I became interested in Epimediums when I first encountered them while at Writtle College of Agriculture, in the late 1960’s I was there studying for my National Diploma in Horticulture (N.D.H. now M Hort. RHS). Over the next thirty years, I bought the odd plant for the garden, when I came across them in nurseries. Towards the end of the millennium while visiting an RHS show I came across Blackthorn’s stand. To say I was amazed is not an overstatement. There were a considerable number of new and magnificent Epimedium species, quite unlike those I had seen previously. They were, of course newly introduced species from China, and many quite distinct from those UK gardeners had grown before. These plants kicked my interest in collecting Epimediums into overdrive, collecting all the new Epimediums I could.
Our collection of Epimediums was verified as a National Collection in August 2013 by Plant Heritage NCCPG and has increased in diversity since. Further information on our various projects can be seen on our original website www.themagnolias.co.uk . This site was becoming a bit biased towards Epimediums, so we thought we would start this dedicated site.
There are now more than fifty confirmed species known at present, but almost certainly more will be found as China is visited more by plant hunters.
I think and hope, we may be entering a time when Epimediums become more widely appreciated. Some of the newer hybrids have more easily remembered names as well as looking eminently saleable in nurseries when in flower. I have yet to find any of great interest in a garden centre, but the day may come. Garden centres may find them useful, as something new, to follow on for shade after the Hellebore season finishes.