Asticou Azalea and Thuya Gardens on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Acadia Delphinium and MonardaThere is no more iconic Maine garden perennial than delphiniums in July.

My husband Michael and I recently spent four very full days on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA, visiting public and private gardens and Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  Today’s post highlights two of those gardens: Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-09-43 PMAsticou Pond in Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Asticou and Thuya were both designed and built in 1956 by Charles Savage, a lifelong resident of Northeast Harbor.  He was inspired by his desire to preserve the plants in the Bar Harbor garden of Beatrix Farrand, who was forced to sell her property for financial reasons.   Savage moved all her larger plants to the Thuya and Asticou sites with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-25-30 PMAsticou Azalea Garden

Beatrix Farrand is an absolutely fascinating person and figures prominently in the history of American landscape architecture.  She deserves a blog post of her own, but, briefly, she was born in 1872 and began studying landscape architecture in 1895.  She went on to design gardens at the White House, the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks, Princeton, Yale, and dozens of other prominent locations.  An early advocate for the use of native plants, Farrand was the only female member of the eleven founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  To read more about her, click here.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-16-33 PMSmokebush in bloom

Charles Savage studied Japanese gardening and was a lover of Maine native plants.  The garden he designed combines these two elements in a unique and interesting way.   The Asticou website explains Savage’s vision:

The Azalea Garden is styled after a Japanese stroll garden with many traditional Japanese design features adapted for the natural setting and vegetation of coastal Maine. A meandering circular path leads visitors through a succession of garden rooms that inspire serenity and reflection or bring to focus a particularly lovely vista. The garden’s design creates an illusion of space, of lakes and mountains and distant horizons.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-05-58 PMAsticou’s gravel paths are edged with bamboo, and native moss and ferns (and low bush blueberries) provide groundcover.

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Lilium canadense Ascitou GardensNative Canada lily in Asticou
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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-17-41 PMAsticou Azalea Garden
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Wooden gates open to reveal the Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Thuya Garden is part of a 140 acre preserve given in trust to the residents of Mt. Desert Island by Joseph Curtis, a prominent Boston landscape architect who died in 1928.  Charles Savage was appointed trustee, and in 1956 he transformed what was then an orchard into the garden that exists today using plants acquired from Beatrix Farrand.  Unlike his Japanese-inspired Asticou garden, Thuya was designed as a semi-formal English garden in the Gertrude Jeykll style as interpreted by Farrand after many visits to England to learn from both Jeykll and William Robinson.
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Charles Savage designed and carved the gates at Thuya.
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The English style perennial borders at Thuya are gorgeous.
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Thuya also has beautiful rocky outcroppings surrounded by native plants.

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A final view of the delphiniums.

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There is more to come with a visit to the amazing Abby Alrich Rockefeller Garden plus photos from the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park

Posted in garden to visit with tags , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor Maine

View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  They make an excellent blueberry martini!

Of all the subjects that I write about, I get the most positive feedback from my customers on my posts from Maine.  For the last three years, Michael and I attended the Camden (Maine) House and Garden Tour, and I featured photos from the Camden-Rockport-Rockland area in my Maine posts.  This year is the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park located on Mt. Desert Island, which is about two thirds of the way up the Maine coast southwest of Bangor.  As we had never visited that area we decided to spend four days in and around Acadia and attend the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Northeast Harbor Maine

Northeast Harbor, Mt. Desert Island: Many families from the Philadelphia area where I live summer on Mt. Desert so it was fun to see all the locations I have heard so much about.

In the days before the garden tour, we visited three public gardens on Mt. Desert, many of the little villages on the island, and most of the major sites in Acadia National Park.  I hope to do more in depth posts on the gardens once I figure out how to transfer my photos efficiently from my Apple iPad, which I used to take the pictures, to my PC, which is where I compose posts.  Its not as easy as it should be—if anyone has any tips let me know.

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Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

US native fireweed in a field on a back road.  Mt. Desert was much less developed and crowded than I thought it would be.  We were often the only car on the road.

Acadia National Park was gorgeous and not crowded at all even though it is one tenth the size of Grand Teton National Park and gets the same number of visitors, in 2015, 2.8 million.  One reason that I have never visited it before is that I thought it would be similar to the Maine Coast that I am used to around Portland.  I couldn’t have been more wrong—the geography is totally different even down to the type of rock, which is an arresting pink granite.  Beautiful lakes have been scraped out of the rock by glaciers, and there is even the only fjard on the East Coast, Somes Sound.  Mountains abound and, although they are not tall by many standards—Cadillac Mt is the tallest at 1,530 feet—they soar straight up from sea level.  Gorgeous coastal vistas and lovely beaches abound.

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Acadia Somes Sound MaineSomes Sound at sunset

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Acadia Sand Beach

Sand Beach in the park looks just like beaches I have visited in the Caribbean, although the resemblance stops at the water line as the water temperature was 54 degrees F (12 C).  There was much warmer swimming in the ocean at Otter Cove and at Echo Lake.

In this first post from the area, I am just showing some beautiful scenes to give you an idea of the setting.  Once I get my images straightened out, I hope to go into more depth about the gardens in the area.

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Acadia Mounument Cove
Monument Cove in the park is spectacular with its namesake pillar and a beach composed of perfectly round granite rocks.  It is not on the park maps, and I found it while reading Down East Magazine’s Summer 2016 issue dedicated entirely to Acadia for the 100th anniversary.  If you plan on visiting Mt. Desert, I highly recommend you get this issue because I used it for much of my planning.  To access Monument Cove, enter the Park Loop, which requires a $25 7-day pass) and park in the Gorham Mountain Trailhead Parking.  Cross the street and Monument Cove is to the left.
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Moss, Rockefeller Garden, Seal HarborBeautiful stands of moss are everywhere, here the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.
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Northeast HarborNortheast Harbor
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Bass Harbor Head Maine
Bass Harbor Head near the lighthouse, which is part of the park, features the characteristic pink granite plunging to the ocean.
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Acadia Delphinium and MonardaDelphiniums and monarda at the Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor.  I wish delphiniums would grow like this in Pennsylvania, but it gets too hot and humid for them.
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View across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles
A view across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles.
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I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park.  A special thanks to my wonderful customer and friend Charlotte F. who welcomed us into her beautiful home during our trip and provided crucial planning advice.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Mt. Cuba Part One: Formal Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, green gardening, landscape design, native plants, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-54-50 PMThe Colonial Revival manor house built at Mt. Cuba in 1935 by the Lammot du Pont Copelands.

For Mother’s Day my family surprised me with a visit to Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. Although I had visited this garden in the early 1990s before it was open to the public, I haven’t been there since.  What a mistake!  I was so enthralled by what I saw that I went back three days later to explore the gardens more thoroughly.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-56-17 PMThe courtyard in front of the manor house as well as the gardens surrounding it are all very formal.

Mt.  Cuba Center is the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland.  Mr. Copeland was the President and Chairman of the Du Pont Company while Mrs. Copeland was a pioneer in the movement to protect and appreciate US native plants.  In the 1960s, the Copelands began installing extensive native, woodland gardens on their 582 acre property.  In the 1980s, they focused their efforts on developing a private botanic garden to study native plants of the Appalachian Piedmont.  When Mrs. Copeland died in 2001, Mt. Cuba became a public garden with limited access.  In 2013, it was opened for general admission in the spring, summer, and fall.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-23-16 PMThe house is beautiful from every angle, here the terraces in the back.

Mrs. Copeland wanted Mt. Cuba:

…. to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”

With that goal in mind, the Copelands developed the 50 acres surrounding their home into display gardens highlighting native plants in formal and informal settings.  All of it is spectacular, and I hope to write two more posts on the woodland gardens and the trillium collection.  This post will focus on the use of native plants in the formal gardens directly around the house.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-22-17 PMThe view from the terraces.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-31-27 PM.

Plants native to the US and particularly the Delaware Valley are a favorite of mine so I loved every part of Mt. Cuba, but I was most intrigued by the use of natives in the formal mixed borders.  Mt. Cuba demonstrates that native plants work just as well around the house as “foundation plantings” as they do out in woodland gardens where they are usually found.  In the following photos, almost all the plants are native species found on the East Coast of the United States or cultivars of natives:

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-46-16 AM

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-24-44 PM
dwarf ninebark and native azaleas
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Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'‘Carolina Moonlight’ baptisia
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-57-01 PMOakleaf hydrangea as a foundation planting.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-50-02 AMGoldenstar, Chrysogonum virginianum, as a groundcover.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-47-16 AMContainers filled with native plants decorate the terraces.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-46-51 AM
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If you would like more information about using native plants in a formal design, click here for an interview on this subject with Travis Beck, Mt. Cuba’s Director of Horticulture.  He states that native plants were chosen to achieve the character of an English garden without staking, fertilizing, or watering.  The all-native redesign of the formal gardens has resulted in a very significant increase in pollinators.

I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Cuba Center and its amazing display of East Coast native plants.  I found it inspirational and a source of many ideas for my own gardens.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Japanese Maples and More: Ambleside Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, Shade Shrubs, Shade trees with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-19-48 AM

Just like Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, no part of Ambleside Gardens looks like a regular nursery.

I discovered Ambleside Gardens in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, last year when I was searching for a place to shop for Japanese maples.  Their website said they had 125 varieties so it seemed like the place to go.  Little did I know that I would find one of the most beautiful nurseries I have ever visited!

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-34-52 AM

The main path through the nursery display area.  All the shrubs and trees are for sale but are artfully displayed to create an intimate garden space.

Ambleside Gardens is a family business started in 1965 by the father of the current owner David Scudder.  It bills itself as New Jersey’s most unusual garden center, and I would agree.  The woody plants for sale are not lined up in rows for customers to select but are integrated into a lovely and intimate system of garden paths shaded by large trees and pergolas.  Each specimen is placed to highlight its color, size, shape, and texture and to harmonize with the plants around it.  The effect is magical. 

Here are some views of the nursery displays:

Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-10-08 AM

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-19-21 AM

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-31-15 AM
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David Scudder is the enthusiastic plantsman who makes all this magic.  He knows the details of every plant in his inventory, and the arrangement of the gardens are a testament to this knowledge.  He can also help you find exactly what you want.  We were looking for an upright, white variegated Japanese maple to compliment the “floating cloud” maple in our woodland, and he immediately came up with every candidate available at the nursery—and there were many—and the pros and cons of each. 

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-32-32 AM

My husband Michael talking with Ambleside owner David Scudder.

But Ambleside is not just a Japanese maple nursery.  David has assembled for sale an amazing collection of out-of-the-ordinary woody plants in mature sizes and unusual forms.  If you are looking for an eye-catching centerpiece for your gardens, Ambleside is the place to go.  As we wandered around admiring plants, David pointed out tree-form witch hazels and clethras, dwarf dawn redwoods and bald cypress, huge specimen fringe trees, exotic connifers, and much more.

Here were some of my favorites, but there are hundreds of specimens to drool over (and hundreds of smaller, less expensive woodies too):

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-12-38 AM

An ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel grown as a tree—I would love to see this in bloom.

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Abies koreana Ambleside  6-2-2016 10-40-47 AM - Copy

The beautiful cones and white dipped needles of a large Korean fir.

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-22-56 AM
A very large and mature Chinese fringe tree.
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Styrax japonica 'Pink Chimes' Ambleside 6-2-2016 10-33-41 AM

A 15′ tall, pink-flowered Japanese styrax.

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The styrax in the previous photo is on the right side of the path.  As you can see, there are many mature trees to choose from.

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Brick Farm Market

The Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, New Jersey, has indoor and outdoor seating and delicious food.

When you are done shopping at Ambleside, a delicious lunch awaits you at the charming Brick Farm Market, 15 minutes away in Hopewell, New Jersey.  The market serves food grown locally and sustainably by the owners at their nearby Double Brook Farm.  You can eat there and also purchase fresh meats, cheeses, baked goods, vegetables, and other delights to take home.  They open at 7 am and serve an equally yummy breakfast.

Brick Farm Market2

Inside the Brick Farm Market

Enjoy your outing to Ambleside Gardens and be sure to tell David that I sent you!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Mini Hostas Make Excellent Groundcovers

Posted in groundcover, hosta, How to, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mini Hosta Rock Garden

Part of my mini hosta rock garden in June of 2015.  Be sure to see it when you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens—it is one of the highlights of the garden right now!

When it begins to warm up (finally!), the weeds are not far behind, and customers start asking for groundcovers.  If garden beds are filled with plants, there is no bare soil on which weeds can germinate, and garden maintenance is greatly reduced.  Covering bare ground can be accomplished economically by choosing plants that spread rather than form clumps.  Spreading mini (and small) hostas are perfect for this task, but which ones work?  Here is your answer:

Nursery News:  You are welcome to shop at the nursery any time by appointment.  The 2016 Mini Hosta Catalogue is now on line here, and we are taking orders.  Our fourth open house sale, featuring summer and fall blooming shade plants, larger hostas, and miniature hostas, will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list will receive a detailed email. 

For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Hosta Kiwi Golden Thimble

‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’ rapidly produces an adorable mound of golden leaves.

You can read more about mini hostas in these posts:

2016 Mouse Ears Hosta Update

Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

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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Hosta 'Twist of Lime'

‘Twist of Lime’ with its blue-green edge is a very fast grower and a favorite of my customers.

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.Hosta Little Wonder

‘Little Wonder’ has colorful leaves and a very dense growth habit.

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Hosta Lemon Lime
‘Lemon Lime’ is an outstanding groundcover hosta.
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Hosta Blue Mouse Ears

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the only mouse ears hosta that I would use as a groundcover because it is so vigorous.

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Hosta Green with Envy

‘Green with Envy’ is practically jumping out of my strawberry pot as it tries to expand.

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Hosta Rock Prince

‘Rock Prince’ filled in this whole area between the stones very quickly.

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Hosta Baby Bunting

‘Baby Bunting’s’ tiny leaves make a very fine-textured groundcover.

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Hosta Lemon Delight

‘Lemon Delight’ makes an excellent dense cover, and the wavy leaf edges provide a feeling of movement.

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Hosta Dragon Tails

Of course any mini, if planted en mass, provides groundcover, here ‘Dragon Tails’.

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

2016 Mouse Ears Hosta Update

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, miniature hosta, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' 6-21-2015 1-44-28 PM

‘Blue Mouse Ears’, the 2008 Hosta of the Year, is the mouse ears hosta that started it all, shown here with its adorable, well-proportioned flowers.

It is mini hosta time at Carolyn’s Shade Garden where mouse ears hostas are definitely the customer favorite.  What’s not to love?  Whether you go for the clever mouse-themed names, the round and rubbery, slug resistant leaves, the useful mini to small size, the perfectly symmetrical, elegant habit, the large variety of beautiful leaf colors, the pixie-like, proportionate flowers, or their general gardenworthiness, you can’t go wrong with mouse ears.

Nursery News:  You are welcome to shop at the nursery any time by appointment.  The 2016 Mini Hosta Catalogue is now on line here, and we are taking orders.  Our third open house sale, featuring hostas, miniature hostas, ferns, epimediums, and hardy geraniums, will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list have received a detailed email. 

For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'

‘Blue Mouse Ears’

You can read more about mouse ears hostas and minis in general in these posts:

Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

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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Hosta 'Mini Skirt'

‘Mini Skirt’ is one of the newer mouse ears with a lovely flounce to the leaves.

I thought I would show you some new photos of the mouse ears I am offering this year and introduce two new mouse ears for 2017.  Although ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ and ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’ are in the 2016 mail order catalogue, they are already sold out so I won’t tempt you with their photos.

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.Hosta 'Green Mouse Ears'

‘Green Mouse Ears’, a favorite of mine, is the tiniest of the group.

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Hosta 'Pure Heart'
‘Pure Heart’ makes a pair with ‘Mighty Mouse’ as it was named after Pearl Pureheart, Mighty Mouse’s girlfriend.
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Hosta 'Mouse Cheese'

‘Mouse Cheese’ is one of the gold-leafed mouse ears—it comes out chartreuse and turns gold over the spring season.

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Hosta 'Church Mouse'

‘Church Mouse’ has the most interesting leaves.  The center is smooth and blue-green, while the edges are ruffled and gold-green.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'

‘Mighty Mouse’ in the spring and summer.

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'

This is a photo of ‘Mighty Mouse’ in the fall.

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Hosta 'Holy Mouse Ears'

‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is another tiny cultivar with beautiful colors.

Two new cultivars are joining the mouse ears clan in 2017.  They look stunning, and I already have them on order to sell in spring 2017:

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Hosta 'Sun Mouse' Walters

‘Sun Mouse’ has nicely shaped round leaves and brilliant gold color.

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Hosta 'School Mouse' Walters

‘School Mouse’ resembles its parent ‘Church Mouse’ but with a wide, gold, ruffled edge and blue-green center.

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The Mouse Ears Family continues to grow, but there is always room in my garden for these wonderful little hostas.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Strike a Blow for the Environment in your own Yard

Posted in garden essay, green gardening, groundcover, landscape design, my garden, native plants, organic gardening, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Senecio aureus

Golden groundsel, Senecio aureus, is the best native plant for ground cover.

I write a lot about the things we do at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens to support the environment: gardening organically without herbicides and chemical fertilizers, doing little supplemental watering, composting, mulching with ground leaves, getting rid of our lawn, landscaping with large quantities of native plants, and promoting natives at the nursery.

Nursery News:  You are welcome to shop at the nursery any time by appointment.  The 2016 Mini Hosta Catalogue is now on line here, and we are taking orders.  Our third open house sale, featuring hostas, miniature hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums, will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list will get a detailed email.   For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

Carolyn's Shade Gardens Woodland

Our native white-flowered redbud surrounded by native plants.

You can read more about these practices in these posts among others: 

Your Native Woodland: If You Build it They Will Come, how to create your own woodland filled with native plants

My Thanksgiving Oak Forest, the importance of native plants to our survival

Your Most Precious Garden Resource, step-by-step guide to mulching with ground leaves 

Letting Go Part 1: The Lawn, the dangers of lawn chemicals to ourselves and the environment 

Do You Know Where Your Mulch Comes From?, toxic substances in shredded hardwood mulch

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Carolyn's Shade Gardens woodland

Our woodland in April with Virginia bluebells, wild ginger, golden groundsel, and mayapples—all native.

My guide to creating a native woodland has been especially popular.  However, most gardeners don’t have vast areas of woods to convert to native plants but still want to make a difference.  And I am sure that most people realize that planting three milkweed plants, though admirable and to be encouraged, is not going to save the monarch butterflies.  So what can you do? 

.Viola striata

Native white violets, Viola striata, used in quantity as an edging along the front of a border.  The violets spread rapidly by seed, filling in empty areas and preventing weeds.

One solution is to find ways to include large quantities—a critical mass—of native plants in your garden, no matter what size.  You can accomplish this by replacing non-native ground covers like pachysandra, vinca, ivy, euonymus, and turf grass with native ground cover plants.  It is easy to do and you can start small by using spreading native plants like the violets above as edging for your existing beds.  Soon you will be eliminating whole swathes of your lawn!  Here are some more ideas of plants to use:

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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'
Native ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, used as an edging.
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Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue'

This patch of native ‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox has been in place for at least a decade and requires no maintenance at all.  It is evergreen so is present year round like pachysandra but provides you with beautiful flowers and the native insects with food.  Its mat-like habit excludes all weeds.

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

Native ‘Nice ‘n White’ moss phlox used to replace non-native vinca, which you can see behind it.  This location is quite shady and the moss phlox thrives.  All it needs is good drainage.

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

Our original planting of native ‘Nice ‘n White’ moss phlox is filling in to create a solid blanket while we continue to move down the hill adding new plants.

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Iris cristata 'Tennessee White'

Native ‘Tennessee White’ dwarf crested iris, Iris cristata, used to edge our raised beds.  I expect these clumps to double in size by next spring.

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Senecio aureus

Native golden groundsel, Senecio aureus, the yellow flower in the photo above and the first photo, makes the best ground cover of any native plant.  It spreads aggressively and is evergreen and mat-forming like pachysandra but also produces beautiful, fragrant flowers suitable for cutting.  Like pachysandra it is too aggressive to be mixed with other plants, but unlike the pachysandra in our area it is not subject to alfalfa mosaic virus.

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Chrysognum virginianum 4-26-2016 11-47-39 AM

Native goldenstar, Chrysogonum virginianum, is another creeping plant that makes a good edger.

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Chrysognum virginianum 4-26-2016 11-47-51 AM

Because the goldenstar was working so well at the edge, we decided to replace a whole section of our lawn with it.

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Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'

Two years ago we replaced another section of our lawn with native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera.  This phlox grows in part to full shade and forms a flat, weed-choking mat that stays green all winter.

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Aster cordifolius

Native blue wood aster, Aster cordifolius, replaced another section of lawn at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens that surrounded a gigantic black walnut.

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Aster cordifolius

Native blue wood aster blooms in the fall and grows in part to full shade.

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Doug Tallamy explains in his amazing book Bringing Nature Home* that we can make a difference for the environment and the plants and animals (including us) which are struggling to survive there, by planting native plants in our suburban gardens.  I hope I have given you some good ideas for accomplishing this laudable goal.

*Profiled in my blog post My Thanksgiving Oak Forest.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

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