Archive for the winter Category

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.

Hellebore Leaves

Posted in hellebores, How to, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ first sale of the year, our Hellebore Extravaganza, will be Saturday, March 29, 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.

Helleborus 'Ballerina Ruffles'This beautiful, newly introduced double hellebore called ‘Ballerina Ruffles’ will be available at the hellebore sale on March 29.

One certain sign of spring at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is when I start getting calls and emails about hellebore leaves.  Since so many of my customers have questions about this, I thought I would write a quick post on the subject.  For a longer post with a detailed explanation of hellebore maintenance as applied to the various types of hellebores you might have in your garden, please read Cutting Back Hellebores.

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DSCN3715Sweet box (Sarcococca) is a true evergreen shrub and still looks beautiful after our hard winter.

The question I get from my customers this time of year is: “What’s wrong with my hellebores, the leaves look terrible?”  The answer is that although hellebores are often called evergreen, they are actually an herbaceous perennial and lose their foliage every year just like a peony or a coneflower.  Unlike a peony, hellebore leaves last through most of the winter adding ornamental interest to the winter garden.  Hellebore foliage is winter green not evergreen.  Eventually the leaves fade and are replaced with fresh new growth.

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DSCN3713-001A typical hellebore in my garden right now.

In mild winters, hellebore leaves will still look fresh and green in March.  But in harsh winters like the one we just experienced, hellebore foliage will look like the photo above.  No matter what the leaves look like though, you should cut them off at the base in late winter before the flowers start to emerge.  I usually recommend mid-February but that was impossible this year.  I am cutting them back now as they emerge from the snow.  I want to get the job done before the new flower stems mingle with the old leaf stems.  If that happens it is hard to remove the leaves without unintentionally chopping off flowers.

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DSCN3710Just trace the leaf back to the base of the plant and cut it off.

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DSCN3727A close up of the base of the plant with the old leaves and the new buds.

So the answer is there is nothing wrong with your hellebores.  Despite the awful winter and frigid temperatures, they will bloom as beautifully as ever.  They just need a little maintenance.  But before you get chopping, please read the more detailed directions in Cutting Back Hellebores.

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DSCN3711As soon as the snow melted, snow crocuses burst into bloom, a sure sign of spring.
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DSCN3723Snowdrops are equally as determined to get blooming and have been covered with honeybees on warmer days.

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 as early as next week.  Although it is supposed to go down to 20 degrees tonight, the ten-day forecast predicts warmer weather.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our first open house sale featuring a huge variety of hellebores is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers will get an email with details.

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.

The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College

Posted in container gardening, evergreen, garden to visit, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , on February 15, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Seminars have been rescheduled to March 2 & 4.  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 early March.  Customers with questions should email me at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Mahonia x media 'Charity'A gorgeous specimen of the mahonia ‘Charity’ in full bloom in front of the Scott Arboretum offices.

Every year since I started this blog I have chosen a mid-Atlantic U.S. garden to profile through the seasons.  In 2011 I covered Chanticleer, in 2012 Longwood Gardens, and in 2013 Winterthur.  You can click on the name of the garden to access the last post in each series.  This year I have selected the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 3-23-03 PMCunningham House, the Scott Arboretum offices and library, is the former college observatory and was named for Swarthmore’s first astronomer, Susan Cunningham.

I have been visiting the Scott Arboretum on a regular basis for over 20 years and have been very impressed with their use of plants through out the Swarthmore campus, which is beautiful in its own right.  Cutting edge is an overused term, but I usually see newly introduced plants at Scott first and always displayed in unique and beautiful settings with excellent labels.  In addition, admission to the arboretum is free, and parking is available next to Cunningham House.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-13-41 PMThe Cunningham House entrance is flanked by ‘Charity’ mahonia.

My first visit to Scott for this series took place at the beginning of December.  The arboretum has always been very good at highlighting winter interest plants, and I wanted to see what would be peaking in the “off season”.  The answer is plenty, and I had a hard time selecting photos to use here.  I am glad that I visited then because ever since my visit we have had ice and snow and freezing temperatures.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-16-04 PMThe courtyard in front of Cunningham House is packed with containers planted for winter interest.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-19-37 PM.

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-16-56 PMAttention to detail is shown with this creative use of pine cones as mulch in another winter container.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-29-27 PMThe back of Cunningham House is as interesting as the front, and the gardens there should not be missed.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-30-02 PMA shady pergola behind Cunningham House, much appreciated in summer. 

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-27-18 PM.

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-28-32 PMThis close up of the pond shows that it was quite cold that day.

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Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' & Helleborus x hybridusThe evergreen leaves of Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ and hybrid hellbores both look great in the winter.

Although the plantings around Cunningham House are lovely, the Scott Arboretum encompasses the whole 425 acre campus of Swarthmore College.  The college was founded in 1864 by Quakers and is one of the oldest coeducational colleges in the U.S.  It is a small and highly ranked liberal arts college with a current enrollment of around 1,500 students.  On future visits, I hope to show the full diversity of the arboretum, but during this visit I stuck to the center of campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-34-58 PMA beautiful allée of trees extends gracefully from the center of campus towards the village of Swarthmore below.

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Parrish HallParrish Hall, named after the first president of the college.

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Parrish Hall, Swarthmore CollegeAnother view of Parrish Hall.  Every building on campus is surrounded by beautiful plantings.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-38-10 PMA typical scene from the campus where dried hydrangeas, winterberry, and a variety of evergreens enhance the setting.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides & Arum italicumAnother allée, this time of dawn redwoods underplanted with Italian arum.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-41-47 PMA close up of this beautiful combination. 

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Betula nigra 'Heritage'‘Heritage’ river birch

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Betula nigra 'Dura Heat'A close up of the wonderful bark of another river birch called ‘Dura Heat’.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-57-38 PM Containers planted for winter interest are found through out the campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 3-07-19 PMAll types of ornamental interest are represented from bark to evergreen leaves to berries, here winterberry holly.

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Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold'‘Winter Gold’ winterberry holly

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Photinia serrulata, Chinese photiniaChinese photinia, P. serrulata

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Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana, Korean stewartiaKorean stewartia

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-51-27 PMThe Scott Arboretum was one of the first public gardens to try the shrub edgeworthia, E. chrysantha, and there are several beautiful specimens on the campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-47-32 PMPerennials are not neglected, here a gorgeous yucca.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-48-21 PMA great combination of evergreen gold-leafed yucca and ornamental grasses.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-58-20 PMA great way to use this aggressively spreading, evergreen bamboo.

This is just a small sampling of the winter delights that await you at the Scott Arboretum.  If you are local, I highly encourage you to join the arboretum so you can attend all their horticultural events.  These range from staff led tours of the arboretum during all seasons, an excellent biennial plant sale with very hard-to-find offerings, smaller talks featuring garden travels through out the U.S. and the world, lectures by well known national and international horticulturists, garden tours, classes, and much more.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar click hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in late February or 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.

Top 25 Snowdrop Plants Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar is available for registration here.  The Friday February 21 session has a few spaces left and the Monday Februaury 24 session has plenty of room.  The 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 late February or early March.    Customers with questions should email the nursery at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Galanthus 'Walrus' CadwaladerNumber 12: ‘Walrus’, a very striking double common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) with narrow green outer segments arching like the tusks of a walrus and very green and regular inner segments forming a rosette, selected in the 1960s.

In Part One of this post, I explained that although the basic ornamental characteristics making up snowdrop plants may seem limited, over 1,000 cultivars (some say as many as 1,500) have been selected.  For gardeners who are just starting to add snowdrops to their collection, the choices can seem daunting.  However, a recent survey conducted by Avon Bulbs, the well-respected British snowdrop nursery, can help with the process.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Walrus'‘Walrus’ looks very pretty from the top, and it is easy to see the ‘tusks’ that give it its name.

During the 2012 and 2013 snowdrop season, Avon Bulbs asked its customers from all over the European Union to choose their three favorite snowdrops.  Avon then produced a ranking of its customers’ 25 favorite snowdrop plants.   In Part One of this post, which you can read here, I profiled Numbers 13 through 25 and provided a photo or  link to a photo for each plant.  In this post, I will show you the top 12 snowdrops.

Note: When I don’t have my own photo, I have linked to photos provided on the wonderful website Judy’s Snowdrops, which I highly recommend as a source for snowdrop information.

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Number 11:  ‘South Hayes’, first seen in 1992 in Primrose Warburg’s garden and probably a seedling of ‘Trym’ (number 3), one of the most sought after snowdrop bulbs for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings, for photos click here.

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Number 10:  ‘John Gray’, a beautifully marked, full and perfect flower hung on a graceful, long arching pedicel (flower stem), first offered for sale in 1967, for photos click here.   It is interesting to note that the snowdrop “bible”, Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al., first published in 2001, says the following about ‘John Gray':

There can be no doubt that a survey of galanthophiles’ favourite snowdrops would place ‘John Gray’ in the top ten, a position it would maintain among the current wide range of cultivars despite its age.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'Number 9: ‘Atkinsii’, an early-blooming and quite vigorous hybrid with large, robust flowers sporting a heart-shaped marking on the inner segment, originated in the 1860s.  Available CSG.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A close up of ‘Atkinsii’, which Snowdrops says has “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I.”

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Number 8: ‘Three Ships’, an early flowering Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus) with lovely rounded, well-proportioned flowers displaying a wonderful puckered texture on the outer segments, found in 1984, for photos click here.

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Galanthus 'Augustus' CadwaladerNumber 7:  ‘Augustus’, the plump, well-rounded flowers with great texture are set off perfectly by the lovely pleated leaves of a Crimean snowdrop for an overall great presentation, named prior to 1976. 

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Galanthus plicatus 'Augustus'A close up of ‘Augustus’ showing its elegant textured petals and large inner mark.

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Number 6: ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, an early-flowering giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) combining all the fine characteristics of a classic snowdrop, frequently mentioned as a favorite on garden blogs, for photos click here.

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Galanhtus 'Wendy's Gold' 1 entranceNumber 5: ‘Wendy’s Gold’, a Crimean snowdrop (G. plicatus) cultivar with beautiful yellow markings on the ovary and inner segments.  Available CSG 2013.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold'Alan Street from Avon Bulbs sent me this photo of a clump of ‘Wendy’s Gold’, saying that mine would look like this some day!

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Galanthus 'Diggory' Number 4: ‘Diggory’, a snowdrop I would recognize anywhere for its squared-off pear-shaped flowers, heavily quilted texture, and large green inner mark. 

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Galanthus  plicatus 'Diggory'This clump of ‘Diggory’ shows its unique look and the pleated leaves characteristic of a Crimean snowdrop.

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Number 3: ‘Trym’, the first snowdrop selected for the combination of its unique pagoda-like shape and large marks on the outer segments, it is obviously still very popular even though other snowdrops like its descendant ‘South Hayes’ now exhibit this form, for photos click here.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'Number 2:  ‘Magnet’, a very vigorous classic snowdrop selected in the 1880s with a long and slender pedicel allowing the flower to sway in the slightest breeze.  Available CSG. 

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Galanthus 'Magnet'A close up of ‘Magnet’ showing its arching pedicel.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Number 1:  ‘S. Arnott’, large rounded, sweetly scented flowers with a heart-shaped green marking on the inner segment.  Available CSG.  The book Snowdrops has this to say about ‘S. Arnott':

In fifty years time it will be interesting to see which of the newer snowdrops described in these pages will still be going strong, having established a reputation as a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone.  Such is this classic snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'‘S. Arnott’ displays its “unquestionable constitution”.

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It is interesting to note that six of the twelve top ranked snowdrops are descended from the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus.  And seven of the top twelve display what I would call a traditional snowdrop look with nothing “newfangled” about them.  As with numbers 13 through 25, the top twelve ranked snowdrop bulbs show that, in the long run, classic and vigorous garden plants are more highly valued by knowledgeable collectors than the latest hot snowdrop off eBay.  I find this refreshing in a horticultural world that often seems to discount the tried and true in favor of the latest fad.

Carolyn

If you are looking for more information on snowdrops, I highly recommend the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum galanthus thread where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops, click here.

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Nursery Happenings: To register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar click hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in late February or 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.

Top 25 Snowdrop Plants Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: The 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 late February or early March.  Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar is available for registration here.  Customers with questions should email the nursery at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'Number 25: ‘Blewbury Tart’, for a profile of this wonderful double snowdrop selected by Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, click here.  Available CSG.

Snowdrops plants generally feature a little white flower with green marks on the inner segments (petals).  Sometimes the marks are yellow or nonexistent or on the outside and inside, sometimes the flower is mostly green, and sometimes the flower is double or spiky or otherwise aberrant.  The leaves can be gray-green or bright green or pleated.  Although that is definitely an oversimplification, from those few characteristics, sharp eyed galanthophiles have selected and named over 1,000 cultivars of snowdrop plants, some say as many as 1,500.

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Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle' Cresson gardenNumber 24: ‘Brenda Troyle’, a vigorous older variety from the 1930s grown for its cupped outer segments and strong honey fragrance, profiled here.  Available CSG.

Many people believe, myself included, that there are way too many named snowdrop cultivars, and a lot of them are virtually indistinguishable.  But ‘it is what it is’ as the saying goes, and collectors just have to deal with the plethora of choices.  However, making choices just became a whole lot easier for me when I discovered that the well-respected British snowdrop nursery Avon Bulbs conducted a survey among its customers to rank their 25 favorite snowdrops.  Alan Street from Avon has graciously allowed me to use the survey.  I want to thank Julian Wormald at the Welsh blog thegardenimpressionists for giving me the idea for this post.

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Number 23:  ‘Mrs. Thompson’, selected in the 1950s, produces desirable mutations often with 5 outer segments, for photos click here.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Number 22:  Galanthus nivalis, a straight species, the common snowdrop is a great naturalizer, profiled here.  Available CSG.

Snowdrop plants are covered by CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.  CITES prevents shipment of snowdrop bulbs over international borders without expensive and time-consuming permitting.  CITES has curtailed the availability of a wide range of snowdrop plants in the U.S.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is working to increase the choices, and I have added “available CSG” to indicate which plants from the Avon ranking we sell or have sold (although many are sold out).  Unlike U.S. galanthophiles, Avon’s customers throughout the European Union have access to the full range of snowdrop bulbs available, both through purchase from bulb companies and by trading with fellow enthusiasts.

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Galanthus 'Straffan' by Jonathan ShawNumber 21: ‘Straffan’, an indestructible Irish snowdrop selected in the late 1800s and the third oldest snowdrop still being sold, photo Jonathan Shaw.  Available CSG.

Avon asked all their customers ordering in 2012 and 2013 to pick their top three snowdrops.  From their answers, Avon compiled a weighted ranking of the top 25 choices.  The snowdrop plants that made the list all have beautiful and sometimes unusual flowers.  However, it is clear from the list that Avon’s customers valued vigorous garden plants, no matter how long they have been around, over the newest and most sought after cultivars.  In this post I will profile Numbers 13 through 25, providing a short description and a photo (or a link to a photo on the wonderful website Judy’s Snowdrops).  In the next post, I will cover 1 through 12.

.Galanthus 'Hippolyta' photo Paddy TobinNumber 20: ‘Hippolyta’, a lovely Greatorex double snowdrop selected in the first half of the 20th century.  Available CSG.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Anglesey Abbey'Number 19:  ‘Anglesey Abbey’, a highly variable form, sometimes almost pure white with the inner and outer segments the same length (poculiform).

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Number 18: ‘Robin Hood’, first mentioned in 1891, large flowers with an X-shaped mark, for a photo click here.

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Galanthus gracilisNumber 17: Galanthus gracilis, a species snowdrop with unusual twisted leaves and elegant markings on the flower.  Available CSG 2013.

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Galanthus 'Merlin' in Cresson gardenNumber 16: ‘Merlin’, an old variety from the 1890s with a solid green inner mark.

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Number 15: ‘Cowhouse Green’, lovely virescent (greenish) snowdrop with a pale green wash on the outer segments, for photos click here.

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Number 14: ‘Colossus’, a very early flowering form of the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus, with large flowers and beautiful dark green, pleated, glaucous leaves, for photos click here.

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Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'Number 13:  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, an elegant double snowdrop that multiplies quickly, named in the 1980s but distributed since the 1950s.  Available CSG.

Although it is entertaining to read about single snowdrop bulbs selling for almost $1,200 on eBay, it is nice to know that when it comes right down to it, gardeners value the tried and true plants that have withstood the test of time.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: We are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in late February or March, from the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  To register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar 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.

The Sochi Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: The 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 late February or early March.  Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar is available for registration here.

Galanthus woronowii Cresson GardenGalanthus woronowii

The over 1,000 types of cultivated snowdrops all originated from just 20 snowdrop species found in the wild and making up the genus Galanthus. This post is the second in a series of posts profiling the important  snowdrop species, which are all great garden plants in their own right. 

In the first post I discussed the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and you can read that post by clicking here.  I have written a lot of other articles about snowdrops, covering among other topics their ornamental characteristics, fascinating history, the importance of provenance, and profiling many cultivars.  For links to all my previous snowdrop posts, click here.  In this post, I will discuss G. woronowii.

Much of the information in this post comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al. (Griffin Press 2006) which is absolutely indispensable if you are researching or collecting snowdrops.  I have also used documents produced by Kew Gardens and the Tbilisi Botanical Garden in the Country of Georgia.

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Galanthus woronowii Cresson GardenGalanthus woronowii

Although a few sources have randomly assigned the common names green snowdrop, Russian snowdrop, and Woronow’s snowdrop to G. woronowii, it really has no regularly used common name.  So why am I calling it the Sochi snowdrop?  Because in the early 20th century, Russian botanist A.S. Losina-Losinskaya collected a new species of snowdrop in southern Russia around Sochi on the eastern shore of the Black Sea.  In 1935, he named these snowdrops Galanthus woronowii in honor of Georg Jurii Nikolaewitch Woronow (1874-1931).  Several sources confirm that G. woronowii is still abundant in the mountains and forests above Sochi, the resort town on the Black Sea where Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics beginning February 7.

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G. woronowii CressonG. woronwii‘s glossy, bright green leaves sparkle in the rain.

G. woronowii is found in northeastern Turkey, Georgia, and southern Russia mainly around the eastern part of the Black Sea.  For a map of its range, click here for a report by Georgia’s Tbilisi Botanical Garden.  It grows in an extraordinary variety of habitats from deciduous and even evergreen woods to rocky slopes, cliff ledges, and river banks.  It thrives in both shallow rocky soil and deep organic loam in areas with cold winters and abundant precipitation.  According to Kew Gardens, Georgia harvests 15 million G. woronowii bulbs every year for export to the western European horticultural trade.  Kew along with Tbilisi and the CITES* authorities have been monitoring this harvest from wild populations and cultivated sites, click here.

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which covers snowdrops.

.Galanthus woronowiiG. woronowii flower showing the small mark on the inner segment

G. woronowii is grown for its beautiful, glossy green leaves and lovely white flowers.  It is the only commonly available snowdrop to have bright green leaves as opposed to the blue-gray leaves of the other common species.  The leaves persist longer than other snowdrop foliage and form a lovely but temporary, thick and attractive groundcover.  The flowers, which have a small green mark covering one third or less of the inner segments, are the last snowdrops to bloom in my garden in late March and early April.  I really appreciate the way they extend the end of the snowdrop season. 

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Galanthus woronowiiThe fold in the center of the leaf is clearly visible in this photo.

The identification of G. woronowii is confused in the horticultural trade where it is often called G. ikariae, a much less common snowdrop from the Aegean Islands of Greece.  However, while G. woronowii has light, glossy green leaves folded in the center and a small green mark on the flower, G. ikariae has dark, matt green leaves and a mark covering more than half the inner segment.  I have been told that all the G. ikariae sold in the U.S. is actually G. woronowii.

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Galanthus woronowiiClose up of G. woronowii flower.  I always recognize G. woronowii by the pollen glowing through the top half of the translucent white inner segments, although I don’t know if this is unique.

Unlike the other three more common snowdrop species, G. nivalis, G. elwesii, and G. plicatus, not many cultivated plants have been selected from G. woronowii, possibly because it only became available in large numbers in the 1990s.  Snowdrops lists only ‘Green Flash’ selected for its green marks on its outer as well as its inner segments.  Other sources add ‘Cider with Rosie’, ‘Green Woodpecker’, and ‘Boschhoeve’, all with green marks on their outers. 

Nevertheless, a cultivar of G. woronowii has caused more excitement than any other snowdrop when, on February 16, 2012, one bulb sold for 725 pounds ($1,185) on eBay, surpassing the previous record of around 360 pounds ($508).  G. woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ appeared as a seedling in a Scottish garden and is named after the owner.  It is considered so special because instead of the usual green ovary (the “cap” to which the petals are attached) and segment marks, ‘Elizabeth Harrison’s’ are an intense yellow, looking beautiful with the bright green leaves.  For the U.K. Telegraph story on ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ and a photo, click here; for today’s story in the Telegraph about another snowdrop, ‘Humpty Dumpty’, reaching 195 pounds, click here

I won’t be adding ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ to my collection anytime soon, but I do treasure the patch of G. woronowii in my garden.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: We are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in late February or March, from the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  To register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar 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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