Primula sieboldii, epimediums, ferns and hakonechloa grasses

Spring 2021 is now moving to summer

Spring turns to summer in North Devon

What an unusual spring we have had. The Primula sieboldii really appreciated the mild start to the season and were in full flower from late March through to the end of May, when we had to cut the flowers off our collection to avoid unwanted seedlings. However, for a good two months our primula tunnel was a lovely display of the range of Sakurasoo colours and shapes. Normally, our collection would have been going to the early RHS shows (Cardiff, Malvern and Chelsea), but for the second year the grand display stayed at home and was enjoyed by a select few visitors!😍

Out in the garden, the Sakurasoo started to flower in early April and are still in flower at the start of June. Like the Japanese maples, our primulas in the garden were unaffected by the large diurnal range in temperature here in North Devon with hot sunny days and temperatures just above freezing at night. Our epimediums weren’t quite so happy, but are now flowering well.

Our Epimedium Collection is growing steadily

Penny collected over 40 new epimedium species and cultivars last year, many from across Europe. This was the last opportunity to obtain these plants before the uncertainties of Brexit. These plants are now coming into flower and giving us a range of new sights. We will need to bulk out these new plants before we can offer them for sale, but some should be available next year. The first image below is an un-named seedling raised by Julian Sutton. This has rather nice brown leaves in early spring growth and very attractive flowers. The second image below is a plant that I have wanted from when I first saw it: an American cultivar (I think!) called “Candy Hearts”. It flower is quite a nice creamy white, but the leaves are lovely. We will hopefully post a few of the other new varieties in future posts.

As with the Sakurasoo, we try to offer a large range of varieties from our main collections, so numbers of any particular cultivar are normally quite limited. We have been busy with internet sales this spring, so many of our cultivars have now sold out for this year. Hopefully we will have more by autumn.

Penny has been growing some epimedium seedlings over the past couple of years – the secret for success is the plant the seed very fresh and then leave it in a cool place for the winter. One of the two year-old seedlings has produced incredible coloured foliage this year, but no flower as yet, but the foliage alone won many plaudits for Penny’s Facebook post.

Hakonechloas for shady places

Our small collection of Japanese forest grasses are also looking very nice. They have been delayed by the cold nights in May, but are now growing well. These grasses are unusual in that they can flourish in quite dark shade, but are equally happy in semi-shade, ideally under deciduous trees. Another good attribute is that they are not invasive, but form wonderful flowing clumps over a couple of years. Our display pots flourish in our shady fern tunnel.

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