‘Epimediums – Rising Stars of the Shade Border’ – a Talk by Janine Thompson; Fergus Garrett at Llechryd & District Gardening Club; Llandeilo & District Gardening Club 4 May Meeting

Janine runs Heartsease Plant Nursery, based near Cenarth, where she grows herbaceous perennials and bulbs, especially shade tolerant plants, and is a devotee of Galanthus (Snowdrops), Helleborus and Hepatica as well as Epimediums.

Epimediums are valued especially for their ability to thrive in both shady and dry conditions and are particularly useful for ground cover. They are rhizomatous shady perennials which prefer acidic conditions. Many are evergreens with common names such as Bishops Hat, Barrenwort, Horny Goat Weed (the supposed aphrodisiac!) and Fairy Wings and are particularly sought after for ground cover. Epimediums have been cultivated since Roman times.

In 1775, the infamous German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold was seconded to the Dutch East India company in Japan and was stationed there for 5 years. He did a significant amount of work on Epimediums which were valued for both flowers and foliage and brought them back to Britain, along with the Hosta and Japanese Knotweed.

Two hundred years later, in 1975, the renowned Japanese Plant Hunter and breeder Mikinori Ogisu had a particular interest in Epimediums, as did plantsman gardeners Roy Lancaster and Robin White, which greatly increased awareness about these plants. There is still work continuing on the discovery of new Epimedium varieties in China.

Breeders today are particularly interested in cultivating larger and longer flowering varieties, with even greater tolerance of drought and shade. Many flower colours and shades can now be seen, with ever more diverse habits and appearance, and leaf shapes and colours are more varied than ever. Epimediums can be grown in varied conditions and some will thrive in pots. They are happy planted under trees and shrubs and look excellent under Japanese Maples, Hydrangeas, Cornus sibirica, Rhodedendrums, Magnolias, Azaleas and many more. Whereas in the past they were often thought of as a yellow flowered plant, they can now also be found with cream, pink or red flowers. Many are reliable evergreens such as Epimedium x rubrum, whose pretty heart shaped leaves are bronze when young, darkening to red-brown in autumn and Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’ which is a hybrid cultivar, with attractive bronze-red, mottled foliage and a profusion of pink-red hanging flowers in spring. Leaf colours now vary from black through the spectrum to red. They are good partners for Spring flowers such as Snowdrops and Hellebores and are extremely low maintenance.

There are very few pests and diseases affecting Epimediums, although they can be prone to vine weevil damage and unfortunately rabbits do like them. Tobacco Rattle Virus causes thickening and malformation of leaves but there are very few perils altogether.

There is a National Collection at Brentwood in Essex run by Roger and Linda Hammond.

Plants can be obtained from Janine at various markets and by email at heartseaseplants@yahoo.com.

Janine answered questions from the audience and Elena thanked her for an interesting evening.

Fergus Garrett at Llechryd & District Gardening Club

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Llechryd & District Gardening Club, Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter will present a talk on ‘Great Dixter, Past, Present & Future’ on 9 August at 7.30pm in Boncath Village Hall, Boncath SA37 0JL.  This talk on Christopher Lloyd’s iconic English Garden is sure to be popular so entry is by TICKET ONLY.

Cothi Gardeners members are invited to enjoy this wonderful opportunity to hear one of Britain’s foremost gardeners speak on the Great Dixter legacy and his vision for the future of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.  There will also be a plant sale and refreshments, and Boncath Hall is accessible, has toilets and good seating capacity. Visitors are asked to car share, as parking will be at a premium.

Tickets are limited and can be purchased very easily online at a cost of £5.00 each.  Payment is by BACS after your ticket is confirmed. Tickets will then be delivered by email to your inbox.

Purchase tickets HERE

Llandeilo and District Gardening Club 4 May Meeting

Cothi Gardeners members are invited to attend the meeting on Thursday 4 May, open to all local garden club members, at the Vestry, Capel Newydd, Crescent Road, Llandeilo, SA19 6HN at 7.30pm. Bob Brown, the founder of Cotswold Garden Flowers in Evesham,  will be talking about paeonies, described by the RHS as “slow growing but rewarding aristocratic plants with a brief but keenly anticipated” flowering period.

There are also vacancies for a day trip to Stockton Bury Gardens. The coach will leave Jones International depot, Llandeilo (time to be confirmed) on Thursday May 18th 2023, calling at The Old Railway Line Garden Centre and then on to Stockton Bury Gardens.  The trip which includes the cost of the coach and entry to Stockton Bury Gardens is £33.00 per person.  If you are interested please contact Denise Durham .

Remember to keep checking the Events page on our site, updated regularly, for more events as they are notified to the web editor.