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Does anyone have Epimedium?

Posted by sanfan z4 Ia (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 20:43

I reading in the Midwest Living Magazine about Epimedium.(Jan-Feb 2005) I've heard of this plant before. I decided to look up the web site they reccomended and OUCH!! They wanted $18- $20 a piece for them. The article sounded like they would be the perfect, low growing, shade, sun plant. I did a little hunting on the net for them. I did find a place that sold them by the bag. Is there anyone who grows these? I sure would be interested in hearing the good, bad and ugle about them. Thanks, Sandy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I grow perhaps a dozen different epimediums; they are not traffic stoppers, but tucked into a shady woodland garden here and there, they are neat little plants. It's one of those plants that you have to stop, bend over, and eyeball it, to appreciate it.I don't know that I've ever had anybody touring my garden stop and ask, "what is THAT?" They are most attractive in the Spring, when the new foliage comes out and they bloom, or, I really like them in early Winter, when there is not much else in leaf; their leaves are often real shiny and deepen in color then. In the Summer they kind of disappear into the jumble of larger and more spectacular plants. Some of the evergreen epimediums are real borderline in hardiness here, but there are plenty of inexpensive, common, hardy ones. Just don't expect any cars to slow down to look at them in your garden!


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I have a pine area in the back yard. This area is dry and windy. I've put quit abit of mulch in this area. The roots are close to the surface, so I have to be careful how much I add. The Epimedium sounded like the perfect plant for this area. The article in MidWest living said they were placed along a garden path. I couldn't tell much from the over all picture, but the individual shot looks interesting. The home owner is located in Wisconsin. The nursery was PlantvDelights Nursery www.plantdelights.com
They really didn't really tell anything about them. Thanks hawki for your response. I have till spring to research I guess.


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Plant Delights is a REALLY expensive nursery IMHO. I used to buy from them, but for the first time I have ever done this, last Spring I asked them to never send me another catalogue. They always shipped really late; Spring orders were delivered in early Summer, so this last time the plants were all in full leaf and all bent over in the box and partially dead. For the prices they charge, I thought it was bad service.You can buy epimediums lots cheaper elsewhere; look around the internet. If you're ever in Iowa City, stop by and I'll whack you off a couple of pieces.
Don


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I read that article last night and thought MW Living did us a disservice by the pictures it included. Like you, I didn't get a good sense of their use in the garden from the pics. And, like you, I'm interested in trying them in a shady, dry spot.

Rhoda


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I am really glad to hear that I am not the only one that is less than satisfied with much of the shallow fluff that magazines are calling articles. Rhoda said it quite well when she called it a "disservice". Let me state up front that I have not read that particular article. However, if it is like so many other magazine articles where some essentially non-gardening writer is given a writing assignment to complete by a certain date, I really don't have to.

In all fairness to the majority of gardening magazines, I believe the knowledge base of today's average gardener has increased far beyond the target audience of yesterday's magazines. Quite frankly, the magazines are out of touch and certainly far behind the curve of today's astute, informed gardeners with the full information of the Internet at their finger tips. Although magazines like to present a lofty, in-the-know image, it is apparent in this thread that many of us, much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. are beginning to see the wizard behind the curtain for what he really is. Instead of trembling in awe, we gardeners have taken on the role of Clara Peller in the old Wendy's commercial and are asking, "Where's the Beef?"

Epimediums are a wonderful plant that I am just learning how to really use in my landscape. I think the public has by and large been misled as to the potential that they offer; particularly us who garden in the difficult Midwest. Virtually every article I have ever read about them misses the mark by a wide margin. While most of what is said about this plant is true -- kind of -- articles just seem to copy each other and move a few words around. The articles never tell you the good stuff and keep repeating the wrong stuff. Most articles can essentially be boiled down to a couple, less than helpful sentences:
1) They are a wonderful plant.
2) The like dry shade.

If you have gardened with Epimediums for any length of time at all, you will know that the second sentence has to be baloney. While it is true that after Epimediums become established they can tolerate dry shade, they sure as heck don't prefer it! Yet, the magazine "experts" keep regurgitating the suggestion that we plant them in tremendously dry, hostile areas beneath trees. This is a place that they may survive but a place in the Midwestern garden what will never allow them to add the grace to your landscape that they most willing do if only given a chance. Take note that in the wild, Epimediums are often found growing in damp, shady places.

I always find it fun to learn some of the background tidbits about plants. This small plant commands a higher level of interest from your garden guests once you tell them that the loose translation of the Chinese common name for epimedium is "Horny Goat Weed". It seems that long ago, Chinese goat farmers observed that if an old Billy goat was beginning to slow down (If you know what I mean. wink, wink) he would suddenly regain amorous vigor if allowed to browse in a patch of epimedium. Of course, the herbalists have picked up on this and now offer all kinds of supplements making claims such as "poor man's viagra". --- And, no --- I haven't tried it. ---Yet ;-)

The best landscape use I have ever seen of this plant was at the Chicago Botanical Gardens where they had a mass planting of it. A massing of this in the spring when the leaves are blushing with a red cast and the fairy wing blooms are dancing in the breeze is truly a sight to behold. The shallow magazine observation sited by sanfan, "The article in Midwest living said they were placed along a garden path." surely misses the intended objective of the Wisconsin gardener. As noted by Hawki above, this plant won't stop traffic. However, it's finest assets are its delicate features. If you position this close to a path where you can observe it up close, it is sure to capture your heart. Much like Japanese Toad Lilies, this one deserves to be planted close enough for you to observe, lest its finest qualities be overlooked. Tony Avent, from Plant Delights Nursery, describes Epimediums below:

"Epimediums will never be traffic stoppers like roses, etc., but these perennials are the unsung workhorses that tie the woodland garden together. Epimediums are easy to grow, tenacious perennials that provide a welcome first breath of spring with their airy flowers, then a solid backdrop of attractive foliage for the remainder of the growing season. Epimediums can either be used as a woodland specimen, or some of the faster multiplying species make great groundcovers for small areas."

If you have a shade area close to a pathway, particularly if it is elevated a bit closer to eye level, try planting several of these in a small massing. In time, I think they will be a plant that you come to treasure. Fortunately, they are becoming more widely available and less expensive. I suggest that you try some of the Epimedium sulphureum first. They tend to have fantastic spring foliage and produce a delightful sulfur yellow flower (hence, E. sulphureum). They also are more commonly encountered at garden centers and tend not to be quite as pricey as some of the others. Perhaps Hawki could also suggest another one to try.

IronBelly


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Agree completely with IronBelly's opinion that epimediums may survive in dry shade, but they are happiest in a nice litle shady spot right next to a garden path, where they can be admired as you walk along... kind of like mini-hostas. You MUST try epimedium Black Sea; in the late Fall it's leaves turn a shiny chocolate, and persist until it gets really down into the 'teens.
Don


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I should have posted this before; if you want to drool over some epimediums:

Don

Here is a link that might be useful: Epimedium Page


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Another good link.

IronBelly

Here is a link that might be useful: Epimedium Guru


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

FYI, the epimedium page is from Darrell Probst of Garden Vision. Plant Delights gets many of their plants from him. I order direct from Garden Vision, and there is no better selection. They are considerably cheaper and the plants are of decent size and will spread to form a decent clump in a couple of years.
The range is also extensive (for example, you can buy a $4 plant or a $75 plant, whichever suits you).
Unless you are a collector, many are virtually indistinguishable and there's no need to purchase a grandiflorum 'White Queen' rather than a grandiflorum 'Silver Queen' for example. Both are great plants and the former costs 150% more or so. Rarity and difficulty of propagation are the main factors in Garden Vision's prices, whereas in other nurseries I've noticed that many are priced similarly because they aren't so common in the trade generally.
Epimediums are wonderful plants. the larger flowered ones--though not car stoppers-- are quite showy in large clumps. Like hellebores, if planted on a slope or in raised positions, they provide better viewing.


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Thanks for the feedback. I am going to try a few. I've decided to change the location though. I request a catalog from Garden Vision. Thanks igwoodard!


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Hawki, and anyone else, what species/cultivars do you grow?
Rick


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

A walk around the garden today revealed the following labels (I'm not a list-maker, so probably missed some): E. omiense, Black Sea, davidii, perralchicum, leptorhizum, Starlet, pinnatum, grandiflorum (several clones), rhizomatsum, lishihchenii, epsteinii. If you're going to have just one, you could do a lot worse than the hybrid, E. Black Sea: chocolate-brown, shiny leaves, a tight spreader, with butterscotch flowers.Upper Middle-westerners take heart: I've had snowdrops in bloom for about a week... Spring is near.
Don


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

So far the only ones I have that have been through a winter are 'Lilafee' and x rubrum. But last spring I also put in davidii, stellatum, youngianum 'Nivium'. Where I am, we have had less than a third of our regular winter precip, part of that was actually rain, and nearly all of it came after our coldest weather in mid January. It's going to be a tough one on everything!


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I had never mulched the epimediums before, but did this last Fall, and in brushing back some of the mulch today, they look great; I think a good watering if it's a dry Fall, then mulching when the ground freezes would do wonders for survival.
Don


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I just discovered and instantly fell in love with this beatiful plant that seems perfectly suited for my woodland yard if 4b is not too cold for it - (it really is almost zone 5 b/c of the mississippi river system and sheltered landscape.) I would love any info on Iowa nurseries (or Prairie Du Chein WI) that stock these if you know any.

Abbey


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Epimedium, difference in herb value Barrenwort & Horny goat weed?

  • Posted by toad08 7a Charlotte NC (My Page) on
    Wed, May 4, 05 at 12:58

Hi, Has anyone used this plant as a herb? If so please tell me if Barrenwort is just as good to use as Horny goat weed?
Is the leaf the only pard to use? Is it used fresh or dried?
Thanks for your help.


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

I'm in Black Hawk County. I'd love to see these plants in bloom. I'm very rarely in the Iowa City area. I'd take you up in a heartbeat hawki! I always like to trade plants. It only seems right when receiving one. Is there anyone close to me that grows these? I still haven't got started on buying some. I did get Garden Visions catolog. I just can't make up my mind. I also want to creat a raised area for them. I want them to show.


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Foof! I always figured you were in Whatcheer... I guess the zone should have clued me in that you weren't. I was in C.F. today helping my sister plant some flowers and could have brought you up some small pieces of epimedium but hadn't been on this website for a few days to see your message. If you're ever in I.C. let me know; the azaleas are starting to bloom, so it's a nice time of the year! in a couple of days i'm going to take some pictures of some of the epimediums to put on my garden blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: An Iowa Garden


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

hawki,
I'm going to take you up on the offer. Is there a time of year that is best to transplant them? Also is there a plant that you'd like to add to your collection. I'd trade. I have fern peonie. I will dig some this fall. How about a Pasque Flower?(Pulsatilla). I also grow different types of columbine. Let me know, I'll plan a trip.
The whatcheer user name is just that. I like the town of whatcheer. ;)


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Whatcheer... send me your email address at lizndon@mchsi.com and we'll set up a garden tour.

Don


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Epimedium are fabulous. I can't wait to get out every morning in spring to see the next to bloom. I breed Epimedium and have some to die for and I have to say that many CAN be show stoppers. The electric new foliage in spring can shine right across the garden and light up a dark shady corner. If I could figure out how to post a couple pictures I would. Not sheering foliage helps with hardiness and saves blooms from late snow. They don't thrive in the dry though.


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RE: Does anyone have Epimedium?

Is that the same plant as the aphrodiasiac?


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