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Dalrymple Gardens, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Frustrated with your garden landscape? Need low-maintenance? Deer resistance? INDIVIDUALIZED GARDEN COACHING with your personal trainer will empower you to choose with confidence the right plants for the right place; restructuring your landscape and troubleshooting frustrating issues. Show your smarts with the landscape you have passionately molded and the plants that you have carefully collected and nurtured.

As weather patterns change and water is becoming scarce, gardeners are facing difficult decisions. Sure, you can sneak out at night and water illegally, but isn't it better to play within the rules — and still win? Your personal garden trainer can help make these transitions seamless and smooth.

Our primary trainer is herself a hybridizer of dozens of new fantastic plants for sun and shade, including the internationally-renowned geranium Blushing Turtle™. Let us help you to plan, develop, sculpt and nurture your dream garden into fruition.

Gain knowledge about your soils, plants, aspect, unique gardening style, microclimate planting, simple-yet-elegant design and learn how to put plans to paper. We have had the pleasure of coaching many phytophiles throughout the years.

Be empowered; Feel empowered! Enter a nursery with a planting list, fine-tuned to your environmental needs and life-style. For more information, or to book your personal garden trainer, inquire here.

Grk. phyto + phile (plural phytophiles)
 Any organism that thrives around plants.
Given the changing weather patterns of the last few years, which of these changes do you consider your top priority:
Re-plant with drought tolerant (xeric landscape)
Install cistern(s) to capture rain/gray water
Remove grass areas
Relocate plants to appropriate micro-climates
Re-do irrigation systems to be more efficient
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Welcome to Blushing Turtle


Formerly operating under the alias of Dappled Shade Nursery, Blushing Turtle Plantery adopted its new name in 2011 from our infamous Geranium 'Blushing Turtle'. The story is long and convoluted and will eventually appear under Interesting Facts for those of you who enjoy soap operas.

If you're looking for something weird but wonderful you've come to the right place. We cater to the eccentric and discriminating plantsman. Blushing Turtle Plantery is about awesome creations, conversation pieces, and spoiling that inner brat.

We are a small mail order (by appointment only) nursery, selling mainly our own tried-and-true hybrids from our multiple breeding programs. Every 'new' plant listed has been on trial for many years and has proven itself to be garden worthy, non-weedy, and disease free. Being a very picky team, we name only those plants that scream "WOW". Naming parties, of course, are one of the reasons we enjoy this business. If you envision the Mad Hatter's tea party with less intellectual conversation you'd be about there. Some of the names have interesting histories, which you can read about in the 'Naming Friday' section.

Plants are propagated in small quantities, so if you see one that grabs you then grab it. If you know we have something that we are keeping under wraps from the general public you may be able to coerce a spot on a waiting list and/or move yourself up the waiting list through bribery. Joking aside, some plants will not be propagated every year. We like to give the plants a few years to rest after their prodding and poking and, as well, our display gardens are far too small to have multiple specimens of each hybrid.

If you are a retail nursery interested in carrying our plants please contact Blushing Turtle Plantery for wholesale pricing and shipping costs.

Please follow planting instructions to a 'T' or we can't guarantee a fruitful experience.



Epimediums are a herbaceous form of the family Berberidaceae found from Europe to Asia. Here on the coast of North America grows the close relative, Vancouveria. These plants are used extensively as ground cover but are also good in specimen plantings, and are surprisingly great in containers. If used as the latter, pots should be sunk or protected in winter but not allowed to dry out. Contrary to previous misconceptions, though many Epimedium perform admirably under more dry conditions, the bulk of their population – especially the Asian species and their hybrids – resent drying out. The species are highly variable in flower color, shape, (varying lengths or petals, sepals, and spurs), and size of flowers (¼" to 2½"). The foliage can be deciduous, evergreen, spiny, glabrous, and can range from 1" – 8½" in length. These treasures are extremely infatuating. Not only do some thrive below moisture-removing cedars, but the beauty and variation of these woodland wonders is truly unique.

Epimediums require little attention, though a good dressing, in fall, of leaf mulch or organic matter will be appreciated. Both evergreen and deciduous varieties should have the previous years' leaves removed in late winter, before the new growth emerges in spring. This will help avoid damage to new flowering stems if you do intend to tidy; otherwise new growth will rise above the previous years' for a more natural garden.

The price of the Epimediums we offer varies depending on rarity, ease of propagation, demand, vigor of plants, and the expense of acquiring plants. Many of these Epimediums are being offered for the first time into cultivation in Canada, some being newly discovered species or forms of species. It is difficult to fully comprehend just how many species have already become extinct due to agricultural practices in Asia – species that we will never know or enjoy botanically.

There are many new introductions from our controlled breeding program. Hundreds of exciting new hybrids are being assessed. Plants are tested for drought tolerance, vigor, leaf and flower form, as well as color. New introductions will be well worth cultivating; they are not merely the endless conveyor belt of substandard progeny that is now flooding the horticultural market. Epimediums share common ecosystem requirements with ferns, Hellebores, Pulmonaria, Anemone nemerosa, Omphalodes, and shade-loving Geraniums for a wonderful woodland carpet in the changing seasons. They are also appropriate for companion planting below Rhododendrons. Many of the following are in short supply but have been included for their descriptions and cultural information.


P l a n t e r y

Epimedium Big Bird
Long spined rust-speckled lime evergreen leaves on red stems to 24". Rhizomes to 12" in sand/leaf mix soil. Loose ground cover wonderful for interspersing with other woodland treasures. Huge primrose yellow blooms with tiny ivory petals and wide arching spurs hover above foliage. Easily the longest blooming Epimedium; lasting well into summer. Great spring and fall color.
epbibi $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium E021
Pure cherry-blossom pink large spurred blooms with a fruity fragrance nestle in quilted bright green leaves. Low, dense cover to 12" slowly spreading to form a lovely ground cover. Evergreen.
E021 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium E029
Purple-veined evergreen leaves, glaucus beneath. Fragrant light clear pink sepals with purple spurs bloom above apricot translucent new spiny foliage. Rhizomes 2", height 8". Dense ground-cover.
E029 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium E094
Crimson banded apple green leaves with splashes of french yellow are a perfect foil for the lavender purple edged, ivory blooms. Early season for bright shade. Clumping and deciduous to 12".
E094 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium epsteini
Large full petalled white blooms with plum purple spurs above dark unblemished glossy evergreen leaves. Rhizomes to 4", plant to 12" high. Good ground-cover.
epep $15
Epimedium Grape Knee High
The photo is pretty close. Lovely, easy and deciduous , clumping to knee height with delicious grape stained blooms. Likes loose light soil in shade. Fine sand with leaf mulch is great.
E001 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Katlaina
As pure and impish as it's namesake. Delicate bubble-gum pink spurs and saturated rose stained, and outlined, petals above deciduous foliage to 10" with ebony new growth in spring. Quickly clumping. Give it's own space to shine(2x2'). Ltd qty.
E1103 $20
Epimedium Knave of Hearts
Lovely little plump blush pink flowers 1.5cm across. Large, new floppy heart-shaped crimson leaves resembling hound ears mature to deep ever-green. Nice to touch. Clumping to about 22" high.
E039 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Leagh
This has to be the all around best epimedium produced at the nursery. Large spiny evergreen foliage in bright shades through winter with a long display of blooms April through June. Inner sepals and spurs are saturated raspberry pink/red with new speckled leaves. Ltd qty.
eple02 $45
Epimedium Madame Butterfly
Huge white sepals on blooms with soft plum-tinted spurs hover up to 12" above new unfurling rust red speckled evergreen leaves that mature to spiny rich green. A fast spreading easy and startling ground cover with rhizomes up to 3". Definitely sheer foliage in Feb but leave on top of rhizomes to protect.
E031 $12
Epimedium Mistral
Similar habit and morphology to E. Rubaiyat. Extremely floriferous, clumping to 20" in height. A myriad of ivory, plum-blushed butterflies, the blooms hover above olive speckled evergreen leaves.
epmi $15
Epimedium Oasis
Delicate deciduous plant to 12". The blooms are exquisite with large white sepals with royal purple tips and a large white lamina with no spurs. Slowly rhizomatous for shade and light fluffy soil well away from bullyish neighbors.
epoa $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Odie
A delightful deciduous clumper to 10". One of our cover girls for the nursery. For shade and light loose leafy soil. Purple edged blooms with a large white star in the center above dark chocolate banded leaves.
epod $n/a
Epimedium Plump Bess
Pretty. Early deciduous bloomer to 18". The picture describes this beauty better than words.
E004 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Rubaiyat
A favorite of mine as well as the slugs, deer and rabbits. The closest to red with long petals flying in all different directions. Inner sepals spring upward while the rich spurs arch downward giving the appearance of a sphere. Long narrow evergreen leaves are rich bronze with prominent spines. A favorite.
E038 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Shahrzad
Or known as Scheherazade. An evergreen with a smaller and much daintier structure clumping to 10". Speckled new leaves emerge in mid-spring with crushed raspberry pink blooms in two shades. A wow factor.
epsh $n/a
Epimedium Stormy Kate
Like its namesake, this epimedium is full of personality. Warm purple, plump, spurred blooms open from dark, black-purple buds over deciduous, burnished, autumn-tinted new leaves that fade to green.
E006 $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Epimedium Triple Chocolate
n/a $n/a Available Fall 2019 – Pre-Order Now!
Geranium Blushing Turtle
Invented at this Plantery as Geranium Breathless in 1999 and trialed by Blooms of Bressingham until 2010, it was sold initially as Geranium Breathless until the name was lost due to mismanagement. Withstands periods of drought. Great edging a path as a ground-cover, climbing through shrubs, tumbling over a wall or out of a container. Large, orchid-pink, ruffled petals are veined in dark, cranberry-red. Blooms over multiple seasons.
gebltu99 $15
Geranium Chocolate Oil Slick
Warm chocolate foliage. 1.25" purple flowers with overtones resembling the colours in an oil slick. Blooms in June. Stands about 1.5' tall.
GO $20
Geranium Ghillie Suit
Geranium Gold Dust
A renardii cross with soft felted leaves supercharged with gold toward the center of each leaf. Rich blue blooms in May/June add the perfect accent to the bright mounds to 12" high. Full sun for best color.
gegodu $15
Geranium Oil Slick
1.5" purple flowers with overtones resembling the many colours in an oil slick. Silky green foliage, approx. 2' tall. Does not seed.
G0 $20
Geranium Pink Tuxedo
Formerly called "Little GMO". Trim neat little pink petals like something off the rack at Harrods. 1.5 inch blooms have a tiny red eye and last days. No stork-beaks, no seeds. Perpetual bloom on tidy ground-covering plants to as much as 10" tall.
G0 $20
Tellima grandiflora Goldstrike
Brighter than gold, a beacon in a bland shady garden, this easy perrenial has attitude as well as the odd green splotch or stripe. Three seasons of color and a non-bullying personality.
tegr04go $9

Interesting Facts



Landscaping the Jungle

The forest has five layers: the forest floor, shrub layer, sub-canopy, canopy and emergents. A healthy eco-concious garden should be similarly constructed. What are the goals? To water less, maintain less, and have a disease-free, ecologically balanced area. Plan your emergent layer (your tallest trees) sparsely. Place the trees in your canopy so that the mature crowns are almost touching or, for more light, a few metres apart. Choose shrubs that will thrive in the different aspects under the canopy, and then select perennials and ferns for the ground level. This type of planting does not mean you will have a shady garden. The boundaries of the South/East sides will be sun, as will any clearings that you plan, depending on the tree and plant varieties that you choose. This is a fun and rewarding type of gardening, with challenges in choosing the right plant for the right place. You will have many more species of birds as the multiple layers provide different foods and shelter. What's super cool is that even within the forest floor layer there can be a mini-forest with emergents, canopy, etc. We're going micro here.



Outdoor Watering

Plants can get by without food for much longer than they can without water. In fact, up to 95 percent of a plant is made up of water. The amount of water a plant gets affects its growth, its resistance to disease and insects and its overall vigor.

Soil affects water drainage so the type of soil in your gardren affects how quickly or slowly water percolates to a plant's roots. High clay soils drain poorly or repel water if they dry out. The water remains around roots, taking up the space that should hold air and beneficial organisms. Even worse, in waterlogged soil, your plant's roots may rot. On the other hand, soil that is too sandy allows water to drain too fast, before a plant's roots have a chance to take it in.

All plants have their own watering needs. Some plants have deep roots, or leaves that store water to reduce evaporation; these plants need less water than others. Plants native to your ecosystem may not need additional water at all once they become established and begin to grow new roots if they have been sited in the correct location. Other plants, such as those native to tropical or rainy areas, need ample water so that the soil remains moist at all times. Try to locate plants with similar needs together.

All plants do best if you practice deep watering instead of frequent watering. Deep watering reaches the entire length of the plant's root system, encouraging the roots to reach even deeper and making the plant more drought resistant, since there are more roots to soak up water. Shallow watering encourages a shallow root system that is closer to the surface and dries out quickly.

Droopy leaves can indicate that a plant needs more water or that it is waterlogged. If the weather is very hot and your plant is in the sun, its leaves may droop during the day to protect the leaf's surface from the sun. If the plant perks up by the next morning it doesn't need more water. But if the leaves still are drooping in the morning or if you have been watering and the leaves continue to droop, you may be overwatering.


How often have you seen a fabulous hard-to-find perennial and quickly dismissed it with the misconception (or excuse) that you have no shade... or no sun... or no room? If you have shrubs in the garden, then the north side of every shrub is shade and the south side, sun. Groupings, or rows of shrubs, provide continuous aspect as well as microclimates. A microclimate is a small climate within your climate created with hedges, walls, trees, arbours or shrubs in order to grow more tender ornamental or edible plants. Peaches on a warm wall are in such a climate, with the goal being to avoid rain on the leaves and secure ample heat to ripen fruit. Most shrubs can be pruned up from the ground to supply an area for more delicate ground-covering treasures. The canopy not only provides shade but keeps frost off, and holds in heat.

A microclimate is similar to your house: a roof keeps the rain off, the heat in, and shades the contents; walls protect from wind, keep the heat in and add shade. Windows allow light in for limited time as the sun follows its path.

Factors affecting microclimate include: topography, sun exposure, soil type, and vegetative cover. Topography greatly influences air flow patterns (wind direction and speed over a short distance, providing pockets of shelter or exposure to winds). Topography also influences surface runoff, thereby altering upper soil water retention which can lead to saturated areas and therefore affect local temperature and humidity.

Vegetative cover is probably the most important factor shaping a microclimate, dramatically altering air flow patterns, site temperature and humidity. Vegetative cover has a profound influence on near surface wind speed and direction. In extreme cases of a dense forest canopy, a dormant park-like zone can be created. In other cases the structure of vegetation simply modifies airflow with surface friction effects, altering direction, speed and updrafts. The presence of a stand of trees will also change the wind speed and direction in the surrounding area. This shapes not only the microclimate within the stand, but also nearby.

Finally, the type and density of vegetation will directly change the rate of water vapor from stomata on leaf surface, AND change the soil surface evaporation rate; both of these processes affecting humidity and temperature. Man-made influences on microclimate include: structures and paths, introduction of exotic species as landscaping elements, mass grading to alter topography, and installation of water features – the culminating result potentially eliminating the need for constant irrigation.




Naming Friday

The principles of naming vary from the informality of everyday speech to the internationally agreed upon principles that govern the development and use of the specialist terms coined for scientific disciplines. The scientific need for simple, stable and internationally-accepted systems for naming objects of the natural world has generated many formal naming systems. Probably the best known of these systems are the five codes of biological nomenclature that govern the Latinized scientific names of organisms. We haven't followed any of them.

Geranium Blushing Turtle

Stay Tuned!

Epimedium Ruby Tuesday ™

Every Tuesday afternoon, like clockwork, a beautiful huge Irish Setter would walk her owner or dog-walker past our garden, head held high, red as can be. Ironically her name was Ruby. Seeing her set the Rolling Stones song going over and over in my head.

Epimedium Chocolate Frosted Asteroids ™

They say never shop hungry. The same can be said for naming plants with a hungry crew who has an attention deficit. Seriously, though, the new leaves are solid chocolate and the flowers burst above them like asteroids circling planet Epimedium.

Geranium Friday ™

Stay Tuned!

Geranium Ghillie Suit ™

Bringing fond memories of an 8 year old in the most elaborate self-made Ghillie suits curled up in plain site amongst treasures and ferns. Of course you ask... was the Ghillie suit constructed of the potentially priceless plants amongst which it resided? Yup. This huge, ground-covering, non-seeding Geranium has 2.5inch floppy flowers and the odd gold-streaked and splotched leaf.

Epimedium Stormy Kate ™

Wild and impetuous like its namesake, who can maintain calm through situation after situation until... you are hit by the storm behind those shining dark eyes and smiling dimples.

Epimedium Shahrzād ™

Transliterated as Shahrzād from the Persian but better known as Scheherazade. A favorite tale from the book '1001 Nights': Sultan Shahryar, who had found his first wife unfaithful, decided to hate all women, take a new wife each day, and every evening dispose of the previous one. He finally asked for the daughter of his visier, Shahrzād, who on the evening she was chosen, asked if she could tell him a story. When she was at the most exciting part she stopped, as it was already morning, and said she must continue it the next night, after which she would start another even more exciting. This went on, story after story, never ending until a new one could begin. The King spared her life night after night. After 1001 nights she told the Sultan she had no more stories to tell but he had fallen in love with her by then so spared her life and made her Queen. So, girls, it does pay to read much, study history, and ditch the tube.

Epimedium Mistral ™

The Mistral is a violent and cold wind that blows from the South of France and accelerates up the valleys. It brings clear weather and can last up to a week. This Epimedium, after sitting in bud for many weeks, bursts into a sudden storm of elegant blooms. New stems laden with flowers appear over a long period.

Geranium Pink Tuxedo ™ (formerly Little GMO ™)

Little GMO story: In an age of genetic manipulation, by whichever method, startling mutations abound. Tomatoes that smell like fish, sugar beets that can be drenched with herbicides but thrive, potatoes containing a cholera vaccine, fast growing shark-sized salmon and spider gene injected goats. Don't worry, they promise to harvest the salmon before they reach full size and they promise to keep them contained. Even though Canada and the US do not require labelling of GMO products we decided to label ours. And, of couse, the song 'Little GTO' by Ronny & The Daytonas plays in my head every time I see the plant. This Geranium has no reproductive organs of any kind and so blooms her heart out as she is constantly trying to reproduce. She does require extra food to offset the energy expended.

I don't look forward to the day I walk into the basement and see a goat up in the corner of the room.

Pink Tuxedo story: All our plants are special in their own ways, but this little gem is... elegant. In our trial beds she has consistantly morphed into a near perfect leafy ball with perfect, pink blooms. Several times we spontaneously gushed, "She's like a pink tuxedo!" — and we had to change the name. There's a first time for everything.

Epimedium Grape Knee High ™

Those of you who watched *MASH* after school will remember Radar O'Reily's favorite drink at the bar; the infamous Grape Nehi. Always loved the name. Always wanted to try one. Haven't yet.

Epimedium Rubaiyat ™

As a child I was enchanted with the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The images conjured by the poetry have been inspirations for some of the finest rugs and even finer plants.




Obtain Your Treasures


Only plants in the following pots can be shipped: d2, d4, d6, 1-gal. All plants are container grown but are shipped bare-root in plastic bags (in lieu of a container) to reduce shipping costs.


We will not substitute plants unless you have noted preferred substitutes on the order. It is a good idea to list a few substitutions.

Plant Availability

We ship on a first-come, first-served basis, so availability may vary from the website. If we state Spring 2014 or Fall 2014, that is when we expect that plant will be available barring any catastrophes. Any plants listed as n/a can be reserved in advance with payment, and will be shipped when ready – BUT PLEASE CHECK FOR AVAILABILITY FIRST.


We ship via Expedited or Express Post from mid-September through to the end of May and later if the weather permits. Orders without phone numbers will not be packed until you contact us to provide a phone number.


We ship healthy, true-to-name plants once/week during spring and fall. However, any guarantee expires after plants have been in transit to you for more than one week. Claims due to our error must be made immediately, and if valid will be dealt with as a credit toward your next order.

Back Orders

We are unable to remember to do back orders.


It is a good idea to make a screenshot of your order for your records before your plants arrive. A confirmation email will be sent once your order has been processed.

U.S. Customers and Orders

We do not ship to the U.S. at this time.


We do not ship overseas at this time.

To Order

  • Mail in your order. Or,
  • Email your order to us at order@blushingturtle.com without payment information. Put 'Order' as the subject. We will try to respond with a 'received' message to your email within a week. Or,
  • Order via this site (coming soon) and choose your method of payment through Paypal. You will be sent an order confirmation once it has been processed. The ability to order on line will be absent when plants have new growth that is brittle.
  • Choose one of the above order methods for pick up at the Plantery. You must provide the date you will pick up the order so we can make sure we have it in stock. Please make sure, if you are picking up your order, that we have received it and have it ready for you.
  • Phone-in orders: Nope. If you want to check on a plant's availability, please email order@blushingturtle.com.


You 'should' recieve a confirmation email after submitting an order. If you have not received one after two business days, please contact us at order@blushingturtle.com.