Epimediums - what a mouthful, isn't it? I want to share with you all a new garden plant - at least to me. Epimediums are shade loving plants that are native to China and Japan. I was introduced to them by my friend Kay. The other day we went on an adventure to Garden Vision Epimediums in Phillipston, Massachusetts - about an hour from where we live.
My friend Kay is an amazing gardener. She has gardened all her life and is a plant nerd who knows all the latin names of plants. She is way beyond me - but I always learn something when she talks plants - which is good for me. She invited me to go to Garden Vision Epimediums after she heard the owner - Karen Perkins - on Margaret Roach's podcast A Way to Garden. You can listen here. BTW, Margaret Roach's book A Way to Garden is celebrating its 21st anniversary and has been updated and re-published on April 30th.
The nursery is run solely by Karen. She has Open Days for 3 weeks in the spring. If you are local - you can still catch this year's Open Days until May 19th. Hours are 10-4. Please be warned - the nursery is located in very rural Massachusetts and there are no bathroom facilities.
Karen propagates over 170 different epimediums and also sells them through mail-order. She travels a lot up and down the East Coast so if you can't get to Phillipston, you might be able to see her at a plant sale or lecture near you. Here is the schedule.
I was a total neophyte to this genus of plants but the more I looked, the more I was taken with the varieties. There are small ones, big ones, ones with multi-colored leaves. They come in many different leaf colors and blossom colors. They blossom in the spring and have the most delicate complex blossom. All of Karen's varieties were collected overseas and brought back to the US to be propogated.
Karen is doing important work and takes it very seriously. She works by herself, publishes a catalog, ships the plants all over the USA, cares for the nursery, does lectures and on and on. It was so nice to meet her and see her place.
I purchased a couple different varieties of epimediums and will put them in my shade garden next to hostas as Karen suggested. I hope I don't lose them to some critter of mine. It isn't easy gardening with 2 giant dogs, 1 medium dog and lots of cats and sheep but I am going to give them a try. Thanks to Kay for taking me on a plant adventure.
Have a great day everyone.