Bergenia purpurascens ‘Irish Crimson’

berg purpurascens Irish crimson

I have not featured as many Irish plants as I should have done really but this little beauty will help to redress the balance. Now I know that not everyone likes bergenias as much as I do and they can be a bit coarse and, if they are neglected, verge on the downright ugly, but they have a lot of good features. Their creeping stems and evergreen leaves make them the perfect edging plant for a border against stone or gravel and their flowers can be showy in spring.

Bergenia purpurascens is not the toughest of the species and needs a bit of care to look really fabulous and it will not take the thin chalky soils that others tolerate. But then you do get rich red shades in winter and deep pink or cherry red flowers in spring. So I fell in love with this clump of ‘Irish Crimson’ at Kilmacurragh. It is thought to have come, a long while back, from the Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin but was put into the ‘trade’ by Beth Chatto after she received plants from Helen Dillon. It was included in the RHS trial of bergenias where it was one of the star turns and was given an Award of Garden Merit.

In the sun the leaves shone like rubies and, being a relatively small leaved species it would fit into any garden. It would look amazing with snowdrops and snowflakes or with hakonechloa and, if you really have the stomach for some colour, with some bright heucheras.

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5 Comments on “Bergenia purpurascens ‘Irish Crimson’”

  1. bloominbootiful
    April 28, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    I’ve never seen that variety before, it’s lovely!

  2. Mary Tobin
    April 28, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    I have grown it for years and have found it thrives in good moist soil and seems hardy here in Waterford. Delighted you featured an Irish plant.

  3. Meriel
    April 29, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Hear, hear

  4. Noelle
    April 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    I love bergenia’s but sadly so do all the squirrels round here…each and every shoot and flower bud has been eaten down by those varmits…I’ve tried chasing away, but their shifts in the garden are much longer than mine. Love the way the sunshine bounces off the leaves.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

      I did not know that squirrels were so fond of bergenias so thank you for that information. Have you tried chillies on them – thats the bergenias not the squirrels!

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