Darmera peltata

One should never ever take one's own ability as a gardener too seriously! Or, to be more specific, one's ability to correctly identify an ornamental rhubarb plant!

I've been in serious correspondence with a prestigious American graphic designer about ornamental rhubarb plants. Apparently the giant Gunnera gets confused with the littler Rheums, and my contact was puzzled. Naturally I leapt in learnedly to help, offering not only my great rhubarb expertise, but my Rheum as the real thing. Luckily for me the designer didn't use my photograph!

Some Sort of Rheum?

This plant started off being 'some sort of Rheum' when first it was mentioned in my gardening journals. This loose description should have warned me. But no. This spring I noticed stalks with pale pink flowers at the top, well before any leaves had formed - an odd flowering habit for an ornamental rhubarb. Did any alarm bells ring? No!

 Oops. What a silly mistake!
Indian Rhubarb - Darmera peltata


Oops. It's not a Rheum, it's a Darmera peltata! Quite by accident, while trying to improve my plant identification skills in Botanica's Annuals and Perennials reference book, I found its flower picture. Oh dear! It's given the common name of Indian Rhubarb, so I guess I can be partially forgiven!

 Flowers first, foliage later...
Darmera Flowering

It grows happily by the water race, and recently I've landscaped the bank with river stones. I like the look, and my clump of Indian Rhubarb is thriving.

Be Warned!

But this is a timely warning to all would-be designers who google for images to use and land, bottom first, in the mulch at Mooseys. Be warned! Do not necessarily believe everything that the Head Gardener thinks she knows!