Epimedium 2010

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

Hoy wrote:

What a sight! I am jealous.
The other plants there, are they Corydalis nobilis and Dicentra cucullaria?
I have also seen some kind of groundcover wood sorrel (Oxalis) in some of your pictures. (Or is it weed ;).) I grow pink and white Oxalis acetosella and O. oregana in my woodland.

Yes on both the Corydalis and Dicentra.  The Oxalis is a lovely little weedy thing, but since it only roots in 1-2 cm of soil, it is really no risk to anything, the green trifoliate leaves always look fresh, but the long season of perky little flowers make it special for me.  Now, what species is it... I'm not sure.  It might be O. acetosella or montana :P  I spent a lot of time on this one, as I've had plants in the past under both species names, but if you look them up (particularly montana) they are typically whitish to light pink and with deeper pink veins.  Mine are solid color, bright rosy pink.  Oxalis montana, which describes the North American plant, used to be considered a subspecies of acetosella.

Soon I'll start a new thread elsewhere on this forum, with some diagnostic detail photos and links, and maybe we can pinpoint an identity.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

While I am pretty much content with how my Epimediums perform,  the eye candy you display, Mark, is no match.  What a glorious garden!

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

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

RickR wrote:

While I am pretty much content with how my Epimediums perform,  the eye candy you display, Mark, is no match.  What a glorious garden!

To be honest, lot of it is "trompe l'oeil", where a camera lens and selective shots and careful cropping make things look bigger and better than they are.  But it helps to have lots of Epimediums, with so many varieties, and a great spring season as this has been, and the Epimediums are leaping out of the ground... they can't help looking so beautiful. Been having a great time the last couple days studing Epimedium hybrid seedlings into their 3rd year, and there are some GOOD ONES.  I've taken a load of photos the last few days but haven't had time to cull through them and start posting some varieties I haven't covered yet... was hoping to do that tonight, but got a last minute IT consultation gig in Boston tomorrow morning, my first work in 6 months since unemployed, so it'll have to wait for the weekend.  Hope I'm not too rusty on IT/CAD stuff, I've been fooling around for 6 months on plant forums instead of keeping my IT skills honed, but one needs to have priorites ;D

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

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

The Epimedium season is suddenly upon us with wild abandon here in Northeastern USA, fully 3 weeks ahead of normal due to a series of weather contitions; an unusually mild spring, a few periods of record rainfall (with flooding), fueled by extended periods of warm and mild dry sunshine, including a couple days of record heat.  The Epimediums are jumping out of the ground! 

1 - 3  E. epsteinii, an evergreen species named as recently as 1994, It is slow to become established, but once happy it makes a striking specimen, with leathery dark green evergreen foliage mixed with orange-bronze new foliage, and discreet panicles of substantial flowers of exceptionally broad white sepals, contrasting with the dark purple cup and petals.  This is a plant that needs to be planted high on an enbankment to best appreciate the beautiful down-faced blooms.

4.  E. fangii - this photo shows a bit of dark green oval evergreen foliage mixed with a small emerging leaflet of rich mottled red... more to come.  This plant is one that Darrell Probst introduced as a hardy growable form from Mt. Emei China, of an otherwise tempermental not-so-hardy species from previous introductions. This one is a "spreader" with long annual rhizomes, so site it accordingly.  It has large yellow flowers.  Quickly becoming one of my favorites.

5 - 7  E. fargesii, a Chinese species that is hard to capture photographically. Long slender spine-edged evergreen leaflets and slender tallish panicles with down-turned delicate white flowers, like little slender white "shooting stars" with reflexed sepals and small grape purple centers.  Enchanting.

8 - 9  E. stellulatum, another Chinese evergreen species.  Photo 8 shows the basal evergreen spine-edged foliage, a nice base to light filmy panicles of starry white flowers with yellow centers, with a haze of spring cauline leaves that are variably marbled red, bronze and green.  In my photos, the flowers are just starting to open. A good one to be sure!

10.  E. leptorrhizum, a Chinese species that is very low and spreading up to 8" annually on long stolons.  As it is, I have not sited it well, must replant it where it is free to create a spreading groundcover without invading neighbors.  The spidery light pink blooms are extra large held close to the textured olive bronze-tinged foliage.

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

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

It is Epimedium madness time here, all busting into bloom.  I share a miscellany of Epimedium images that caught my fancy in the bright sunlight yesterday (and sunny and warm again today... more epimedium photo shoots!).

1  -  colorful epimedium leaves catching afternoon sunlight in the garden
2  -  E. grandiflorum 'Lavender Lady' overlooking maidenhair fern fronds and pulmonaria.
3  -  view of young epimedium foliage, top center is the giant E. grandiflorum 'Red Queen'
4  -  epimedium foliage, E. x versicolor 'Versicolor' at centerstage with red, green-veined leaves, and
        E. grandiforum f. flavescens 'Chocolate Lace' on the left.
5  -  splash of orange in my Allium garden, Epimedium x warleyense flowering prolifically.
6-9 - E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum flowering.  Evergreen foliage cut off to see the floral show. 
        The young leaves are inrolled showing off their fuzzy backsides.
10  - Bed of mixed hybrid seedlings, those with wonderful coffee and caramel toned leaves are hybrids between
        E. grandiforum f. flavescens 'La Rocaille' x E. grandiforum 'Dark Beauty'

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

Mark, I recently read an article of Tony Avent, Plant Delight Nursery, in The Plantsman. He mention 54 species named and lots of cultivars, do you know how many you have? It's a pity that it seems to be difficult to obtain many of the cultivars in Europe, though.

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

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

Hoy wrote:

Mark, I recently read an article of Tony Avent, Plant Delight Nursery, in The Plantsman. He mention 54 species named and lots of cultivars, do you know how many you have? It's a pity that it seems to be difficult to obtain many of the cultivars in Europe, though.

Trond, many more species in China have been discovered, and await publication.  Darrell Probst, of Epimedium fame, spoke at the NARGS Eastern Winter Study Weekend at Devens, Massachusetts in March 2010, and gave a riveting presentation on his efforts and travels in China, in search of Epimedium.  There are dozens of new epimediums that need to be published, but apparently Chinese botanists are slow to do so, their efforts more governed by medicinal properties in plants than for the science of taxonomy itself, so Darrell is pushing for botanical institutions in other countries to "pick up the slack" and continue publishing.  There may be closer to 100 species, and they're finding new ones all the time.  Then, there are numerous "forms" of certain species, and of course, numerous hybrids.

I grow approximately 180 different species and cultivars.  But now I'm wondering why there aren't a million hybrids, as they are all so willing to hybridize.  I had heard that most epimedium are self sterile, and need other plants/species around, and then they freely hybridize.  In 2005, I started getting many seedlings around parent plants; they're such cute seedlings I couldn't throw them away, so I decided to pot them up and eventually plant them out, labeling the seedlings as to what parent plant they were found near.  Well, I am just dazzled by the results.  So I include a photo of Epimedium grandiflorum 'Dark Beauty', one of the most dramatic cultivars with foliage that emerges near black-red, then goes through a gorgeous transformation through all shades of reddish brown, coffee, and caramel leaf colors.  I follow with 4 photos of mixed hybrid seedlings, many being hybrids with 'Dark Beauty', inheriting the same dramatic spring foliage color.

Today the flowers started opening on 'Dark Beauty', so I spent a couple hours this morning hand pollinating and making intentional crosses... such fun! I'm selecting specific parents that possess desirable qualities, then dabbing pollen.  While epimedium flowers are small, they're actually fairly easy to work with to make crosses, some species/cultivars having more abundant easy-to-access pollen than others.

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

Amazing! I am dumb. (And I know what to do in the future...)

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

Do you use tin foil to protect your crosses? 

I tried a few attempts at J. dubia x J. diphylla, and was afraid the foil might be too heavy, see how the rain beats the flowers down so easily.  Fortunately, there were no problems.  For as big as the anthers were on J. diphylla, I expected a lot more available pollen.  Grains were quite scant.

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

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

RickR wrote:

Do you use tin foil to protect your crosses? 

I tried a few attempts at J. dubia x J. diphylla, and was afraid the foil might be too heavy, see how the rain beats the flowers down so easily.  Fortunately, there were no problems.  For as big as the anthers were on J. diphylla, I expected a lot more available pollen.  Grains were quite scant.

No, I didn't use foil or any protection :o :o :o  This was the first time I actually tried hand-to-hand Epimedium hybridization, and they're actually easy... some species have the stigma way ahead of the stamens and anthers, so brushing them with abundant pollen of another species/cultivar is quite evident.  Same was true of Jeffersonia.  The crosses I'm attempting are not so rigorously executed, I just want to try and "mix it up a bit".  What I'm seeing from bee-polinated hybrids, they look rather intermediate from the nearby species/cultivars.  Darrell Probst suggests planting one species you are interested in, with another species or cultivar, and the bees will do the crossing for you.  Of course, he does lots of controlled manual crosses, but I hope to do the something similar, on a smaller scale.

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

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