Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

New Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus elwesiiEvery photo in this collage is of a giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in my garden.  The differences in the markings are caused by the natural variation in the species, which is legally collected in the wild.  None of them have been selected and given a cultivar name, although many plants like them have been named, probably too many.  Yet I find this variation fascinating.

The 2014 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.

I realize that it is too much to expect that my readers are as obsessed with snowdrops as me.  From the comments I receive, I do believe that many can understand and even admire what I find so charming about them.  Because of that, I wanted to let you know that The Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group has honored me by asking me to write an article on snowdrops for their newsletter. It is called “Confessions of a Galanthophile” and is the Feature Article for the January 2013 Newsletter (Vol. 27, No. 1).  Even if you receive the HPS newsletter, you should read the on line version, which you can access by clicking here.  The layout is gorgeous and the use of my photos as well as clip art is lovely: thank you Barbara and helpers.

Galanthus 'Magnet'My favorite single classic snowdrop, ‘Magnet’.

While letting you know about the Hardy Plant Society article, which makes use of parts of some of my previous blog posts, I thought this post would be a good place to list all the articles that I have written on snowdrops for easy reference.  I have interspersed the article names and links with some of my favorite snowdrop photos, most of which I have not used before, so those of you who are in it purely for the photos should proceed.

Galanthus 'Diggory' A very unusual and pricey new snowdrop with squared off outer segments, ‘Diggory’.

November 22, 2010

“Snowdrops or the Confessions of a Galanthophile”

origins of galanthophilia, fall-blooming snowdrops

profiles G. reginae-olgae and ‘Potter’s Prelude’

click here to read

Galanthus 'Kite'‘Kite’, very early-blooming with extremely long outer segments.

January 22, 2011

“Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile”

fascinating history of snowdrop cultivars

click here to read

short profiles of 16 snowdrop cultivars

Galanthus 'Foxgrove Magnet'‘Foxgrove Magnet’

February 9, 2011

“Are Snowdrops Thermogenic?”

discusses plants that produce their own heat

click here to read

'Straffan' by Jonathan Shaw‘Straffan’, photo by Johnathan Shaw

January 19, 2012

“New Snowdrops for 2012″

importance of provenance in snowdrop collecting

profiles ‘Brenda Troyle’, ‘Tiny’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Dionysus’, and G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus

click here to read

Galanthus 'Augustus' CadwaladerThe plump, quilted outer segments and lovely leaves of ‘Augustus’.

January 7, 2013

‘New Snowdrops for 2013″

where to find information on snowdrops

profiles ‘Wendy’s Gold’, ‘Standing Tall’, ‘Mighty Atom’, and ‘Scharlockii’

click here to read

G. reginae-olgae subsp. vernalisGalanthus reginae-olgae subsp. vernalis

The Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group

January 2013 Newsletter

“Confessions of a Galanthophile”

why gardeners collect snowdrops

click here to read

Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' CadwaladerThe gorgeous double yellow snowdrop ‘Lady Elphinstone’

January 5, 2014

“The Un-Common Snowdrop”

the common snowdrop and its cultivars

profiles G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, ‘Viridapice’, and ‘Blewbury Tart’

click here to read

Galanthus woronowii Cresson GardenThe shiny bright green leaves of the species snowdrop G. woronowii.

January 16, 2014

“The Sochi Snowdrop”

G. woronowii and its cultivars

profiles G. woronowii and ‘Elizabeth Harrison’

click here to read

 

Galanthus 'Viridapice'Although considered ordinary by some, ‘Viridapice’ remains one of my favorite snowdrops.

2014 Snowdrop Catalogue

27 varieties of snowdrops and snowflakes plus 9 other winter interest plants including, cyclamen and hellebores, and beautiful snowdrop note cards

click here to access

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All the posts as well as the catalogue itself, provide interesting and informative reading on subjects ranging from the origins of galanthophilia, the fascinating history of snowdrops, their provenance, how to research them, and even whether they produce their own heat.  I intend to add titles and links through the years as I write more about one of my favorite topics.

Enjoy, Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  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.

Nursery Happenings:  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted.  To view the catalogue, click here.

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.

December 2012 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Posted in bulbs for shade, Camellias, hellebores, Shade Gardening, Shade Shrubs, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

DSCN8663The first of my hybrid hellebores is just about to bloom: Helleborus x ‘Snow White’ (aka ‘Snow Bunting’).

I am two days late for the official Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  On the fifteenth of each month garden bloggers from all over the world post photos of what’s blooming in their gardens, and their posts are collected by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun to see which plants are pretty enough to get me outside in December on a somewhat warm but dreary, rainy day.  I also wanted to add a new twist by allowing myself only one pass through the garden for photos instead of the numerous trips required by a normal post.

Not surprisingly if you read my blog, Italian arum, hellebores, snowdrops, camellias, hardy cyclamen, and coral bells are hogging the show this time of year accompanied by a few others.  Let’s see what we have:

DSCN8642 Fall-blooming camellia ‘Winter’s Snowman’ has been blooming since October and still has buds waiting to open.

My late fall garden has been immensely improved by the addition of fall-blooming hardy camellias.  All five of mine are blooming now and have plenty of buds left.  For more information on fall-bloomimg camellias, click here.

DSCN8641‘Winter’s Joy’

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DSCN8650‘Lu Shan Snow’

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DSCN8656‘Winter’s Darling’

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DSCN8655‘Elaine Lee’

Italian arum is always a highlight this time of year after its fresh foliage emerges from dormancy in early fall:

DSCN8645‘Pictum’ Italian arum

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DSCN8659dwarf Italian arum ‘Tiny Tot’

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DSCN8654‘Gold Rush’ Italian arum, my favorite

Hellebores are just about to take over as the stars of the garden for the next few months.  For more information on hellebores, click here and follow the links at the end of the post.  If it wouldn’t violate my parameter for this post, I would run out and photograph bearsfoot hellebore and ‘Praecox’ Christmas rose, which are both almost open.  As it is, I have these two hellebores for you:

DSCN8662Another shot of the first flower on ‘Snow White’.

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DSCN8643After blooming in October, ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose is at it again and will continue to bloom into spring.

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My favorite coral bells or heucheras are the cultivars that give me 365 days of colorful foliage, some of which are pictured below.  If I could go back outside, I would add ‘Frosted Violet’ and ‘Bronze Wave’.  I would also include some photographs of pulmonarias, especially ‘Diana Clare’:

DSCN8646‘Caramel’ heuchera continues to change from one beautiful hue to the next through out the winter.

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DSCN8652Green Spice’ is new to my garden this year and looks like a winner.

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DSCN8653‘Citronelle’ is a customer favorite for brightening dark corners.

You know I couldn’t resist showing you a few snowdrops:

DSCN8640  ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a fall-bloomimg snowdrop cultivar, is getting to the end of its bloom period which began in mid-November.

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DSCN8658A clump of early blooming giant snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii, hides in the Japanese holly ferns and hellebores.

Except during the heart of the summer when they are dormant, hardy cyclamen are stars in my garden.  I find their highly variable leaf patterns endlessly fascinating.  For more information on hardy cyclamen, click here.

DSCN8660The last few blooms on fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium, which began blooming at the end of August.

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DSCN8661Spring-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, doesn’t need flowers to attract attention.

Here are some more late fall stars that might surprise you:

DSCN8639‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s wort always takes on this lovely peach color for the winter.

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DSCN8644This new mahonia called ‘Soft Caress’ was given to me by the breeders at the Southern Living Plant Collection to trial in my garden.  It is evergreen, blooms now, and is hardy to zone 7.  For more information, click here.  I have high hopes for it because I have since seen it in two other local gardens.

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DSCN8648This sedum always turns a lovely burgundy in the fall.  Unfortunately, I don’t know its exact name.

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DSCN8651Bigroot geranium, G. macrorrhizum, takes on red and pink tones for the winter.

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DSCN8649‘Black Scallop’ ajuga has quickly become one of my favorite groundcovers because its dark purple leaves remain shiny and beautiful through the winter.

You may be wondering why I would limit myself to one trip outside for photos for this post.  Every article that you read here takes me at least a full day to compose, including the photography, the research, the writing, and the editing.  I wanted to see if I could cut that back to a few hours and still produce a quality product, and I believe I have been largely successful.  It would only work for a post like this though where no significant supporting research was required. 

Enjoy, Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA.  The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  The nursery is closed until spring 2013.  Thanks for a great year.

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.

 

Fall-blooming Hardy Cyclamen

Posted in bulbs for shade, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials, winter interest with tags , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium,  used as a groundcover under Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ 11/13/10.

My last post on hardy begonias sparked such interest and comments that I thought I would profile another unusual star performer for fall.  Like the begonia, I learned about hardy cyclamen at a course I took at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, this one on bulbs in 1995.   And just like the begonia, I couldn’t believe that there was a plant that looked like my florist cyclamen house plant but grew outside and came back every year.  I talked about hardy cyclamen in my post on More Flowering Wintergreen Groundcovers for Shade, but I want to profile it in more detail here and include more photos.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen

There are several species of hardy cyclamen, but the two that are usually available are fall-blooming Cyclamen hederifolium and spring-blooming Cyclamen coum.  I have them both and love them, but if you are just starting out, the fall-blooming variety is much easier to grow.  Cyclamen coum requires the kind of excellent drainage rarely found in mid-Atlantic gardens.  I grow mine most successfully in my rock garden and also less abundantly between tree roots.

Hardy cyclamen begins to bloom in the fall before its leaves re-emerge from summer dormancy.

The life cycle of hardy cyclamen is unusual.  I guess you could say it begins in September when dozens of small pink flowers begin to bloom before the leaves emerge.  Each flower is on a separate 4 ” stem and looks just like a miniature florist cyclamen flower with gorgeous reflexed petals.  The flowers continue to be produced abundantly in succession through out the months of September and October and sometimes for parts of August and November too.  They are said to be fragrant, but I have never noticed a scent.

I would grow hardy cyclamen just for the flowers, but the leaves are spectacular.  They emerge slowly as the flowers are blooming in late September and take several weeks to reach their full size.  “Variable” is an understatement to describe their wonderful shapes, patterns, and colors.  They can be round to lance-shaped, lobed or entire, serrated or smooth edged, dark green to silver.  And the patterns on the leaves are indescribable, I will just have to show you….


Now that you have seen how gorgeous the leaves are, you will be able to truly appreciate another of their wonderful qualities: they stay green and fresh all winter!  The photos above were taken in November but I could just as easily have captured their glory in March.  Instead of going dormant in the winter like most of our plants, hardy cyclamen goes dormant for a few months during the summer.

White hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium ‘Album’

There is a lovely white cultivar of fall-blooming hardy cyclamen called ‘Album’.  Some of mine have pure white flowers and others have white with a pink blotch.  It is just as hardy as the parent species and seeds around my garden readily.

Hardy cyclamen growing between roots at the base of  tree.

Hardy cyclamen is native to western Turkey, eastern Europe, including Albania, Bulgaria, and the Balkans, and southern Europe, including France, Italy, and Greece.  It is  a woodland plant that requires good drainage and shade.  In fact it thrives on summer drought in dry shade.  Although it likes to grow between tree roots and rocks, I have success with it in any shaded eastern facing, dry location.  As you can see from the photo below, my plants seed prolifically and eventually fill in to make a solid mat of groundcover.

Seedlings emerging in a new location across from an established patch with no help from me.  I have a feeling that ants move the seeds around.

Hardy cyclamen grows from a corm, which reportedly can reach the size of a dinner plate when old.  There are growing points all over the top of the corm.  If you try starting the plant this way, plant the corms with no more than 1″ of soil on top plus a very light mulch of leaf litter.  I have never done this because I have read many times that dried corms do not establish well and are often collected from the wild.  I started all my patches from established potted plants and that is how I sell hardy cyclamen at my nursery.  Look for it in my 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue.

The top of corms (about 2 1/2″ wide) of hardy cyclamen with the leaves starting to emerge.  The corms are spherical when younger.

The bottom of the corms—this side down.

The hardiness zone information for hardy cyclamen is inconsistent.  Some sources say USDA zones 7 to 9.  The Missouri Botanical Garden plant finder lists it for zones 5 to 9, while other sources say it grows successfully in upstate NY in zone 4.  You will just have to try it.  For all my UK readers, hardy cyclamen received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Carolyn

P.S.  When I pushed the Publish button, I found out that this is my hundredth post—kind of exciting!!!

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

Specimen Natives for Your Woodland

Posted in bulbs for shade, green gardening, groundcover, landscape design, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Who says our native mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, is not as ornamental as the Asian versions?

This is the last in a three-part series of posts dealing with native plants for mid-Atlantic U.S. gardens.  In the first, Your Native Woodland, I explained how easy it is to create your own native woodland garden by choosing plants that spread aggressively.  In the second, Native Phlox for Your Garden, I profiled some of the wonderful members of the genus Phlox, all native to eastern North America and Pennsylvania in particular.  Here I am going to suggest some superstar native plants to place between the spreaders recommended in the first post.


Double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’, just might be my all time favorite flower, and it thrives in my woodland.

Let’s face it: none of us avid gardeners (and collectors) are going to be happy limiting ourselves to the seven spreading  plants that I recommended in my previous post for colonizing a woodland.  Although the gardening books seem to think we have moist, loamy soil in our woods, we don’t (where do these people garden anyway?).  So what other plants can stand up to the root-filled, dry, rocky, clay soil prevalent in the woods of the mid-Atlantic?  You will be happy to know there are many, and the plants shown below just scratch the surface.  I have personally tested each one, and killed many others, so I know they work.

White trillium, T. grandiflorum, is one of the many native trilliums that thrive in my woodland.


Sweet Betsy, Trillium cuneatum, also does well as do prairie trillium, T. recurvatum, and yellow trillium, T. luteum.  Although I usually do not water my woodland, I find that trilliums benefit from watering in drought conditions.


Dogtooth violet, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, is a hybrid of two North American species.  ‘Pagoda’ seeds around my woodland, and this is one of its seedlings.


The single-flowered bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is quite lovely too.  Both it and ‘Multiplex’, pictured above, have spread into large patches.


Large-flowered bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora, has very unusual yellow flowers.  Shown here with British Columbia wild-ginger, Asarum caudatum, native to the U.S. west coast.



My woodland wouldn’t be complete without mayapples with their beautifully patterned, umbrella-like leaves, incredibly fragrant flowers, and “apples” in May.  However, they do spread quite quickly and are better used as one of the colonizing plants in my first post—give them room.


Every woodland needs lots of ferns!  Pictured here is cinnamon fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, but I also have Christmas, royal, and ostrich ferns in my woods, among others.  In the flood plain down by my creek, ostrich fern has successfully out competed my nemesis, the incredibly invasive, non-native Japanese knotweed.  In drier woods, ostrich fern’s spreading tendencies are kept in check.


Yellow violet, Viola pubescens, spreads almost as well in my woods as the white violet recommended in my woodland post, and you can’t beat the crayon yellow flowers.


Dutchman’s breeches, Dicentra cucullaria, never fails to bring out the child in me with its little pairs of pants swinging in the breeze.


Large camas, Camassis leichtlinii ‘Caerulea’, is native to western North America not the mid-Atlantic, but it does so well in my woodland that I have included it here.  The large clumps of tall blue flowers line the back of the beds.

Foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia, is a star of my woodland garden with its wonderful fragrance, interesting leaves, and red fall color.  There are many cultivars available, and I recommend choosing a spreading form: cultivars in the “River Series” are particularly vigorous.

One of the loveliest native flowers in my woods is rue-anemone, Anemonella thalictroides (photo used with the permission of Arrowhead Alpines).  It looks so dainty, but it is tough as nails and seeds around freely.

There are many forms of rue-anemone, but my favorite is this luminescent single pink.

You can’t go wrong when you add any of these wonderful native plants to your woodland.  They are ‘tried and true’ in mine!

Carolyn

Commenters have asked for photos showing ” sweeping vistas” of my woods.  It is impossible to take this kind of photo in my woodland and capture the effect of the masses of plants because of the trees.  My woods are filled with 10 to 12′ diameter trees—no panoramic views are possible.  The best I could do was go up on the roof and shoot down, but individual plants are not visible, and I am not happy with the result:

Nursery Happenings: The third annual Great Hosta Blowout where you can order beautiful hostas for a bargain basement price is going on now until April 25.  To see the catalogue, click here.  My third Open House Sale, featuring hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums, will take place on Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 3 pm

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.

2012 Winter Interest Plants

Posted in bulbs for shade, Camellias, evergreen, garden to visit, hellebores, landscape design, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Camellia japonica ‘Berenice Boddy’ in full bloom in February in the Cresson garden.

On Friday, February 24, and Monday, February 27, Charles Cresson presented the second annual Winter Interest Plant Seminars for my customers in his beautiful garden located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, US.  I did a post on the seminars last year (to read it click here) and thought I had covered the topic.  However, our very warm winter meant that many different plants were in bloom so I want to show you what we saw.


The weather was cold and rainy on Friday, but participants didn’t let it stop them from enjoying Charles’s presentation.

Monday was warm and sunny which allowed more time for dawdling in the garden.  The snowdrops were a big hit.

The attention to detail in Charles’s garden is amazing.  I thought I would show you some of the “hardscape” features, many of which Charles built himself:


The rock garden with hellebores, Algerian iris, and spring-blooming hardy cyclamen.

Garden shed with the original green roof.

Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, photo by seminar participant Lucretia Robbins.

Charles has a spectacular collection of winter-blooming shrubs, many of which are fragrant.  We were all surprised by which one was the most fragrant at that time of year:


Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta, retains its berries through the winter.



Sweetbox, Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna ‘Purple Stem’, adds the additional feature of ornamental stems to sweetbox’s many desirable attributes.



Bodnant viburnum, V. bodnantense ‘Dawn’, is very fragrant.



Flower of Bodnant viburnum


The adult form of English ivy, Hedera helix ‘Poetica Arborea’, produces beautiful berries but is also considered very invasive.


Camellia x ‘April Tryst’ is blooming early.


I like the male flowers of Japanese skimmia, S. japonica, as much as the berries on the female plants.



Winter daphne, D. odora, is one of my favorite shrubs because of its wonderful fragrance, excellent habit, evergreen leaves, and lovely flowers.


And the winner is….  Yes, Japanese mahonia, M. japonica, was the most fragrant plant in Charles’s garden even with all the excellent competition above.

Winter-blooming herbaceous perennials were also well represented:

The pink flowers and evergreen leaves of heath, Erica x darleyensis ‘Furzey’.

Evergreen heart leaf ginger, Asarum virginicum

Fragrant Algerian iris, I. unguicularis, was a big hit.

Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, photo Lucretia Robbins

A gorgeous anemone-flowered (ruffle around the center of the flower) hybrid hellebore—my favorite type of hellebore flower.

The most evergreen hellebore of them all, bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

Hybrid hellebore with the very robust and extremely fragrant snowdrop ‘Brenda Troyle’.

The tour included a wonderful selection of winter-blooming bulbs, including choice snowdrop cultivars.  Here are just a few:

Seeing this large patch of the very fragrant snowdop ‘S. Arnott’ sent participants back to add it to their purchases for the day.

Spring-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum

The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, multiplies quickly and looks great when massed.

Evergreen leaves of fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium

A single bulb of a rare yellow-flowered cultivar of the species snowdrop, G. woronowii, just sold for $1,145 on UK eBay.

A silver-leafed form of spring-blooming hardy cyclamen.

The species snowdrop Galanthus plicatus has been in cultivation since the 16th century and comes from Russia and Turkey.  It has beautiful leaves with a unique folded (explicative) pattern.

For all of you who couldn’t actually attend Charles’s seminars, I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour.

Carolyn

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens now 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.

Nursery Happenings: The 2012 Hellebore Seminars are sold out.  To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  Snowdrops are still available for pick  up at the nursery, but mail order is closed.

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.

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 Wonder of Nature

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , on February 21, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis

One of the first plants to bloom in my garden is winter aconite.  It usually starts blooming in February and continues into March.  I treasure its cheery yellow flowers with their shiny green collars because they brighten what can otherwise be a cold and dreary time of year.


When my original winter aconite plants got this big, I was thrilled.

Winter aconite is in the buttercup family and is native to Europe.  It is about four inches tall and prefers woodland soil in deciduous shade.  It wants to be cool in the summer but not too dry, and it will not tolerate wet soil.  It grows in zones 3 to 7.  Winter aconite is a bulb (technically a tuberous rhizome) and goes dormant when the weather gets hotter.  Some sources state that it is poisonous to humans, but there have been no reported incidents.  It is deer resistant and black walnut tolerant.


When the patch started to fill in like this one I was ecstatic.

You can order winter aconite as a dried bulb.  It is recommended that the bulbs be soaked overnight to increase success.  Despite soaking, I never got more than one or two bulbs to grow into plants.  I tried several times.  Then a friend of mine gave me some growing plants (thanks Julie!), and my little patch of winter aconite began in earnest.


After several years, my patch looked like this.

Winter aconite naturalizes well once you get the initial plants going.  The best way to spread it is to collect the seeds and sprinkle them where you want them.  If you don’t collect the seeds, they tend to germinate around the base of the mother plant.  My winter aconite has been so successful that, after ten years,  I was able to sell growing plants in my snowdrop catalogue (although next year I need to give the patch a “rest”). 


Winter aconite covers this much ground in my woodland.

Now we get to the “wonder of nature” part.  Right down the street from my plant nursery is a public park owned by Radnor Township (Pennsylvania, US) called Ithan Valley Park.  The property was originally an old Main Line estate.  During the early 1900s, it was owned by the botanist John Evans, and he maintained an arboretum of exotic plants there.  Evidently his collection was amazing, but today few of the original plants remain.


Winter aconite in Ithan Valley Park

At some point John Evans planted winter aconite on his property.  The conditions there proved to be ideal with the cool, moist woodland soil and deciduous shade that winter aconite loves.  Today Ithan Valley Park is covered with sheets of winter aconite every February and March.  There is so much yellow that I think it must be visible from outer space.  It truly is a wonder of nature that I want to share with you.


The winter aconite in the park grows thickly.




Trail entrance, Ithan Valley Park


The stone wall of the old estate is in the background.


To truly appreciate the spectacle, you need to visit in person (I apologize to my non-local readers).  Ithan Valley Park is located at 642 South Ithan Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA  19010, at the intersection of South Ithan and South Roberts Roads.  Time is of the essence because the winter aconite will only be blooming for a few more days.

I am linking this post to the Winter Walk-off 2012, which is a challenge by Les at A Tidewater Garden to share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home.  Every photo in this post was taken at Ithan Valley Park, 8/10 of a mile from my house.

Carolyn

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

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: The 2012 Hellebore Seminars are now available for registration.  The March 19 seminar is sold out, but there are still two spaces on March 16.  To view the brochure, click here.  To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.

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.

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.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Goes International

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The BBC News Magazine was hours away from publication when they emailed to request a photo of me with snowdrops.  My husband and I had a quick photo shoot and this is what we came up with.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled flow of posts on this blog with breaking news.  The owner of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is prominently featured in the BBC News Magazine lead article for February 2 entitled “Snowdrop Fanciers and Their Mania”. 

All kidding aside, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I am in the company of Matt Bishop and John Grimshaw, two of the authors of the “snowdrop bible” Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, and Chris Ireland-Jones, the owner of the famous English snowdrop nursery Avon Bulbs.  You know what a snowdrop fanatic I am so this is the ultimate compliment.  To read the article (I am in the second half), click here.

Second Annual Snowdrops & Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars

Charles Cresson pointing out some of his very unusual snowdrop cultivars to last year’s seminar attendees.

I am very excited that winter interest plant expert and gardener extraordinaire Charles Cresson has agreed once again to give seminars on Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants just for my customers.  The seminars will be limited to 20 people each and will take place in his amazing Swarthmore garden, Hedgleigh Spring.  The brochure telling you the details and how to sign up is here.  If you are a local gardener and interested in attending, I encourage you to email immediately because I expect these seminars to sell out.  For a complete description of the 2011 seminars with many photos, click here.


Since this post is about all things snowdrop, I thought I would show you the first snowdrops to bloom in my garden in 2012:

The very first snowdrop cultivar to open in my garden in 2012: ‘Kite’.  Notice the very long outer segments (petals).


Second to open was Galanthus plicatus ‘Augustus’ with its striking puffy rounded and quilted outer segments.

‘Magnet’ is open and swaying in the breeze on its unusually long and thin flower stems (pedicels).

The double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’ is blooming even though it is usually one of the last snowdrops to open in the middle to end of March.

The aristocratic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, said to resemble the pearl drop earrings of Elizabeth I, is also flowering.

The common snowdrop, G. nivalis, is blooming a few weeks early.  I shot this picture to document the date they opened and had a funny feeling that something wasn’t right.  When I uploaded the photos to the computer I realized the plants in the front have four outer segments instead of three—very interesting.

The giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, has been flowering on and off since November, but this patch just opened this week.

I avidly read the Galanthus threads on the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops.  I highly recommend this forum if you are interested in snowdrops and want to learn more.  The forumists are some of the most knowledgeable galanthophiles around but very welcoming and eager to share their passion.  Several of them commented on the varied markings on the giant snowdrops pictured above which got me outside with my camera to record the marks.  Here is what I found:

Every flower in this collage is the same species, G. elwesii, and yet the green marks on the inner segments are all different, from the small single green mark on the middle  right flower to the mark that looks like a mustache and eyes in the middle of the bottom row.  Although I realize this will not excite most gardeners, at least everyone can see the amazing variety.  And variety is the spice of life.



I have recently been honored with the Versatile Blogger Award by four different blogs, and I want to thank them for the accolade.  I try to make my blog posts varied and yes versatile (able or meant to be used in many different ways), and I am glad that my efforts are appreciated.  I am not following the award rules, but instead letting you know who gave me the award in hopes that you will visit their blogs.  Here are the links and some information to entice you to visit them:

Graphicality–UK:  Helene is a very accomplished author.  You might want to check out her recent post on the book she published with her lovely photos of Kew Gardens.  Her current post talks about US grey squirrels invading Britain.

Green Place:  Sheila is in Chapel Hill, NC, and reflects on spirituality, nature and gardening.  She and I also share a love of Maine islands.

The Amateur Weeder:  For a very different perspective, Lyn gardens in Australia and her blog produces “seedlings from the mind of an inconstant gardener.”  I particularly liked her recent post called Designed by Nature.

Women and the Garden:  Patty writes about “the history of the garden and the various roles women played in that history,” and it is  all absolutely fascinating.  She doesn’t post often, but when she does you don’t want to miss it.  Her latest post is on Pomona, the roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards.

Carolyn

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

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 2/5/12.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.  The Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars are also available for registration here.  The Friday seminar has one space left, and there are three spaces on Monday.  Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. 

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.

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.

April GBBD: How to Choose

Posted in bulbs for shade, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, native plants, Shade Perennials, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Time is just flying by, and we have reached the middle of the month when I encourage each of you to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make early spring an exciting time in your landscape.  Do you need more early flowering trees like magnolias and cherries to give you a reason to stroll in your garden?  Could your garden benefit from flowers that bloom in early April like native spring ephemerals, bulbs, pulmonarias, and hellebores?

Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping this spring you know what you need and where it should go.  It’s beautiful outside, and you never know what you might find hiding in your garden like this ethereal double-flowered hellebore (pictured above), which I discovered during my own  inventory.  Usually I recommend a local garden to visit for inspiration, but I have to say Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is pretty inspiring right now!

Flowering quince, Chaenomeles x superba ‘Texas Scarlet’, with ‘White Lady’ hybrid hellebore

Today is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for April when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  Here are  some more highlights from my mid-April stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, but to see it all you will have to visit as Jean from Jean’s Garden and Jan from Thanks for Today are doing this Sunday.

My early magnolias are in full bloom.  Magnolias are my favorite flowering trees, and I want to share these early-blooming varieties with you:

Northern Japanese Magnolia, Magnolia kobus ‘Wada’s Memory’, has the most beautiful form of any magnolia.  The branches curve upwards to form an elongated pyramid, which is maintained even on mature plants.

‘Wada’s Memory’ flower

Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, blooms so early that it often gets damaged by frost, but amazingly the flowers are magnificent this year.

Star magnolia flowers

I have waited over 15 years for my Yulan magnolia, Magnolia denudata, to bloom, but once I saw mature trees at Longwood Gardens, I had to have one!  It was worth the wait.

My ingenious 13-year-old son used a grappling hook to pull a branch down and clip a Yulan magnolia flower for me to photograph.

There are so many beautiful hellebores in bloom that I made collages of my favorite flowers so that this whole post wasn’t dedicated to hellebores:

Clockwise from upper left: seedling double hybrid hellebore, ‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’, ‘Velvet Lips’ (don’t you love that name?), ‘Painted Bunting’

Clockwise from upper left: seedling petaloid hybrid hellebore, ‘Blue Lady’, Helleborus x nigercors ‘Green Corsican’ (cross between Corsican hellebore and Christmas rose), seedling in ‘Double Melody’ strain

Clockwise from upper left: double from ‘Golden Lotus’ seed strain, ‘Raspberry Mousse’, ‘Goldfinch’, seedling petaloid hybrid hellebore

I could dedicate the whole post to epimediums too so here are more collages:

Clockwise from upper left: ‘Yubae’, Epimedium x rubra, ‘Cherry Tart’, ‘Sweetheart’

Clockwise from upper left: ‘Shrimp Girl’, ‘Orange Queen’, Epimedium x warleyense, ‘Cupreum’

I have a collection of about 15 varieties of European wood anemones, and April is their time to shine.  They are very easy to grow in shaded woodland conditions:

Left to right from upper left: Anemone nemorosa pink form; Anemone x seemanii; ‘Alba Plena’; ‘Leed’s Variety’; ‘Bractiata’; ‘Allenii’; ‘Vestal’; Anemone ranunculoides; ‘Wyatt’s Pink’

European wood anemones spread to form a sizable and eye-catching patch even in dry shade, photo above of the yellow flowers of Anemone ranunculoides.

I want to share so many exciting blooming plants with you that I don’t know how to choose the photographs to include, hence the title of this post.  Here are other plants that made the cut:

Red lungwort, Pulmonaria rubra ‘Redstart’, is a very unusual pulmonaria with green fuzzy leaves.

Winterhazel, Corylopsis species, unfortunately for the first time ever our late freezes damaged most of the flowers.

Obviously not a bloom, but I wanted to show you the early color of native variegated dwarf Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

Native rue anemone, Anemonella thalictroides double pink form

I planted a mixture of daffodils in the middle of my raised beds, and this lovely seedling appeared in the path.

Native cinnamon fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, is gorgeous as it unfurls.

A seedling Helleborus multifidus underplanted with the spring ephemeral  Cardamine quinquefolia.

The many colors of Corydalis solida when allowed to seed.  I am planning an article on this plant in the future.

Who could have planned this combination?  Native coral bells, Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’, with a seedling glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii.

The new leaves and flowers of Japanese coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, are breathtaking in early spring.  For the full story on this four season tree, read my article Coral Bark Maple.

My latest spring-blooming camellia addition, Camellia x ‘April Rose’, a formal double.


For breath-taking beauty in early spring you can’t beat cherry trees:

A very mature Yoshino cherry, Prunus x yedoensis, that came with our property.  I love the fleeting nature of the flowers and look forward to the day every spring when it rains petals in my nursery.  Its orange fall color is spectacular.

My favorite cherry (at least for today), Prunus x incam ‘Okame’, dominates my courtyard garden in early spring.


I will end with a heart full of cherry blossoms because I love early spring!

Please let me know in a comment/reply what flowers are blooming in your early spring garden.  If you participated in GBBD, please provide a link so my nursery customers can read your post.

Carolyn


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.

Nursery Happenings: My second open house sale is this Saturday, April 16, from 10 am to 3 pm, featuring early spring-blooming plants for shade.

2011 Winter Interest Plants

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume

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 Cresson, kneeling to point out plicate leaves on a snowdrop, to seminar attendees.

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 crossed a stone bridge to view the meadow where snow crocus and common and giant snowdrops were massed to be succeeded by daffodils, camassia, and then summer and fall blooming flowers.

A narrow path skirts the pond, which is surrounded on all sides by rock gardens full of unusual plants.

The Bulbs

We saw so many rare and unusual bulbs that I can only include a sampling here.

A rare pale yellow form of winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis

The exquisite buds of the species crocus C. imperati ‘De Jager’

Masses of the rodent resistant and very early blooming snow crocus, Crocus tommasinianus ‘Whitewell Purple’, shadowed by a magnificent Japanese maple.

The very early blooming daffodil Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

A very good form of winter blooming hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen coum

The reticulate iris I. histrioides ‘George’

There were large patches of spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, throughout the garden.

The flower of spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum

We were privileged to see this semi-double form of spring snowflake,  which Charles has named  Leucojum vernum ‘Gertrude Wister’ and registered with the Dutch bulb authority.

The Snowdrops

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.

Clockwise from upper left: G. elwesii var. monostichus, G. ikariae, ‘Jaquenetta’, ‘Straffan’, G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus, ‘Dionysus’

Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’, confused in the trade but still quite lovely

Galanthus plicatus subsp. byzantinus Cresson GardenThe elegant pleated leaves and plump flowers of Galanthus plicatus subsp. byzantinus

The beautiful shiny green leaves of Galanthus woronowii

There were drifts of Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’, called the ‘desert island snowdrop’ because it is the one cultivar many galanthophiles would choose if they were limited to one.

The Perennials

A very rare perennial for shade Amur adonis, A. amurensis ‘Fukuju Kai’

Helleborus niger double form Cresson gardenA semi-double form of Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, which I have only seen at Hedgleigh Spring

The Algerian iris, I. unguicularis, blooming in early March with a beautiful fragrance

The Shrubs

Koehne holly, Ilex x koehneana, looking as fresh and beautiful as it did in the fall

Camellia japonica ‘Spring’s Promise’ was one of several very early spring-blooming camellias that we saw.

Grape holly, Mahonia x media ‘Arthur Menzies’

A highlight for me were the buds on this paperbush, Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Snow Cream’, which look like the tassels on Victorian cushions

Hybrid witch hazels, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ and ‘Moonlight’

I hope you have enjoyed your virtual seminar.  Please let me know in a comment/reply what your favorite winter interest plant is.

Carolyn

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.

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.

Are Snowdrops Thermogenic?

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus ‘Dionysus’, a Greatorex double

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The 2014 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.

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Snowdrops are some of the earliest blooming flowers in my garden, often popping up through the snow, hence their name.  We all love them for that, but how do they do it?  I have been told several times that they are thermogenic, that is,  that they produce their own heat, and decided to do some scientific research to find out (it can’t all be about pretty photos).

Common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and “spring-blooming” hardy cyclamen ‘Rose’, Cyclamen coum ‘Rose’, in my rock garden

Over 200 years ago, French biologist, Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck, noticed that some flowers produce their own heat.  Since then, scientists have confirmed that some plants can, in fact, generate their own heat, a process known as thermogenesis, previously thought to be limited to mammals, birds, and some flying insects.  These plants are “warm-blooded”.

Holes in the snow produced by eastern skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, performing thermogenesis, photo Robert Klips

The poster child for thermogenesis is the eastern skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, which is native to most of eastern North America.  Its flower, pictured below (courtesy of Robert Klips, Ohioense: Bob’s Brain on Botany, March 8, 2010), heats up to melt the snow producing little circles all over the woods in late winter.  It does this primarily to generate and disperse its floral scent to attract pollinators.  In this case, the scent is rotten meat and the pollinators are flies and beetles.  Secondarily, it rewards the insects by providing them with energy directly as heat rather than indirectly as nectar and pollen.

Eastern skunk cabbage blooming through the snow, photo Robert Klips

This is no small feat.  Skunk cabbage flowers can heat up to 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) when the ambient temperature is 5 degrees F (-15 degrees C).  They can also thermoregulate, adjust their temperature, to maintain a constant setting as the ambient temperature changes.  If the outside temperature gets too low, they will switch off their heat entirely until things warm up.  They also switch off the heat once they have been pollinated.

Eastern skunk cabbage peeking out of its snow cave, photo Robert Klips

To perform thermogenesis, skunk cabbage uses as much metabolic energy as a small rodent or a hummingbird and employs a unique respiratory process, which is more similar to animal metabolism than plant metabolism though biochemical rather than nervous system based.   The exact nature of this process is unknown.  For those of you with a scientific bent, I have included a graph below taken from  a scholarly treatise on the subject, Temperature Regulation by Thermogenic Flowers (Plant Physiology Online, Sept. 2006).

Graph of oxygen consumption and heat production by skunk cabbage in various ambient temperatures

But, now that you understand thermogenesis, back to the question at hand: are snowdrops thermogenic?  The short answer is I don’t know.  Various sources say that they are, but the statements seem to be based on hearsay.  I could find no scientific studies backing them up.  I posted the question on the Pacific Bulb Society forum, the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum, and to friends at Longwood Gardens, and no one could confirm that snowdrops are thermogenic.  So I present my own “scientific study” of the process.

February 21, 2010, at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, three tiny islands are appearing in the snow

As you know from my previous post, The Joys and Sorrows of Snow, we had record snowfall during the winter of 2009-2010.  By February, my whole garden was covered by a deep, thick, hard layer of snow.  Looking out on the landscape in the photo above, there was absolutely no melting going on except in three small areas.  What is happening in those little circles?  Let’s look closer:

Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, melting through the snow


And even closer:

Giant snowdrop blooming in February after melting through the snow pack

My observations prove nothing scientific, but they do indicate that something is going on.  And I like to think that one of my favorite plants, snowdrops, which inspire such intense interest in many gardeners, also produce their own internal excitement.

For my previous articles on snowdrops, click here and here.


Please let me know in a comment/reply if you have any knowledge or personal experience with snowdrops being thermogenic.

Carolyn


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.), click here.

Nursery Happenings: I am currently accepting orders for snowdrops, including  mail orders.  For the 2011 Snowdrop Catalogue and order information, click here.  I am also taking reservations for Charles Cresson’s Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants Seminars.  For the brochure and registration information, click here.

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