I’ve had my rheum emodii (himalayan rhubarb) for quite a few years (2005?), but it didn’t get into the ground and find a permanent home until 2007. I’d read that it would get big, but not as big as a gunnera, which I don’t have room for. I’d also read that it pretty much dies back and disappears by mid summer. So far, both of these things are true.
Since we don’t seem to be having much “spring weather” this year – that cold and rain thing seems to be predominating – perhaps the first flowering of my rheum is because of the weather. Or just because it is settling in. And considering the weather, I don’t know when mid summer will arrive here, so maybe it will stick around until September. I think it’s usually gone by mid-July.
These pictures show a progression of this year’s blossom, which is the first ever, and the gorgeous color and texture of the leaves. (See an earlier April picture here: http://nancystrahle.com/2011/04/29/10-early-spring-pictures-from-our-coolest-spring-on-record-%e2%80%93-part-2-the-purples). The largest leaf is about 20 inches wide and 24 inches long. The stalk is about 7 feet tall today, the blossoms getting more spindly as the stalk stretches out.
It will be fun to see how it develops as this season goes on. So far the leaves are far lusher and happier than other years. Despite their size, they are sort of delicate. You can see their great light transmission when photographed from behind.