Your February 2019 Snowdrop Trip to England

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

Expect fields of snowdrops and hardy cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens had been selling snowdrops for 25 years when we decided it was time to visit England during snowdrop season.  This was the trip of a lifetime for me, and my husband Michael was a very good sport about spending a vacation outside in winter looking at my favorite flower.  We both had so much fun that we returned in February 2018.  Now it’s time for you to plan your trip.  All the gardens described below are within driving distance of the Colesbourne Inn where I recommend that you stay.

Nursery News:  If you wish to order snowdrops, click here for the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue. Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

This 11th century church on the grounds of Colesbourne Park is open for visitors on snowdrop weekends.

Although England is a popular vacation destination, most people don’t travel there in February.  That means you still have plenty of time to make airline reservations, and hotels are very inexpensive and practically empty.  However, once you arrive, you will find plenty of fellow gardeners from all over Europe and even Asia touring snowdrop venues and the winter gardens that surround them.

.

‘S. Arnott’ is the signature snowdrop at Colesbourne, but you will also see breath-taking sweeps of ‘Ophelia’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Colossus’, ‘Galatea’, and many more.

Your first stop should be Colesbourne Park, which is considered England’s greatest snowdrop garden.  It is located in the beautiful Churn Valley in the heart of unspoiled Gloucestershire, which is in the Cotswolds. Colesbourne’s ten-acre snowdrop garden is filled with sweeps of what must be millions of snowdrops and thousands of cyclamen plus a collection of more than 350 snowdrop cultivars, including many rare varieties, artfully displayed around the stone buildings. 

.

Colesbourne’s ethereal blue lake

Colesbourne has been owned by the Elwes family since 1789, and the snowdrop collection was started in 1874 when Henry John Elwes discovered the snowdrop that bears his name, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey.  The current owners, Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes, are always present on snowdrop days to greet visitors and answer questions.  There is plenty to see in addition to snowdrops, including the 11th century church pictured above, the trails through the woods and around the surrounding 2,500 acre park, the scenic “blue” lake shown above, and the very impressive Colesbourne Arboretum of trees.

Colesbourne Park is open every Saturday and Sunday from February 2 to March 3, 2019, between 1 and 4:30 pm.  Local charities raise money by serving tea, coffee, and delicious cakes.  To view the Colesbourne website, click here.  For more photos of Colesbourne and its garden, read my blog post here.

.

Michael poses in front of a sequoia in the Colesbourne Arboretum, which contains 13 National and 37 Gloucestershire Champion Trees.

.

Rodmarton Manor

Rodmarton Manor was built in the 1920s in what is now called the Arts and Crafts style, and everything was made on site using local craftsmen.  The grandmother of the current owner and her head gardener designed the eight acres of gardens that surround the house, creating what is considered a premier example of the Arts and Crafts gardening movement.  The snowdrop collection is extensive with the base of trees in the orchard surrounded by many rare cultivars and snowdrops planted through out the dozens of garden “rooms”, a feature of Arts and Crafts style.

.

A planting of the very rare snowdrop ‘Rodmarton Regulus’ surrounds a tree in the orchard.

Rodmarton is near Colesbourne in a very scenic part of the Cotswolds close to Cirencester.  Snowdrop open days are generally on Sundays in February starting at 1:30 pm, but the 2019 schedule is not on the website yet.  If you get a chance to tour the inside of the house, don’t miss it.  View the Rodmarton website by clicking here.  For more photos of Rodmarton and its garden, read my blog post here.

.

Even without snowdrops, the Rodmarton Garden is well worth visiting especially if you are accompanied on your trip by a non-galanthophile.

.

Welford Park

Welford Park has an illustrious history, starting as the site of a monastery dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536 when it became the king’s deer hunting lodge.  The house, which was built around 1652, served as a convalescent home for soldiers wounded in World War I.  The gardens, woods, meadows, and river banks are awe inspiring because of the sheer number of winter aconites and snowdrops, all of which are Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop.  It is located in Welford, Berkshire, about an hour from Colesbourne.

.

Winter aconites and common snowdrops at Welford Park

Welford Park is open for snowdrops from January 30 to March 3, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11 am to 4 pm.  A tearoom serves homemade cakes and homegrown sausages among other mouth-watering delicacies.  View the Welford website by clicking here.

.

A walk through Welford’s snowdrop woods is an unforgettable experience.

.

Painswick House through the trees on the right with two of the garden’s famous Rococo “follies” in the middle surrounded by the hillside covered in ‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops.  The orchard is in the foreground.

Also in Gloucestershire near Colesbourne, Painswick Rococo Garden is a marvel, not only for its glorious snowdrops, but also because it is the only surviving Rococo garden currently open to the public.  Painswick has the sweeping vistas, framed views, serpentine paths, and extravagant architectural features characteristic of the most lavish gardens of its style.  The garden plus the beautiful Snowdrop Grove and hillside covered in the tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick, make it a must see.

.

This curving Gothic screen called the Exedra is Painswick’s most famous folly.  Beyond it, you can see its formal garden, kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

During February, Painswick is open every day from from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.  There is a very good cafe on site with hot and cold lunches and homemade cake.  View the Painswick website by clicking here.  For more photos of Painswick and its garden, read my blog post here.

.

the Snowdrop Grove at Painswick

.

the private garden of John Massey, the owner of Ashwood Nurseries

Ashwood Nurseries is a world renowned nursery in Kingswinford in the West Midlands about 1 1/4 hours from Colesbourne.  It is famous for its winter and early spring-blooming plants like hellebores, cyclamen, snowdrops, hepaticas, and primroses but carries a wide-ranging selection of other plants at its canal side location in the lovely English countryside.  Last February, Michael and I attended a Snowdrop Lecture there, which included a private tour of John Massey’s personal garden. 

.

Snowdrops, hellebores, and cyclamen by the canal

Ashwood Nurseries is worth visiting just to see the nursery.  However, I highly recommend attending an event, especially one that includes a tour of the Massey garden, which is not open to the public.  In 2019, there is a Snowdrop Lecture on Tuesday, February 5, which includes a garden tour.  The morning session is already sold out.  John’s garden is open to raise money for charity on Saturday, February 9, from 10 am to 4 pm, no reservation necessary.  Through out February there are “behind the scenes” pre-booked Hellebore Tours.  There is a tearoom on site with hot and cold food, an open fire, and garden views.  For the Ashwood website, click here.

.

Just one of the hundreds of beautiful Ashwood hellebores

.

The historic Colesbourne Inn, located right outside the entrance to Colesbourne Park (sorry, not a great photo)

During your exploration of snowdrops and winter gardens, you can’t go wrong staying at the Colesbourne Inn.  A charming inn with very comfortable en suite rooms is combined with a traditional English pub and a gourmet dining room using fresh, local ingredients, including eggs raised by Lady Carolyn Elwes.  Have a cappuccino or beer by the cozy fire or enjoy a delicious meal in the high quality restaurant.

If you do go to England to see snowdrop gardens, please let me know about your trip.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

Advertisements

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘Richard Ayres’ is one of the largest-flowered double snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December (2018) and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. Part One of the preview, can be viewed by clicking here.

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2019 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us whether you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

The fat flowers of ‘Richard Ayres’ in my garden on 2/1/17

‘Richard Ayres’ has an eye-catching, very large and full double flower on a tall, vigorous, and easy-to-grow plant.   The outer segments vary in number from four to six, and the inner markings are also variable but quite pretty.  It was discovered in 1987 by celebrated plantsman Richard Nutt in the gardens of Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge and named by the UK National Trust, which owns Anglesey Abbey, for the head gardener.

.

‘Green Brush’ has a gorgeous outer mark.

Galanthus elwesiiGreen Brush‘ is a one of the best green-tipped snowdrops with big, bold, substantial flowers on a tall plant—very striking and distinct.  The fat outer segments are thick and waxy with strong markings at the apex as though dipped in paint.  The inner segments are solid green.  Selected in the Netherlands by fifth generation bulb breeder Gerald Oud.

.

‘Faringdon Double’ is one of my earliest blooming snowdrops, pictured here on 1/6/13.

.

‘Faringdon Double’

Early-blooming snowdrops really make a statement, and ‘Faringdon Double‘ is one of the earliest in my garden and definitely the earliest double.  It has large, well-formed flowers on vigorous and easy-to-grow plants.  The outer segments are large and rounded, and the inner segments are very regular with a broad heart-shaped mark.  It was discovered growing in a churchyard in 1988 in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, by British snowdrop collectors David and Ruby Baker.

.

This photo shows ‘Faringdon Double’s’ characteristic inflated spathe, which encases the flower bud before it drops and opens.

.

‘Merlin’ is a striking classic snowdrop.

Merlin‘ is another snowdrop so special that it earned an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012, one of only 28 out of more then 2,500 snowdrops to get this recognition.  It is a beautiful, vigorous, highly-prized classic snowdrop, possibly a hybrid between G. elwesii and G. plicatus.  It is the best known and most widely grown snowdrop with completely dark green inner segments.  Discovered in his garden in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

.

‘Trym’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus plicatus ‘Trym’ caused a sensation when it first appeared in the snowdrop world due to its unique flower structure where the three outer segments have been replaced by three more inner segments.  This iconic, pagoda-like look has since been coined inverse poculiform and applied to ‘Trym’s’ many descendants, most with ‘Trym’ in their name.  The outer segments have a large heart-shaped, green mark and are broad, reflexed, and sport the notch in the tip of the segments typical of an inner segment.  The result is a distinctive, striking, and lovely snowdrop.  It was discovered by Jane Gibbs, a gardener in Westbury on Trym, Bristol.

.

‘Trym’ is a great snowdrop to have in your garden if you want to produce some interesting seedlings, here growing out from under a hedge.

.

‘Starling’ is a beautiful double snowdrop.  For a better photo on the Scottish Rock Garden Club Galanthus Forum, click here and then click the photo to enlarge.

‘Starling’s’ short flower stem causes the flower to face outward giving a direct view of its cluster of star-like, dark green inner segments, hence star-ling, meaning young star. Its outer segments are long, pointed, and boat-shaped, and the overall effect is lovely.  It was found in the famous copse at Avon Bulbs and may be a cross between G. elwesii and ‘Hill Poe’, one of my favorite doubles.  Be sure and click on the link in the caption above for a better photo.

.

Snowdrop season is upon us with fall-bloomers in full flower, and the tips of many other snowdrops rising from the mulch.  While heavy frosts and freezing temperatures end the gardening year, the emerging snowdrops give me hope and the promise of flowers to come in the dead of winter.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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

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

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘Godfrey Owen’, one of my all time favorite snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. 

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2019 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us if you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks beautiful in snow.

It is no surprise to me that ‘Godfrey Owen’ has recently been added to the very small group of snowdrops, 28 out of the over 2,500 named varieties, to receive the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  It is an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without looking at the label.

.

Looking at ‘Godfrey Owen’ is a pleasure from any angle, but here you can see the distinctive six outer segments.

.

.

Galanthus elwesii ‘Godfrey Owen’ has six pointed and concave, longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments.  The inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base.  The flowers in my garden all originate from one bulb but have a mixture of markings.   ‘Godfrey Owen’ was discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii, the giant snowdrop, by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband.

.

‘Barnes’ blooms in the fall.

When snowdrops bloom in October or November, they really make a statement.  Galanthus elwesii (Hiemalis Group) ‘Barnes’ is a lovely, fall-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop with well-formed outer segments and a heart-shaped mark on the inners.  Considered by many to be the earliest blooming, sometimes in October, and best of the Hiemalis Group, it recently received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its superiority.

The name ‘Barnes’ originates from E.P. Barnes, a surgeon in Northampton, who selected an early-flowering form of G. elwesii and sent it to Oliver Wyatt, possibly in 1928.  After 1973, a group of snowdrops labeled ‘Barnes’ was discovered at Wyatt’s home in Suffolk.

.

‘Art Noveau’ is striking.

Confronted recently with hundreds of varieties of snowdrops, all in bloom, I gravitated immediately to the captivating elegance of Galanthus nivalis ‘Art Noveau’.  An artistically curved spathe, like a shepherd’s crook, tops the long, slender flower with bold markings inside and out.  The outer segments are pointed and splashed with pale green, while the inners are almost as long as the outers and sport a darker green, heart-shaped mark.  Given to Avon Bulbs by a famous garden in Normandy, France.

.

‘Armine’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus ‘Armine’ is a tall, easy-to-grow, hybrid snowdrop with large, well-proportioned flowers.  It has a beautiful mark on the inner segment, which is clearly visible even when the flowers are not fully open.  It was named in the late 1950s for the daughter of Brigadier and Mrs. Matthias, the owners of the famous (at least among galanthophiles) Giant Snowdrop Company in Gloucestershire.  Lady Carolyn Elwes tells me that a Catholic nun came to visit Colesbourne Park a number of years ago and explained that she was the daughter for whom the snowdrop was named—how fun.

.

‘Armine’s’ inner mark is almost always visible.

.

‘Puck’ is a fun semi-double snowdrop.

‘Puck’ is a charming and quirky form of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with three extra segments haphazardly arranged over the top of the normal three inner segments and three outer segments.  The result is a fat, semi-double flower.  Named for the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, who seems to have cast his spell on this snowdrop, and found in a woods in Devon.

.

‘Sprite’ has a unique look.

I am always looking for snowdrops that stand out from the crowd to add to my collection.  When I toured snowdrop gardens in England, I realized that Galanthus ‘Sprite’ was not only beautiful but could also be easily identified without a label.  The broad, round, bluntly pointed outer segments are painted with five or six distinct green lines with slight shading in between.  A wide, green band covers 2/3 of the inner segments.  Introduced about 10 years ago by the discerning horticulturist Alan Street at Avon Bulbs.

.

‘Sprite’ proudly displayed in the Avon Bulbs exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in February 2018.

.

Look for another blog post soon profiling an additional seven new offerings for 2019.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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 Owls Head Maine Post Office

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The quaint and colorful Owl’s Head Post Office sits on the village green in Owls Head, Maine.  You would never know that a magical garden awaits you down the gravel path to the right.

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“.  Each year this tour highlights gardens in a different area of the Georges River watershed, and this year it featured six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  My post Gardens in the Watershed Tour 2018: Part One shows photos of the first five gardens on the tour.  To read it, click here. The gardens were beautiful as was the scenery viewed while traveling between properties in this undeveloped area of Maine.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

Plantings along the right side of the gravel entrance path.  The unique green fencing echoes and complements the colors in the plants in front.  This is not a coincidence—the whole garden integrates plants, objects, colors, and textures into a gorgeous tapestry.

Unlikely as it seems, the final and best garden on the Watershed tour surrounded the Owls Head Post Office in Owls Head, another beautiful and undeveloped area of Maine.  You would never know that it is five minutes from Rockland and 15 minutes from Camden.  Just as photos of a painting are not the same as seeing the painting itself, my pictures of this garden do not do justice to the subtlety of the artistry.  However, they do capture its beauty and attention to detail.  Enjoy:

.

Plantings along the left side of the entrance path.  The spiral staircase leads to the owner’s vacation home, which is above the post office.  The building dates from the 1800s and has been used as a post office since 1931.

.

I was admiring the unusual pink color of the allium when I discovered that all the alliums in this garden were spray-painted.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

At the back of the garden was a pond accessed by this dock-like deck on which sat another scenic and historic building.  Even the canoe seems to have been chosen for its aesthetics.

.

The crow on top watched us tour the garden.

.

 

.

..

.

This is Doug Johnson, the owner and creator of this magical garden.  Not surprisingly, he is an artist and an art teacher.  He rents his vacation home on VRBO, and the inside is just as charming as the outside.  You can see photos by clicking here.

.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

Gardens in the Watershed Tour 2018 Part One

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 A typical house on the streets of downtown Rockland, Maine

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“.  Each year the tour highlights gardens in a different area of the Georges River watershed, and this year it featured six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  The gardens were beautiful as was the scenery viewed while traveling between properties in this undeveloped area of Maine.  Five of the gardens are profiled here.  The final garden was so magical that it will get its own post.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

.

The first garden was relatively small, running along the side and filling the space behind a house in downtown Rockland, Maine.  It was lovingly cared for by the owner and perfectly showcased the beauty of perennial gardens in Maine:

.

I loved these pale yellow, double daisies and lusted after the blue delphiniums that thrive in Maine but not in hot and humid Pennsylvania.

.

.

.

the vegetable garden

.

Next we visited a working farm, which produces most of the vegetables for Cafe Miranda, a popular restaurant in Rockland, profiled at the end of my last post.  To read that post, click here.  It consisted of 14,800 square feet of permanently established raised beds.  The beds are maintained organically, predominantly with hand tools.  All the vegetables are started from seed.  I have never seen such an orderly and well-thought-out vegetable garden:

.

.

.

The third garden, located in Owl’s Head on the scenic shoreline of Penobscot Bay, had a Pennsylvania connection: it was owned by a former Executive Director of Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, profiled on my blog here.  It featured mostly native plants in pleasing combinations among boulders and swales:

.

.‘Rozanne’ hardy geranium

.

.

.

My favorite part was this lovely view of Ash Island in Penobscot Bay.

.

The next garden was also on the shoreline in Owl’s Head, encompassing Dodge Point with an easterly view of Penobscot Bay and overlooking Owls Head Harbor to the west.  The property had a beautiful woodland filled with native plants as well as cultivated areas around the buildings and in pockets of soil among the ledges:

.

The woodland was filled with this broad-leafed, native aster.

.A beach on the Penobscot Bay side of the point.  Morning fog was just clearing when we arrived.

.The view of Owls Head Harbor, home to over 60 working lobster boats and two active lobster pounds.

.

It was great to see this native beach rose, probably Rosa carolina, rather than the ubiquitous and invasive, non-native rugosa roses.

.

A flowering sedum echoes the color of the lichen-covered ledges.

.

.

I saw this beautiful hosta there, but unfortunately the owner didn’t know the name.

.

More plantings in front of the house among the ledges overlooking the bay.

.

The final garden profiled here was a grand estate built on a thirty-acre former sheep farm on the shoreline in South Thomaston.  The perennial gardens behind the house were lush, but the harsh midday sun ruined my photos.  However, it was the ocean views and the house itself that drew the most attention:

.

The grand driveway sweeps up a hill to the house in the distance.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The view from the house across the lawn to Penobscot Bay.

.

After viewing these lovely gardens and touring this untouched and beautiful area of Maine, it was back to the reality of tourism…..

.

.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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 Olson House in Cushing Maine

Posted in garden to visit, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 Andrew Wyeth’s iconic and enigmatic painting Christina’s World

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“, featuring six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  Arriving in the area the day before the tour, I decided to visit the Olson House in Cushing, Maine, a National Historic Landmark and the house depicted in Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World above.  Although what follows does not profile a garden, I hope that you will enjoy seeing this amazing place.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

The Olson house and barn look very much the same as they were depicted by Wyeth in 1948.

Although I had considered visiting this remote spot many times, I was inspired to finally make the trip after reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (Harper Collins 2017).  Combining historical facts with fiction, Kline’s novel details the life of Anna Christina Olson, the woman in Wyeth’s mysterious painting.  I found the novel gripping and was amazed by the author’s ability to portray, from Christina’s point of view, her life of poverty, debilitating illness, and almost complete isolation .  For more information on A Piece of the World, read the 2017 New York Times book review by clicking here.

.

The Olson House is in an area of Maine that is still quite remote and undeveloped.  The view from the house towards Maple Juice Cove probably looked much the same during Christina Olson’s lifetime.

Christiana Olson, who lived in the Olson House with her brother Alvaro until she died in 1968, was born there in 1893 and contracted a debilitating and undiagnosed illness early in her life that eventually left her unable to walk. Into this bleak existence, which is excruciatingly well-portrayed from Christina’s perspective in the book, came Andrew Wyeth in 1939.  He befriended Christina and her brother and created almost 300 paintings of the house, both inside and out, as well as its inhabitants over the course of Christina’s lifetime.  Wyeth said of the house:

I just couldn’t stay away from there. I did other pictures while I knew them but I’d always seem to gravitate back to the house. … It was Maine.

A New York Times travel piece, describing a visit to the Olson House, calls it Wyeth’s Giverny.  To read the article, “A Stroll Through Wyeth’s Giverny”, click here.

.

.

The little garden in the middle right of the photo contains the only cultivated space on the property.

.

Though the garden is small, it is certainly compelling when surrounded by the bleak presence of the house.

The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, acquired the Olson House in 1991.  Sometime after the death of Alvaro and Christina Olson in 1967 and 1968, the house was cleared of almost all its contents, so the inside of the house is as desolate as the outside.  However, I highly recommend a guided tour as our wonderful guide brought the history of the house, as well as all its inhabitants since it was built in the late 1700s, alive for us.  After the tour we were free to wander the house where photos of many of Wyeth’s paintings are displayed in the rooms where they were painted.

.


.

.

..

.

.

.

While we waited for the tour to begin, we walked down this path across the street from the house to the tiny graveyard where Christina Olson and Andrew Wyeth are buried.

.This stone marks the graves of both Christina and Alvaro Olson.

.This simple gravestone says Andrew Wyeth 1917 to 2009.

.

.

.

The Olson house is open Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 5 pm from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus  Day.   Tours are on the hour with the last tour at 4 pm.  For more information, click here.

After your visit to remote Cushing, you can re-enter the bustle of the 21st century in the dynamic, art-filled town of Rockland and eat at two of my favorite restaurants, Primo and Cafe Miranda, pictured below from a 2015 visit.

.

Cafe Miranda, 15 Oak Street, Rockland, Maine, 207-594-2034, reservations recommended, extensive menu, the coconut curry mussels are the best I have ever had, but everything is delicious!

.

Primo, 2 Main Street, Rockland, Maine, 207-596-0770, make reservations months ahead (ask for Ed as your server), they grow most of their ingredients on site, a lifetime dining experience!

 

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

Hillwood Estate Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , on July 23, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The entrance to Hillwood Estate, featuring a 19th century sculpture of Eros, the Greek God of Love.

Michael and I traveled to the Washington DC area recently to view gardens and enjoy the city.  For photos and a description of our visit to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, the first president of the United States, click here.  The second day, we visited Hillwood Estate, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post.  It is located near Rock Creek Park in Washington DC and is easily accessible by car from downtown.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

The Hillwood gardens are divided into a series of secluded garden rooms.

Marjorie Post (1887 to 1973) inherited the Postum Cereal Company at the age of 27. During her ownership, the company grew to become General Foods, and Post became one of the wealthiest women in the world.  She purchased Hillwood in 1955 to serve as her spring and fall residence—she also owned Mar-La-Go in Florida and a home in the Adirondacks—and to house her extensive art collection, including the largest collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia.  The gardens surrounding the future museum were landscaped to provide a backdrop for her extensive and lavish entertaining.

.

The French parterre garden: it is interesting that this style of garden is a prominent element of both Hillwood and Mt. Vernon.  The sculpture is Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

The estate comprises 25 acres with woodland, accessed by meandering paths, surrounding the 13 acres of formal gardens.  The formal gardens extend out from the house and patios in a series of secluded garden rooms, including a French parterre, rose garden, putting green, Japanese-style garden, pet cemetery, and cutting garden, among others.  Each “room” is unique and hidden from view by hedges and other taller plantings.  There is a surprise around every corner.  Enjoy!

.

Walls of English ivy divide the French parterre garden from the rose garden.  The shape of the boxwood in the four sections of the parterre intentionally mirrors decorations inside the adjacent drawing room.

.

The garden is filled with quirky and unusual sculptures and ornaments:  here, a marble sphinx with winged cherubs on her back, one of a pair at the terrace entrance.

.

.


.Marjorie Post added this bay window to her second floor bedroom suite so she could overlook her gardens while working in her office.

.

Japanese holly and viburnum enclose the nine-hole putting green.

.

These vintage bright blue chairs appeared through out the garden.

.

a statue at the entrance of the pet cemetery

.

The Japanese-style garden combines Japanese and American elements.

.The multi-level, Japanese-style garden includes small ponds and streams with stepping stone paths as well as bridges, boulders, and traditional Japanese sculptures and pagodas.

.The very large and well-organized cutting garden supplies flowers for the house, which we did not visit.  Marjorie Post stipulated that on her death Hillwood would be opened to the public as a museum and fresh flowers would be used to adorn the house.

.

A view across the cutting garden to the ornate greenhouse.

.

For more information about Hillwood and its gardens, click here.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

%d bloggers like this: