Archive for Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’

Pleasurable Pairings for Spring Part 2

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mertensia virginica, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and native Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, are two of my favorite plants for spring and are wonderful combined with almost anything.  Very easy to grow in part to full shade and woodland conditions.

In April 2011, I wrote a post about beautiful spring pairings.  To read it, click here.  I always meant to continue the topic and have finally taken the time to photograph the garden.  Some of the combinations are the same but that’s because I love them!

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Mertensia virginica, Polystichum polyblepharumVirginia bluebells with emerging tassel ferns, Polystichum polyblepharum.

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Mertensia virginica, Brunnera macrophylaOr how about blue on blue with Virginia bluebells and Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla?

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Celandine poppies are just as versatile, here with summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.

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Epimedium versicolor 'Sulphureum', Stylophorum diphyllum, Osmunda cinnamomeaNative Celandine poppies with ‘Sulphureum’ epimedium, daffodils, native cinnamon fern, and the leaves of winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis.

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Hosta 'Paradise Island', Vinca minor 'Bowles Purple'Gold hostas look so beautiful when they are emerging.  Here ‘Paradise Island’ hosta with ‘Bowles Purple’ vinca.  Although I don’t recommend planting vinca because it is so invasive, I couldn’t resist adding this purple variety to a contained space.

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Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet', Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'One of my all time favorite combinations, the peach-colored spring leaves of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea with the similarly colored stems of ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart.

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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty', SedumNative ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, with a sedum showing its winter colors.

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Fritillaria meleagrisCheckered-lily in its white, Fritillaria meleagris ‘Alba’, and purple forms seed through out my dry, full shade woodland.

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Epimedium x warleyense, Hosta montana 'Aureo-marginata' Orange epimedium, E. x warleyense, with the emerging leaves of Hosta montana ‘Aureo-marginata’.

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That’s all for now but look for Part 3 soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our third open house, featuring ferns, hostas, and hardy geraniums is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, don’t’ wait until then—you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase these wonderful plants.  Just send me an email at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with some suggested dates and times that you would like to visit.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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Epimediums, My Collection

Posted in evergreen, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

. Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicumEpimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum, evergreen.

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Nan Ondra at the fabulous blog Hayfield recently praised my blog saying: “If you want to see how beautiful a spring garden can look here in southeastern Pennsylvania, I highly recommend popping over to Carolyn Walker’s blog, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. It’s where I go when I need a good dose of primroses, spring phlox, and other early-blooming beauties.”   A lot of Nan’s readers took her advice and visited my blog.  I have been trying to think of what I could do to thank Nan, not just for the recommendation, but for her advice when I started my blog and numerous consultations on selling my photos.  I decided that if she needs a dose of spring flowers, then epimediums are what she should have.  Nan, this post is for you!

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Epimedium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum spreads at a moderate pace and can be used as a groundcover, leaves flushed red in the spring.

I try not to let myself collect too many types of plants because it can interfere with good garden design.  But epimediums, also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, and rowdy lamb herb, are a plant I love so much that I collect them.  According to my records, I have almost 30 varieties.  That might seem like a lot, but there are actually hundreds of types of epimediums.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is the fastest spreading epimedium I have and makes an excellent groundcover, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa.  They are long-lived and easy to grow in part to full shade and are a great plant for dry shade.  Some of the more available varieties like ‘Sulphureum’, E. x rubrum, E. x warleyense, and ‘Frohnleiten’ spread readily but not quickly to form an attractive groundcover.  I grow mine all over my garden but mostly as specimens on the steep hill  in back between all my hostas (yes, I collect those too).  Their flowers are small but quite beautiful, elegant, and abundant.  Epimediums are a plant that needs to be viewed close up.  This time of year I walk around mesmerized by their beauty.

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Epimedium cantabrigienseEpimedium x cantabrigiense, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums bloom in April and May, and their flowers are breathtaking as you can see from the photos.  However, their leaves are just as beautiful with their elegant, unusual shapes.  They often come out flushed with bright colors in the spring, and many varieties have great fall color too.  Some are semi-evergreen to evergreen.  Epimediums range in height from 8 to 16″.

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Epimedium pubigerumEpimedium pubigerum, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are perfectly suited to our mid-Atlantic climate, especially our new hotter, drier, drought prone climate.  A quick survey of the epimediums listed in the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder indicates that they are hardy from zones 4 or 5 to 8 or 9, but you should do your own research if you are not in the mid-Atlantic.  I usually choose a well-drained location because like hellebores they don’t tolerate poor drainage, and add compost at planting.  They are great under shallow-rooted trees and are deer resistant.

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Epimedium x warleyenseEpimedium x warleyense, spreading, from Miss Wilmott’s garden Warley Place, England, evergreen.

I sell up to 10 different types of epimediums at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens depending on the year.  There are seven for sale right now and now is the best time to view them in my garden.  But if you get hooked, then you need to know about Garden Vision Epimediums in Templeton, Massachusetts, 978-249-3863, epimediums@earhtlink.net.  Their catalogue lists at least a 150 epimediums and is encyclopedic with comprehensive descriptions and color photos plus zone information for each variety.  A visit to their Open Nursery Weekends, this year May 3 to 5 and 10 to 12, from 10 am to 4 pm, is a magical experience.

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Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten'Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’, tough and shiny evergreen leaves.

All the photos in this post were taken in my garden today.  I hope that you too will come to love this wonderful genus:

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Epimdium x versicolor 'Cupreum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cupreum, look at those gorgeous leaves, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x 'Kaguyahime'Epimedium x ‘Kaguyahime’, probably my favorite epimedium for its lovely two-tone purple flowers and dagger-like, purple-mottled leaves, evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Yubae'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Yubae’, produces a second flush of leaves and flowers.

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Epimedium stellultum "Long Leaf Form"Epimedium stellulatum “Narrow Leaf Forms”, the first to bloom in my garden like a “flurry of small stars suspended above the spiny evergreen foliage”, Garden Vision catalogue.

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Epimedium x rubrum 'Sweetheart'Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’, later-blooming, notice the red rim around the semi-evergreen leaves.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Tama No Genpei'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Tama No Genpei’, I love this one too, re-blooming.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Cherry Tart'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum var. violaceumEpimedium grandiflorum var. violaceum, chocolate leaves in the spring.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Album'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Album’, large pristine white flowers.

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Epimdium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit'Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’, later blooming but I had to show it, white flowers and tiny leaves rimmed with a dark purple band.

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Epimedium alpinum 'Shrimp Girl'Epimedium alpinum ‘Shrimp Girl’, I love the name and the coral-orange color on this diminutive but spreading cultivar, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x warleyense 'Orange Queen'Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orange Queen’, evergreen, here with Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’.

Here are some shots of mature patches of epimediums so you can get an idea of what they look like in the landscape:

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'‘Sulphureum’ just coming into bloom.  The leaves are just emerging too and will get much larger.

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Epimdium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum with Spanish bluebells and early emerging Hosta lancifolia.

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Seven varieties of epimediums will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ open hours this weekend: Friday, April 19, 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, April 20, from 10 am to 2 pm.  If you are not local or you want some of the really special cultivars,  you can order them from Garden Vision Epimediums.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings:  The Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship. Next up locally is our hosta, fern, and hardy geranium open house sale on May 11—look for an email if you are on my customer email list (different than a blog subscription).

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

More Flowering Wintergreen Ground Covers for Shade

Posted in evergreen, Fall, groundcover, Shade Perennials, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

‘Album’ fall blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium ‘Album’, has white flowers, shown here blooming before the leaves on September 28, 2011, and spreads to form a ground cover that stays green through the winter.

In my article Flowering Wintergreen Ground Covers for Shade, I explained that I treasure evergreen ground covers that are presentable through winter because, here in the mid-Atlantic (US), we go through long periods of winter weather that are just plain cold without the compensation or covering of snow when any patch of green is prized.  Ground covers, especially those that maintain a presence through winter, make a garden look mature and cut down on the labor of weeding and the expense of mulch. Yes, you can plant the evergreen  triumvirate of vinca, ivy, and pachysandra.  But I want more: beautiful flowers and foliage too.  Just like the four in my original article, all four of the shady ground covers described below have prominent places at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

‘Shell Pink’ spotted dead nettle (I prefer to call it lamium), Lamium maculatum ‘Shell Pink’, still blooming at the end of November 2010.

Lamium ‘Shell Pink’ is a versatile wintergreen ground cover with gorgeous flowers from April to November.  It is the only lamium cultivar that blooms this long–all the others have a season of bloom in the spring.  I grow mine under the shade of a white pine (photo above and below) and also in a sunny area in front of my peonies.  ‘Shell Pink’s’ leaves stay neat and tidy all winter.

The first flush of blooms on ‘Shell Pink’ lamium in early April 2011.

Lamium maculatum is native to Europe and temperate Asia.  It quickly creeps to form 4 to 8″ tall patches of wintergreen leaves even in open full shade in zones 3 to 8.  It doesn’t seem to care if the soil is moist or dry but likes to be well-drained.  On ‘Shell Pink’, the first flush of flower buds emerges in early April to be followed by successive waves of blooms into November.  It fills in around surrounding plants without overwhelming them.  My deer have never touched it.  Lamium also makes a great container plant and overwinters outside in pots.  The only other cultivar I recommend is ‘Purple Dragon’ with bright purple flowers and solid silver leaves (photo below).

Although ‘Purple Dragon’ lamium only blooms in the spring, it’s silver leaves are quite ornamental in their own right.  Photo December 2010.

In anticipation of comments telling me that lamium is “invasive”, let me say three things.  First, it is a ground cover so it is supposed to spread and cover large areas.  A plant isn’t invasive because it spreads too much—the gardener has just planted it in the wrong place.  To me, it’s invasive if you can’t remove it when you want to either because you can never get it all (goutweed, lesser celandine) or it seeds so prolifically that you can’t remove all the seedlings (garlic mustard).  Second, the straight species, Lamium maculatum, may be invasive so don’t plant it.  Third, many times when gardeners say this they are talking about yellow archangel, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, a plant with yellow flowers and silver leaves that is invasive.  Lamiums don’t have yellow flowers.  Thanks for listening!

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium, in full bloom in late October 2010.

Although spring-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, is finicky and hard to grow, fall-blooming hardy cyclamen will thrive in most shady locations as long as it is well-drained.  The flowers start to bloom in September and October before the leaves break dormancy.  Then its gorgeous, intricately patterned wintergreen leaves emerge and remain pristine all winter until they go dormant in early summer.  Mine happily naturalize in east-facing shady locations.

Cyclamen hederifoliumImagine large patches of this fall-blooming hardy cyclamen foliage all through winter–absolutely stunning!  Photo in late November 2010.

Hardy cyclamen is native to wooded areas and rocky hillsides of southern Europe and Turkey.  It forms 4 to 6″ tall mats of leaves, which remain highly ornamental through winter in zones 5 to 9.  It is very tolerant of soil conditions as long as it is well-drained and, once established,  grows well in full dry shade.  My deer leave it alone.


‘Pictum’ Italian arum, Arum italicum ‘Pictum’, used as a ground cover around hellebores and hostas along my front walk so I can admire it all winter.  Photo October 20, 2011.


This is what happens to Italian arum during really cold weather.  No matter how many times I have witnessed it, I am always amazed when it stands back up and looks as if nothing has happened.  Photo December 2010.

I have featured Italian arum photos on my blog many times but that’s because I think it is such a great plant.  The leaves emerge in September and remain immaculate through the winter.  If the weather is really cold, it wilts to the ground (see photo above), only to perk up again as soon as temperatures recover.  I have it planted by my front walk so I can enjoy its spotless, highly ornamental leaves all winter.  I also use it to cover areas where I cut back ratty hostas in the fall (see my article Hostas for Fall).  In May and June, it blooms with a pale green hood-like spathe covering a yellow spadix like our native jack-in-the-pulpit.  Bright orange berries appear in summer.  Several wonderful cultivars are available, including ‘Gold Rush’, which emerges in the spring with golden venation, and ‘Tiny Tot’, a miniature.

‘Gold Rush’ Italian arum in November 2010.  Italian arum cultivars have superior markings.

Arum italicum 'Tiny Tot'/'Tiny Tot' Italian Arum‘Tiny Tot’ Italian arum in February of 2009.

Italian arum is native to Europe.  It grows 12 to 18″ tall in zones 6 to 9.  It thrives in any soil in almost full sun to full shade and is tolerant of drought.  Deer do not bother it.  In the 20 years that I have been growing it, it has spread politely to other areas of my garden, but occasionally I have heard that it can become an aggressive spreader.  Lyn from The Amateur Weeder reports that it is invasive in Australia.  Please consult local experts to see if there is a problem where you garden.


‘Sulphureum’ epimedium, E. x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, used as a ground cover in front of hardy begonia, B. grandis.  Photo October 20, 2011.

I love epimediums.  In fact, I love them so much that they are one of the few plants I allow myself to collect with 30 varieties in my garden.  Their small but copious spring flowers are beautiful and unusual coming in white, pink, yellow, orange, red,  purple, and bicolors.  I also prize their leaves which are often shiny and wing-shaped, sporting spiky edges or colored splotches or lovely venation.  Many epimediums are deciduous and clump-forming.  In this article, I want to profile a few that have wintergreen leaves and spread to make a ground cover.

The fastest growing epimedium by far is ‘Sulphureum’.  It spreads at a medium rate to form a large patch (see photo above).  Its two-tone yellow flowers  look like miniature daffodils in early April.

E. x rubrum is the second fastest spreader.  It’s leaves are similar to ‘Sulphureum’.  If you can find the cultivar ‘Sweetheart’, pictured above, it has gorgeous flowers.  I sell a good selection of epimediums at my nursery, but I get my unusual epimediums from the Massachusetts nursery, Garden Vision Epimediums (email epimediums@earthlink.net).  They have hundreds of varieties.

‘Frohnleiten’ epimedium, E. x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’, is also a fairly quick spreader .  It has gorgeous shiny leaves with an intricate vein pattern and produces bright, sulfur yellow flowers in the spring.

‘Shrimp Girl’ epimedium, E. alpinum ‘Shrimp Girl’, is also a good spreader in my garden, here used as a ground cover in front of ferns and hostas.

The lovely two-tone flowers of ‘Shrimp Girl’ in spring.


I am including ‘Kaguyahime’ epimedium even though it spreads fairly slowly so that you can see how beautiful and unusual the leaves of wintergreen epimediums can be.

Epimediums are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa.  They reach 6 to 12″ tall, depending on the cultivar, and flower in April.  They grow in part to full shade and can take dry soil once established.  Their creeping roots are impenetrable to weeds.  I cut back all the remaining old foliage in March once I see the new flowers and leaves starting to emerge.  When choosing an epimedium for ground cover, select spreading varieties that have evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves.


Next spring when you are looking for ground covers, I hope you will consider one of the four described above.  In the meantime, leave a comment with the name of your favorite wintergreen ground cover for shade.  In my first article, I profiled golden groundsel, creeping phlox, dwarf sweetbox, and hybrid hellebores as ground covers.  If you want to read about them, click here.

Carolyn

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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