After I did my blog posting yesterday and featured many beautiful, blooming barrenworts (Epimedium sp.), I felt that I had cheated that entire genus by not giving more photos that show the wonderful foliage that is frequently exhibited in spring and/or fall! Above is a great example. This is the colorful spring foliage of the 'Frohnleiten' barrenwort (Epimedium x parralchicum) that blooms above these red-tinted leaves. The leaves will transition to a glossy green by July but are still interesting and unaffected by insects or diseases. Most epimediums will stay green well in to October, many holding summer color in to November. The two photos below show vast groupings of epimediums used as effective groundcovers. Positioning these clumping perennials 15" apart or so, you can create a "collective" groundcover that is drought tolerant and again, may have the benefit of colorful spring tinting or a solid fall color display. The third photo down shows the nice, spring tinting on Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' which combines well with the yellow flowers. The photo just beneath (fourth down) is the fall color of that same plant. The newer foliage that emerges throughout the spring and early summer on many epimediums may also exhibit some tinting or coloration different from the older leaves that are transitioning to green or are already green. The best fall color on barrenworts for us is seen in late October and early November. Regardless, the value of barrenwort foliage, whether with spring color, summer durability or fall color, is equal to the beautiful spring flowers in my mind. These are certainly "multi-feature" perennials. The remainder of the photos are labeled beneath the image.
Barrenwort patch at Boerner Botanical Gardens (Hales Corners, WI)
Barrenwort patch at The Morton Arboretum (Lisle, IL)
Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' (spring)
Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' (fall)
Epimedium hybrida 'Black Sea'
Epimedium sempervirens 'Mars' (fall)
Epimedium grandiflorum 'Red Queen' (fall)
Epimedium x rubrum (spring tinting)
Epimedium x rubrum (October)x rubrum (October)
x rubrum (November)
We had another nice crew of volunteers today. Kay (below) started the long process of writing out color-coded labels for our seeds that will be going out to growers. Note that she is using yellow labels in this photo. Essentially, all the plant flats that come back with yellow labels (regardless of grower) will be for one collection. In this case, this is the start of our big All-America Selections display. The image above shows our bench sanding progress over the past couple of weeks. We have a regular assembly line going on although it's slow-going with sanding these down. Janice was also in the office for a good portion of the day inventorying seeds and preparing information for the spring plant sale vegetables. Pat and Dr. Gredler continued painting and Bill O. came in to help Larry with some odds and ends. We had a Garden Development & Maintenance Committee meeting that included Dr. Gredler, Gary, Big John, Chris R., Joanne, Iza and new members; Larry H. and Rose M. We also saw Larry G., Dick H. (made a gas run for us), Bill O. and many others. We'll keep working on seeds tomorrow and I have a talk tomorrow night for the Milton Garden Guild on Landscape Design for Winter Interest.