George Washington’s Mount Vernon

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

 The mansion at Mount Vernon viewed across the large swathe of sloping lawn known as the bowling green.

Michael and I traveled to the Washington DC area recently to view gardens and enjoy the city.  When torrential rains cancelled our Sunday visits and Monday closures forced a total rethink of our intended itinerary, Michael said what about Mount Vernon.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit there and would recommend it to gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

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.

 

This map of a portion of the Mount Vernon estate shows the mansion on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River with the sloped bowling green in front bordered on both sides by serpentine access paths enclosed in large trees.  Behind the trees on the left are the formal gardens and greenhouse.  On the right are the extensive kitchen gardens and below them the fruit gardens.

Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington, the first President of the United States, the Commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and the president of the convention that produced the US Constitution.  Among his greatest achievements were the voluntary transfer of control of our country from the military back to civilians at the end of the war and the peaceful succession of John Adams as the second president after Washington’s two terms.  For an upstart country like ours, neither was a given.  But while shaping our history, he was also shaping his gardens, which are a delight to visit.

.

Michael stands by one of the huge trees that line the gravel paths climbing the hill to the mansion.  Despite the presence of numerous school groups and other visitors, we often found ourselves alone while wandering the grounds.

.

Washington made major changes to the mansion, which was originally just the center door and windows to either side.  The building on the right is the kitchen and, through the connecting archway, you can see the trees on the opposite shore of the Potomac River.  We were hesitant to stand in line for the mansion tour, but it was well worth it.  No photos are allowed inside.

.

.

The servants hall and side yard—you can just see the river on the left above the fence.

.The Potomac side of the house has a very large, two story porch with an amazing view of the river where George and Martha Washington would entertain their frequent guests—over 650 while they lived there.

 

.

The entrance to the formal gardens looking towards the greenhouse, which Washington built to house tropical and semi-tropical plants like citrus and palm trees.  Although Martha Washington oversaw the kitchen gardens, George Washington closely supervised the ornamental gardens and the estate, receiving weekly reports even during the Revolutionary War.  He designed and built the formal gardens for the enjoyment of his many visitors.

.

The formal gardens consist of six beds, two of which are parterres filled with boxwood clipped into fleur di lis.

.

The bright green boxwood combined with the redbrick buildings with red tile roofs was quite striking.

.

The remaining beds have exotic ornamental trees and flowers along the edges with rows of vegetables and fruit trees in the center.

.Ornamental flowers and espaliered fruit trees border the walls enclosing the formal garden.

.Southern magnolias line the access road behind the greenhouse.

.

The gorgeous flower and evergreen leaves of southern magnolia, M. grandiflora.

.

From the path on the right side of the bowling green, we entered the kitchen gardens, which were overseen by Martha Washington.

.The kitchen gardens have been continuously producing fruits and vegetables since the 1760s.

.

A cistern surrounded by geometrically laid out vegetable beds.

.

.

A view across the kitchen gardens towards the seed house.

.

Seeds for the coming year’s crops were collected and stored in this charming building.

.

There is a lot to see at Mount Vernon, and we could have spent another half day exploring the remainder of the property, including the distillery, gristmill, wharf area, indoor museum, Washington’s tomb, and the slave memorial.  Mount Vernon is so peaceful and beautiful that I had to constantly remind myself that the actual work was done by enslaved people who numbered 317 at Washington’s death in 1799.

Carolyn

P.S.  Mount Vernon receives no government funding.  It is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which purchased the estate in 1858 after the founder’s mother, Louisa Cunningham, brought its dilapidated state to her daughter’s attention.  Louisa wrote:“If the men of America have seen fit to allow the home of its most respected hero to go to ruin, why can’t the women of America band together to save it?” I find this 19th century quotation to be incredibly inspirational and relevant in the 21st century.

.

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

Bigger Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Great Expectations’ is just unfurling its lovely spring colors.

Last week I showed photos of little hostas in our gardens.  To see the pictures, click here.  In this post, I will cover medium and large hostas emerging with their vivid and beautiful spring colors.  All the hostas pictured in this post are for sale at our nursery.  I have noted Hosta of the Year award winners.  Only 22 hostas out of the thousands of named cultivars have received this honor.  For more information on these winning hostas, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, hellebores, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

‘Great Expectations’ has a lovely habit when fully out.

.

We grow ‘Praying Hands’ in a pot with dwarf Solomon’s seal, and it emerges very late—you can just see the first leaf poking through.  2011 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Praying Hands’ fully emerged.  2011 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Paul’s Glory’ will have a gold center later in the season.  1999 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Patriot’ also emerges late.  1997 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Liberty’ has wide, bright yellow margins.  2012 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Liberty’ is a glorious sight when full grown.  2012 Hosta of the Year

.

‘June’ looks different depending on whether it is grown in sun or shade.  In shade above, it is very blue.  2001 Hosta of the Year

.

‘June’ is yellower in a sunny area.  2001 Hosta of the Year

.Many beautiful hostas have been selected from ‘June’—here ‘June Fever’.

.

 

Another progeny of ‘June’—‘June Spirit’.

.

‘Halcyon’ is a great medium-sized hosta with a true blue color.

.

‘First Frost’ was selected from ‘Halcyon’ so has a deep blue center but with creamy yellow margins.  2010 Hosta of the Year

.

 

The intense spring color of ‘Blue Ivory’, another progeny of ‘Halcyon’.

.

‘Empress Wu’, the world’s largest hosta, is going to be truly massive this year.

.

‘Brother Stefan’ is just getting started.  2017 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Brother Stefan’ when more fully emerged.  We grow it in a very sunny spot, and it is immense.  2017 Hosta of the Year

.

One of my favorites, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ with its huge, blue, cupped leaves.  2014 Hosta of the Year

.

‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’s’ leaves actually hold water.  2014 Hosta of the Year

.

If you are local, be sure to check out the medium and large hostas in our garden in person.  They do not display their lovely habits and colorful leaves as well in a nursery container.  You will find them all clearly labeled in our display gardens.

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.

Little Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ has the center spot in our Mouse Ears Family trough accompanied by dwarf Solomon’s seal.

It’s little hosta season, and I thought readers might like to see how we use them in containers and in the ground.  All the hostas pictured in this post are available for pick up at the nursery or for mail order in the 2018 Mini and Small Hosta Catalogue, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

‘Twist of Lime’ is thriving in an antique metal pitcher along our front walk.

We have a collection of pots and unusual containers planted with mini hostas along our very shady front walk:

.

‘Lemon Love Note’ also merits a pot of its own with its unusual shape and shiny leaves.

.

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in a very small, terra cotta pot.

.

‘Appletini’, one of my favorite small hostas, brightens up this ultra shady spot with its glossy gold leaves.

.

A vintage metal tool box houses four small hostas plus European ginger and dwarf lady fern.

.

‘Sun Mouse’ in the tool box.

.

‘Munchkin Fire’ thriving!

.

‘Lakeside Cupcake’

Up by the drive, we have a strawberry pot planted with many mini hosta varieties.  Unfortunately, it got hit by a car, but my wonderful and very handy husband Michael put it back together:

.

‘Wonderful’, you can just see the white outlining on the unusually shaped leaves that makes it so special.

.‘Gemstone’

.

 

‘Green with Envy’

We have gathered together a collection of Mouse Ears hostas in a very large, antique, stone watering trough:

.

This photo shows the trough when we first planted it.

.

‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is tiny and holds pride-of-place in the left front corner.

.

‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ with the reverse variegation of ‘Holy Mouse Ears’ gets the other front corner.

.

‘Green Mouse Ears’ dwarfed by some leaves of ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on the left and dwarf Solomon’s seal on the right.  Its leaves have a folded appearance when it emerges.

.

‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ gets brighter as the season progresses.

.‘Mighty Mouse’

.

The trough has filled in quite a bit since it was originally planted, but the Mouse Ears continue to thrive.

Finally, I do grow almost all of these little hostas in the ground in a rock garden area on the back hill:

.

‘Appletini’ is bright gold with some direct sunlight.

.

 

‘School Mouse’ was newly introduced in 2017 and did very well in the ground over the challenging winter.

.

‘Cracker Crumbs’ is our all-time best-selling mini hosta.

.

‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ among the rocks.

.

‘Dragon Tails’, another of my personal favorites, with white dwarf crested iris.

.

‘Green with Envy’ accompanied by ‘Niveum’ epimedium, a perfect small plant to use as a companion for mini hostas.

.

‘Mighty Mouse’ with a dwarf balsam and other minis.

.

‘Sun Mouse’ was also introduced in 2017 and is doing well in a new area of our rock garden.

.

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with a larger epimedium called ‘Domino’.

.

If you are local, be sure to check out the mini and small hostas in our garden in person.  Local and mail order customers can try these adorable plants in their own gardens by placing an order from the catalogue, 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.

Our Woodland is Glorious

Posted in bulbs for shade, landscape design, my garden, native plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 A native white redbud underplanted with natives Virginia bluebells, May apples, and golden groundsel.

This is one of my favorites times of the year: our woodland is at its peak and epimediums and emerging hostas fill our side hill.  The almost 90 degree weather is moving the plants along quickly, but the native plants in our woodland are glorious right now, and I wanted to capture it on film. 

Nursery News:  Appointments are still available for our primrose and hosta event this Saturday, May 5,  from 9 am to 4 pm on the hour and half hour.  To schedule an appointment, email your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of times to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, and I will confirm.  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

Native Celandine poppies under white redbuds.

.

Pine needle paths thread through our woods.

.

Native Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies under a ‘Waterfall’ Japanese maple.

.

Native mayapples grow through ‘Alba Plena’ European wood anemone.

.

European wood anemones, like ‘Leed’s Variety’, fill in among the native plants in our woods.

.

‘Leed’s Variety’ European wood anemone

.

Pale yellow European wood anemone, Anemone x seemanii.

.

Some of my favorite native plants make a cameo appearance right now: Tennessee form bloodroot.

.‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot blooms for a much longer period than the single flowered forms.

.

 

I let native Dutchman’s breeches seed around wherever it wants to go from our natural woodland to our formal hellebore beds.

.

Pulmonarias are another plant that I allow to roam at will in the garden.  Their seedlings take many beautiful forms.

.

‘Jack Frost’ perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers and silver-frosted leaves.  Many of its seedings also display silver leaves, and it does very well in the dry shade of our woods.

.

Another plant that does well in dry shade is Japanese woodland primrose.  It goes dormant when it gets hot out so doesn’t care about our dry summers.

.

Cowslip primroses are also not picky and grow at the edge of our woods in average soil.

.

‘Old Brick Reds’ primrose with white bleeding-hearts and native Celandine poppy.

.

Grecian windflower is a startling shade of blue and seeds through our woods.

.

Delicate rue anemone prefers to grow in the rocks along our woodland paths.

.

 

The extreme heat has forced our amazing ‘Black Tulip’ magnolia to the end of its bloom period.  However, there are a lot of wonderful plants coming into their own right now.

.

If you are local, I hope you can stop by tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, by appointment to shop and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Just send an email requesting an appointment with some convenient times.

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.

A Photographer Visits Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden with tags on April 26, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Mai Tai’ geum and ‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox

I thought it would be fun to see the gardens at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens through someone else’s lens.  I asked my friend Marielle, who is an excellent photographer, to walk around our property unaccompanied and photograph whatever caught her eye.  The beautiful results are below.  Local customers beware: many of these plants are not for sale here. 

Nursery News:  Appointments are still available for our primrose and hosta event this Saturday, May 5,  from 9 am to 4 pm on the hour and half hour.  To schedule an appointment email your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of times to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, and I will confirm.  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catlalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

Pulmonarias, hellebores, and Japanese woodland primroses fill the bed under our American hornbeam.

.

.

Hellebores are everywhere, including between the roots of this huge London plane tree.

.

The setting sun shines through one of the hundreds of hellebores in bloom right now.

.

Hellebores fill the beds in front of the pride of our magnolia collection, ‘Black Tulip’.  It is magnolia season, and many of our almost 20 trees are in bloom

.

Epimediums are also everywhere with almost 40 varieties in the garden, here orange-flowered Epimedium x warleyense.

.

Purple-leafed ‘Yubae’ epimedium

.

One of my personal favorites: ‘Kaguyahime’ epimedium.

.Summer snowflake grows well in our dry woodland and our moist runoff areas.

.

 

My children planted these Darwin hybrid tulips almost 25 years ago.  The key to getting them to return is to plant them at least 8″ deep, which I learned in Charles Cresson’s excellent bulb course at Longwood Gardens.

.

Pulmonarias seed around the garden.  They are in bloom now, and every one is lovely.

.

Perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers.

.

Another favorite is Japanese woodland primrose.  It grows in moist or dry soil and returns reliably every year.

.

‘Roseus’ spring vetchling

.

Our woodland garden is almost at its peak.

.

Little sweet Betsy, Trillium cuneatum, with yellow European wood anemone.

.

A side path in the woodland garden is lined with purple spring vetchling and Celandine poppies.

.

Upright wild ginger, Saruma henryi, emerging in the woodland.

.

 

Virginia bluebells on the left and yellow European wood anemone on the right in the woodland.

.

Double bloodroot in front of a mass of Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies.

.

If you are local, I hope you can stop by on Saturday and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Thank you, Marielle, for providing a fresh look at our plantings.

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.

Hellebores in the Garden Today

Posted in hellebores, my garden, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Anna’s Red’, a new addition to the FrostKiss™ hellebore family.

All my customers have been commenting that their hellebores are spectacular this year.  Mine are too, and I thought it would be fun to show you photos of hellebores in my garden today. 

Although I have hundreds of hellebores in bloom, I have limited the photos to hellebores that will be available for sale at the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens open house sale this Saturday, April 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you can’t come on Saturday, I still have appointments available on Friday, April 13, on the hour and half hour from 10:30 to 5—just email me, carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, your top three choices, and I will confirm.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores, early spring-blooming shade plants, and native plants is this Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

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.

.

First up, the FrostKiss™ outward-facing hellebores, including ‘Anna’s Red’ above:

.

‘Dorothy’s Dawn’, another 2018 addition to the FrostKiss™ line of hellebores, has beautiful flowers, but what I really love is….

.

….the leaves, which, like all FrostKiss™ foliage, lasts all winter into spring.

.

FrostKiss™ ‘Penny’s Pink’ has been around for four years and thrives in my garden.

.

The flowers of FrostKiss™ ‘Molly’s White’ are prolific and lovely, but the best attribute of this hellebore is ….

.….the gorgeous leaves.

.

Other outward-facing hellebores:

.

‘Pink Frost’ is a lovely hellebore, shorter than the FrostKiss™ hellbores and perfect for a smaller garden or space.

.

‘Spring Party’ is also shorter and smaller, but blooms later and has beautiful marbled leaves that last through the winter.

.

For unusual colors and double flowers, you can’t beat “Lenten Roses”, the standard hybrid hellebores and my personal favorites:

.

‘Wedding Bells’ is part of the Wedding Party™ series, a vigorous and well-selected group of double hellebores.  White hellebores really stand out in the garden.

.

Another Wedding Party™ series hellebore, ‘Flower Girl’.

.

The Winter Jewels® series of double hellebores is also spectacular:

.

‘Harlequin Gem’ has a lighter interior with dark purple-black outer petals.

.

‘Golden Lotus’, a double yellow hellebore, is prominently featured in my yellow hellebore collection.

.

‘Onyx Odyssey’, a blue-black selection, is outstanding.

.

‘Peppermint Ice’, along my front walk, catches everyone’s eye.

.

The Honeymoon™ series of single hellebores is also quite beautiful:

.

‘New York Night’ is amazing, look for it around back by the deck.

.

‘Spanish Flare’ is another prominent feature of my yellow hellebore collection.

.

If you are local, I hope you can stop by on Saturday and see all these lovely hellebores in person in my garden.  For all my far flung readers, enjoy the photos!

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.

A Day in the Life of an Avon Bulbs Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘EA Bowles’ was one of the very lucky snowdrops selected to be displayed on the Avon Bulbs table at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show in February.

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited:  in this post, Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop nurseries in the world.

We visited Avon in February 2018 and 2017 and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Alan Street, known through out the snowdrop world for the exceptional snowdrops he has selected and named.  During both years, we also helped set up the Avon exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Show in London.  For a post about our 2017 RHS experience, read Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

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 phone 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.

.

Alan Street standing among Avon’s free range planting of ‘S. Arnott’.  Alan advises snowdrop enthusiasts to let the flower heads form and drop their seeds, as you never know what you will get.

.

Avon has a beautiful woodland full of “wild” snowdrops plus other winter-blooming plants like the winter aconites, hardy cyclamens, and spring snowflakes in this photo.  They are all allowed to mix and match, which has resulted in some amazing snowdrop selections.

The title of this post should really be “years in the life of an Avon snowdrop” because that’s how long it takes to evaluate, select, and name a truly special snowdrop.  Although Avon propagates many snowdrops selected by others, it has introduced some wonderful cultivars found in the woods on its own property.  I thought you might like to see where and how this happens plus which lucky snowdrops go on to the RHS show.

.

A swarm of ‘Wasp’ in the Avon woods.  The woods are filled with masses of named snowdrops, and, when the bees go from flower to flower, magic happens.

.

A group of seedlings in the Avon woods from the very prolific ‘Trym’, results in….

.….’Trympostor’, first shown by Avon in 2011.

.

The appearance of a seedling like this one pairing a green ovary (the cap at the top of the flower) and yellow markings on the outer segments results in….

.

….the introduction in fall of 2017 of ‘Midas’, a spectacular and ground-breaking snowdrop with yellow on the outers as well as the inners and….

.

…., to be introduced in the near future by Avon, ‘Bitter Lemons’.

.

‘Sprite’, another Avon introduction, seen in the Avon woods.

.

‘Phantom’ also originated at Avon.

.

An un-named seedling currently under evaluation by Avon.

.

Also under evaluation, a yellow ‘Trym’ from Olive Mason.

.

If a woodland seedling looks promising, it might be potted up for further evaluation in the greenhouse.

.

All snowdrops are eventually chipped and grown on in pots in Avon’s production beds.

.

Avon production beds

.

Alan Street holds one of the pots from the production beds.  In it is ‘Alan’s Treat’, which he selected and named—a play on his own name.

.

Plants chosen for sale in the catalogue are individually potted, usually in their third year after chipping, and stored in this cold frame.

.

From the cold frame, they are loaded onto carts for transportation to the various snowdrop venues where Avon sells its plants.  This particular cart is bound for the RHS show and contains snowdrops for sale on the bottom shelf and snowdrops for display on the top two shelves.

.

The Avon truck arrives in London, and Michael helps Alan unload the carts and roll them into Lindley Hall where the snowdrop portion of the RHS show was staged.

.

All the materials are ready for us to create the display.  Unfortunately, the Avon table was in an out-of-the-way corner with poor lighting and a terrible background for photos.  I am not sure what the RHS was thinking!

.There was a three-tier effect with four snowdrops displayed in the metal stands shown to create the upper tier.  It was very hard to get the pots to sit in the stands but perseverance paid off!

.

The middle tier featured pots raised up in attractive metal buckets wrapped in woven vines, here ‘Rosemary Burnham’, a show-stopping virescent (green) snowdrop.

.

The lowest tier pots sat on the table and were covered by leaves, here ‘George Elwes’, a stately snowdrop selected at Colesbourne Park.

.

Alan waters the display while Michael continues to level the pots in the stands.

.

The only way to get an overall photo was to take it from a balcony overlooking the table.

Some snowdrops displayed by Avon at the RHS show in addition to EA Bowles at the top:

.

‘Jade’

.

‘Gloria’, a gorgeous poculiform (all segments are outers) snowdrop.

.

‘Sprite’ is a very eye-catching snowdrop.

.

‘Veronica Cross’

.

‘Moortown’, I think this was my favorite.

.

We are so grateful to Alan Street for sharing his RHS adventure with us among many other things!

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: