August 17, 2017

Cover Up

Epimedium - barrenwort

Janine Pineo Photo - Epimedium - barrenwort

Groundcovers can be used for many reasons, not just covering up the ground. The trick is to find one that looks attractive all through the growing season. Epimedium surpasses that criteria, with its heart-shaped leaves and rich coloring. Also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat and fairy wings, this long-lived perennial spreads via underground stems and boasts little star-shaped flowers held just above the foliage early in the spring. After that, the leaves are the show, staying lush till it puts on a small show of color in the fall before dying back. The plant can tolerate a lot of shade – even dense shade –  and once established it can hold its own in dry shade mixed amongst the tree roots. Epimedium is not hardy in all of Maine, but some varieties are hardy to Zone 4.