The enchanting epimedium

After returning from a recent overseas trip, when on an unseasonable warm day, a record warm day to be exact, I eagerly stepped outside to check the garden. I was, first and foremost, greeted by zillions of weeds thriving everywhere, making me want to close my eyes with the hope that they will all go away on their own, which I know is not going to happen.

A little later, however, I noticed that our clump of Epimedium, which could easily be mistaken for being lifeless, had put forth the most delicate pale-yellow flowers on thin, wiry stems.

Without very many leaves in sight, the inflorescences seem to appear out of nowhere, catching me totally off-guard. And, all of a sudden, the weeds didn’t seem to matter as much.
Low-growing perennials often considered as groundcovers, Epimediums are truly exquisite plants. They are prized for their lovely heart-shaped foliage often tinted with red and dainty flowers that come up in early spring. Unlike some other groundcovers, Epidemium plants are not invasive, rather spreads slowly over the course of time, making them fairly desirable. They make good companion plants for shade-lovers like hellebores, bleeding hearts, hostas and ferns.

Epimediums like to be grown at partially or fully shaded sites such as under trees or shrubs in humus-rich soil. Too much exposure to sun can cause the leaves to scorch. They are easy-to-grow, carefree plants, and forgiving too for right after putting in the ground. The young plant I had procured unintentionally got attacked by the weed eater, only to bounce back in just a few weeks.

Despite the slow-growing habit, Epimediums, if necessary, can be divided in spring or fall. In fact, although our patch is still quite contained, I need to clean it up so as to rejuvenate it, thus enhance flowering.  Speaking of which, only a few sprays of flowers kept in a small vase inside are sure to bring a smile to anyone.

F.Y. I. The Perennial Plant Association has announced Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ as the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year.  Be on the lookout for potted plants at your local garden centers.


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