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An early bloomer that’s a big draw for pollinators

Bergenias grow well in the sun or part shade

Plant of the week

Bergenia 'Pink Dragonfly' Pig Squeak

Why you should plant it

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What a fantastic plant this has been over the past year. The shiny, coarse, cabbagy leaves, which turn magenta in the cold, were absolute heaven all winter. And its vibrant blooms were among the early comers in spring, making it a big draw for pollinators. They are out of bloom now, but the leaves remain lush and gorgeous.

Where to plant it

Bergenias grow well in the sun or part shade, which means about half the day with sun. Efficient drainage is key. For maximum effect, make small groups of three to five plants. This forms a nice clump that measures 30 by 30 centimetres each. The blooms rise up to 45 centimetres high.

What it offers

This Zone 4 plant is a standout in terms of texture and sensuality: The leaves provide great colour in the winter and nice texture all year round, while the blooms offer a lovely dash of pink in the spring. It will spread so slowly that you barely recognize it is moving. And it looks fabulous with evergreens such as Chamaecyparis spp (false cypress). It also forms a nice bundle and has almost no enemies.

Source and cost

Find Bergenia 'Pink Dragonfly' Pig Squeak for $10 at nurseries such as John's Garden in Uxbridge, Ont. (www.johnsgarden.ca or 905-682-8175).

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Visit marjorieharris.com for more plant and gardening information.

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