We are opening our garden to the public on behalf of Plant Heritage, for whom we hold a National Collection of Epimediums. Donations to Plant Heritage will be welcomed.
Tuckermarsh Plants and is owned by Mark Fillan down in Devon.
I have given the new plants their ‘posh’ labels with accession numbers, source code and year of aquisition, as you can see in the picture. I am looking forward to their flowering in the spring.
Yet another Epimedium project to report on, I’m afraid. Wishing to make as good a National Collection as possible and and having acquired a considerable number of new Epimediums, we have been looking for more suitable areas to plant them out, within our limited space.
Once again, the aquatic side of our garden has taken a hit.
Therefore back in mid September, we started the not inconsiderable task of converting the highest of the three ponds into a raised bed for Epimediums and other shade tolerant plants.
There were three brick built waterlily boxes and a brick retaining wall holding back coarse gravel in an ‘under-gravel’ filter. The soil from the lily boxes was bagged up for later use as was the gravel. The brick boxes and wall were then broken up with a sledge hammer.
Eighteen months earlier our next door neighbour got us to remove his small front lawn, as it was constantly being dug up by badgers. When we did this we found a lot of cockchaffer grubs which were obviously the cause of the badger activity.
When we are feeling strong again, we may start changing the other two ponds into raised woodland beds. Fortunately from the work and back filling point of view, the two together are probably smaller than the one we have completed.
Since about 1989, a 6ft x 3ft fibreglass tank has sat on the greenhouse bench and been used for a number of purposes. The most notable were for the raising of pygmy water lilies, baby koi carp and tiger salamander tadpoles. For a few years it has been sitting there taking up valuable bench space and not being used. Linda came up with an idea to recycle the water tank as an additional 18sq ft nursery bed.
Koen Van Poucke (www.koenvanpoucke.be) in Belgium, extra protected nursery bed space was needed. The raised bed in the ‘air-raid shelter’ greenhouse, planted last autumn, has been very successful. Some of the plants have been lifted and potted, while others will be left in situ for the moment.
We were asked shortly after being given National Collection status, whether we would be willing and able to put on a small display of Epimediums at the Plant Heritage Spring Plant Fair at Hyde Hall, at the end of April 2014. We potted on some of our recently acquired and un-planted plants with this in mind.
In the week leading up to the plant fair the weekend’s weather forecast seemed a bit unsettled and knowing we were not being supplied with any shelter we looked on Amazon and eBay and ordered a cheap pop-up gazebo. As it turned out there was not a great deal of rain but it was quite windy so the expense was deemed worthwhile.
One of the things we noticed was that almost everybody who came to look, touched the plants, to better look at the flowers. We were worried that there would be no flowers left on the plants for the second day, but most of them hung on. I guess they do have a certain tactile attraction, being dainty and airy.
We have recently received confirmation from Plant Heritage that we have been given full National Collection status for Epimedium species, cultivars and hybrids.
As visitors to this website have probably guessed we are pretty keen on Epimediums, so earlier this year after discussing with various people whether we should aplply for a National Collection, we decided to approach Plant Heritage. Quite a lot of forms were filled in and a few days spent as we have worked hard, creating accession sheets. These allocate a unique number to each plant derived from a particular source.
We have purchased a Brother label printer which is connected to our PC and prints 36mm wide self adhesive labels which unlike Dymo seem to stick well to the tee labels, we have been using. Our son, Paul set up the printing of the labels so they include our Magnolia logo, which does give the completed label a touch of class. The labels also show the accession number, and source and date codes.
As well as the documentation and labelling works, we have achieved a fair amount with buying quite a few new ones and preparing areas for new Epimedium plantings. Each new plant is protected with four short canes, against badgers digging up the recently planted specimens. This system works remarkably well as badgers regularly dig between the plants without disturbing them.
Plant Heritage like National Collection holders if possible to have more than one specimen of each plant, two growing in the ground and one in a pot. We probably will not manage this with many varieties, due in part to space constraints, but we will try to do this for all the species we can collect. Previously we had few Epimediums in pots, only those growing on to a sufficiently strong specimen to be planted out.
We would be please to hear from any other keen Epimedium collectors.