Family: Saxifragia. Genus: Bergenia. Species: B. cordifolia.
Common name: Elephant's EarsThis plant's common name is Elephant's Ears because of its large, round leaves. It is a perennial evergreen. It's large leaves give the garden some interest even in winter. The flowers are borne in large clusters fairly early in spring. It is very hardy in our climate, probably because it is native to China. Sometimes the leaves look a little beaten up after a long cold winter, but it is easy to just pick off the brown, dried ones and the plant immediately looks good again. It can easily be divided, although it is best to do that after it has flowered.
I often find huge garden snails at the base of my plants in early spring and also during hot weather. This seems strange since Bergenia are apparently not affected by snails and slugs. Perhaps their large leaves provide protection from heat and cold. I have heard that cocoa beans can be put at the base of the plants to keep slugs and snails away. I have not tried this as yet. With my luck the snails would just go and sit under a plant which they would find delicious!