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Featured Conservation Plants: November 2013

November 2013:
Bergenia ‘Pugsley’s Pink’

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The national conservation coordinator says that Bergenia ‘Pugsleys Pink’ is one of the stalwarts of the Conservation Scheme’ as it was introduced over 10 years ago. Unfortunately Bergenias don’t seem to be fashionable and despite having an RHS Award of Garden Merit there is only one supplier for this Bergenia listed in the RHS Plant Finder 2013.

One of our growers says “We garden in East Bedfordshire and our soil condition is ‘sandy’ which you would expect to be free draining, but because the majority of our garden was once a flood meadow during wet periods it can become very saturated.

We have grown Bergenia ‘Pugsley’s Pink’ for at least five years on a west facing sloping bank which does remain fairly free draining. The plant is growing in full sun now although when we first planted it did have so some shade from a tree.

The green leaves are tinged with pink below and are up to 15cm long. In spring it has, in our opinion, some very vibrant pink flowers. Our plant has never had a repeat flowering in the autumn although other growers report that this Bergenia does repeat flower as well as having striking winter foliage colour.

We have successfully propagated the plant by division of the rhizomes. Either pieces of the rhizomes with developing plantlets may be severed from the main plant in situ and used as cuttings of the whole plant can be lifted, new plantlets severed as previously described and the parent plant put back into the soil.

We find the plant is very slow growing in our soil conditions and from what we have learnt does better in a clay soil, but it is still a very garden worthy plant.”

Bergenias can suffer from infestations of vine weevil. The beetles make tell tale notches from the edges of leaves but it is the larvae that do most damage under the ground where they eat their way through the root system, getting inside the rhizomes.

The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.

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