New Shade Perennials for 2011
Spring-blooming Hardy Cyclamen, Cyclamen coum ‘Pewter Leaf': grows and spreads well in my shady rock garden where it gets the excellent drainage it needs; can’t beat the solid silver leaves paired with the pink flowers (photo Arrowhead Alpines).
My blog has two audiences, one anticipated and one unexpected. The first is composed of the wonderful, loyal customers of my shade plant nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, over 340 of whom subscribe to my blog. My primary goal in starting the blog was to communicate more information to interested customers in a garden magazine-type format without sending emails to customers who weren’t interested.
Japanese Painted Fern, Athyrium niponicum ‘Burgundy Lace': I love the colors of Japanese painted fern and they can only be improved with more purple; naturalizes in dry shade in my gardens (photo Terra Nova Nurseries).
My second group of readers is the garden-blogging community, an audience I never anticipated when I started this project. Nan at Hayefield told me to register my blog with Blotanical, the international garden-blogging registry. I did, and now I have readers all over the world. Blotanical is a great site to visit if you like to read about gardening, and you don’t need to have a blog to access it. Several of my customers have joined Blotanical and enjoy reading the popular articles posted there. It is also a very warm and friendly virtual community of gardeners.
Helleborus x nigercors ‘Green Corsican’: a superior cross between Christmas rose and Corsican hellebore with many beautiful green flowers and gold-marbled leaves (just a taste, I will cover all my new hellebores in a separate article).
It is the time of year when I send out my new catalogue describing all the plants I will be selling at my nursery this spring. I have already emailed it to my customers and posted it in Pages on my sidebar here. It describes over 300 varieties of shade plants, including almost 80 hard-to-find natives and 60 plants that are new this spring.
Although I don’t do mail order (except for snowdrops), I still put together a catalogue for my customers to use as a reference when shopping at the nursery and planning or planting at home. This came about because I find that plastic plant tags and most general gardening books are about equally inaccurate in their descriptions of the characteristics and cultural requirements of shade plants.
White Checkered Lily, Fritillaria meleagris ‘Alba': unlike most fritillarias, checkered lily is easy to grow and takes shade, it has naturalized throughout my woodland gardens; I love the purple and the white forms.
My catalogue has never included photos, but this year I want to show pictures on my blog with additional commentary for some of the new plants about which I am especially excited. Complete descriptions and cultural information are in the 2011 catalogue. Be forewarned though, you are not about to see the glitzy new cultivars hot off the patent-laden presses of hot shot plant hybridizers (in fact, you will probably never find most of them at my nursery).
‘Black Scallop’ Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop': I usually don’t get excited about ajuga or sell it at my nursery, but ‘Black Scallop’ is exceptionally beautiful and has remained so, photo taken on 11/29/10
With a few exceptions, I don’t offer a plant for sale unless I have grown it successfully in my own gardens for a few years. That eliminates all those perennials that look great in pots but are miserable failures in the ground or really any plant that requires even a modest amount of pampering to succeed. I don’t believe in growing or selling those kinds of plants. So, on with the 2011 show!
Double Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart': if you have been reading this blog, you know I love snowdrops, and this one is quite special! (just a taste, I will cover all my new snowdrops in a separate article).
Japanese Woodland Primrose, Primula sieboldii: foolproof primrose for dry, full shade, treasured in Japan with over 500 cultivars named, but rare in the US; I have been selling several named cultivars but this year I will include divisions from my own collection of unnamed varieties.
Gold Siberian Bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Diane’s Gold': I haven’t grown this cultivar but all my other brunneras thrive in my dry woodland, and you can’t beat this gold color (photo Terra Nova Nurseries).
Snow Crocus, Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant': I have always valued this very early-blooming species, which naturalizes in my garden, but ‘Ruby Giant’ has knock-your-socks-off deep violet-purple color (photo Charles Cresson).
Japanese Forest Grass, Hakonechloa macra ‘Stripe It Rich': a new cultivar of this tried and true grass for shade with gold leaves and white stripes; I treasure its lovely cascading habit (photo Terra Nova Nurseries).
Part 2 of this article will showcase the new native plants I will be offering in spring 2011, and new snowdrops, hellebores, and hostas will be covered in their own dedicated articles.
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.), just click here.
In my post I Need Your Help, I asked readers to send cards to the daughter of Kartik who was the subject of my post New Year’s Resolution to Edit the Garden. I would still appreciate your help with this appeal. Thanks.