Bergenia purpurascens ‘Irish Crimson’

Bergenia purpurascens ‘Irish Crimson’ is an exceptionally attractive plant in winter when its foliage turns an intense rich red with the onset of the first frosts while its spring
pink/ruby red flowers above neat, narrow and upright foliage give another display of
exquisite beauty. Given its small stature, it is best enjoyed in a position to the front of
the border.

There is a lack of clarity regarding the origins of this plant but it is certain that it was
growing in the gardens of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, and in many of the
older Dublin gardens. Helen Dillon distributed it generously; indeed, it was known for
some time as Bergenia ‘Helen Dillon’ or as Bergenia Helen Dillon form. She passed
material to Beth Chatto and it gained wider and well-deserved distribution through her
nursery in Essex. The Royal Horticultural Society has recognised its superb quality as a
garden plant with its Award of Garden Merit.

(As appeared in Newsletter 154, January 2022. Text and photos courtesy of Paddy Tobin)