Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is a Bishop's Hat

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is a Bishop's Hat?

Bishop's Hat or Barrenswort is an Epimedium.  I have two of these Deciduous and evergreen perennials in my shade garden.  Once established, they will thrive in a slightly acid soil well amended with organic matter. 

Growing from a dense network of underground stems, wiry leafstalks support heart-shaped leaflets that overlap to form foliage clumps.  New growth is a show in itself when it emerges bronzy pink.  Leaves become green by summer, but change again to reddish bronze in autumn.  In spring, wiry flower stems hold airy blossom sprays above the foliage, just above, or well above, depending on the species.  Flower shape varies from cup and saucer to saucer alone, some species have columbinelike spurs.

In my shade garden I have a Persian epimedium, E. pinnatum, which makes foot-high clumps of glossy leaflets that set off yellow blossoms.  I have had this plant for over 10 years now and it just keeps getting wider.  It is one of the first plants to bloom in my shade garden and the blossoms last a very long time (weeks).

I also have a small specimen of the rubrum culture.  It produces tiny star shaped flowers that are white with violet stripes down the middle that fade as the flowers get older.  This one is pictured below.   The top picture is my yellow flower one.

Once established, they will do well in a moist, shady location in your garden.

Until next time.

Garden Gate Designs

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