6 Mar 2012

A Heart of Chocolatey-Purple: ‘Betberg’


I don’t like to drop names, and as such, only the person who has offered me a division of this wonderful plant knows who I mean, but as such, this person has secured themselves a place of highest esteem in my opinion! I also know that favoured woodland plant nursery might or might not have a select number of divisions available [ one must always have a backup plan!] this year! In any case, I find it a most fitting acquisition for a garden that for me is embarking on a journey back to where it all began!

betburgAs a child, in the small narrow shade filled border at my Grandparents house, I would refer to them as ‘soldiers.’ To an impressionable child, the taller members of Polygonatum, a most intoxicating genus, might well resemble soldiers, erect and proudly defending what was the only shaded border within the entire property. Of course in those days, it was the easily recognizable P.commutatum and perhaps the odd P.odoratum, but nothing near as special as P x hybridum ‘Betberg!’

It seems that ‘Betberg’ is at once synonymous with the nursery of iconoclastic British gardening doyenne Beth Chatto, where she acquired a plant from Isbert Preussler, of which he himself collected and named this wonderful plant after a small village in the Black Forest, near Laufen, Sulzburg. Newly emerging stems and leaves are stained a rich chocolatey brown-purple, and slowly fade through a series of wonderful shades to an equally appealing green as the season progresses! Known for its shade tolerance, this particular plant would likely benefit from partial morning sun [as seen in the photo above] to act as a catalyst for such wonderfully stained foliage! According to Beth, her plant still produces chocolatey stained leaftips while hung with clusters of flowers, up to five in a bunch! The flowers are followed by attractive purple fruit. How can you not be suffering a near fatal hortgasm right along with me as I type? I am totally besotted with ‘Betberg’ and can hardly wait to welcome him into the family!

Here, in my own shaded pocket of paradise, I’ve grown quite a few recognizable, and a few more choice selections including P.odoratum ‘Variegatum’, and  P.falcatum ‘Silver Striped Selection’ and the addition of ‘Betberg’ will guarantee that this genus remains secure in my heart of hearts!

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Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Crap, that is a nice looking Polygonatum! Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Yu are so TOTALLY LUCKY Barry !!!
I would have loved to see this plant in person to appreciate that amazing colour!
I ran across a cultivar on the net (damn I didn't bookmark the page of course) that had extra wide white margins on the leaves .. it was really striking .. hope to stumble on it again some time ..
This is one stunning plant and you are so fortunate my friend : )