Meet. . .Bergenia!

How can you resist a plant called pig squeak? Bergenia cordifolia, also known as heartleaf bergenia, Is one of the first herbaceous perennials to bloom in my garden each year. A number of hybrids are available with flower colors ranging from pink to white to salmon. Foliage size is also variable with leaves in the 9"-12" range.
The large, fleshy leaves are moderately shiny and, wonder-of-wonders, evergreen! The photo below shows some damage on the margins of last year's leaves (thanks to the leaf-cutter bees) with this year's foliage just starting to emerge.
Bergenia spreads by rhizomes and can be propagated by division in early spring. Bergenia prefers moderately moist soils rich in organic matter and will tolerate part (morning) sun or full shade. My photo illustrates Bergenia surviving, but not thriving, in my garden's lean, sandy soil. Bergenia is rated to USDA zone 3 and an altitude of 8,000 feet.

Beautiful companion plants include Heuchera, Aquilegia, and Geranium.

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