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This little pixie will really perk up your garden

The Epimedium Grandiflorum (also known as the Purple Pixie, Fairy Wing)

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The Plant

Epimedium Grandiflorum 'Purple Pixie' (Fairy Wing)

Why you should plant it

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One of the grandest of the woodland shade plants, this species grows on gardeners so much that many become collectors.

Epimedium can tolerate part sun, but will thrive in fairly dense shade. It has enchanting blooms with downward curving spurs. The small, neat clumps are easy to place.

Where to plant it

In the shade on a well-drained slope. It needs some protection or ends up looking scraggly. As a deciduous plant, it will disappear all winter but spring up early in the year. Give it shade, shelter and lots of organic material (i.e., plenty of compost or manure or both) when you plant it.

What it offers

The glory of a perky bloom in very early spring as well as gorgeous heart-shaped leaves. Since this Zone 5 plant forms small, neat clumps, it is lovely to look at, so place it in a spot where you can show it off. 'Purple Pixie' will grow to 30 centimetres high by 60 centimetres wide, but very, very slowly. It blooms any time from April to May.

Source and cost

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Get it for $14.99 at nurseries such as Plant World ( www.plantworld.net) in Toronto. Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more plant and gardening information.

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