Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

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.

Companion Plants for Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 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.

Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Snowdrops, G. nivalis, with Italian arum and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, in the background.

The main attraction of snowdrops is that they bloom at a time of year when flowers are rare in the garden.  There is nothing like a solitary group of beautiful white flowers to light up a dismal, cold day in February.   Although companion plants are not necessary to achieve this effect, snowdrops are even more lovely when paired with other flowering plants or evergreen leaves.  This post will give you some ideas of what plants combine well with snowdrops to create winter interest in your garden.

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 and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, are the perfect combination for early in the snowdrop season.  Both naturalize well in woodland conditions.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite and ‘S. Arnott’, the most popular of all snowdrops with UK gardeners.

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Galanthus elwesiiEvergreen (technically winter green) ferns are a great backdrop for snowdrops, here giant snowdrops, G. elwesii, and Japanese holly fern.

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Galanthus elwesii var. monostichtus Hiemalis Group CSG -01The evergreen leaves of hellebores also set off snowdrops well.

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Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'When the hellbores bloom it is even better, here a hybrid hellebore and ‘Brenda Troyle’.

. Galanthus 'Standing Tall'‘Standing Tall’ picks up the silver markings on the evergreen leaves of Chinese ginger.

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Galanthus nivalis and Cyclamen coum at Carolyn's Shade GardensSnowdrops with winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum.  They also pair well with the much larger, silver-marked, evergreen leaves of fall-blooming cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'‘Shell Pink’ lamium blooms in my garden into December so it is a great companion for fall-blooming snowdrops like the G. reginae-olgae above.  Once the flowers are gone, the silver stripes on the evergreen leaves continue to combine well with later-blooming snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum itlalicumI think snowdrops and Italian arum are my favorite combination, here under the reddish branches of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' & Arum italicum 'Pictum'A beautifully marked arum and ‘Atkinsii’.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' Many native heucheras hold their color all winter and look great with snowdrops, especially ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Frosted Violet’, ‘Autumn Bride’, and ‘Blackout’.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'Favorite ‘S. Arnott’ with the very early-blooming daffodil ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusSnowdrops naturalized with ‘Ruby Giant’ snow crocus.

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Galanthus nivalis CressonOf course, there is something to be said for naturalizing large quantities of common snowdrops to enjoy en masse.

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galanthus in French woods from AlanSomeday your woods may look like this French forest photographed by Alan Street.

The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue is now open for orders.  Click here to access it on line.

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 Snowdrops for 2015

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 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.

Galanthus 'Wasp' with Galanthus 'Diggory'There couldn’t be more different looking snowdrops than ‘Wasp’ in the foreground above and ‘Diggory’ in the background.

This post includes additional photographs and more detailed descriptions of four of the new snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue. The catalogue will be emailed to all my customers in early January, but you can view it now by clicking here.  There are four more new snowdrop cultivars offered in the catalogue plus two snowflakes (leucojums), but they are either sold or about to sell out so I decided not to include them.  I recommend ordering right away to secure the snowdrops you want.  For entertaining descriptions of many of the remaining varieties offered, click here.

Most of the information about the snowdrops profiled below comes from the indispensable  Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (2006 Griffin Press)( called Snowdrops below).

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 plicatus 'Diggory'Galanthus plicatus ‘Diggory’

There is no other snowdrop that looks like ‘Diggory’ so if you think all snowdrops look alike this is the one for you.  The squared-off pear-shaped flowers with seersucker outers and the large green inner mark visible even when the flower is closed, make ‘Diggory’ recognizable  anywhere.  The blooms resemble miniature hot air balloons hanging on tiny shepherd’s crooks, absolutely charming.  The unique look is further enhanced by the pleated leaves visible in the photo below and characteristic of a Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus.

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Galanthus  plicatus 'Diggory'‘Diggory’s’ leaves with their elegant side pleats are also very attractive.

‘Diggory’ is a relatively new snowdrop.  It was found in a naturalized stand of G. plicatus in 1993 by two well known British galanthophiles and first exhibited in 1998 when it received a commendation.  The name was chosen to memorialize the son of one of the discoverers.  When Avon Bulbs in England asked its customers to name their favorite snowdrops, ‘Diggory’ ranked number 4  out of the 1,000 or more snowdrops in cultivation.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is a very desirable yellow-marked snowdrop.

‘Blonde Inge’ is unusual because the  lovely yellow markings on its inner segments are combined with a green ovary (the little cap above the flower).  It is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and as such tolerates a wide variety of garden conditions.  It builds up quickly and is very striking in a clump as you can see in the photo below.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ grows rapidly to form an impressive clump.

‘Blonde Inge’ was discovered in 1977 in a cemetery near Cologne, Germany, and introduced by Nicholas Top to the UK in 1993.  The name came from the lyrics of a German foxtrot, which you can hear by clicking here.

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Galanthus 'Wasp'‘Wasp’ has long, elegant outer segments.

Matt Bishop calls ‘Wasp’ an aptly named snowdrop, and I have to agree.  The very long and narrow outer segments stick out at an angle like wings and the tubular inner segments are striped to resemble a thorax.  ‘Wasp’ flies around on its long pedicel in the slightest breeze completing the insect-like effect.  This charming and unique snowdrop caused a sensation among UK galanthophiles when it was first introduced in the late 1990s.  It was discovered in 1995 by British snowdrop enthusiast Veronica Cross at Sutton Court.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' Cadwalader‘Walrus’ is a very uniform double snowdrop considering how unusual it looks.

Snowdrops calls ‘Walrus’ “one of the greatest eccentrics of the snowdrop world”, but despite this it is not wild looking like ‘Blewbury Tart’ but instead a very regularly formed double. As you can see in the photo above, its ‘tusks’ are the three very long, linear, mostly green outer segments.  They surround a lovely rosette whose segments curve outward to look like a green rose. 

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Galanthus nivalis 'Walrus'  Alan StreetMaybe my expanding clump of ‘Walrus’ will one day look like this photo taken by Alan Street of Avon Bulbs.

‘Walrus’ is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and tolerates a wide variety of conditions.  It is vigorous and multiplies well in the garden.  It was selected in the 1960s by noted galanthophile Oliver Wyatt at Maidwell Hall in Northamptonshire, England.  ‘Walrus’ ranked number 12 on the list of favorite snowdrops of UK gardeners.

The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue is now open for orders.  Click here to access it on line.

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.

Do All Snowdrops Look Alike?

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Wasp'‘Wasp’ certainly has all the elements of a typical snowdrop, but its long petals and unusual markings make it look just like the flying insect when the wind blows.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

People often try to tell me that all snowdrops look alike: white with three longer outer petals and three shorter inner petals with a green mark.  They should know better.  I would never admit that as I am a galanthophile who revels in observing the smallest differences.  I can go on at length about bloom time, leaf color and shape, and the intricacies of the inner mark, but I won’t.  Here I want to show you snowdrops that even the skeptical will recognize as different.

Nursery News:  The 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, 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.

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Galanthus 'Ballerina'The elegant and graceful double snowdrop ‘Ballerina’ certainly stands out from the pack.

Most gardeners are all about the flowers, and it is the blooms that I will focus on here.  The flower variations just within the three inner segments (petals)-three outer segments-single green inner mark theme are amazing, and I will show you a few of those like ‘Wasp’ above.  But then there are yellow snowdrops, regular doubles like ‘Ballerina’ above, virescent (green) snowdrops, crazy doubles, flowers with extra petals, all white snowdrops, the variety is endless.  There is even ‘The Alburgh Claw’.  Let’s start the show.

Galanthus 'Melanie Broughton'Although still single-flowered and green and white, ‘Melanie Broughton’ has a very large solid green inner mark and bright white, puffy and quilted outer segments.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Daphne's Scissors'‘Daphne’s Scissors’ has a very unusual inner mark shaped like scissors.  Thanks to Mark Smyth at the Galanthus Gallery for supplying this excellent photo.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus 'Viridapice'‘Viridapice’ has green markings on the outside of the flower.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus 'Diggory' ‘Diggory’ is the only snowdrop flower with pear-shaped, squared off outer segments.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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At the top of my personal wish list right now, ‘Rosemary Burnham’ is a virescent snowdrop with a solid green inner mark and elegant green stripes completely covering the outer segments.  For a photo, please click here for a trip to the Galanthus Gallery with hundreds of beautiful snowdrop photos.

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Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'‘Spindlestone Surprise’ is one of a growing number of snowdrops that have a yellow mark and a yellow ovary (the cap on top of the flower).  Others include ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Primrose Warburg’.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is one of the few galanthus that combine a yellow mark with a green ovary.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' Cadwalader‘Lady Elphinstone’ is the only double yellow.

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Galanthus elewesii 'Godfrey Owen'‘Godfrey Owen’ doubles the number of inner and outer petals to six each and holds its flowers open in a beautiful whorl.

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Galanthus 'Hill Poe'‘Hill Poe’ is a late blooming double with lots of white inside.  Thanks to Mark Smyth of the Galanthus Gallery for supplying this photo too.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'‘Blewbury Tart’ is a vigorous double snowdrop with outward-facing, mostly green flowers.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Anglesey Abbey'‘Anglesey Abbey’ can be solid white and poculiform, meaning that its inner segments are replaced by outer segments.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' Cadwalader‘Walrus’ has mostly green inner segments and long green outer “tusks”.  Available in our 2015 catalogue, click here.

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And you were wondering about ‘The Alburgh Claw’, well click here for a photo on the Galanthus Gallery of one of the weirdest snowdrop forms, the spikey double.

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The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue is now open for orders.  Click here to access it on line.

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.

Letting Go Part 2: Naturalizing Bulbs

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, landscape design, my garden, Shade Perennials, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Our 2014 Miniature Hosta Catalogue is now on line, click here.  It lists all the wonderful little hostas that will be available at the nursery and by mail.  Our 2014 Spring Shrub Offer is on line here and orders are due April 27.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ third spring sale featuring native plants and wildflowers is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, from 10 am to 3 pm.  To get all the details, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Corydalis solidaWhen I stopped trying to keep all my Corydalis solida separate and let the colors hybridize, this is what I got.

In May of 2011, I wrote a post titled Letting Go Part 1: The Lawn.  It is a well-documented discussion of why gardeners should get rid of their lawns and let what lawn remains go “natural”.  At the time I intended to write another article about letting go of garden beds, but time got away from me.  

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusCommon snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, naturalized in Charles Cresson’s meadow—a wonderful combination for late winter.

I was inspired to get back to the topic by reading a gorgeous book on bulbs given to me by one of my customers.  Not to digress, but I have the nicest customers who constantly send me articles, bring homemade food, send beautiful cards and letters sometimes hand drawn (one customer is a professional calligrapher), and write complimentary and encouraging emails.  Thanks to you all.

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Buried Treasures.

This book was no ordinary gift but a 400 page hardcover book with over 300 color plates.  It is called Buried Treasures and was written by Janis Ruksans.  Ruksans is an internationally famous nurseryman and plant explorer with a mail order nursery specializing in unusual bulbs and located in Latvia.  He has introduced hundreds of bulbs and one of his focuses is Corydalis solida (first photo), which happens to be one of my favorite plants.

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Eranthis hyemalis, Corydalis solidaWinter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, naturalized with corydalis and hybrid hellebores.

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Eranthis hyemalisWinter aconite in bloom in February.

As I read his book, I was struck by what he said about naturalizing bulbs:

“There are two different kinds of naturalization.  The first kind occurs when you plant your bulbs so they will look as natural as possible.  The second kind is the real thing, which will happen only if your bulbs start to reproduce by self-sowing.… Some of the most beautiful displays happen in spots where bulbs … have been left to develop naturally.”

As simple as this statement appears, many gardeners have trouble applying this concept to their gardens because it requires letting go.  You are no longer in control of where plants appear and how they combine with each other.  I know because it took me years to embrace it myself.

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Scilla mischtschenkoana, Dicentra cucullariaTubergen squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana, on the left and Dutchman’s breeches, Dicentra cucullaria, spread randomly at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

However, once I let go of deciding where bulbs (and many perennials) could grow, I believe that my garden reached a whole new level of interest and beauty.  Ruksans’s book inspired me to write this post about the bulbs, including tubers, corms, and other bulb allies, that spread well in my garden.  If you feel inclined to let go, here are some of the bulbs that work the best.

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Scilla sibericaSiberian squill, Scilla siberica, provides a splash of early brilliant blue and moves all over the garden, even into the lawn.

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Puschkinia scilloidesStriped-squill, Puschkinia scilloides, is pale blue and spreads beneath my winterhazel.
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Puschkinia scilloidesA close up shot better shows off striped-squill’s elegance. 

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Mertensia virginicaThere are hardly any beds in my garden that do not sport Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, in early spring.  All I planted was the original clump given to me by a good friend many years ago.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Mertensia virginicaWood anemones, including Anemone ranunculoides pictured above with Virginia bluebells, have been allowed to form gigantic patches in my woodland.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'European wood anemones, A. nemorosa, are a favorite, including ‘Alba Plena’.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'My woodland with wood anemones and bluebells.

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Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, is everywhere even the formal beds by the front door.  It doesn’t take up any “room” because it goes dormant and perennials can be planted right in it.

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Chionodoxa forbesii 'Pink Giant'‘Pink Giant’ is the pink cultivar of glory-of-the-snow, and it too plants itself wherever it wants.

The most wonderful result of my new relaxed approach came from Corydalis solida, a plant with no real common name.  It is a bulbous corydalis, which comes up very early in spring and dies back shortly after flowering.  Unlike the colorful herbaceous corydalis that never come back due to our hot summers, this corydalis returns year after year without fuss and even self-sows.  Here are a few of its cultivars:

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

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Corydalis solida subsp. incisaC. solida subsp. incisa

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Corydalis solida 'Blushing Girl'‘Blushing Girl’ selected by Jans Ruksans.

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Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans'‘Beth Evans’

All four cultivars are very beautiful in their own right, and at first I kept them separate so they would stay pure.  However, when I let go and nature took its course, the results were amazing.  Now I have a rainbow of corydalis.

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Corydalis solida seedling 4-3-2011 7-36-54 PMCordalis solida left to its own devices.

Although I have a large garden, this is not a technique limited to big spaces.  Any garden bed full of perennials or any area beneath trees and shrubs is perfect for naturalizing bulbs.  Just give them a free hand after you get them started.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our third sale is Saurday, April 26, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on our list will get an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Coming soon is a shrub offer.  If you have any shrubs you want, please email me at 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.

Winter Interest Plants 2014

Posted in bulbs for shade, evergreen, garden to visit, Garden Tour, hellebores, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ second sale of the year featuring early spring-blooming shade plants like hellebores, unusual bulbs, and pulmonaria is tentatively scheduled for April 11 and 12.  To get all the details, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Crocus tommasinianus, Helleborus x hybridusA beautiful winter combination: snow crocus, white hybrid hellebore, and snowdrops in the background.  This was one of the few hellebores that were up and open.

What a winter!  The snow is just melting and the ground is still frozen in places.  Today it is 44 degrees and pouring rain.  I don’t think the weather that we have had in March has reached the average highs for a normal February.  All this has resulted in many problems for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, and one of them was scheduling Charles Cresson’s 2014 Winter Interest Plant Seminars.  Customers love these seminars during which Charles takes participants around his amazing Swarthmore garden and introduces them to the many plants that thrive in a winter garden.

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Cresson winter interest seminarYou can see from the preferred attire of seminar attendees that it was quite cold even on the rescheduled date of March 23.

It became clear that we couldn’t hold the seminars on the “normal” dates of the third week in February as Charles’s garden was under several feet of snow.  The “rain” dates in the first week of March were equally frozen.  We opted for three weeks later, March 23, and 20 of the original 40 participants could actually come that day.  Thanks so much to those 20 people who stuck with us through all the rescheduling.

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Cresson winter interest seminarCharles gives the group background on his garden, Hedgleigh Spring.  Plants for sale by Carolyn’s Shade Gardens are in the foreground.

Although we probably saw less plants than we have in the previous three years, I think the group appreciated them more than ever before.  Just the thought that spring might actually be coming was refreshing, and Charles’s enthusiasm for his plants was inspiring.  For background on Hedgleigh Spring and Charles Cresson, see Winter Interest Plants 2011.  For scenes from previous years, see Winter Interest Plants 2012 and Winter Interest Plants 2013.

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Crocus sieberi 'Tricolor'This technicolor crocus, C. sieberi ‘Tricolor’, caught everyone’s eye.

What follows are photos of some of the plants that we saw in the order we visited them.  I hope that they will help everyone in the mid-Atlantic think spring.

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Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'‘Dawn’ viburnum, V. x bodnantense,  is still tightly in bud though usually done blooming by now.

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Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'A close up of the rose-colored buds of ‘Dawn’ viburnum—-the flowers are a lighter pink.
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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'The old-fashioned snowdrop ‘S. Arnott’ with ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’, a February blooming daffodil. 

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe buds of edgeworthia were not damaged by the cold and are just starting to swell while the hardy palm to the left looks great.

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Iris reticulata 'T.S. Dijt'The reticulate iris ‘J.S. Dijt’ was in full bloom while others were still to come.

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Skimmia japonicaJapanese skimmia was only slightly damaged by our subzero temperatures.

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Daphne odoraWinter daphne looked a lot worse than the skimmia but will loose the brown leaves and grow fresh green ones before spring is over.  The buds are fine and still to open.

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DSCN3899This tiny early daffodil with recurved petals, the species Narcissus cyclamineus, was much admired.

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Cyclamen coumWinter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum,  was also beautiful.

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Galanthus 'Ballerina'‘Ballerina’, an elegant double snowdrop—it’s on my wish list.

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Galanthus 'Ballerina'A close up of ‘Ballerina’

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DSCN3893Dutch crocus, C. vernus, pushes through old sterbergia leaves.

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Galanthus 'Bill Bishop'‘Bill Bishop’ snowdrop with its huge flowers and small stature.

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Eranthis hyemalis doubleDouble winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, which Charles grew from seed.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'A very healthy clump of ‘Magnet’ hybrid snowdrop drooping from the cold.

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Helleborus nigerChristmas rose, Helleborus niger

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Galanthus rizehensisThe rare species snowdrop Galanthus rizehensis.

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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicumThe variety of spring snowflake with yellow markings, Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum.

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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicumAnother group of Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister'Very rare semi-double spring snowflake ‘Gertrude Wister’, which originated in Swarthmore.  Ten happy customers ordered one in my snowdrop catalogue.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusCommon snowdrops and snow crocus, the essence of late winter in Charles’s meadow.

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Trillium underwoodiiThe only sign of spring in the whole garden, longbract wakerobin, Trillium underwoodii, emerging.

The forecast going forward shows no nights below freezing and daytime temperatures in the 50s and even the 60s.  Now I just have to get caught up somehow!  It has been hard to find time to keep up with the blog and to read other blogs so I apologize to my readers and fellow bloggers.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our second sale is scheduled for the weekend of April 12, but the details are tentative.  Customers on our list should look for an email or you can sign up for emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Coming up after that is a shrub offer.  If you have any shrubs you want, please email me at 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.

Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Seminar has been rescheduled to March 23, to register click hereThe 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is posted here, and we are taking orders now for mail order and pick up at the nursery in March.  We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details below and here.  Customers with questions should email me at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn's Shade GardensA beautiful sunset over a snowy landscape at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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 8.  The featured speaker is Matt Bishop, one of the foremost snowdrop experts in the U.K. and the principal author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, commonly referred to as the snowdrop bible.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling a nice selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and other spring flowers.  The official details are below.

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bank to bend 2014

 Celebrate the winter garden at Winterthur at our annual Bank to Bend event! This year’s featured speaker is Matt Bishop, famous snowdrop enthusiast and author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus. Snowdrops, winter interest plants, and plants propagated from the Winterthur Garden will be on sale. Lecture at 11:00 am; plant sale from 10:00 am-3:30 pm; garden open 10:00 am to dusk, with a special tour of the March Bank beginning at 1:00 pm. $10 per Member, $20 per nonmember. Free for WGLS and Garden Associate Members. Registration includes admission to the garden. To register, call 800.448.3883.

Not a Winterthur Member? Join now!

For more information, visit winterthur.org or call 800.448.3883.
WINTERTHUR MUSEUM, GARDEN & LIBRARY
WINTERTHUR, DE 19735
.Carolyn's Shade GardensFor those of you who visit in the spring, this is the front walk right now.

You may be wondering what is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens—-I know I am :-).  Last year at this time (and every recent year that I remember), snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and lots of other plants were up and blooming in my garden.  I was almost done potting all the snowdrops for mail order and pick up and had started thinking about hellebores.  This year most of my garden is still under at least a foot of snow.  The snowdrops are frozen into the ground, which is as hard as a rock despite a few recent days in the mid-50s.

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Carolyn's Shade GardensI excavated about three feet of snow off the top of pots of snowdrops.  And here is what I found….

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Galanthus elwesiiA lone giant snowdrop trying to break through to the surface.

Nevertheless, despite our frigid weather and constant deep snow cover, the minute a patch of snowdrops melts through it springs up and into bloom seemingly overnight.  This never fails to lift my flagging spirits, and I thought you might like to see these brave little snowdrops in action.

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Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumThis patch of snowdrops started blooming a few days before Christmas.  Because it was so big and beautiful, I covered it with a plastic box before all the snow and ice started (you can see the outline in the photo), and this is what I found when I removed it.

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Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumThe snowdrops under the box were in perfect shape despite repeated snow and ice and single digit temperatures.

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Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumHere is a close up of this beautiful snowdrop, which is a selection from a patch at the U.S. National Arboretum with a large flower and lovely green X mark.
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Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'Another snowdrop that started blooming in December and didn’t seem fazed by the weather even without a cover, the early-flowering ‘Faringdon Double’. 

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Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'The inside of ‘Faringdon Double’ showing its extra petals.

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Galanthus 'Kite'‘Kite’ usually starts blooming in mid-January, and when I moved the snow away today, there it was ready to open.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall'Some varieties don’t even need my help like the very robust giant snowdrop ‘Standing Tall’.

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 (it was February 25 last year).  Eventually, the snow will melt, the ground will unfreeze, and the plants will “catch up”.  Meanwhile the ten-day forecast predicts highs 15 to 20 degrees lower than our normal average and five nights with lows in the teens, brrrrr.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details hereTo register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar click hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  Please visit my Etsy Shop to purchase beautiful photo note cards suitable for all occasions, including a new set of snowdrop cards, by clicking 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.

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