January 25, 2009


Shots from Sweet Garden Chicago :
Bergenia cordifolia
commonly called ' pig squeak '

Alan Armitage said of Bergenia cordifolia " If you rub the leaf between thumb and forefinger just right it sounds like pigs squeaking, " thus the moniker 'pig squeak." Gee, thanks, Alan I know what pigs sounds like and it's not a squeak. We call it squealing cause most of them sound like they're being stuck with a needle.

My description of this plant is : Large, handsome glossy leaves, green throughout the season, bronze in Fall, lovely long-lasting pink flowers in the Spring, tolerant of almost any soil in full sun or light shade. Colonize slowly. Hardy for Northern gardens as it hails from Siberia.

I love Bergenia and have planted it in just about every nook and cranny of my garden, front and back, and that of many clients. The great thing about it is it colonizes and you can divide it up and easily transplant it. It creates a bold effect in the landscape.

Newer varities such as 'Lunar glow ' with a chartruese leaf and 'Eden's magic giant ( larger bolder leaves measuring 9 x12" ) are great.

Thanks to Tina at In the Garden for coming up with the signature plant series.


  1. Wonderful! I have to agree with you-yup pigs sound more like they are squealing because when they do 'squeek' they are not happy and really let it go. I am going to add some of the bergenia to my garden and rub those leaves too. Lunar Glow sounds perfect. Now when I see bergenia I'll think of you.

    Carolyn, did you know you were the first blogger who ever faved my blog? And you have stuck by it too? I appreciate that and I think all the folks you have considered in this way would certainly feel the same. Thanks! And thanks for the link love. I've added you in.

  2. I have bergenia and have never heard that. Look forward to squeezing some leaves this summer.

  3. Carolyn, where do your bergenia thrive the best? I have a couple of varieties, but am wondering if I give them too much shade? I have two-year old plants that haven't bloomed for me yet...

  4. I seem to remember you blogging about bergenia in the past, Carolyn. I love them too, but I need to move mine; they have good drainage, but not enough sunlight and haven't flowered in several years.
    Do you have 'Solar Flare'? If I find it, I plan to buy it, because that one doesn't have to flower to make me happy. The foliage is awesome. I assume 'Lunar Glow' is also from Terra Nova.

  5. I know a good thing when I see it Tina :-) You're most welcome !

  6. Hey flowrgirl,

    I'm looking forward to Spring/Summer period and squeaking some Bergenia isn't a bad idea either.

  7. Hey Shady,

    Bergenia is found in the shade section of the garden center, however, if the shade is too deep it won't thrive as well.

  8. I haven't seen 'Solar Flare' at the garden center yet. Maybe this year. I'd love to have it just for its colorful leaves as well.

    I'm not sure where 'Lunar Glow ' is from.

  9. LOL--Are you really going to trust the farm know-how of a guy who gardens in chinos and a pressed denim shirt?! I stopped by from a link on the Spring Fling page, saying your garden is on tour. Thanks so much for offering it... though you know we're all going to ant to rub the bergenia leaves now...

  10. I can see why you love this plant Gail. I have had the worst luck trying to grow it here. I have tried them in several different places then FINALLY just last summer I got a small group of them to take. It must have been the 21" of rain we got right after I planted them. They seem quite happy where they are and they tolerated our end of summer drought quite well. I tried to look up the variety I have and wouldn't you know it this is one plant that I lost the tag so I don't know for sure.

  11. Hi Cg, it's now March as I'm re-visiting your post...Tina just wrote a post about it and has a link to it! I read this when you originally wrote it but needed to come back to see what it was called (I only remembered it as pigsqueak, from your description). Glad to get the actual name of Bergenia-so I can look for it and perhaps place it in my garden! In some small way, it reminds me of ajuga (only because of the size of the leaves, and that it serves as a ground cover, and it spreads and is a good filler). I do like how it gets that gorgeous shade of pink;-)


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