Early Spring Ephemerals Light Up the Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Corydalis solida seedling 4-3-2011 7-36-54 PMCorydalis solida comes in many colors: in the right corner is ‘Purple Bird’, in the middle is pink ‘Beth Evans’, and in the left corner is brick red ‘George P. Baker’.

As the hellebores bloom in my garden, they do not stand alone but are surrounded by large swathes of spring ephemerals.  These are plants that come up in the spring to take advantage of the available sun before the leaves come out and then go dormant for the year as it gets hot.  I especially appreciate their vibrant colors at a time of year when spring is here, but the weather is not necessarily warm and sunny.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale, featuring hellebores and many of the plants in this post, is this Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the special snowdrop list.

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Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker'‘George P. Baker’

All the plants shown here are in bloom now or just about to bloom.  They are very easy to plant and grow.  And best of all they spread by themselves to form large patches in the years after you plant them.  Spring ephemerals don’t take up any room as they can be interplanted with hostas, ferns, and other perennials that come up later and fill in the space.  They are also great for the backs of beds that are empty and visible before other plants emerge.

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Corydalis solida, helleborusThis riot of color is going on in my woods right now as various shades of Corydalis solida bloom with hellebores.

Here are some more suggestions for plants that will achieve this early spring bounty in your garden—all available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this weekend:

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Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'Snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, bloom with the snowdrops, and you can’t beat the color of ‘Ruby Giant’.

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Crocus tommasinianus, Helleborus x hybridus‘Ruby Giant’ with white hellebores, a match made in heaven.

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Scilla mischtschenkoana, Dicentra cucullariaPale blue squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana, is the earliest blooming of the group, here with Dutchman’s breeches.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, blooms with the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite are the most beautiful sight in my late winter garden.

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Eranthis hyemalis, Corydalis solidaAfter it blooms, winter aconite’s elegant foliage makes a great backdrop for hellebores and Corydalis solida.

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Puschkinia scilloides As the pale blue squill fades, striped-squill, Puschkinia scilloides, takes over.

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Puschkinia scilloidesStriped-squill has naturalized to form a large patch under my winter hazel.

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Scilla sibericaAlso coming into bloom now are the fluorescent blue flowers of Siberian squill,  Scilla siberica.

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Scilla sibericaSiberian squill has moved all over my garden and has never appeared anywhere that I didn’t want it.  The color is just gorgeous.

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Fritallaria meleagrisCheckered lily, Fritillaria meleagris,  is just getting started.  It too seeds to spread through out my woods.

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Heuchera 'Caramel', Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, has lovely upturned blue flowers with an ethereal white center.  Here it peeks through the winter leaves of native ‘Caramel’ heuchera.

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Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow spreads quickly to form large patches.  It looks especially beautiful under my star magnolia right now.

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Erythronium 'Pagoda'The lovely leaves of U.S. native dogtooth violets, Erythronium, are appearing now and the earliest varieties are blooming.  Although they look delicate, they are as tough as nails and come back in my woodland year after year.

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Stylophorum diphyllum & Mertensia virginicaI can see the dark purple leaves of native Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, emerging from the mulch.  I can’t get enough of its porcelain blue flowers, here with native Celandine poppy.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Mertensia virginicaEuropean wood anemones are also getting ready to pop.  The earliest is yellow-flowered Anemone ranunculoides, but they also come in pink and white.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink’ European wood anemone is quite rare and beautiful.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'The elegant flower of ‘Bractiata’ European wood anemone.

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All these flowers keep me going through the cold wet days of early spring.  Add them to your own garden to beat the winter doldrums and signal that the end is in sight.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza this Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores and other plants.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

A Wonderful New Hellebore, ‘Penny’s Pink’

Posted in evergreen, hellebores, Shade Perennials, winter interest with tags , , , on March 30, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 4-13-51 PM‘Penny’s Pink’ hybrid hellebore

I rarely profile a single plant, but I am so excited about ‘Penny’s Pink’ hybrid hellebore that I decided it deserved a post of its own.  And where do I start, the new leaves, the old leaves, the new flowers, the old flowers….they all have amazing ornamental value.  Read on to find out about what has been called “the most exciting new hellebore in years.”  All photos were taken of actual plants at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale, the Hellebore Extravaganza, is on April 11 from 10 am to 3 pm, but we are open and selling hellebores already.  To get an email with all the details, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are especially interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the special snowdrop list.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 11-19-58 AMThe 3″ symmetrical, cup-shaped flowers are a lovely rosy pink with a prominent cluster of yellow stamens set off by chartreuse nectaries.

‘Penny’s Pink’ was hybridized by RD Plants in the UK and is named after famous British plantswoman Penelope Hobhouse.  It is probably a cross between hybrid hellebore and Helleborus x ballardiae, which is itself a cross between Christmas rose and Helleborus lividus.  The latter species gives ‘Penny’s Pink’ its burgundy overtones, marbled leaves, and distinctive pink flowers.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 11-24-21 AMBurgundy stems are topped by a fading flower on the right and a flower well past its prime on the left, both are beautiful.  Because the flowers are sterile, they last a long time.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 11-22-18 AMThe backs of the flowers are as pretty as the front and deepen to a dark pink with age.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 11-16-04 AMThe new leaves of ‘Penny’s Pink’ come out looking like pink fishnet stockings as one reviewer described them.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 11-17-38 AM The colors stop people in their tracks in my sales area.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 5-29-2014 7-12-10 AMBy June, the pink marbling has turned to lime-green, and the leaves are shiny, thick, and leathery.  You can see that the spent flowers still provide interest.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 5-29-2014 7-12-27 AMI didn’t stock this hellebore until late May last year.  Based on the leaves alone, the plants were gone within a day and never made it to the open house sale.  No one visited without buying one.

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 5-09-02 PMAnd here’s something amazing—this is one of last year’s leaves in my garden today.  After our horrendous winter, they still look beautiful, not something I can say about most plants or humans either.  I don’t need to tell you what my other hellebore leaves look like!

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 5-09-43 PMAnother “old” leaf photo of the whole plant from the top. 

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Helleborus x 'Penny's Pink' 3-30-2015 5-09-23 PMFive flower stalks loaded with buds recently emerged.  This plant, which I put in my garden last June, was the smallest of the 100 plants I sold.

‘Penny’s Pink’ is 14 to 18 inches tall and 20 to 23 inches wide.  It blooms at the same time as most other hellebores but for a longer period and grows in the same conditions: well-drained soil in a mostly shady to mostly sunny location.  Available now at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza on Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Garden Conservancy Tour in Litchfield County Connecticut

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Stonecrop Gardens conservatoryThe conservatory at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York—a stop on the way home to Pennsylvania.

My readers were inspired by my last post on the beautiful, flower-filled garden of Charles Cresson, which I visited in May of 2014.  To see the lovely photos, click here.  It was fun to revisit a sunny garden during what seems like a winter that will never end.  We have now had three warm days so spring is on its way.  But snow still covers the ground, and I thought everyone could use another dose of sun and flowers.

Nursery News:  Due to rescheduling, spaces have opened up in Charles Cresson’s seminar The Winter Garden in Bloom.  For details, click here.  Our first open house sale, the hellebore extravaganza, is on April 11 this year, but we are open and selling hellebores already.  To access the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, please click here.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the special snowdrop list.

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Hidden Valley B&BOur headquarters for our Connecticut trip was the beautiful Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast in Washington Depot, CT.

In the third week of June, a friend and I traveled to the northwestern corner of Connecticut to attend The Garden Conservancy’s Litchfield County Open Day.  The Litchfield area is a gorgeous part of the U.S. with historic New England towns, classic farms surrounded by stone walls, and wooded hills and valleys running through sparsely populated countryside.  Just driving around the area is a pleasure.

The Garden Conservancy sponsored a tour to seven area gardens to finance their “mission to save and share outstanding American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public.”  Here are a few of the hundreds of photos I took during the tour.  Enjoy!

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-40-19 AMLink Garden: A pool with a sophisticated, screened pool house perches on the side of the Connecticut hills.

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ligularia, hosta, and ferns in ConnecticutLink Garden: ligularia, hosta, and ferns in a shady corner.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-53-49 AMLink Garden: Aiming for ease of maintenance as the owners age, the perennial garden was replaced by this stylized rill.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-49-48 AM Link Garden: another shady nook behind the house.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 3-16-13 PMBrush Hill Gardens: In addition to this large and beautiful English cottage garden, there was an extensively planted woodland with several ponds, but the lighting wasn’t good for photos.

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DSCN4525Brush Hill Gardens

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-39-16 AMWilliams Garden: A Greek Revival pool house is not for everyone, but it was interesting to see it.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-42-34 AMWilliams Garden: The pool edged with 18th century French coping was quite elegant.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-51-49 AMWilliams Garden: an extensive kitchen garden and elaborate “garden shed”.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-55-57 AMWilliams Garden: stone trough filled to overflowing with succulents.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 12-32-13 PMTrapp Garden: a little bit of Italy in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 12-39-09 PMTrapp Garden:  A very secluded pool on the side of a terrace with a grotto-like pool house sunk in the side of a hill.  I usually think pools detract from the landscape but changed my mind on this tour.

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Garden ConservancyTrapp Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 3-54-36 PMHighmeadows: Beautiful use of our native goatsbeard, I am not sure why more gardeners don’t grow this.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-16-30 PMHighmeadows

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DSCN4534Highmeadows

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-20-37 PMHighmeadows: The roses growing on the soft-colored walls were breath-taking.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-01-09 PMHollister House Garden: This was my favorite.  The garden is a Garden Conservancy preservation project and surrounds an historic Connecticut farmhouse.  It is divided into a series of rooms and vistas by tall hedges and walls.  The plant choices are enchanting, and the color combinations are gorgeous.  The garden is open to the public every Saturday from June through September.  For more information, click here.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-01-59 PMHollister House Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-03-01 PMHollister House Garden

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DSCN4559Hollister House Garden

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DSCN4551Hollister House Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-59-44 PMHollister House Garden

The sun is shining and it’s going to be 60 degrees F today so all the snow and ice is bound to melt shortly.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Due to rescheduling, spaces have opened up in Charles Cresson’s seminar The Winter Garden in Bloom.  For details, click here.  Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza on Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores.  To access the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

The Cresson Garden at Hedgleigh Spring

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-48-45 AMCharles Cresson’s home in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, US.

As I contemplated three more winter “weather events” in the next three days, culminating in 3 to 5 more inches of snow, I thought what we all need is some photos of a beautiful, warm, flower-filled garden.  I had visited Charles Cresson’s garden Hedgleigh Spring in May of 2014 but never posted the photos.  Now seems like a perfect time.  Enjoy

Nursery News:  This Saturday, March 7, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling plants at Winterthur gardens in Delaware for their annual snowdrop event.  For registration information, click here.

The 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the snowdrop list.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-50-35 AMCharles has hosted hundreds of tours at Hedgleigh Spring, a garden begun by his grandfather a century ago.
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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-54-03 AMEvery inch of the garden is packed with plants, and many are rare and unusual.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-00-39 AMRoses and honeysuckle climb the wall.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-02-23 AMroses and honeysuckle

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-26-29 AMA striking combination of bletilla and azaleas.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-39-23 AM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-37-59 AMcoralbells and bearded iris

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-40-44 AMheirloom coralbells and nepeta

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-45-49 AM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-48-48 AMA tree peony, what a gorgeous color.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-52-40 AMajuga and hardy geranium

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-53-34 AMThe pond garden was breath-taking.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-59-02 AMPrimroses along the wall in the pond area.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-09-04 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-10-08 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-18-08 PManother gorgeous tree peony

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-22-17 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-19-53 PMMy favorite combination, Japanese iris and ‘Caramel’ coralbells.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-43-47 PMEvery nook and cranny has a plant!

It doesn’t seem like it, but our gardens will be flower-filled sometime soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 7, details hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here 2015

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn's Shade Gardens birdhouse viewThankfully, there’s a snowy landscape at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens today.

Before I get to current events at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I want to encourage you to come to this year’s Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur on Saturday, March 7.  The featured speaker is Andrew Turvey, Head Gardener at Myddelton House Gardens in the U.K. 

Myddelton is the former home and garden of the very famous English plantsman E.A. Bowles whose plant expertise was wide ranging but included a particular focus on snowdrops.  He is said to have originated the term galanthophile to describe snowdrop enthusiasts.  Turvey worked previously at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley and is frequently a featured speaker in England.  The official details are below.

Nursery News:  The 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  Charles Cresson’s The Winter Garden in Bloom seminars are sold out.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the snowdrop list.

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Winterthur badge 2015

 Celebrate Spring at Winterthur!

March 7
Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event

Featuring:

A lecture by Andrew Turvey of Myddelton House Gardens, 11:00 am – noon, Copeland Lecture Hall

Andrew Turvey, head gardener at Myddelton House Gardens, is the caretaker of the garden of EA Bowles. A famous plantsman, Bowles had a keen interest in bulbs, is credited with coining the term ‘galanthophile’ for passionate snowdrop collectors, and introduced hundreds of plants to cultivation.

$10 members, $20 non-members, all other garden activities included with admission.

• An Introduction to Snowdrops Workshop, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Brown Center, no registration required

• Sale of Rare and Unusual Plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Visitor Center

• Guided Tours of the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm

• Self-guided ‘White Arrow’ Tour through the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center, All Day

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory, Museum, All Day

For more information and to register, visit www.winterthur.org or call 800.448.3883.
WINTERTHUR MUSEUM, GARDEN & LIBRARY
WINTERTHUR, DE 19735
.Crocus tommasianusSnow crocus at Winterthur 

As noted, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens intends to sell a nice selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and other spring flowers, although what we actually bring is weather dependent at this point.  Flowering hardy cyclamen and a wide-ranging and beautiful selection of mature, blooming hellebores are a definite though.  I am very excited that Winterthur has added an “Introduction to Snowdrops” workshop taught by Linda Eirhart, their very knowledgeable Curator of Plants.  This is an opportunity not to be missed by anyone wanting to increase their understanding of this wonderful genus.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisCommon snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur

You may be wondering what is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens especially if you ordered snowdrops.  Usually at this time, snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and lots of other plants are up and thinking of blooming in my garden.  Last year, which I thought was an aberration and best forgotten about, we had freezing weather and snow into March.  I didn’t think it could get any worse, but this year we have had subzero lows with no snow to protect the plants—even worse than 2013-2014.  Fortunately last night we finally had a significant snowfall.

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winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensMy snowdrop propagation beds look like ancient burial mounds.  For extra protection during the subzero, snowless period, we covered them with an insulated tarp.

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winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensToday, after it finally snowed, we removed the tarp and left the snow behind for insulation.  We couldn’t have done this in a “normal” year when the snowdrops were up, but nothing was going on due to the extended cold weather.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Xmas'My snowdrop from the U.S. Botanic Garden, which I have now named ‘Xmas’ to reflect its distinct X mark and bloom time at Christmas, glows in its plastic box before the snow.  It is perfectly hardy and does not need to be covered, but I am trying to preserve the blooms for the customers who have purchased it.

That is about all that is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens right now.  If you have ordered snowdrops, I am hoping to start shipping in about two weeks.  However, last year we started March 17 to the Pacific North West and the South and finished April 2 to the coldest parts of New England and the Midwest.  Eventually, the snow will melt, the ground will unfreeze, and the plants will “catch up”.  Meanwhile, the long range forecast is for continued cold through next week and then a jump to the high 50s on February 28.  I hope this is not the new “normal”.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details above.  We are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Do You Need A New Plant?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

img001Click on the image to enlarge.  Drawing by Joseph Tychonievich at Arrowhead Alpines.

I have been down with the flu for a few weeks so the blog and everything else has suffered.  I have been saving the illustration above for just such an occasion.  I received it as a postcard in February 2013 from Arrowhead Alpines, a wonderful retail and mail order nursery in Fowlerville, Michigan, specializing in rare and unusual plants.  They have a huge selection of uncommon perennials, woodland wildflowers, ferns, rare alpines, dwarf conifers, and out-of-the-ordinary trees and shrubs.  They are also very nice people.  If you can’t find what you are looking for at your local nursery, Arrowhead is the place to go.  Click here for their website/catalogue. 

The print is kind of small, so click on the image to enlarge it.  I especially like the part about ripping out the lawn and the recommendation of miniature hostas :-).  No matter how many times I follow the arrows through the options, it makes me laugh.  How could the answer to “Do you need a new plant?” be anything but yes!

Nursery News:  The 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  We are also accepting registrations for Charles Cresson’s The Winter Garden in Bloom seminar.  For the full details, click here.  Our nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, is currently closed.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are only interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the snowdrop list.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

New Snowdrop Book

Posted in bulbs for shade, containers for shade, landscape design, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.

Cover of SnowdropsThe cover of the exciting new snowdrop book recently published in The Plant Lover’s Guide Series by Kew Gardens in London.

I don’t think I have ever done a book review on this blog, but I want to share my excitement about the new snowdrop book published by Timber Press in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.  It is called The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops and was written by Naomi Slade, a prize-winning British journalist.   I highly recommend it as an invaluable resource for gardeners at all levels in their love of snowdrops, from novice to expert.

Nursery News:  Our nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, is currently closed.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are only interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the snowdrop list.

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Galanthus nivalis in Welford Park, BerkshireCommon snowdrops, G. nivalis, at Welford Park in Berkshire, England—just one of the locations identified in the book as a place to see snowdrops (photo by Naomi Slade appears on page 16) .

The best part of the book for me is the photographs, both those accompanying the individually profiled snowdrops, which are both enticing and accurate, and also the many pictures of snowdrops in gardens mostly in the US and UK, which are quite beautiful.  Whether you are a thoroughly obsessed galanthophile or just thinking of branching out with snowdrops for the first time, you will love reading this book, not once but over and over.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-14 PMThe title page for the chapter on Growing and Propagating snowdrops.

The book is divided into five main chapters followed by further information on where to see snowdrops and where to buy them.  Slade begins with an explanation of “Why I Love Snowdrops” that sets the tone for the whole book, which is approachable, informative, and refreshing.  Although the author points out that a lack of detailed knowledge is not a barrier to appreciating this universally loved plant, her enthusiasm makes you want to acquire or revisit that knowledge.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-35-43 PMPhotos illustrating the discussion of good companion plants for snowdrops.

The next section of the book considers “Designing with the Milk Flower”.  Slade discusses garden design and placement, easy snowdrops for beginners, naturalizing, rock gardens, and container planting.  There are many inspired ideas for companion plantings covering other bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. 

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-40-18 PMCreative uses of snowdrops in containers

In “Understanding Snowdrops”, the book explains in a user-friendly way snowdrop morphology or structure, concepts that are important to understanding the differences between snowdrops and deciphering written descriptions of them.  Slade covers snowdrop species and their origins, conservation and trade, and even snowdrop theft.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-14-20 PMAlthough originally mostly single-flowered and green and white, Slade explains that the Greatorex doubles led to many more double forms and that yellow and even orange snowdrops can be found.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-56 PMProfiles of ‘Grumpy’ and G. elwesii var. monostictus

The “Spotter’s Guide” section highlights 60 snowdrops chosen with great care to represent the range available and includes many of the most-loved and best-performing cultivars.   The photographs are excellent and the individual descriptions are fresh and informative.

. Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-36 PMEach snowdrop profiled gets plenty of space for photos and descriptions.

The final main section is on “Growing and Propagating” and covers planting, dividing, fertilizing, propagating, and pests and diseases.  This is followed by a very comprehensive guide to where to see snowdrops worldwide, including the US, and where to buy them, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 5-53-33 PMCambo Estate in Scotland is a great place to see snowdrops, while the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum on galanthus, click here, is a great place to learn about snowdrops.

One of Naomi Slade’s missions in writing this book was to appeal to an American audience, and she has succeeded.  While the UK is definitely the eye of the current snowdrop tornado, Slade ferrets out a lot of information useful to US readers.  Of the eight snowdrop professionals whose interviews she spreads through out the book, three of them are American, including me on page 76.  The book identifies and also anticipates the snowdrop collecting frenzy that is coming to America.  I can’t wait.

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snowdropsAnother photo of Welford Park by Naomi Slade.

If you would like to order a copy of this book, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has it available for $24.95 plus $5.95 for priority shipping.  Send an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Click here to access the snowdrop catalogue.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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