Common name: Fairy Wings
Botanical name: Epimedium grandiflorum
What it is: A spring blooming shade-tolerant perennial with three seasons of interest. Epimedium sports delicate sprays of flowers that remind me of orchids in the spring. In summer, the plants serve as a sweet groundcover with heart shaped leaves that bounce on delicate stems. In fall, leaves of certain cultivars blush red or gold.
Size: 12- 24 inches tall. Space 12 inches apart.
Where to use: Plant at the base of taller perennials in a shady border. Use in larger groupings as they spread slowly. Part sun to part shade.
Why I like it: There’s something super charming about this delicate plant. I like subtle plants. I’m not one for huge flower show. Too much flower is gaudy in my book. So the romantic, fairly long-lasting, small bloom clusters, extended on delicate stems above bouncy heart shaped leaves is just the elegance I’m looking for. It works well in shade gardens mixed with native plants, for a natural look. Once the bloom is finished, the leaves are plenty entertaining and a nice contrast against more angular leaf forms – like ferns or hosta – often found in shade borders.