I planted two darmeras beside our little pond two summers ago. Last year, neither produced flowers, and I thought perhaps they weren’t happy with their location. I was very pleased, therefore, to see flower stalks emerge this spring. Darmera is one of a few perennials that produce flowers before their leaves appear. The flowerhead, or cymes, of five-petalled flowers, above, was photographed on May 9th. Since then, the flowers have finished blooming and the large darmera leaves have emerged and outpaced the flower stalks.
Darmeras like damp soil, but will grow in drier conditions. Although these plants are beside the pond, they don’t benefit from the water there as the pond was constructed with a liner. The location is partly shaded though, so they are protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day.
Darmeras are native to western North America, where they grow along woodland steams. They are sometimes called Indian Rhubarb, and are also known as Umbrella Plants, for their large, rounded leaves. The leaves can reportedly reach a size of 24 inches across, but those of my young plants are, so far, about a modest 8 inches across.