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Yesterday on Facebook, fellow gardening geek Dale Hickey, posed the “name your current plant crush” challenge. I love that game, and immediately thought Bergenia, a plant I fought to eradicate in my former garden. Now I’m buying them again, albeit cooler varieties. How about you? What’s your current squeeze. Formerly disdained, or not.

My foray back into Bergenia territory began with Bergenia ciliata espied at Secret Garden Growers. What the what? One glance, and I was smitten.

Bergenia ciliata with big leaves and a fine crew cut.

You can see the tag peeking from beneath. I try to record plants this way, though I’m inconsistent. I’m always glad when I do; though I might add taking a better picture to the equation.

Bergenia ciliata with i.d. tag.

You can see what I mean about the fine crewcut, no?

Bergenia ciliata planted in my garden.

There’s Bergenia ciliata, planted in my garden. I’m including this photo, because I espy an Astelia chathsmica ‘Silver Spear’ back there. I’d forgotten about the Astelia, as it sadly did not make it. But the real point is that in the photo atop this post, there’s also pairing of Bergenia and Astelia. That photo was taken in Laura Heldreth’s garden. Great minds. Bet hers is still alive, though. Hmmph. (That’s Epimedium wushanense [Spiny Leaf Form] in the foreground. Also a fabulous Genus. Apparently I call them all Babe.)

The next Bergenia to catch my attention was this beauty with ruffled edges, Bergenia ‘Susan Ryley’.

Bergenia ciliata ‘Susan Ryley’ with its curly edges.

Glossy leaves. Fine-hair crewcut. Ruffled edges. Sold.

Bergenia ciliata ‘Susan Ryley’— a bunch all together at the Xera Nursery

But then, I came across a large leaf variety. Holy smokes.

Bergenia ciliata Large Leaf form

Here it is when I managed to get it home to my porch. Wish I’d taken a photo of them all together at the nursery. What a sight. Funny story. I’d picked out my two favorites and put on them on the hold table. I wanted to share with my, daughter, Megan, because I was sure she needed it. After all, she’s the one who got me crazy for big-leaved plants in the first place.

Not that there’s anything wrong with small leaves. You need those too–in abundance. Sure wish I’d picked up this beauty. Sigh. But Saxifraga is a horse of another genus.

Saxifraga x geum ‘Dentata’ – small toothed-leaves are good too.

Meanwhile, when I got back to the hold table to purchase my beloved Big Leaf Bergenia, there one was, in another person’s already-purchased basket. The head plantsman, always the conscientious gentlemen, apparently tried to talk her out of it while I was next door looking at planters. But said other customer was certain it was the plant she had selected. Later, a Bergenia ciliata left sitting there sad and lonely on the hold table told me otherwise. But not being a big baby, I went back and selected another. But its leaves were not as big, yet anyway.

And that’s the story of the Large Leaf Bergenia that got away!

Bergenia ciliata Large Leaf Form with fall color.

Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. There are other plants in the world to lust after. And I’m just the person to do it.

How about you. What’s on your plant lust list?