Sunshine Farm and Gardens
Rare and Exceptional Plants for the
Discriminating Gardener and Collector
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A hardy african violet on steroids??? Not quite, but when I'm waltzing visitors around the gardens here, I always pose the same question, "Would you like to see a hardy African Violet on steroids?"
They invariably bite as we hurriedly stroll over to a shade bed under a 60 foot tall Betula pendula and I gleamingly point to a particular drift of ground hugging plants. Their jaws drop. The comments usually range from "I had no idea that there was a hardy African Violet" to "I've never imagined an African Violet with foliage that huge." Inevitably, they ask if I have any for sale - no matter what it is.
What the hell is this plant...... you're probably asking yourself about now. It's Bergenia ciliata, an extremely hardy, early flowering, shade loving, sun tolerant, perennial member of the Saxifrage family. It's native to some very high peaks of the Himalayas, so you know it's going to be hardy just about anywhere. This welcome addition to any flower garden also happens to be very heat tolerant as I've kept several pots of it in a greenhouse that hits triple digits in the Summer heat and the foliage was as firm as if I'd watered them with Viagra.
My image to the right is a 2 year old plant in a gallon pot. I've even experienced leaves LARGER than this in the ground.
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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
Last modified February 24, 2009