In her famous gravel garden in Essex the queen bee of plantswoman-gardeners is mad about bergenias
In low elevations, November is time to plant bergenias
or propagate new plants from divided clumps.
The entire plant turns deep purple, verging on beetroot, and demands the support of fiery neighbours such as bergenia
cordifolia (elephant's ears) and euphorbia characias (spurge).
Although it has been developed largely for use in greenhouses, I've found it very successful in the open garden, especially among primula and bergenia
OTHERWISE known as elephant's ears because of the shape of their leathery leaves, these cabbage-shaped low-growing perennials produce pink, mauve, white or red flowers, but their leaves can also change colour depending on the variety you choose.
ALSO known as elephant's ears because of its big, leathery leaves, the bergenia
looks best planted in large groups or as a carpet under trees, and will growin any reasonable soil in sun or dappled shade, growing only around 11/2ft tall.
are superior groundcover plants, with huge thick and leathery leaves ranging from rich greens to deepest plum red, and with some of the best varieties, such as "Abdendglut", striking crimson flowers.
will tolerate any soil as long as they see the sun once in a while, which surprises me as this plant comes from a highly specialised environment in the Himalayas.
I shall do that in the spring and the same with the Euphorbias and the Bergenias
, along with the perennial Wallflowers or Erysimums.
While deciduous trees and shrubs are putting on a great show as their leaves change to vibrant colours before falling to the ground, evergreens such as bergenias
and mahonia are also turning sumptuous plummy and claret shades, and the variegated euonymus is taking on pink tones after the leaves are frosted.
As a result many bergenias
, which traditionally bloom in spring, are already flowering and add welcome texture and colour to the late winter border.
are among the most useful plants for unpromising situations, as tough as the Siberian mountains where they originated.