to come up with a meaningful answer.
Bergenia emeiensis is a large flowered species from limestone cliffs in Sichuam, first introduced from Mount Omei. Currently in the greenhouse where I was hoping to keep it safe from vine weevil. It's about time I put it in a big clay pot, and stood it by the front door where I really want it.
Let's pretend it's because I want to enjoy the spring flowers.