Epimedium Display at Hyde Hall

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.

The display created quite a lot of interest. Some people had never met the genus before, but the majority had no idea that Epimediums were so variable. The majority of people are only familiar with about half a dozen varieties that have been around for more than a hundred years.

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.

I ended up with quite a few new plants at the end of the weekend, bought from a number of the specialist nursery traders at the fair. I bought a small selection of Arisaema tubers to have another go at keeping them happy. The plant I could not leave un-purchased, was a Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’, which at a distance looked like four white Delphinium spikes. The flowers are white semi-double with a very attractive green eye.