Although my Hepaticas (Liverlilies) are lovely and I delight in their arrival in spring (see closeup of a bloom below left), I am more confident that they will reappear in spring. Not so with the Epimedium. I hold my breath each spring that I will see a sign of life. It is truly a cause for celebration, since this is a Zone 4 plant and I live in a 2/3.
In my garden in Ottawa, I had many Epimediums of different varieties, some with red, others with yellow, white or pink flowers. Each spring they would be there – looking rather raggedly, but quickly sending up new foliage among their elegant, delicate blossoms.
As with other woodland plants like my Wild Ginger, Epimedium flowers are not particularly showy. That’s what I love about them. One has to look closely to admire their intricate design. In a recent article, “Elegant Epimedium – Foliage and Flowers of Subtle, Sophisticated Beauty” in Plant and Garden News, Barbara Ashmun describes the flowers in this manner:
Some Epimedium blossoms look like miniature columbines or tiny daffodils, while others appear more like spiders or stars. Species with long sprays can even resemble orchids.
My enthusiasm for Epimediums was fired further when I read that Timber Press published The Genus Epimedium, by William T. Stearn in 2002. It is a book that I am itching t0 add to my garden book collection.
Yesterday while out in the garden, I noticed that Hazel’s corner was bright with yellow flowers that looked wonderful with my yellow metal cat sculpture. I could sense her nearby – all the bright cheerful tulip faces reaching up for the sun made me smile.
In the evening, I enjoyed taking my friend, Kerry, on a garden tour. Kerry is a gardener too, and so it was great fun discussing various plants and pointing out some of the flowers that are not common in most gardens here. It was made all that much better by the New Zealand Sauvignon blanc, Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush. As we passed Hazel’s Corner, I silently lifted my glass and toasted her. I think she would have liked that!