2011 Winter Interest Plants
On March 3, 7, and 13, my customers and I attended seminars on Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants given by Charles Cresson at his garden, Hedgleigh Spring in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania (US). Charles is the instructor for the Longwood Gardens certificate course “Hardy Spring and Fall Bulbs” as well as the author of several gardening books. He is also a frequent lecturer, most recently at the Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island and Rare Find Nursery in New Jersey for presentations on “Choosing Hardy Camellias for Spring and Fall”.
Charles trained at the Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, in England and the Kalmthout Arboretum in Belgium, best known for its witch hazel introductions. He has worked at Meadowbrook Farm, Winterthur, Nemours, and Chanticleer. His grandfather built the house at Hedgleigh Spring in 1911 and created the garden over the course of 50 years. Charles has gardened there for more than 40 years.
Every time we viewed a new snowdrop, no matter how rare, Charles picked two flowers and passed them around so that we could closely examine the markings and experience the fragrance. He then collected the flowers in a little vase for later comparison.
What a treat Charles’s seminars were. Even though I attended all three sessions, I learned something new each time and came away with a deep admiration for Charles’s encyclopedic knowledge of plants and the depth of his plant collection, not to mention a wish list of plants for my own gardens. I also appreciated how each plant was not just deposited in the garden but was carefully incorporated into the overall design.
The seminars began in the front garden viewing the hybrid witch hazel cultivars Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ (dark orange) and ‘Moonlight’ (pale yellow) underplanted with snowdrops, winter aconite, and various perennials. Charles does not recommend ‘Moonlight’ because it holds its dead leaves.
It would be hard to name another garden with the wealth of unusual plants that Charles has found and nurtured to perfection over the years. That being said I thought my customers who were unable to attend the seminars and my worldwide blog readers might like to see what we saw. I have organized the plants by category below with commentary in the caption where relevant.
We saw so many rare and unusual bulbs that I can only include a sampling here.
If you read my blog, you know what a galanthophile I am so with supreme effort I have limited myself to just a few of the many snowdrops we saw.
I hope you have enjoyed your virtual seminar. Please let me know in a comment/reply what your favorite winter interest plant is.
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Nursery Happenings: My first open house sale is Saturday, March 26, from 10 am to 3 pm, featuring hellebores and other winter and early spring blooming plants for shade (checks and cash only). For directions and parking information, click here.