Epimedium 2010

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Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

This Heronswood isn't the same as the old Heronswood. I don't think they would do anything like this with Dan Hinkley at the wheel. I did buy plants from them in the old days.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Hoy wrote:

This Heronswood isn't the same as the old Heronswood. I don't think they would do anything like this with Dan Hinkley at the wheel. I did buy plants from them in the old days.

Exactly. Once it change hands, the integrity is gone.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Joseph wrote:

Mark, that is an unfortunate reality, and one that is all too common in the trade. And that is an old listing too; they no longer offer those seedlings, which is also unfortunate, and I think they should remove the page (the link has been removed from the catalogue, but you can obviously still reach the page 'through the back door' as you have). The 'former Heronswood' was one of the only sources of seedlings, though, and I wish others would offer them. Perhaps they don't because people like names, and even if you did make it clear (e.g. 'These are seedlings FROM H. wushansense Ogisu 92009, NOT the real thing!'), many consumers would take the liberty of retaining the name anyway, presumably to avoid the complexity of the explanation to fellow friends and gardeners. Either way it's not ideal

It's an interesting point, or concept... offering seedling grown plants, maybe at a much cheaper price.  The way this should be handled is to isolate a few different selected epimediums and plant them close together, then grow on seedlings from this "blend", and sell any resulting OP (Open Pollinated) hybrid progeny under a new and distinct "umbrella" name, like Epimedium "Sunset Color Blend", or E. "Spring Fantasy Blend", or other nursery name that clearly indicates a variable group of hybrids.  Even this concept can go astray, Washfield Nursery in England sold various mixed Epimedium seedlings of Asian parentage under the "catch-all" name of "Asiatic Hybrid".  Years later, various nurseries get one plant named as 'Asiatic Hybrid', propagate it and offer it for sale.  Everyone is confused, because this nursery's 'Asiatic Hybrid' doesn't at all match that nursery's 'Asiatic Hybrid', everyone is growing completely different plants under one name, a singular name (would have been better to name it 'Asiatic Hybrids', or better yet, something like "Selected Asiatic Hybrids", something short and more description, that people would probably still mimic exactly, but is self explanatory).  Now forever and ever, people will wonder why their 'Asiatic Hybrid' has pink flowers, while someone else's has yellow flowers.  Mitigating the confusion would not be that hard if some thought and consideration went into a proper name for such entities.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Colder temperatures have arrived, yet still no snow, with garden interest provided by evergreen Epimediums and a few late-deciduous types.

1   E. pubigerum Cc950215 - In my opinion, one of the very best all-around clumping species, although a largely overlooked one.  The neat crimped foliage looks great year round, is the most reliable evergreen of all species, and drought-resistant too. The small flowers are produced in open sprays on tallish stems that clear the foliage, not bowl-me-over beautiful but refined and attractive.  Flowers are basically white, but depending on the form grown, can be flushed with pink or red. The number indicates a Darrell Probst collection number; with four forms offered in the past, I have three of them.  From Turkey, in areas near the Black Sea.

2   E. x sasakii - another evergreen "species", a name used by Japanese botanists to describe natural hybrids between E. sempervirens and E. x setosum, but the name not generally recognized.  Since E. x setosum is itself a natural hybrid between E. diphyllum and E. sempervirens, E. x sasakii can be thought of as:
E. sempervirens x (diphyllum x sempervirens).  The sempervirens genes certainly show through, with small rounded evergreen leaves, but with an upright habit more like diphyllum.  Very slow growing clumper.  I grow a couple forms.

3   E. x sasaki 'Melody' - introduced by Darrell Probst in 2001, this is a hybrid that occurred in Harold Epstein's garden, between E. sempervirens (violet form) and E. x setosum.  It is a very good plant, slowly building into a mound of shiny semi-evergreen leaves, taking on dark leather red colors in fall. The spring foliage is flecked with red, and the violet flowers are a bit larger and more showy than other x sasakii types.

4   E. sempervirens 'Candy Hearts' - a fantasic plant, the spring foliage is unbelievable, looking like shiny plastic with bold red edges.  New leaves after flowering also show bold coloration.  Large, heavy foliage tends to flatten out in summer making beautiful low mounds, worth growing for the foliage alone. Absolutely winter evergreen and drought resistant. Palest lavender flowers are okay but not very exciting.  Excellent plant for hybridization efforts.

5   E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum - this evergreen species hardly needs any introduction, a familiar garden plant that slowly spreads into a dense wide mat. Reliably evergreen here, and drought resistant.  The yellow verbascum-like flowers are best appreciated however if the foliage is cut off in spring.  Late autumn and winter foliage takes on dark charcoal shades.

6   E. x youngianum 'Otome' - I keep showing this Japanese variety, but it is so fantastic, useful too for hybridization, and colorful so late into the season, that it's hard not to be fixated on it.  Semi-evergreen, and drought-resistant.

7   Not all grandiflorums are created equal, even with flowers of the same color scheme.  The small plant on the left, showing some red fall color, is E. grandiflorum 'Silver Queen'. The much larger E. grandiflorum 'White Queen' is on the right, taking on some dull brownish-red fall color.

8   E. x youngianum 'Royal Flush'- fantastic copper-red spring foliage, some good foliar color in late spring and summer too, and subtle burnished copper tones in autumn; semi-evergreen.  Attractive lavender flowers. Somewhat similar to the next one, #9.

9   E. grandiflorum var. violaceum 'Bronze Maiden' - in spring this goes through an incredible metamorphosis of leaf color, from chocolate to carneous red and flesh tones.  This plant had a rough time with our summer drought, so it looks a bit tatty, but still showing some burnished leaf color.

10  Two E. x versicolor selections (garden bred E. grandiflorum x pinnatum ssp. colchicum), the cultivar 'Versicolor' in the lower right with deep leather-red foliage, and Darrell Probst's 2004 'Cherry Tart' above it with leather-brown leaves.  Foliage is semi-evergreen, these being a couple of the very best eppies ever.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Woodard
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-11-29

Mark, more nice foliage shots!

I can see the value of acquiring named forms for botanical gardens, who want to display them, and commercial horticulturalists, who want to profit from them, and scientists, who want to study them. But for my purposes as a hobbyist the names are trivial, so there's little practical value in being too concerned or rigorous about it.

And it makes sense to me that some open-pollinated seedlings would command lower prices, but I don't think that's always the case (I would take any open-pollinated E. wushanense seedling over a division of a plant like E. Sagittatum 'Warlord', for instance). Heronswood used to sell 'Wushanense hybrids' for a very fair price; a rare bargain. Also, careful hand-pollinations of choice parents in which the pollen parent and seed parent are completely protected from natural pollinators would seem to be much more valuable than either open-pollinated plants, plants that are hand-pollinated in the open garden, or vegetatively-propagated plants. I say that for several reasons: 1) it is more labor intensive; 2) pollinators fly, so proximity of plants in the garden is not a strong limiting factor; 3) hand-pollination in the open garden where there are many interfertile plants is not strong proof that a cross was successful, regardless of the phenotype of the offspring; 4) the breeder is releasing unique genetic material to the public. I suspect, but don't know, that among the reasons seedlings are not generally offered to the public is in part due to protectionist concerns of breeders.

SO . . . if you were to come up with a list of seedlings for distribution, you would have at least one avid customer and would be saving me some time!  ;)

On a side note, some people might be surprised that my hellebore collection does not contain a single named clone (in part because many happen to be sterile and thus are a breeding dead end). I find little satisfaction in owning a plant that hundreds or thousands of other people own. My goal is progress, so phenotype and parents that routinely produce high-quality offspring are all I care about. If that plant happens to have a cultivar name, then that's OK, but it's irrelevant to me. I think one of the great things about having a variety of enthusiasts with different goals and perspectives is that we will inevitably have different collections and thus contribute to the diversity of plants in cultivation. It would also possibly make it more interesting for visitors, who might be pleased to see plants that can't be seen anywhere else.

Joseph Woodard, just west of Nashville, TN. USDA zone 6b, but more like 7 or so in recent years.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Joseph, I have much I want to respond to, but it's late, so I simply post the following URL, to a new post on the Epimedium 2010 thread on SRGC, where a new forumist posted approximately 50 photos of Epimedium hybrids, some are truly delicious.
http://www.srgc.org.uk/smf/index.php?topic=4769.msg175090#msg175090

A proper response later :D

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Woodard
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-11-29

Now, that's my idea of fun!  :D

Joseph Woodard, just west of Nashville, TN. USDA zone 6b, but more like 7 or so in recent years.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Warm Christmas colors on Epimedium lishihchenii and stellulatum on this sunny Christmas Eve, they look hot enough to melt snow :D

Merry Christmas Epimedium fans  :)

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Thanks Mark! Nice to see when I sit here in a very cold and snow covered Oslo! The sun is just rising but nobody is up except me yet.
Happy gardening the years to come!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Paul T
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Mark,

Absolutely brilliant topic.  I can barely believe the range of Epimediums, I had no idea there were so many until reading this topic and seeing all your wonderful pictures.  I grow a few of them here as well (amybe 20 or so?), and wish I had more space to be able to grow more (don't we all!  ;D), but they aren't easy to find here in Australia, or at least in my part of Australia anyway.  I've also never seen any sort of seed set on any of mine, despite some of them being grown in pots in close proximity to each other.  Next spring I must get out and do some paintbrush work I think.

Thanks so much for such an inspiring topic.  8)

Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9°C. Max summer temp 40°C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

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