Karen in epi gardenFrontPost

Welcome to Garden Vision Epimediums, established in 1997 and featuring the best selection of Bishops caps, Barrenworts and Fairy wings in the United States. Epimediums make the perfect addition to your woodland shade garden. Their delicate, fragile beauty belies their tough, long-lasting nature. They are easy to grow, spring blooming plants, and many also have amazing spring foliage colors. Their flowers also come in a wide range of shapes and colors.

Many gardeners know these plants simply as ground covers for dry shade, but recent hybrids and new species discoveries have added a whole new dimension to this intriguing genus. The Epimediums in our collection represent the collecting and hybridizing efforts of Epimedium expert, Darrell Probst.

You can see here the Epimediums listed in our print catalog, but with even more photos. Download an order form to send in by mail or by fax. Browse through the main catalogue, or you can sort by several characteristics including flower color, species, growth habit, drought tolerance, size, etc.

If you have a question, suggestion or just want to let us know what you think, please send me an email karen@epimediums.com.

You can order Epimediums by either by mail or fax.  Or if you prefer buying your plants in person, we’ve scheduled four Open Nursery Weekends for 2015 where you can see the plants growing in a garden setting here at the nursery. The 2015 dates are Fri. – Sun. May 1-3; May 8-10; May 15-17 & May 22-24; 10am-4pm. With the extreme snow and cold this winter, it is difficult to predict peak bloom. Check back for bloom updates closer to your visit. Or you can buy plants  at one of our upcoming off-site sales throughout the Northeast during the growing season. We ship within the United States during June, September and October. Happy reading!

Karen Perkins

Wreath front pageDSC00307szd

Cold weather turns the evergreen leaves of Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum ‘Thunderbolt’ to a beautiful shade of purple/black. Here, the foliage accents a winter wreath.

I awoke to a thermometer registering -8 degrees Fahrenheit this early January morning. Many nurseries have their catalogs out in the mail to you by now, so that you can sit by the fire, warm and cozy, hot chocolate at the ready, thinking of spring, and placing your orders for the garden of your dreams. I missed that boat!

Now that the weather has finally forced me indoors, I am working on this website and composing the 2015 print catalog, which will be available in early spring. The website plant availability and prices are current for 2015. I am adding a few new offerings as time permits.

Check out my schedule of on-site plant sales and Epimedium talks for 2015, possibly coming to a venue near you. I am venturing a bit further afield and have even added a new sale, in southern VA, at the end of February. This year, we’re adding additional days to the Open Nursery Weekend schedule to take advantage of the extended bloom of the many different types of Epimediums in our collections. One of those dates, Saturday, May 16, you will even be able to speak to the original Epimedium guru, Darrell Probst. He has graciously agreed to join us and to answer your questions about Epimediums on that day. I hope to see you at one of these events this year.

By the way, that is Epimedium ssp. pinnatum ‘Thunderbolt’ gracing the right side of the winter wreath on my front door. It holds up pretty well next to the other evergreens it accompanies, and I usually don’t take my winter wreath down until April 1, so that is saying something! Enjoy the unique beauty of your winter, it will be spring before you know it.

Karen Perkins


OpenHouse2014The year’s late arrival of spring did not put a damper on our two Open Nursery Weekends in early May. Although the Epimediums really didn’t start to open their blossoms in earnest until the last day, they did show off their beautiful spring foliage hues. The late spring also kept the bugs at bay, and the earliest blooming spring companion plants  including Jeffersonia dubia, Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’ and the three Bloodroot cultivars that we offer, were glorious. Continue reading »

 Fri.-Sun., May 1-3,  8-10, &  15-17 & 22-24, 2015; 10am-4pm  

Rain or Shine!

View Epimediums in garden beds

Thanks to all who visited our Open Nursery weekends in 2014. They were a great success. In order to allow visitors to see the wide range of Epimedium bloom, we will be open for four long weekends in 2015.
For those of you planning for 2015, and within reasonable driving distance, this is the best way to really see the plants in a garden setting in order to determine how they will settle into your own garden.

As we are a mail order nursery, we are normally closed to the public, however, we open for viewing and sales during Epimedium bloom in Phillipston, MA. Not every variety listed in the catalog is available during the open nursery weekends, so if you have specific plants on your wish list, place an order ahead of time (giving me at least a couple of days to pull your plants) and specify a pick up date during this event. Feel free to bring your camera.

Please abide by the following guidelines while at the nursery:

  • Open House plants for saleTo protect our research collection, please leave children and pets at home.
  • Be aware there are no available restroom facilities on site and no nearby public restrooms. We really are “out in the boonies”, so if you are looking for lunch, we will have restaurant recommendations, but most are 5-10+ miles away. We will have some light refreshments available.
  • Wear good walking shoes. Our nursery is generally level, but is set up as a working nursery and the ground may be soft/muddy/uneven in spots.
Epimedium path

Epimedium path

We look forward to your visit in 2015.


E. xperralchicum'Wisley'DSC00129

Beautiful late season foliage of Epimedium xperralchicum ‘Wisley’

Last summer, as I was weeding late one quiet afternoon in the nursery, I was struck by the understated beauty of the foliage of many of the Epimediums surrounding me. I decided to focus this article on green summer foliage, or the “sensible shoes” of the Epimedium world. Epimediums,  by their very nature, are not “in your face” kinds of plants, especially during the summer, when they are known more for their subtle, elegant foliage beauty. I have chosen the following selections as exceptional, particularly durable types that add structure and a long season of handsome foliage interest to the garden. Many of the newer Chinese species have exceptional, large, spiny leaflets of good substance, worthy of specimen plant status in the garden. But here, I am focusing on the leafier, faster-growing Continue reading »

E. grandiflorum 'Circe'

E. grandiflorum ‘Circe’

Many people complain that some Epimediums flower beneath their foliage, thus taking away from the display. That usually doesn’t spoil their intrigue for me, as the leaves are so immature and tiny during bloom, that I don’t think that they obscure the blossoms until the end of flowering, when the later flowers can be engulfed in the enthusiasm of the expanding foliage. Last year, one of my customers suggested that I list which types hold their flower heads high above the leaves, so I am acting on it and dedicating this year’s article to types that do just that. Not surprisingly, many are hybrids, the result of the breeder’s efforts to create a more dazzling spring show of flowers. The following selections not only bloom well above the foliage, but bloom in profusion when sited in bright shade and humus-rich, well drained soils, creating quite a show. Instead of relegating these shining stars to the ‘shady woodland border’ why not place them in a prominent spot in your garden as a specimen perennial, in as much sunlight as they can tolerate in your region for best growth and bloom.

E. pubigerum

E. pubigerum

Two species immediately come to mind, E. brevicornu and E. stellulatum, both from China and sporting billowing panicles of small star-shaped white flowers held high above heart shaped, deciduous papery-thin leaves in the case of the former, and rounded to arrow shaped, toothed evergreen leaflets on the latter. The two also are very early bloomers with long lasting bloom stems, and particularly cold tolerant for Epimediums. A third species, Epimedium pubigerum, a native of Turkey, also holds its towering columns of white or light pink flowers up high. Shaped like little “molars”, the flowers make up for their small size in their great numbers. This species is particularly drought tolerant, with semi-evergreen heart shaped leaves.

E. x Pink Chanpagne

E. x Pink Champagne

Two strong growing evergreen hybrids created by Darrell Probst from plants collected in China are E. x ‘Domino’ and E. x ‘Pink Champagne’. Sibling seedlings. I often think of ‘Domino’ as the male, and ‘Pink Champagne’ as it’s female counterpart. Both send up long sprays of spidery flowers well above the foliage- ‘Domino’ has a white flower with cranberry cup, and ‘P.C.’ has a pink wash to both flowers and the new growth. Both are very floriferous and often re-bloom and produce second growth foliage if they are happy in their environment.  They each have a graceful elegance about them, throwing their leaves out in a wide-spreading arch. Their new leaves are flecked with maroon spots, almost like gold flakes floating in a hopeful prospector’s pan. If you are looking for a specimen Epimedium for a special place in your garden, either of these cultivars fit the bill.

On the shorter side of the Epimedium spectrum, two selections of E. xyoungianum are ‘Fairy Dust’ and ‘Be My Valentine’. They bloom later and are covered in silvery-purple/white and hot cherry pink /white flowers respectively. Similarly E. grandiflorum ‘Circe’ will produce a vibrant patch of red-violet blooms atop the foliage, a color that easily reads from a distance. “Fairy Dust’ and ‘Circe’ both have a slight brownish tinge to the new growth, a backdrop which enhances the bloom color. Another yellow-flowered diminuitive reblooming hybrid from Kelly Dodson is E. x ‘Sunshowers’, with a raft of soft yellow flowers above new foliage speckled with maroon flecks.

E. x Flame Thrower

E. x Flame Thrower

A Diana Reeck introduction, E. x ‘Making Waves’, and Darrell Probst’s E. x ‘Flame Thrower’ are both late-season bloomers. ‘Making Waves’ as an undulating, banded edge to the new spring foliage. Its perky lavender flowers are held high above this wave of foliage for a good show. If it is an evergreen, particularly drought tolerant and long-blooming plant you want, E. x ‘Flame Thrower’ fits the bill. The flowers are held horizontally out to the sides of a mound of handsome, arrow-shaped evergreen leaflets. They don’t provide a splash of concentrated color like the others, rather the large red and yellow flowers are best observed up close.

You will find in this year’s offerings a Head’s Up!’ collection of plants featured in this article to get you started, at a discount.

As always I look forward to serving you– our loyal and enthusiastic customers. Thank you for your patronage and for helping to preserve, appreciate and perpetuate Barrenworts, Bishop’s Caps and Fairywings.

Karen Perkins