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Plants in the Garden: Epimedium

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Started by: John Humphries

Here are a few images of very garden worthy Epimediums. Please add to this list.

Go to latest contribution by John Humphries, 16 April 2009, 22:20. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from John Humphries 16 April 2009, 22:20top / bottom of page

I think I was introduced to Epimediums through Liz Strangman at Washfield Nursery about 10 years ago. Chatting with her about the sort of plants I liked she suggested I visit Ron McBeath the next time I was up in Scotland.

Duly armed with the haziest of descriptions..."just off the A1..its a new nursery, he's just setting up", I set off to find Lamberton Nursery...fortunately very easy to find being as described...just off the A1 next to Lamberton village. Within 5 minutes of arrival I had a coffee pressed into my hands and Ron and I wandered round gathering plants to make the journey worthwhile....despite a thousand other treasures, no epimediums. Why don't you visit Robin White, suggests Ron, he's down your way somewhere.

Later that same afternoon I visited another nursery nearby..Lilyfree, an epimedium specialist, visiting there I was surprised to find that they had most of their stock plants from Blackthorn somewhere down south..

On returning home to Hampshire, a few weeks later I visited the local WI Hut for their Friday plant sale and got chatting with Peggy...she had great plants for sale...did she know Blackthorn Nursery....Two weeks later she lent me her catalog with directions...only 20 miles away. So my round trip of nearly 1500 miles had revealed that the best Epimedium nursery in the country, perhaps in Europe or indeed the world, was only 20 miles away.

Nowadays of course, we just type a few keywords into a search engine and the whole story unravels in front of us. We don't know how lucky we are.

Anyway, all of that is just a reminder of how we come across these things. Now a few years later I have a few Epimediums which thrive and a few which I struggle to retain..mostly as a resuly of being too dry in summer.

As a general rule, the old European species and hybrids are really tough plants, once established they tolerate summer drought and make excellent ground cover.

The Japanese species and Hybrids like a bit of summer moisture and do not like lime. While the Chinese species and hybrids really need some moisture.

None like being waterlogged, nor the heat of the summer sun, nor drying winds. So a bit of shelter and an annual mulch in spring after removing the old foliage from the evergreen species and you should be rewarded with delightful, long lived semi shade plants.

E. perralderianum Above

E.grandiflorum f. flaviscens below

E trifoliatobinatum subsp trifoliatobinatum below

E.pubescens Below

E. brevicornu above and below

Finally for now.

E. leptorrhizum below

All the above photographed in the woodland garden at Kew, but sourced from Robin White at Blackthorn.

Excellent plants whether in flower or leaf. The new and autumn foliage adds as much as the flowers.

Add any other you have here.

JOhn H Hampshire

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