Sunday, 2 November 2008

Barrberry and Bergenia

I have to say I rather "stumbled" on these great little Golden Barberry. I fell in love with their impossible yellow gold colour. The thorn issue was not a negative point for me because I had hoped they might discourage prowling cats .. errant owners of dogs .. and perhaps a few squirrels might think twice about the front garden with these guardians helping me out.
I did NOT count on the beautiful colours they turned in the Autumn. I thought .. ok .. dullish gold is fine with me .. BUT ... they are coppers, reds, rusts, golds .. the gambit of Autumn colours right there in this little shrub. They forgive thoughtless watering .. meaning they can take it on the dry side .. in fact if you read about them .. good drainage is a MUST .. so believe me .. they have good drainage !
I would recommend them highly to other gardeners looking for a bit of protection from naughty animals (and owners ? haha) .. and reap the benefit of a gorgeous coloured shrub all seasons really !

Bergenia Cordifolia .. with loads of different nick names .. "Pig Squeak" was one I came across and had to laugh .. some plant names are just too funny. This little group is the standard type. For some reason and I really have no idea what went wrong .. I did not get those amazing flowers they throw in the Spring. All that happened were this big squeaky leaves .. not that there is anything wrong with just leaves mind you. I just wondered why ?????? not the flowers too ? .. has anyone else gone through a drought of flowers with these guys ? Any thoughts on why they didn't smile at me with flowers ? ..
In any case .. they are still very pretty with colour changes for Autumn. You have to give them credit for that !

My "log fern" has a tendency just to lay down FLAT when it has had enough of the season .. I find that humorous too .. as if it were just too exhausted from the whole hot summer thing and it wants to lay down and sleep for the winter .. not that I can blame it .. but it is funny to see how perfectly it has made its own bed ?


patientgardener said...

Its nice when you discover that a plant has additional attributes to those that you bought it for.

Anonymous said...

I love my little dwarf barberry. It provides such interesting foliage color in the fall.

Giddy said...

Sorry to say, I got rid of my barberries as they are considered invasive around here. Now if I could just bring myself to dig up the winged euonymous! One tries to be environmentally PC, but some of the invasives are just so darned beautiful!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Giddy .. my barbarry hasn't moved or become invasive ... yet ? .. I think the new cultivars have been altered not to do that because they lifted the barring they had on it before. The colours are amazing with these little guys though .. I really didn't expect that .. I'm sure they didn't do this last year! haha

PG .. they are amazing this year .. the colours are so eye catching .. so pretty !

Hello patientgardener .. I have had these little guys a couple of years .. this is the first year they have been so awesome in colour .. I really love them for it !

Patsi said...

Log fern?
Now I have to look up another plant !
Your barberry is very pretty.
I have a different one with thorns(I'm guessing you have thorns also)that is at the bottom of a birdhouse which is on a 4x4 post that is 4-5 feet tall...Squirrels won't climb the post.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi Patsi .. my log fern was my first fern in this garden. It took years to get nice and big .. but it is beautiful .. so having patience does help .. even though it is hard waiting ..
Yup .. this barberry has thorns for sure ! there are almost burgundy coloured ones too .. if I had the room .. I would have them as well !

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

Yes, they do look like good companions. You make your bed and lay in it, I always heard.

Anonymous said...

Joy ~ Your fall colors are great! I agree with your invasive barberry comment, although we can no longer carry any barberry plants at the garden center, in MA... wouldn't be surprised if this changes in the future, as the issue is revisited. My red 'Pygmy' and 'Rosy Glow' specimens are staying put... no volunteers (at least, NIMBY!) and they've been in for years!

Bergenia prefers a pH of 6.5-7.0... much higher or lower, it may not be accessing the phosphorus needed for blossom production. Have you been applying garden sulfur on the soil near these, as well? If so, it may have become too acidic.

Anyway, try rock phosophate now - lightly till it into the soil and water in (or just before a soaking rain). Takes about 5-6 months for this natural, organic form of phosphate (as opposed to quick-release superphosphate, 0-20-0) to become available... I usually apply it fall and spring to flowering plants, including woody ornamentals. While you don't want to fall-feed perennials or roses with complete fertilizers, rock phosphate will not stimulate top growth or interfere with the hardening-off process.

Nice to get back to gardening matters, eh? ~ Deb

Anonymous said...

Beautiful fall foliage, Joy!

Gail said...

I have always thought that bergenia had wonderful fall color and I can see from your photo that is does in your garden. It is not happy here! Sigh. gail

GardenJoy4Me said...

Gail it has changed even more since I took these pictures .. it truly is such a pretty plant .. sort of a basic one to have in your garden .. easy care and all of that .. I'm sorry yours is not up to snuff girl : (

Nancy .. it really is a nice change of colours isn't it ?

Hi Deb .. yes the new cultivars are supposed to be noninvasive .. and this golden one is really beautiful .. I have been eyeing ? Roseglow myself !
No .. I haven't done sulpher in that area at all .. usually just my few roses .. but now that you told me that (and I don't have a problem with blight in that area .. phew !) .. I won't do it there for sure ..
I'm so glad you told me about the rock phosphate ! .. I always wondered what that was used for and this is a good time to do it ? .. my needy plants will be getting a sprinkle for sure : )
Do I have to pay you a retainer fee for all this great information girl ?? LOL
I really appreciate and I know other readers will pick up on it too , so thank you !!

Brenda .. are you getting all philosophical ?, spelling is dodgy there, .. on me ? LOL

camellia said...

I planted two Bergenias last summer, and have yet to see the first flowers – when they, allegedly show up in March (but after your post perhaps i shouldn't expect them...). Anyway, i bought them for their generous foliage, and yours looks lovely with it's autumnal hues.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hello Camellia ..the funny thing is I have had flowers .. beautiful ones that stayed a long time .. but for some weird reason none this past Spring .. but like you have said, even without flowers these are great plants and I really do like them !

Megan said...

I think I have a similar barberry, small with golden leaves, but I didn't get great fall color. Not sure if that's the variety, or if you have just had exceptional color this year. I'm hoping mine will do that some day too.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi megan .. these didn't turn so colourful last year .. I'm not sure why they have this year .. I didn't expect such a pretty show .. then I thought perhaps because they are more mature it happened .. not absolutely positive what is going on but I love them ! : ) .. Hope yours will go the same route too !