Among the plethora of new petunias and other plants that we don’t really need, here we have a plant most gardeners do need. It is a bigeneric hybrid between a bergenia and a mukdenia that basically brings a new look to that old garden favourite (or curse) bergenia.
Personally I love bergenias and I think that most people who dislike them only do so because bergenias are so accommodating and put up with awful conditions but unfortunately don’t look their best when struggling and neglected. Apart from being top quality snail hotels, old clumps of bergenia with their rather bare, snaking rhizomes and tatty evergreen leaves are not things of great beauty. But get some good varieties, plant them in good soil in part shade and divide them regularly and they pay their way 12 months of the year and their flowers are a colourful feature in the garden from March to May.
Mukdenias, in contrast, are barely known by most gardeners and have a very quiet beauty. Their main effort is in autumn when the leaves colour beautifully and although the flowers are pretty, they are cream and no great shakes. They do show up well against the deeply toothed, deep green foliage though and it is a useful ground cover for shade.
Mukgenia Nova ‘Flame’ combines the best qualities of both plants and is the brainchild of Terra Nova Nurseries in Oregon, the people who brought us an avalanche of heucheras, a blizzard of echinaceas and a snowstorm of new agastache among many others. It is good to see they are widening their remit and trying some unusual projects.
Nova ‘Flame’ has tall stems of bright pink flowers above deeply cut leaves and has lovely autumn colour. It will grow in sun or part shade and is hardy to USDA zone 3 so will be fine in all of the British Isles. It prefers neutral or slightly acid soils.
I have not seen this for sale here yet but if I do I will snap it up!
Note: I usually only post my own images but these are probably copyright Terra Nova Nurseries.