Archive for miniature hostas

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be open on Saturday, May 31, from 10 am to 2 pm.  Our final big spring sale, featuring summer and fall blooming shade plants and miniature hostas, is scheduled for Saturday, June 7,  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.  Our 2014 Miniature Hosta Catalogue is now on line, click here.  It lists all the wonderful little hostas that are available for pick up at the nursery and by mail.  Local customers are encouraged to pre-order.

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Miniature hosta collageClockwise from upper left: flowers of ‘Lemon Frost’, ‘Neutrino’, ‘Chartreuse Wiggles’, ‘Thumbelina’, and ‘Feather Boa’.

My last post called New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014 highlighted four new additions to our extensive offerings of miniature hostas.  In that post I talked about ‘Alakazaam’, ‘Baby Booties’, ‘Cherish’, and ‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’.  To see the photos and descriptions, click here.  This post will add five more profiles of cute little hostas that you will want to add to your containers and gardens.

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Hosta 'Fether Boa'‘Feather Boa’ is extremely useful because it grows rapidly to form a dense groundcover of bright gold leaves.  It is 11″ tall by 27″ wide, and its leaves are 3 3/4″ long by 2″ wide.  The narrow gold foliage with very wavy margins is topped by attractive purple flowers in July.

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Hosta 'Thumbelina'‘Thumbelina’  departs from the usual color scheme to give us a very cute bright green and gold mini with wavy, heart-shaped leaves and a wide yellow margin .  It is 10″ tall by 24″ wide, and its leaves are 4″ long by 3″ wide.  It has medium purple flowers in July and forms a small, dense rounded mound, great specimen!

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Hosta 'Chartreuse Wiggles'‘Chartreuse Wiggles has glossy, bright gold, very narrow and heavily rippled leaves that really stand out in the garden.  It is 10″ high by 25″ wide, and its leaves are 5 1/2″ long by 1″ wide.  Pale purple flowers appear in August.  It forms a low dense mound, making an excellent specimen, edger, or groundcover.

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Hosta 'Neutrino'‘Neutrino’  is another mini hosta that really stands out.  The bright green, pointy leaves have a wide white margin that streaks into the center.  It forms a  5″ tall by 16″ wide neat but dense mound.  Its leaves are 2 3/4″ long by 1 3/4″ wide topped by medium purple flowers in July.  It is a tiny plant, a seedling of H. venusta.

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Hosta 'Lemon Frost' ‘Lemon Frost’  features a very unusual color combination of light chartreuse leaves with a pure white margin.  It is 10″ tall by 24″ wide, and its leaves are 3 1/2″ long by 1 1/2″ wide.  The gorgeous, dark purple striped flowers appear in July (next photo).  It is very fast growing and useful as a variegated ground cover or edging plant.

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Hosta 'Lemon Frost'The buds of ‘Lemon Frost’ are a desirable dark purple, and the flowers are striped—a hosta I would grow for its flowers!

There may be a third post in this series with a few more new additions.  Meanwhile, if you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 1

New Mice for 2014

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The 2014 Miniature Hosta Availability for mail order and pick up at the nursery is here.   Our next open hours are Saturday, May 31, from 10 am to 2 pm.  Our final big spring sale, featuring miniature hostas and summer and fall blooming shade plants is Saturday, June 7, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on our list have gotten an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ Memorial Weekend open hours are scheduled for Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24,  from 10 am to 2 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.  Our 2014 Miniature Hosta Catalogue is now on line, click here.  It lists all the wonderful little hostas that will be available at the nursery and by mail.  Local customers are encouraged to pre-order.

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Miniature Hostas 20141Clockwise from upper left: ‘Lemon Frost’, ‘Alakazaam’, ‘Baby Booties’, ‘Neutrino’, ‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’, ‘Curly Fries’, ‘Thumbelina’, and ‘Cherish’.

My last post called New Mice for 2014 profiled the new additions to the adorable Mouse Ears Series of miniature hostas.  In that post I talked about ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’, ‘Mouse Cheese’, ‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’, and ‘Church Mouse’.  To see the photos and descriptions, click here.  I extolled the virtues of their round, rubbery slug-repelling leaves in beautiful colors, their symmetrical habit, and their lovely proportional flowers.

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Hosta  'Alakazaam'‘Alakazaam’ planted in the knot hole of a tree.

I have added a lot of new miniature and small hostas that are not mice to my offerings, and I want to profile a few of them here.  But first I would like to answer the question what is a miniature hosta?  The American Hosta Society defines miniature hostas by their leaf size.  The leaf blade area, length x width, can be no greater than 6 square inches.  Clump spread is irrelevant.  Therefore, some of the hostas listed below are not technically “miniature”, but they are all little! 

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Hosta 'Alakazaam'‘Alakazaam’s’  unusual spiky habit makes it stand out from the crowd no matter where you place it.  It forms a clump 5″ tall by 10″ wide, and its leaves are 6 1/2″ long and 3/4″ wide.  They are bright green with gold ruffled margins changing to creamy white.

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Hosta 'Baby Booties'‘Baby Booties’  departs from the usual gold and blue color scheme to give us a very cute green and white mini with oval leaves and a wide creamy white margin .  It forms a 5″ tall by 19″ wide compact mound, and its oval leaves are 2 3/4″ long by 1 3/8″ wide.

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Hosta 'Cherish'‘Cherish’  is an adorable tiny hosta, “child” of the wonderful ‘Baby Bunting’, with heart-shaped creamy yellow leaves and a wide blue margin streaking into the center.  It has pixie-like, tiny flowers that are coming into bloom right now. It is 8″ tall by 12″ wide, and its leaves are 2 1/2 ” long by 1 1/2″ wide.  It needs more sun due to its extensive variegation.

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Hosta 'Kiwi Golden Thimble'‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’ is my most popular new mini hosta.  Its unusual gold color and narrow, cupped leaves really stand out.  Plus it rapidly produces an adorable mound of golden foliage.  It is 5″ tall by 18″ wide, and its leaves are 2 3/4″ long by 1 1/4″ wide.

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Look for another post on four more new additions.  If you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

New Mice for 2014

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The 2014 Miniature Hosta Availability for mail order and pick up at the nursery is here.   Our Memorial Weekend open hours are Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24 from 10 am to 2 pm.  Customers on our list have gotten an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

New Mice for 2014

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Customers can still order $10 hostas in the Great Hosta Blowout until May 8 (email for availability).  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ fourth spring sale featuring hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums is scheduled for Saturday, May 17,  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.  Our 2014 Miniature Hosta Catalogue is now on line, click here.  It lists all the wonderful little hostas that will be available at the nursery and by mail.  Local customers are encouraged to pre-order.

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Mouse Ears HostasClockwise from upper left: ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, ‘Green Mouse Ears’, and ‘Mighty Mouse’.

In 2012, I wrote a very popular post called I Love Mice about little hostas in the Mouse Ears Series.  In that post I talked about ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’, ‘Green Mouse Ears’, ‘Mighty Mouse’, and the little hosta that started it all, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.  I extolled the virtues of their round, rubbery slug-repelling leaves in beautiful colors, their symmetrical habit, and their lovely proportional flowers.  Since then some new mice have arrived on the seen, and I want to introduce them to you.

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Hosta 'Sunny Mouse Ears'‘Sunny Mouse Ears’ is tiny and adorable in a new color for mouse ears minis.

It was just a matter of time before someone selected a gold-leafed mouse ears hosta, and ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’  is it thanks to the breeders at Land of the Giants Hosta Farm.  It has tiny, perfectly round leaves 1 3/4″ long by 1 3/4″ wide.  It forms a mound 3″ tall by 10″ wide.  ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’ is the first gold-leafed cultivar in the Mouse Ears series, although there is another described below.  It has the same thick substance that repels slugs and the same enchanting, pixie-like pale purple flowers in July as the rest of the mouse ears clan.

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Hosta 'Ruffled Mouse Ears'Hosta ‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’ in the foreground contrasts nicely with the rounded shape of most of the other mouse ears hostas, here ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in the background.

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Hosta 'Ruffled Mouse Ears'A close up of ‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’

‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’ is another new addition to the group.  It has blue-green leaves 2 3/4″ long by 2 1/2″ wide with highly ruffled margins.  Although it has the same rounded, thick, rubbery, slug resistant leaves as its parent ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, its rippled and frilled margins provide a great contrast to the other mouse ears hostas.  ‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’ forms a mound 6″ high by 14″ wide and has the same desirable flowers.

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Hosta 'Mouse Cheese'‘Mouse Cheese’ is definitely a clever name for this gold-leafed mouse ears hosta.

‘Mouse Cheese’ is the other new gold-leafed mouse ears hosta available this year.  At 2 3/4″long by 2 1/2″ wide, its leaves are larger and not as round, but they are  bright gold with the same thick texture as the other mice we have come to love.  ‘Mouse Cheese’ forms a slightly larger mound 4″ tall and 12″ wide.  It has very cute pale purple flowers in July and  retains its gold leaf color all season.

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Hosta 'Church Mouse'The texture of Hosta ‘Church Mouse’ stands out in a mixed planting.  Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens.

‘Church Mouse’, the last of the four new mouse ears hostas, has very blue leaves with unique, highly ruffled margins that make a good contrast with other mouse ears hostas.  It has the same thick substance that repels slugs and adorable, well-proportioned lavender flowers in early summer.  It forms a larger mound 8″ tall by 15″ wide, but has the same neat and symmetrical habit.

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Hosta 'Church Mouse'A close up of ‘Church Mouse’, photo courtesy of Walters Gardens.

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If you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The 2014 Miniature Hosta Availability for mail order and pick up at the nursery is here.   Our fourth sale featuring hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums is Saurday, May 17, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on our list will get an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

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.

Pleasurable Pairings for Early Summer Part 2

Posted in hosta, miniature hosta, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Spigelia marilandica Indian pink, Spigelia marilandica, is one of the highlights of my garden in June.  I would like to have a field of this wonderful, hummingbird-attracting native.

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My post Pleasurable Pairings for Spring profiles plant combinations in my garden in April 2011.  To read it, click here.  I am continuing this theme with two posts on pleasing plant pairs for early summer.  My house is on a south-facing slope, and the first post showed the gardens on the west side of the house.  To read it, click here.  Combinations from the east side of the house are in this post.

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Carolyn's Shade GardensThe view up the slope on the east side of the house.  All the grass has been removed and replaced by garden beds and pine needle paths.

The gardens on the east side are fairly colorful when all the hellebores, snowdrops, primroses, pulmonarias, and other early perennials are blooming.  However, by late spring, they become a much more subtle tapestry composed mainly of the leaves of hostas, epimediums, hellebores, and ferns.  I love it, but it is more difficult to capture in photos than the colorful flowers on the west side.  I wish you could all see it in person, but here is my best shot.

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Carolyn's Shade GardensThe view down the slope.

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Carolyn's Shade GardensLooking into the woods through the upper entrance with ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ hosta on the left.

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Hosta El NinoIvory and blue ‘El Nino’ hosta really brightens up the shade, here with white bigleaf hardy geranium.

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Brunnera 'Dawson's White', Heuchera 'Green Spice', Hosta TopazMore plants in my silver and blue garden, clockwise from upper left: hellebores, ‘Topaz’ hosta, native ‘Green Spice’ coralbells, and ‘Dawson’s White’ brunnera.

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Hosta 'Krossa Regal'‘Krossa Regal’ hosta’s frosty blue leaves and vase-shaped habit set it apart from other hostas.

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Hosta 'Sum and Substance', Podophyllum peltatum‘Sum and Substance’ hosta in the woodland with mayapples and golden groundsel.

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Spigelia marilandica, Hosta Summer Lovin', Haknoechloa 'All Gold'This shows how I use the native Indian pink featured at the start of the post.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘All Gold’ Japanese hakone grass, ‘Little Blue’ pulmonaria, native sedge, hellebores, Hylomecon japonicum (no common name), ‘Citronelle’ coralbells, Indian pink, and ‘Summer Lovin’ hosta.

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Hosta 'summer Lovin', Hakonechloa 'All Gold'‘Summer Lovin’ hosta and ‘All Gold’ Japanese hakone grass make a great pair.

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Hosta 'Eye Declare', Heuchera 'Stained Glass'Hosta ‘Eye Declare’ and ‘Stainless Steel’ coralbells, one of the brighter combinations on the east side of the house at this time of year.

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Aruncus aethusifolius, Hosta JuneFerny-leafed dwarf goatsbeard with ‘June’ hosta

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Hosta 'Guacamole', Hosta 'Blue Angel'Customers often ask me which hostas go together, and my answer is they all do: ‘Guacamole’ and ‘Blue Angel’.

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miniature hosta rock gardenLooking down the hill over my newest installation, a miniature hosta rock garden.  I needed a dedicated area to display my collection.

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miniature hosta rock gardenA view of the miniature hosta rock garden from below.

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lady fern, Hosta 'Teaspoon', Hosta 'Remember Me'Dwarf lady fern, ‘Teaspoon’ hosta, and ‘Remember Me’ hosta on the right.

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DSCN0404‘Pixie Vamp’ hosta with Sedum lydium and ‘Rock Prince’ hosta.

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Hosta 'Blonde Elf', lady fern, Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'‘Blonde Elf’ hosta, dwarf lady fern, and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ hosta

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I hope you enjoyed Part 2.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., 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 nursery closes for the summer on June 15 and will reopen in the fall around September 15.  Have a great summer.

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.

Pleasurable Pairings for Early Summer Part 1

Posted in hosta, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Rosa 'Westerland', 'Delta Jazz' crape myrtleWesterland’ rose and Lagerstroemia ‘Delta Jazz’, a new crapemyrtle with beautiful burgundy leaves and pink flowers which I am trialing for the Southern Living Plant Collection.

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One of the most satisfying posts I have written is called Pleasurable Pairings for Spring and profiles plant combinations in my garden in April 2011.  To read it, click here.  It has taken me over two years to find the time to do a similar article for another season, but this post and the next will show pleasing plant pairs for early summer.  I have also included some long views of the gardens to give readers a sense of place.  My house is on a south-facing slope, and this post includes the gardens on the west side in the order in which you would encounter them.  The east side is in Part 2. 

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view down the front stepsLooking down the front steps on the west side of the house across two of the three terraces to the dovecote at the bottom.

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miniature hostas in strawberry jarAs you walk down the steps, you pass my many miniature hosta containers, including this strawberry jar with 16 different hostas—one for each pocket.  Miniature hostas are available mail order.  To see the catalogue, click here.

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Hostas 'Shiro Kabitan', 'Dew Drop', 'Hi Ho Silver', 'Country Mouse'This is a new container that sits on the steps to the side door.  Clockwise from upper left: Hosta ‘Shiro Kabitan’, ‘Dew Drop’, ‘Hi Ho Silver’, and ‘Country Mouse’.

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main perennial bedThe main perennial bed by the front door on the middle terrace.

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view from the front doorLooking from the front door towards the dovecote: ‘Minnie Pearl’ phlox, ‘Goldheart’ bleeding-heart, and ‘Caradonna’ salvia.

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view from the front doorA longer view of the main perennial bed.

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DSCN0415The other end of the main perennial bed: yellow corydalis, allium, ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, and ‘Caramel’ coralbells.

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Geranium 'Katherine Adele', Corydalis lutea, Campanula 'Blue Waterfall'The right side of the steps to the lower terrace: ‘Katherine Adele’ hardy geranium, yellow corydalis, and ‘Blue Waterfall’ campanula.

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entrance to orange and purple gardenThe left side of the steps to the lower terrace.

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container in orange and purple gardenA close up of the container on the left side of the steps with dwarf orange lilies and violas, which have been in full bloom with no dead-heading since mid-March.

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Digitalis 'Goldcrest'Yellow corydalis in the wall with ‘Goldcrest’ foxglove surrounded by ‘Blue Waterfall’ campanula and sedums in bloom.

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Hosta 'Whirlwind', fernJust below the lower terrace: ‘Whirlwind’ hosta and a self-sown fern.

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hornbeam gardenIn a very dry and shady garden below the dovecote, clockwise from upper left: Japanese painted fern, ‘Sparkler’ native jack-in-the-pulpit, pulmonaria, and black sedge.

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Leucosceptrum japonicum, Pulmonaria 'Leopard', Carex 'Oehme'In another very dark area, Japanese shrub mint in back, ‘Leopard’ pulmonaria (one of my favorites for its giant spots), and native sedge.

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Ligularia 'Othello', Hosta 'Paradigm'Along the fence line on the west side of the property, ‘Othello’ ligularia and ‘Paradigm’ hosta.

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Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls', Aconitum speciesAlso along the fence, ‘Ametyst Falls’ American wisteria, which I think is just as beautiful as the Asian varieties, and monkshood.

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Primula japonica, astilbes, fernsAt the very bottom of the property in the only moist garden we have, Japanese primroses, which self-sow with abandon, are succeeded by astilbes and ferns.

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Magnolia asheiFor Larry with best wishes for good health, the first flower on my native Magnolia ashei, a close relative of native bigleaf magnolia.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Stay tuned for Part 2, the shadier east side of the house.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., 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:  We are having the final spring open hours at the nursery on Friday, June 7, from 10 am to 4 pm,  Saturday, June 8, from 9 am to 2 pm, and Sunday, June 9, from 1 to 3 pm.  Customers will get an email with the details shortly.  Appointments are available through June 15 when we close for the summer, reopening in the fall around September 15.  The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing over 35 choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is on the right sidebar here, and we are still shipping.  If you are local, you can use the catalogue to see what miniatures are still available at the nursery.

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.

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2014 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.

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miniature hosta toolbox 2My latest container for mini hostas is an old handymans’s toolbox that was hanging around.  In it are clockwise from upper left: ‘Thumbelina’, ‘Teaspoon’, dwarf Solomon’s seal, sedum, ‘Rock Prince’, ‘Cherish’, dwarf lady fern, and ‘Regal Tot’.  the surface is covered by moss collected from my roof.  More about containers at the end of the post.

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My nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, specializes in miniature and small hostas.  I even have a mail order business shipping miniature hostas all over the U.S.  For mail order details or, if you are local, a list of the over 35 miniature and small hostas available at the nursery, click here.  I have also written extensively about minis and links to the articles are at the end of this post.  Now I want to profile some of the new little hostas available this year.

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Hosta 'Dragon Tails'‘Dragon Tails’ is one of my new favorites, and if you use your imagination you can see why it was named that.  It forms an arching, tight clump  7″ tall and 14 ” wide at maturity.  Its golden leaves are 5″ long and 1″ wide, lance-shaped, heavily rippled, and tapering to a point.    It is supposed to look great draping over the edge of a trough.

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Hosta 'Green Eyes'‘Green Eyes’ is a seedling of ‘Kabitan’, another wonderful little hosta.  It is 5″ tall and 12 ” wide at maturity.  Its leaves are pale yellow with a narrow green margin and 3″ long and 1″ wide.  They are lance-shaped, rippled, and tapering.    It is said to be sun tolerant.

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Hosta 'Hi Ho Silver'I would grow ‘Hi Ho Silver’ for the name alone.  It is 8″ tall and 12″ wide at maturity.  Its lance-shaped leaves are medium green with a wide, bright white margin that extends down the leaf stalk, and 6″ long and 2″ wide.  It forms a loose clump and needs shade.

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Hosta 'Little Treasure'‘Little Treasure’  is  6” tall and 16” wide at maturity.  Its leaves, which are 4 ½” long by 2” wide, have a very striking, blue margin with a creamy white center.  The leaves twist for a unique overall look.  Although it is a standout in my garden, it is one of those hostas that doesn’t look like much in a nursery pot.

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Hosta 'Pandora's Box'‘Pandora’s Box’ is a very beautiful and unique miniature hosta.  It forms a striking, tight clump reaching 8″ high and 19″ wide at maturity.  Its heart-shaped, bright white leaves have an irregular blue-green margin and are 2 1/2″ long and 2″ wide.  It is an offshoot of ‘Baby Bunting’ and will occasionally form all blue-green leaves which should be removed.  Its only drawback is that it is more difficult to grow than the average mini due to all the white in its leaves which reduces photosynthesis.  It is said to do much better in a container and should not be planted in the ground.

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Hosta 'Regal Tot'‘Regal Tot’ forms a neat and compact mound 5 ½” tall by 17” wide.  Its elegant cupped and corrugated leaves are 4” long by 3” wide.  Unlike most hostas, which age to green, it is chartreuse when it comes out and becomes more and more gold as the season progresses.  A truly regal form of ‘Shining Tot’, its dark green parent.

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Hosta 'Ruffled Mouse Ears'‘Ruffled Mouse Ears’ is the latest addition to the “mouse ears” clan of hostas, my favorite minis.  An off shoot of ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, it has the same round, thick, rubbery leaves 2 3/4″ long and 2 1/2″ wide but with rippled and frilled margins.   It was introduced this year so I only have the photo of my own immature plant above to show you.  However, all the mouse ears cultivars are excellent plants with a very unique look.  At maturity, it forms a mound 6″ high and 14″ wide.  If you would like to read more about mouse ears hostas, click here for my post entitled I LOVE Mice.

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Hosta 'Shiro Kabitan'‘Shiro Kabitan’ (often sold as ‘Haku Chu Chan’) really brightens up the shade with its bright white foliage with a narrow green margin.  The slightly twisted, ribbon-like leaves are 4 1/2″ long and 1 1/2″ wide.  Despite all the white, it spreads quickly to form a small dense mound 6″ high and 18″ wide at maturity.  It makes a very colorful edging and prefers dappled shade.

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Hosta 'Stiletto'‘Stiletto’ is another small hosta that can’t be mistaken for any other.  Its shiny dark green leaves with a narrow yellow to creamy white margin are 5 1/2″ long and 1 1/2″ wide.  They are noticeably rippled and wavy.  This fast-growing, adaptable hosta forms a mound 12″ high and 24″ wide at maturity.  It is great for edging and forms a dense mini-hedge along a path or border.

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Hosta 'Teaspoon'‘Teaspoon’ is a hosta that stands out from the crowd with its unique cupped, bright green leaves that look, yes, like a teaspoon.  The almost completely round leaves are 2 3/4″ long and 2 1/2″ wide.  It forms a dense and neat mound 11″ high and 24″ wide at maturity.  It is fast-growing and makes an outstanding specimen.

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Hosta 'Woodland Elf'‘Woodland Elf’  grows quickly to form a compact mound 5″ high and 15” wide at maturity.  The waved and cupped leaves are 2 ¼” long and 1 ½” wide.  They are medium green with a white margin.  ‘Woodland Elf’ has a  beautiful upright habit and is great in troughs and excellent for edging.

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Those are just some of the new little hostas available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this year.  Many of them are excellent plants for the front of the border or for edging paths.  However, the real minis look best when they are specially displayed in an area of the garden set aside for them with suitable sized companion plants like smaller epimediums, dwarf ferns, sedums, hens and chicks, or dwarf Solomon’s seal.  I have a special rock garden just for my minis—don’t miss it when you visit next.

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DSCN0193Another view of the new mini garden featured at the start of this post.

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The other way to display miniature hostas is in a container.  If the container can take freezing, you can leave it outside, minis and all, for the whole winter with no special protection.  That’s what we do with all our containers at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  As I explained in detail in my post Hosta Containers and Companions (to read it click here), you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune buying a fancy pot for your hostas.  Any old object collecting dust in your attic can be converted to a mini hosta container garden.  We have used everything from the toolbox above to the oil can below.

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Hosta "Carolyn's Gold"I made this container last year, and you should see how beautiful it is this spring after being out all winter.

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If you would like to read more about little hostas, click on any of the following links:

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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 2014 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing over 35 choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.

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.

Longwood Gardens Part 5: Tulips and Natives

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, groundcover, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.  If you are local, you can buy them at the nursery.

. Tulips at LongwoodThis color combination is magnificent for spring.

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During 2012 to 2013, I have been visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, U.S., every few months and highlighting some aspect of this amazing place (last year I focused on Chanticleer).  Links to my previous four posts are at the end.  There is much to see there with 325 acres open to the public and 20 outdoor gardens. 

On April 18, Michael and I headed out to Longwood with the specific objective of photographing the plants in the native woodland, Peirce’s Woods.  Of course, on the way to the woods, we got sidetracked by the bulb displays out front and along the Flower Garden Walk.  Although masses of tulips and other bulbs are just about polar opposite to native plants naturalized in a woodland, they are still gorgeous so I will show you a few photos as I explain the history of the woodland.

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Leucojum aestivumSummer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum, is a great plant for massing.  Mine grow and self-sow quite readily in both south-facing and east-facing locations as well as in full deciduous shade in my woodland.

In 1700, a Quaker family named Peirce purchased the area that is now Peirce’s Woods from William Penn to establish a working farm.  In 1798, the Peirces began planting trees to establish an arboretum on the property.  Eventually the area became known as one of the finest collections of trees in the country.  The great industrialist Pierre DuPont (1870 to 1954) purchased the property in 1906 with the specific purpose of preserving the magnificent trees.

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container at LongwoodYou will find fabulous container gardens throughout Longwood, including this one outside the Visitor’s Center with a large native dogwood underplanted with daffodils.

Peirce’s Woods comprises seven acres planted to showcase the ornamental characteristics of native plants from the eastern U.S. deciduous forest.  The shade trees  are mostly oak, ash, maple, and tulip trees, some over 200 years old.  The understory is native flowering trees and shrubs underplanted with native groundcovers.  All the plants are labeled so it is a great place to visit to get ideas for your own woodland garden.  Before I highlight the plants there, a few more bulb photos:

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Narcissus Tahiti and Flower DriftNarcissus ‘Tahiti’ and ‘Flower Drift’

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tulips at Longwood

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tulips at Longwood.

tulips at Longwood

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Tulipa 'Yellow Wave'‘Yellow Wave’ tulip

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Tulipa 'Rococo'‘Rococo’ tulip

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Tulipa 'Rococo'I think this tulip should be called the Little Shop of Horrors tulip—you definitely would not want to stick your finger inside of it.

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Flower Garden Walk at LongwoodAs we neared the end of the Flower Garden Walk, we were greeted by this magnificent vista.

We came to Longwood with the objective of viewing and photographing Peirce’s Woods.  I fully intended to show scenes of the woods as a whole and close ups of individual native wildflowers.  However, I didn’t realize that because the weather has been so cold this spring, many of the flowers would not be blooming yet.  My own garden is always ahead because it is on a south-facing slope and the soil warms up early.  Also, as soon as we got there and typical for this spring, the sun went in, the wind picked up, it started to rain, and the temperature plummeted.

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Matteuchia pennsylvanica The only other landscape shot that I got: ostrich ferns by the shore of the lake.  These ferns can be quite tall, 3 to 5′, spread aggressively by runners, and are the source of edible fiddleheads.

Michael and I were both under-dressed with no raincoats so I decided to take photos of the plants that were blooming and come back the following week for the landscape shots and later-blooming plants.  As usual, work at the nursery got in the way, but I wanted to show you the beautiful native plants that I was able to capture on film.  Just picture me kneeling patiently by each plant and snapping the photo in between gusts of wind and bouts of rain:

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Heuchera villosa 'Miracle' ‘Miracle’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa, is one of my favorite cultivars of this tough eastern native.  The only coralbells I sell at my nursery are offspring of eastern natives H. villosa and H. americana because I find the other types not hardy.

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Anemonella thalictroides Rue-anemone, Anemonella thalictroides, is so delicate looking but  thrives and self-sows in dry shade.

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Trillium grandiflorum‘Quicksilver’ large-flowered trillium, T. grandiflorum, was selected as a rapidly multiplying form of the species by Dr. Richard Lighty, at the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware.

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Trillium grandiflorum 'Quicksilver' and Anemonella thalictroides‘Quicksilver’ surrounded by rue-anemone.

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Trillium luteum, yellow toad trilliumI find yellow toad trillium, T. luteum, quite easy to grow.

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Trillium erectum, purple trilliumpurple trillium, T. erectum

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Trillium erectum, purple trilliumThe two-tone flowers of purple trillium are gorgeous.

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Dicentra cucullaria, squirrel cornsquirrel-corn, Dicentra canadensis

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Caulophyllum thalictroides, blue cohoshBlue cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides, has these unprepossessing flowers in the spring followed by bright blue berries.  I love its leaf and stem structure and elegant overall habit.

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Caulophyllum thalictroides and Dicentra canadensisBlue cohosh can act like a small shrub, here with an underplanting of squirrel-corn.

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Mertensia virginicaVirginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, were everywhere just like they are in my own garden where they seed prolifically.

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Enemion biternatum, eastern false rue-anemoneEastern false rue-anemone, Enemion biternatum, is a new plant to me.  I am going to look for it though because its flowers were lovely perched on reddish stems and it evidently spreads to make an eye-catching patch.

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stump in Peirce's WoodsI thought what Longwood had done to the stump of a tree that came down was very interesting and actually quite attractive.

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Erythronium americanum, adder's tongueAdder’s tongue or what I call trout lily, Erythronium americanum, usually produces hundreds of leaves and a few flowers in my garden, but this year it is blooming well everywhere.

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Polstichum acrostichoidesThe emerging fronds of Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides, look like fairies should be dancing among them.

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Onoclea sensibilisSensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, is a great native fern that is underused in gardens.

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Onoclea sensibilisSensitive fern looks great in a mass planting.

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Claytonia virginica, spring-beautyThe wind was roaring when I tried to photograph these spring-beauties, Claytonia virginica, so they are out of focus, but I didn’t want you to miss them.

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Claytonia virginicaSpring-beauty really has an amazing flower even when blurry.

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Hydrophyllum macrophyllum, large-leaf waterleafLarge -leaf waterleaf, Hydrophyllum macrophyllum, has very pretty foliage.

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Cardamine concatenata, cutleaf toothwortCutleaf toothwort, Cardamine concatenata, is a spring ephemeral that naturalizes slowly to form a colony in the shade.

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Uvularia grandifloraLarge-flowered bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora, is one of my favorites.  It grows 1 to 2 feet tall, has unusual and elegant yellow flowers, and grows in full, dry shade.  I don’t know why this plant isn’t more popular, but it doesn’t sell well at my nursery even though I have big stands of it in my display gardens.

All the plants profiled are native to Pennsylvania and the East Coast.  If you would like to see if a plant is native to your state, the best place to look is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database.  All you do is put in the name of the plant and you will be shown a map of where it is native in the U.S.  I also have all these plants in my garden except toothwort and false meadow-rue, and I highly recommend them.

To read more about Longwood Gardens, follow these links:

Groundcovers, Thinking Outside the Box

Longwood Gardens Part 2: At Night

A Longwood New Year’s Eve

Cold Weather Antidote: Longwood’s Orchids

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 Spring Shrub Offer is now in full swing and orders are due May 18.  To read about the plants available and place an order, click here.  The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.  If you are local, you can use the catalogue to see what miniatures are available at the nursery.

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.

European Wood Anemone, My Collection

Posted in bulbs for shade, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.  If you are local, you can buy them at the nursery.

. Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'European wood anemone ‘Vestal’, Anemone nemorosa

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My last post highlighting my epimedium collection was very popular.  It set a new record for views in a single day.  It was also quite helpful in allowing me to document the collection in photographs.  That has inspired me to do a similar post introducing another relatively obscure group of plants blooming right now, European wood anemones or Anemone nemorosa.  I first saw them in Charles Cresson’s garden in 1995, and he gave me five cultivars to take home.  I have since increased that number to 13 (15 if you count the two that died).  I want to share this special plant with you and discuss its culture and garden uses.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'‘Vestal’ is a moderate spreader.

European wood anemone is what is often called a bulb ally.  It springs from skinny, stick-like rhizomes that spread through  leaf litter to form patches of beautiful flowers and leaves.  You can buy the dried rhizomes in the fall like other bulbs or you can buy growing plants in the spring from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens or other specialty nurseries.  Wood anemones grow in part to full shade and like woodland soil with lots of organic matter. I have never watered them, but I do mulch them with a covering of ground leaves in the fall.  The various cultivars spread at different rates in my woods from slow to fast.  I will indicate what type of spreader each one is in my garden, but it may depend entirely on my conditions and where each variety is planted

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A. nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'‘Robinsoniana’ is a gorgeous blue but a slow grower in my garden.

European wood anemones are a spring ephemeral.  They take advantage of the sunlight before the woody plants leaf out and then go dormant when it gets hot and shade prevails.  Although they disappear, they are still a good groundcover because the rhizomes are so thickly matted that no weeds can grow.  Just plant later emerging plants like ferns or hostas around them if the hole will bother you after they disappear.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Leeds Variety'‘Leed’s Variety’ spreads moderately.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Leed's Variety'‘Leed’s Variety’ has the biggest flowers, about 2″ wide, of any of my cultivars.

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European wood anemones bloom in the mid-Atlantic for the whole month of April and sometimes into May, depending on the weather.  Their plentiful flowers are 1 to 2″ wide and generally white, blue, and pink and can be double or semi-double.  Many of the cultivars are very similar in appearance.  The Royal Horticultural Society’s plant finder lists almost 100 varieties.  There are some closely related yellow-flowered forms as well as some weird green-flowered varieties, ‘Virescens’ and ‘Green Fingers’, both of which I have killed.  Wood anemones’ leaves are an attractive dark green with three deeply incised segments.  They form compact mounds about 6 to 8″ tall.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink‘ is a moderate grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink’

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A patch of wood anemones really lights up a woodland opening, and I like to let mine develop as big a swathe as they can manage.  They are native to the woodlands and shady banks of western Asia and the northern temperate zones of central Europe, including England where many cultivars have been selected.  According to the RHS, they are hardy to zone 5 and another source says zones 5 to 9, but you should do your own research before planting them if you are not in the mid-Atlantic.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'‘Bracteata’ is a fast grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'‘Bracteata’ is an unusual and very elegant form with the white flower color extending into the leafy bracts.

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European wood anemones are quite easy to grow and well worth adding to your garden if you can find them.  Here are some of my other cultivars:

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone, A. ranunculoides, is closely related to A. nemorosa.  It is the first to come into bloom and spreads quickly but not aggressively, even self-sowing.

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone

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Anemone nemorosa 'Lychette' ‘Lychette’ is a moderate spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Allenii' ‘Allenii’ is similar to ‘Robinsoniana’ but more silvery blue in color.  It is a moderate spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba' ‘Alba’ spreads slowly for me.

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Anemone nemorosa pink formI acquired this Anemone nemorosa from the old Heronswood Nursery in Washington with the name “pink form”.  It is a moderate grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'‘Alba Plena’ is very similar to ‘Vestal’ but it is a faster spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'‘Alba Plena’

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Anemone x seemaniiAnemone x seemanii is a cross between A. ranunculoides and A. nemorosa, producing this lovely pale yellow flower.  It is a moderate grower.

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Anemone x seemaniiAnemone x seemanii

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Anemone nemorosa 'Blue Eye'I will end the profiles of my cultivars with this photo of the absolutely exquisite ‘Blue Eyes’, which I also got from Heronswood.

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Most of the plants in my woodland are allowed to form large patches for a natural look, and European wood anemone fits right in.  Here are some photos of how I use it:

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone filling a large area in front of Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppy.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bracteata'‘Bracteata’ edging a path with hellebores and checkered lily, Fritillaria meleagris, another self-seeder in my woods.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Lychette'‘Lychette’ on a shady slope with Celandine poppy.

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Anemone nemorrosa 'Vestal' and Anemone ranunculoides‘Vestal’ and Anemone ranunculoides edge a woodland path with ‘Alba’ across the way to the right of the Virginia bluebells.

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European wood anemones are for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  If you are not local or you want some of the really special cultivars,  you can order them from Arrowhead Alpines in Michigan, a great mail order nursery for unusual woodland plants.

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 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship. Next up locally is our hosta, fern, and hardy geranium open house sale on May 11—look for an email if you are on my customer email list (different than a blog subscription).

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.

Epimediums, My Collection

Posted in evergreen, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.

. Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicumEpimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum, evergreen.

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Nan Ondra at the fabulous blog Hayfield recently praised my blog saying: “If you want to see how beautiful a spring garden can look here in southeastern Pennsylvania, I highly recommend popping over to Carolyn Walker’s blog, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. It’s where I go when I need a good dose of primroses, spring phlox, and other early-blooming beauties.”   A lot of Nan’s readers took her advice and visited my blog.  I have been trying to think of what I could do to thank Nan, not just for the recommendation, but for her advice when I started my blog and numerous consultations on selling my photos.  I decided that if she needs a dose of spring flowers, then epimediums are what she should have.  Nan, this post is for you!

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Epimedium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum spreads at a moderate pace and can be used as a groundcover, leaves flushed red in the spring.

I try not to let myself collect too many types of plants because it can interfere with good garden design.  But epimediums, also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, and rowdy lamb herb, are a plant I love so much that I collect them.  According to my records, I have almost 30 varieties.  That might seem like a lot, but there are actually hundreds of types of epimediums.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is the fastest spreading epimedium I have and makes an excellent groundcover, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa.  They are long-lived and easy to grow in part to full shade and are a great plant for dry shade.  Some of the more available varieties like ‘Sulphureum’, E. x rubrum, E. x warleyense, and ‘Frohnleiten’ spread readily but not quickly to form an attractive groundcover.  I grow mine all over my garden but mostly as specimens on the steep hill  in back between all my hostas (yes, I collect those too).  Their flowers are small but quite beautiful, elegant, and abundant.  Epimediums are a plant that needs to be viewed close up.  This time of year I walk around mesmerized by their beauty.

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Epimedium cantabrigienseEpimedium x cantabrigiense, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums bloom in April and May, and their flowers are breathtaking as you can see from the photos.  However, their leaves are just as beautiful with their elegant, unusual shapes.  They often come out flushed with bright colors in the spring, and many varieties have great fall color too.  Some are semi-evergreen to evergreen.  Epimediums range in height from 8 to 16″.

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Epimedium pubigerumEpimedium pubigerum, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are perfectly suited to our mid-Atlantic climate, especially our new hotter, drier, drought prone climate.  A quick survey of the epimediums listed in the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder indicates that they are hardy from zones 4 or 5 to 8 or 9, but you should do your own research if you are not in the mid-Atlantic.  I usually choose a well-drained location because like hellebores they don’t tolerate poor drainage, and add compost at planting.  They are great under shallow-rooted trees and are deer resistant.

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Epimedium x warleyenseEpimedium x warleyense, spreading, from Miss Wilmott’s garden Warley Place, England, evergreen.

I sell up to 10 different types of epimediums at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens depending on the year.  There are seven for sale right now and now is the best time to view them in my garden.  But if you get hooked, then you need to know about Garden Vision Epimediums in Templeton, Massachusetts, 978-249-3863, epimediums@earhtlink.net.  Their catalogue lists at least a 150 epimediums and is encyclopedic with comprehensive descriptions and color photos plus zone information for each variety.  A visit to their Open Nursery Weekends, this year May 3 to 5 and 10 to 12, from 10 am to 4 pm, is a magical experience.

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Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten'Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’, tough and shiny evergreen leaves.

All the photos in this post were taken in my garden today.  I hope that you too will come to love this wonderful genus:

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Epimdium x versicolor 'Cupreum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cupreum, look at those gorgeous leaves, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x 'Kaguyahime'Epimedium x ‘Kaguyahime’, probably my favorite epimedium for its lovely two-tone purple flowers and dagger-like, purple-mottled leaves, evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Yubae'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Yubae’, produces a second flush of leaves and flowers.

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Epimedium stellultum "Long Leaf Form"Epimedium stellulatum “Narrow Leaf Forms”, the first to bloom in my garden like a “flurry of small stars suspended above the spiny evergreen foliage”, Garden Vision catalogue.

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Epimedium x rubrum 'Sweetheart'Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’, later-blooming, notice the red rim around the semi-evergreen leaves.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Tama No Genpei'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Tama No Genpei’, I love this one too, re-blooming.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Cherry Tart'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum var. violaceumEpimedium grandiflorum var. violaceum, chocolate leaves in the spring.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Album'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Album’, large pristine white flowers.

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Epimdium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit'Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’, later blooming but I had to show it, white flowers and tiny leaves rimmed with a dark purple band.

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Epimedium alpinum 'Shrimp Girl'Epimedium alpinum ‘Shrimp Girl’, I love the name and the coral-orange color on this diminutive but spreading cultivar, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x warleyense 'Orange Queen'Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orange Queen’, evergreen, here with Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’.

Here are some shots of mature patches of epimediums so you can get an idea of what they look like in the landscape:

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'‘Sulphureum’ just coming into bloom.  The leaves are just emerging too and will get much larger.

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Epimdium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum with Spanish bluebells and early emerging Hosta lancifolia.

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Seven varieties of epimediums will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ open hours this weekend: Friday, April 19, 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, April 20, from 10 am to 2 pm.  If you are not local or you want some of the really special cultivars,  you can order them from Garden Vision Epimediums.

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 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship. Next up locally is our hosta, fern, and hardy geranium open house sale on May 11—look for an email if you are on my customer email list (different than a blog subscription).

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.

Hosta Containers and Companions

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, hosta, miniature hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2014 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.

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Hosta "Carolyn's Gold"When finding containers for your hostas you have to think outside the box: “Carolyn’s Gold” hosta in an antique kerosene can.

This is the third post in a three-part series on small hostas.  My nursery specializes in miniature hostas, and I have over 30 varieties available right now, both at the nursery and mail orderIn I LOVE Mice, I raved about the mouse ears series of hostas.  In Beyond Mice, I highlighted some of my favorite non-mouse ears hostas.  My 2011 post Miniature (& Small) Hostas also gives an overview of little hostas and how to use them in the garden.  Now I want to focus on the containers you might use to hold your hostas and the plants that will keep them company.

 

Probably my favorite medium sized hosta, the straight species Hosta tokudama.

Why would you want to grow hostas in a container?  One reason I do it is to highlight a hosta’s very special ornamental attributes.  I think Hosta tokudama (photo above) is gorgeous so I grow it in a pot outside my front door.  Here are some other hostas that I think merit their own container (read my previous hosta posts for photos of other single hosta containers):


Hosta ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has bright gold leaves and deep red stems that look like rhubarb.  I placed its pot on a wall by my front walk so I can admire the stems up close.


The elegant hosta ‘Hanky Panky’ grows in an old dogwood stump, also along my front walk.

I love the very unusual hosta ‘Praying Hands’ and have it in three different containers, here with violas.


There is no other miniature hosta that looks like ‘Sparkler’ so I gave it its own spot in an antique metal pitcher salvaged from the dump.

Small hostas can get lost when planted in perennial borders unless they are massed.  Growing special miniature hostas in containers brings them up to eye level.  Here are 16 miniatures in my strawberry pot:

It also allows you to pair them with other miniature plants to create a tiny garden.  My previous posts contain many photos of my containers of little hostas.  However, I thought I would show you some of the planters I have recently created to give my customers ideas and to sell at my upcoming hosta open house:









All these containers were purchased inexpensively at flea markets and antique stores or were salvaged from the dump at the bottom of our property.  You probably have a suitable pot, pan, or other hosta garden holder gathering dust in your attic right now.


Hosta gardens waiting at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for a new home.

Choosing tiny companion plants to go with your miniature hostas is another fun part of growing them in containers or in a rock garden.  Plant collecting urges are satisfied by all the plants that can be crammed into a small area.  In the planters above, I used violas, sedums, hens and chicks, ‘Heartthrob’ violet, ‘Tiny Rubies’ dianthus, and pasque flower (Pulsatilla).  Here are some more combinations:

Hostas ‘Shiny Penny’, ‘Green Eyes’, and ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ paired with sedum, hens and chicks, and rosularia in my dish garden.

Mouse ears hostas with dwarf Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum humile, in my stone trough.

Hostas ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ and ‘Blonde Elf’ with miniature lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina ‘Minutissimum’, in the rock garden.

Hostas ‘Little Blue’, ‘Blonde Elf’, and ‘Little Wonder’ with a small epimedium in the rock garden.


Gardening with tiny plants and salvaged containers is so much fun.  I hope you will give it a try.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Customers can pre-order woody plants through noon on May 22.  Click here for details.  We have added a third session of our seminar, The Secrets of a Low Maintenance Garden, on Sunday, May 20.  Click here for details. If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.

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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