Garden News

Online Learning Resources

Thanks to the pandemic (?!), all workshops offered by East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District are online and recorded for later viewing! View their schedule with classes that include Naturescaping Basics, Urban Weeds, and Creating an Edible Landscape, here.

Naturescaping Site Design will be offered by Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District on May 27. Learn more and sign up here.

Washington County Master Gardeners educational events are listed here. Learn more about their services and offerings on the main page.

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘White Splash’ Photo from the Epimedium website.

Discover Epimediums!

by Margie Lachman 

Spring is the busiest season for many gardeners. Pruning, weeding, fertilizing; there is so much to do at once it seems. “Editing” is an important task, too. Trimming plants that have overgrown their spaces or removing them if they aren’t doing well or do not please you will make a spot for something better. Choose a new plant carefully, making sure it will have what it needs to thrive. Sun or shade, good drainage, rich soil or not—if you are mindful of what the plant requires you are likely to have a happy plant. Garden books or a web search can help if you’re unsure.

Weeding is a never-ending chore and probably not a favorite one. Bare soil is an invitation for weeds to sprout, so groundcover is a good prevention technique. 

I recently came across a website that sells Epimediums and fell in love. Common names are barrenwort, bishop’s hat, and fairy wings. The heart shaped or oblong leaves are attractive, and spring is bloom time with loads of delicate flowers. These plants make a good ground cover for shade and many are drought tolerant. The leaves emerge in early spring and flowers follow shortly. The blooms remind us of columbine and come in white, pink, yellow, orange, lavender, purple and red. They can be as small as 1/4 inch up to 2 inches depending on the plant. They are a good plant under shrubs and trees.

With lots of variety you may find some of these tough plants to try in your garden. Once established for two years or so they are long-lived survivors. While they will spread slowly, they are not considered invasive.

The nursery I ordered from is Garden Vision Epimediums. There are photos to tempt you and if you pay attention to the needs of your plants, you will enjoy them for years. They are not usually eaten by deer and, oh did I mention they don’t seem to attract slugs? That is a plus with me! This is the last year that the nursery will be selling mail order plants so look soon. Varieties of Epimedium are also available at local nurseries, including Cornell Farm.