In March a couple of years ago I started noticing patches of tiny blue flowers along the roads of older neighborhoods. Here were flowers flourishing in areas that hadn’t been manicured for a very long time.
I soon realized these blooming meadows are the naturalized dreams of gardeners past. I’m charmed by that romance.
It turns out these hardy bloomers are Glory of Snow, or, if you like unpronounceable names: Chionodoxa, Try to say that easily the first time around! 🙂
Glory of Snow originated in Turkey & Greece – along the Mediterranean. I’ve heard southern Vancouver Island compared to a Mediterranean rain forest, so it makes sense these plants survive well here. What surprises me more is that they’re hardy to zone 4! They can withstand a whole lot more cold. Do these grow in your neck of the woods??
Aside from naturalizing well, these plants are also valuable to me because they’re:
Once planted, just leave them to their own devices. How great is that? I’ve even seen them surviving in shallow crevices of rocky outcroppings.
They seem perfectly happy in lawns, too, although I’ll bet they do better if the grass isn’t cut until late April when they’re done for the season. That would mean it’s more of a meadow than a lawn. C wouldn’t go for that. He likes lush, but trim. That’s why I’ve added Glory of Snow as under-story plantings in our shrub border instead.
The best patch I’ve ever come across is around Dunlop House Restaurant, a heritage building on the grounds of Camosun College, and the facility of their Hospitality Management Program. C’s mum took us there for supper the other night. The meal was lovely, and the meadow: spectacular!
In some ways I should like bergenia more than I do. It has good traits that usually rank high in my books.
Hardy to zone 4
I do celebrate the blooms when they arrive.
This year I realised that the deer celebrate those blooms, too. Hmmmm. No wonder the bloom time seemed so short. Deer don’t seem to snack on the fleshy leafs, so the patches survive.
Elephant ears is a common name for this plant. Kinda makes sense because of the large, rounded plant material.
Pig Squeak is another nick name. Apparently it makes a noise when rubbing the turgid leafs, but I’ve never noticed.
In other gardens I’ve been impressed with a occasional lovely display of colourful foliage, or strikingly large blooms. Perhaps those were other cultivars than the one in our yard.
In mid-summer the patches look kind of ratty, and I don’t really care for that. C doesn’t like them much either, so we don’t pay them much attention.
I reckon bergenia does a fair job as a ground cover in really tough spots of the yard. For now they’re safe. There are higher priority areas around the garden. That is until I somehow find some horticultural treasure that would suit that space better.