Garden Time

This drawing was posted in 2019. The post has been updated for the 2022 Annual Four Season’s Garden Club Plant Sale. You’ve reached the page with more information about your Epimedium!

Part Sun/Shade
Well-Drained Soil
Low Maintenance
Pink Flowers – Early Spring
Bees Love Them for Early Pollin

Original 2019 post: Spent a couple of days separating and transplanting garden plants. After a bike ride this morning, I spent downtime in the garden…

Bishops Cap (Epimedium) 2019 drawing of an early spring single stem. Pencil and watercolor.

I believe mine is the “Sweetheart” Epimedium varietal. There are many varieties with different colored flowers. Other common names include Barrenwort or Fairy Wings.

These are part sun/shade lovers, and they do well in a well-drained yet moist and fertile soil. They do well in my garden with leaf litter winter mulching.

Bishops Cap in bloom (early spring – late April – early May).

The foliage of this Epimedium is green with red edges, and in the fall the leaves turn slightly rusty red but still green for a beautiful late season display.

In a sea of Hosta plants, Epimedium makes a nice break for the eye in a shade garden. They also green up before the Hosta do making the empty spring garden bed a little less empty if you don’t prune them back.

They are low maintenance plants that keep their shape into the winter, and the leaves lay down in the spring as the new leaf and flower stems uncurl from their center and open in a canopy above the old growth.

Some gardeners like to prune back their plants, but I favor leaving them all alone. They only get a little shaggy in the very early spring, but there is new growth shortly thereafter, and then all traces of the old growth vanish.

The slow-spreading clump can be propagated most easily in the spring by simple root division using a spade. Give the plant a chance to send up its new growth so you can see how it has spread (which it does via rhizome), but divide the plant before the canopy is solid so you can get your spade into the mass more easily.

Here’s a longer article by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden extolling the virtues of the Epimedium:

Thanks for stopping by!

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