Bergenias, now there is a problem, do I like them or not? Well, the jury is out having a cup of tea and a lengthy chat, possibly not about the issue in question, and definitely not in a rush to come to any conclusion. These robust perennials, also known as elephant’s ears, have always left me a little perplexed, I feel I should like them but can’t quite get up the enthusiasm.
This morning, as I was waiting “patiently” for my beloved to reverse out onto the road without knocking down the over-stuffed green bin, I dawdled over to my neighbours’ house. Some might call this nosy, the harsher might even say trespass, I call it checking all is well. Lifting a mishmash of cordyline leaves and its own foliage I revealed the shy flowers beneath. I don’t blame them for cowering, this aspect is north-, in the teeth of the icy wind, east. Peering intently to see if I could solve the quandary, my head admitted that they are indeed very pretty, especially at this bloom-dearth time of year, but my heart was silent. Strange.
Does anyone remember elephant’s foot cakes? Enormous profiteroles the size of a, well an elephant’s foot. They scared me. A custard slice, or doughnut, or even apple turnover, yes please. This was just too much to take. I feel a little queasy just thinking about it.
That in turn reminds me of neighbours from my early childhood who had, and I can barely spit the words out, an umbrella stand made of an elephant’s foot. I thought it gross at the tender age of five, I find it abhorrent now.
Did this trauma put me off over-sized cakes and sturdy plants? Perhaps. I like my elephants whole. In a world where tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year for their ivory, we should do whatever we can to make sure they remain that way.
So I started with a flower and ended with conservation, not quite the road I thought I was on. Amazing where a bit of wittering will take you.