Time to restock the plant bench: there hasn't been much to offer for a while, just daffs and tulips in pots, but at last we have some warmer weather, a bit of longed-for sunshine, and the plants are responding. Not much in the way of flowers yet, but lots of lush foliage, so I thought it was worth the effort to fill up the bench with some new offerings.
So what do I have on the bench today? About the only plant actually flowering is Epimedium, a much under-rated plant, but it's a bit tricky to "place" it in a garden successfully, as it's a low-growing thing that does need, just once a year, a bit of fiddly attention.
The one I am selling is Epimedium versicolour "Sulphureum". It spends most of the summer and autumn being a neat dome of heart-shaped green leaves on wiry stems. In late autumn and through the winter they turn a lovely bronzey colour. Then in early spring - and this is tricky part - they start looking a bit tatty, and have to be snipped off very carefully at ground level, without damaging the emerging flower stems, which are soft and tender at that stage.
The flowers - tiny, starry little things - are two shades of yellow, and very pretty. But if you don't cut the leaves out first, you don't see them, as they don't rise above the leaves.
What a daft arrangement, eh?
I have a client with some large clumps, who had never seen them flower, and thought they were just foliage plants!
Yesterday I put out one large pot and two small pots of this plant on the bench, and by the time I got back with the watering can, one of the small ones had already been snapped up, which is great.
Other things on sale include a couple of Mulleins (Verbascum) that great big spire of dull yellow flowers, with huge fuzzy-felt leaves: a purple-leafed Hazel (I have lots of these, of various sizes): along with Aconite, Lamium Orvale, purple Lysimachia (a favourite of mine, love the foliage, less keen on the bright yellow flowers), a couple of decorative grasses, some Sedum, a couple of small shrubs: not knowing what will sell, I've more or less put one of each thing up there, what you might call "odds and ends" rather than a cohesive selection, but we are coming up to a long weekend, so it will be interesting to see what has sold.
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