Native Plants in Bloom Part 1

Posted in green gardening, groundcover, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our woodland is spectacular right now.  Here, ‘Royal White’ redbud, Cercis canadensis, underplanted with golden groundsel, Senecio (Packera) aureus.

More and more of our customers are becoming interested in native plants, which we have been promoting since we opened our nursery in 1992.  If you would like to know more about why growing native plants is important to our survival, click here.  Every plant in this post is native to Southeastern Pennsylvania unless noted.

Our woodland garden, which is filled predominantly with native plants, is in full bloom right now.  If you would like to see a video of our woodland in bloom, there is one on our Facebook page here, just scroll down past upcoming events to videos.  Meanwhile, I am going to highlight some of the natives in our woodland in this post.

I am dedicating this post to the volunteers and career emergency personnel at Narberth Ambulance and all the ambulance workers all over the country who are risking their lives daily to help people with COVID-19.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.  For an inside look at what ambulance workers face right now, please read this excellent article from the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, in the front with golden groundsel in the back.  Both of these plants should only be grown in a naturalized garden where they can spread.  Golden groundsel is a great native substitute for non-native groundcovers like pachysandra, ivy, or vinca.  It is evergreen, has beautiful flowers suitable for cutting, grows in even the most difficult site, and covers the ground completely.

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‘Blue Ridge’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, also makes a great evergreen groundcover.  ‘Blue Ridge’ is not as vigorous as some of the other creeping phlox cultivars, which can be an advantage if you have a small space.

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Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, are going by right now, but their true blue flowers have been a highlight for the last two months.  They go dormant when it gets hot out.

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Dwarf Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium reptans, in the front with blue flowers, and wild ginger, Asarum canadense, right center under the native dogwood, have moved around on their own to fill large swaths of our woodland.

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A close up of dwarf Jacob’s ladder and wild ginger.

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‘Mocha’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa, on the right, western wild ginger, Asarum caudatum (native to the west coast), on the left, surrounded by creeping phlox, P. stolonifera.

.There are pink-flowered cultivars of creeping phlox called ‘Home Fires’ and ‘Pink Ridge’, but this is the straight species.  My customers didn’t buy it last year as it is so vigorous it doesn’t look as appealing in the pots as the other creeping phlox cultivars.  I planted 12 leftover, quart-sized pots, and they completely filled in this large area in one year.

.Little sweet Betsy or bloody butcher, Trillium cuneatum, is my favorite of the many trilliums in our woodland.

.Great white trillium, T. grandiflorum, has been seeding through out our patch of white violets, Viola striata.  White violets make a great groundcover as they fill in completely and are one of the longest blooming plants in out woodland.

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‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox surrounds a small grove of ‘Blue Shadow’ fothergilla, F. x intermedia.

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This large “river” of ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox hosts many of the special snowdrops in my collection in late winter and then produces its lovely purple flowers for a long time in early spring.  ‘Sherwood Purple’ is another creeping phlox that makes an excellent groundcover.

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‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ robin’s plantain, Erigeron pulchellus, has fuzzy, silver-highlighted leaves and daisy-like flowers.

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‘Lynnhave Carpet’ spreads quickly to form a weed-choking groundcover.

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Our woodland is almost all native plants with a very narrow path through the center covered in white pine needles.

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A final view of the woodland.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Obsessed with Epimediums

Posted in evergreen, groundcover, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

What could be more beautiful than the exquisite and delicate bicolor flowers of ‘Tama No Gempei’ epimedium?

We have had epimediums in our garden for many years, developing large patches of the few cultivars available for sale.  However, my infatuation with this genus truly began in 2006 when I attended an open house at Garden Vision Epimediums in Massachusetts and was exposed to the lovely variations in flower and leaf color, habit, and leaf shape within this beautiful group of plants. 

In the last couple of years, unusual epimediums have become more available from wholesale growers, allowing us to expand the varieties we sell to our customers and plant in our own gardens.  Although I generally don’t collect plants, at last count there were 33 epimedium cultivars at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, and there is always room for more.

I am dedicating this post to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and all the governors and mayors across America who have stepped forward to make the difficult and often unpopular decisions necessary to keep us safe.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.‘Sulphureum’ epimedium with yellow flowers and evergreen leaves is probably the most familiar epimedium in American gardens.  It spreads quickly (for an epimedium) to make an excellent groundcover, here around the base of an edgeworthia.

Epimedium is the botanical name of the genus but is often used as the common name as well along with barrenwort, fairy wings, bishop’s hat, and horny goat weed(?), among others.  It grows in part to full shade and prefers well-drained to dry conditions.  Most of our epimediums thrive on our back hillside among hostas and ferns; however, they also do well in average soil in our level perennial borders. 

Epimediums bloom in March and April, starting up just as the last snowdrops are going by.  Although a large patch of epimediums in full bloom is gorgeous from a distance, to truly appreciate the astonishing beauty of these plants, I like to view them up close.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium on the right with the orange flowers of Epimedium x warleyense in the top left corner.  Despite the size of this patch, ‘Yubae’ is fairly slow growing.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium

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Orange-flowered E. x warleyense, here with Hosta montana ‘Aureomarginata’, is an older cultivar but still one of my favorites.  It grows quickly for an epimedium and makes a great, evergreen groundcover.

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The beautiful and delicate leaves of epimediums are held aloft on wiry stems and provide a unique look and texture in the garden.  This is ‘Sweetheart’ epimedium, which, after 14 years, has formed a large patch at the base of a magnolia.

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‘Sweetheart’ has heart-shaped leaves outlined in red and dark pink and white striped flowers.

.The red in the flowers of ‘Domino’ epimedium is echoed in the breathtaking, elongated, spiky leaves, making it another favorite.  It also has the desirable characteristic of reblooming in late spring, and its leaves are evergreen.

.There are many epimediums with purple flowers, but ‘Pierre’s Purple’ is one of the best.  It has fine-textured leaves that are bronze-purple in the spring.

.Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum has brilliant and early-blooming yellow flowers.  It makes a very good, evergreen groundcover.

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‘Cherry Tart’ has also formed a large swath after 14 years in our garden.

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The cheerful flowers of ‘Cherry Tart’ often have me kneeling on the ground for a closer look.

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The reddish leaves of Epimedium lishihchenii are quite striking from a distance.

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Epimedium lishihchenii‘s two-toned lemon yellow flowers also deserve a closer look.

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Epimedium stellulatum “Narrow Leaf Forms” is the earliest cultivar to bloom in our garden.

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‘Pink Elf’ also blooms early and produces a multitude of flowers.

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Another favorite, reblooming ‘Kaguyahime’, has two-tone purple flowers and elongated, jagged-edged, purple-splashed leaves (bottom center of photo).

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In the spring, ‘Frohnleiten’ has reddish-bronze leaves with eye-catching lime green veins topped by sulphur-yellow flowers.  It makes a fast-growing, for an epimedium, evergreen groundcover.

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The pale copper-pink and yellow flowers combined with the intense red foliage make ‘Cupreum’ a standout.

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A tiny epimedium, ‘Bandit’ fits perfectly in our rock garden and has unusual, dark purple-black banded leaves and pure white flowers.

Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

What’s Pretty Today?

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Native ‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is my favorite flower of all time.  There is a big patch in our woodland on a very well-drained slope.  ‘Multiplex’ stays in bloom a lot longer than single-flowered bloodroot, which blooms and shatters in a day or two.

This post focuses on some of the more unusual and striking plants that have been flowering over the last few weeks but haven’t fit into my previous posts.  Please excuse any ads that appear in the email from WordPress (the email doesn’t come from me!) announcing this post.

I am dedicating this post to Danny, Maria, Terry, Joe, and their coworkers at the Rosemont Pharmacy and all the pharmacy workers across the country who continue to work despite risk of infection so that we can get our prescriptions when we need them.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.We have about 20 different magnolias in our garden, and this magnolia, ‘Black Tulip’, is one of our favorites for its beautiful habit and amazing flower color.

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‘Black Tulip’ magnolia

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Another much-loved magnolia is ‘Wada’s Memory’.  The triangular shape is very striking.  At dawn and dusk, the white flowers glow like a ghostly Christmas tree.

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‘Blue Ensign’ pulmonaria has the best blue flowers of any pulmonaria.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.

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I have finally found a place in our gardens where native hepatica or liverwort thrives.  It’s a south-facing open slope under a Kousa dogwood.  This is sharp-lobed hepatica, H. acutiloba.

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Not only do the flowers on double hellebores last much longer than singles, but the plants also continue to throw out additional blooms long after the singles are done.  This is ‘Harlequin Gem’ in the Winter Jewels Series with a fresh stem of flowers at the top.

.Both of my Winter Jewels ‘Peppermint Ice’ plants have new blooms right now.

.The so-called “Tennessee form” of native bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, has additional petals and also lasts longer than the fully single form.  After many years, all forms of bloodroot are starting to seed around our garden.

.Japanese cobra lilies or jack-in-the-pulpits look beautiful when they flower, but I love what they look like as they first emerge.  Here, Arisaema urashima.

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A favorite every year, the dwarf tulip ‘Little Princess’ emerges from the gravel between stepping stones.

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Growing around the base of epimediums, ‘Leeds Variety’ European wood anemone, A. nemorosa, has large and showy flowers, making it the most asked about wood anemone in our gardens.

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The delicate, green flowers of ‘Viridiflora’ European wood anemone reappeared among the branches of a creeping juniper last year after disappearing from our garden over 15 years ago.  It’s a mystery!

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What we call our “river” of native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, is quite a sight when it blooms.

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Native shooting star, Dodecatheon media, also thrives in the open, south-facing bed under a Kousa dogwood.

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Biennial, purple-leafed money plant ‘Chedglow’, Lunaria annua, is very rare in the US.

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Japanese woodland primroses, Primula sieboldii, thrive in the full, dry shade under our American hornbeam.

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There are over 500 flower forms of Japanese woodland primroses.  I especially like this one, but it didn’t come with a cultivar name.

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‘Spotty Dotty’ Asian mayapple, Podophyllum, attracts a lot of attention in our garden.  For customers who were here last year, this is the plant that we had in a pot in the nursery.  It did quite well in the pot, and then we planted it in the garden last fall.  We have another even bigger plant that is at least five years old.

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Considered the king of all shade plants by some, Japanese wood poppy, Glaucidium palmatum, takes many years to reach this size and bloom.

Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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 Beautiful Tapestry

Posted in landscape design, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

the view from our deck right now

The ground never froze during our incredibly warm winter here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  All our plants are blooming early and, due to the cool weather we are experiencing now, they are lasting a long time.  We still have hellebores in bloom that started in January along with primroses that usually flower in late April or early May and everything in between.  Our gardens are filled with a tapestry of beautiful flowers, so I thought it would be a good time to show some long views of our garden beds rather than focusing on individual plants.

I am dedicating this post to Bill, Ben, Joe, Sue, and Larry at the Bryn Mawr Post Office and all their colleagues across the country who continue to work despite risk of infection so that we get our mail every day.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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 is the view from our living room window along the terrace outside our front door.  in the foreground is ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea and ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-hearts while ‘Texas Scarlet’ quince remains in full bloom at the back.

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‘Diana Clare’ pulmonaria, ‘Raspberry Rhapsody’ epimedium, Japanese painted fern, and lamium

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Although the yellow hellebores in the back left have faded a bit, the blue Siberian squill continues to bloom while native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox begins to open and ‘Aureola’ hakone grass shows its bright gold color.

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The woodland is glorious right now.

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Spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) on the left, hellebores, and native Celandine poppies

.I love the combination of yellow and white in the spring.  Here the white flowers of summer snowflake in the back left, European wood anemones in the center, and Dutchman’s breeches in the right corner are surrounded by native Celandine poppies.

.native Virginia bluebells with Celandine poppies on the left and yellow European wood anemone on the right

.The lovely pink spring color of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple on the right of the stairs to our deck echoes the flower colors of ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and pink hellebores on the left.

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Along the deck, white corydalis, black-flowered and ‘Penny’s Pink’ hellebores, yellow primroses, and pale blue spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum).

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spring starflower, yellow primroses, and hellebores

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Orange flowered Epimedium x warleyense on the left, native yellow violets in the middle, and ‘Yubae’ epimedium on the right.

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Looking up our back hill, ‘Pink Elf’ epimedium in the foreground with pulmonaria and the fresh colors of newly emerged miniature hostas.

Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

.

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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 for Early Color

Posted in evergreen, hellebores, my garden, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

A customer sent me this lovely photo of hellebores she purchased from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (thanks, Jane).

This is the third in a series of posts on early-blooming plants, which include Trees and Shrubs for Early Color, click here to read, and Bulbs for Early Color, click here to read. I have revived my blog to provide a few moments of beauty to my readers all over the globe during the worldwide health crisis.

I am dedicating this post to Jeremy and Fran T. at Trader Joe’s and all the brave people who are staffing our grocery stores so we can continue to buy food as COVID-19 keeps us indoors.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems trivial.  Stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.Hybrid hellebores, H. x hybridus, are my favorite hellebores because of their color range and variations in flower forms.  Although the inside of the  nodding flowers are often difficult to see without flipping them over, each flower is like a gift when I raise it into view.  And the back of the flowers are often as pretty as the inside.  The photo above shows a rare anemone form with an extra layer of ruffles around the center of the flower.  It does not have a name and cannot be purchased.  All the anemone form hellebores in our garden were discovered among the hundreds of single-flowered forms we sell each year.

The photos in this post are of hellebores, one of the specialties of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens nursery.  Hellebores bloom anytime from January to March, depending on the weather—some even start in the fall.  They are easy to grow in well-drained soil in light conditions ranging from almost full sun to almost full shade.  Their leaves are evergreen and deer resistant. 

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Another anemone form flower.  If you want one for yourself, check all the flowers whenever you see hellebores for sale and you may find one.  I found this among thousands of singles at one of our wholesale suppliers.

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Hybrid hellebores or Lenten roses with nodding flowers and plainer green leaves come in a wide range of colors including the highly sought after black, yellow, and orange-tinged cultivars as well as fully double flowers.  Many of the hybrid hellebores in our garden are unnamed or no longer available. If known, I am giving cultivar names as well as alternate cultivars that are similar in color and form.

Christmas rose types have desirable outward-facing flowers and often more interesting marbled leaves, but their color range is limited to white, pink, and red and the shades in between, and they do not come in doubles.

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A double-flowered hybrid hellebore called ‘Peppermint Ice’ in the Winter Jewels Series.

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a close up of ‘Peppermint Ice’

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‘Dark and Handsome’, a double-flowered hellebore in the Wedding Party Series.  Dark-flowered hellebores are very striking in the garden but need to be carefully sited so they show up.

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Light-colored hellebores, especially those with white flowers like double-flowered ‘Sparkling Diamond’ in the Winter Jewels Series, stand out in the landscape.

.When hybrid hellebores are happy, they produce dozens of flowers on very large plants.  For optimal viewing, site them where you walk in the winter.  This unnamed clump is on the hill above the stone wall along our drive, allowing us to look up into the flowers.

.an old cultivar called ‘Single Black’

.‘Cherry Blossom’ in the Winter Jewels Series sometimes has a dark ruffle around the center but can also be fully single or fully double.

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‘Cotton Candy’ in the Winter Jewels Series

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A customer sent me this photo of hybrid hellebores displayed beautifully in her garden (thanks, Mary).

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‘Glenda’s Gloss’ is a Christmas rose-type hellebore and a new addition to the FrostKiss Series.  All hellebores in this series are upright with outward-facing flowers and gorgeous marbled leaves.  They are the result of a complicated cross including Christmas rose, hybrid hellebores, and H. lividus.

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The new leaves of ‘Glenda’s Gloss’ are painted with pink and silver.  The leaves of all FrostKiss hellebores gradually fade over the summer to bright green with gold marbling and remain ornamental all winter unlike hybrid hellebores, which can become unsightly.

A customer photo of ‘Molly’s White’ purchased recently at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It is a very early-blooming member of the Frostkiss series and is almost identical to FrostKiss ‘Moondance’, which blooms a little later (thanks, Martin).

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A customer photo of ‘Ice N’ Roses Red’ purchased at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens last spring.  The Ice N’ Roses Series results from a complicated cross of Christmas rose and hybrid hellebores plus two other hellebore species, resulting in very robust plants with outward-facing flowers (thanks, John).

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‘Shooting Star’ is another product of crosses between hellebore species, this time Christmas rose, Corsican hellebore, and H. lividus.  Its delicate pink flowers fading to darker pink face outwards.

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I love green-flowered hellebores.  The photo shows pulmonaria with the faded flowers of ‘Honeyhill Joy’, the result of a cross between Christmas rose and Corsican hellebores.  Christmas roses, H. niger, have outward-facing, pure white flowers and bloom very early in our garden.  They are done now.  Although Corsican hellebores, H. argutifolius, are hardy in our area, I don’t consider them a good garden plant as the flowers appear on the end of last year’s ratty leaf stalks.

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Another customer photo showing bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, in her garden.  I love this hellebore species with its clusters of bright chartreuse flowers topping the spidery dark evergreen leaves.  The plants can be short-lived but usually reseed themselves before they disappear (thanks, Mary).

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You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own favorite hellebores.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Bulbs for Early Color

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Viridapice’ snowdrops (photo sent to me by the amazing Joan L)

Your comments on my last post, Trees and Shrubs for Early Color, click here to read, inspired me to write more with the goal of giving readers a bright spot during what is one of the grimmest times in our nation’s history. Please encourage all your gardening friends to read my blog.  And let’s make it even more interactive.  Leave comments about your experiences with the plants profiled or recommend similar plants and ask questions, nothing is too basic.  There is a wealth of knowledge in the gardening community that we can all share here.

The photos below are of flowering bulbs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are easy to grow, inexpensive to buy, and multiply readily.

I am dedicating this post to New York City Police Officer Tim G., whom we have known his whole life, and his fellow officers who continue to serve even though over 900 of them have tested positive for coronavirus.  And to the 11,000 health care workers who have contracted the virus in Spain.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems trivial.  Stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.It is not going to surprise anyone who reads this blog that snowdrops, Galanthus, are my favorite bulb—I explain why in my post Classic Snowdrops, click here to read.  This is ‘Kite’, a large and elegant snowdrop that has the unique ability to produce twin flowers (two flowers on one stem).

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Yes, snowdrops can be yellow.  A customer sent me this photo of the lovely ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

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Everytime it gets warm enough during the winter for honeybees to fly, they swarm onto the snowdrops.  This honeybee on ‘Straffan’ has collected an impressive amount of bright orange pollen.

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Winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, starts blooming in early January and often continues through March.  This photo shows our last blooming stand on March 24.

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The winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, along our woodland path flowers in February.  It is interplanted with common snowdrops, G. nivalis, which in this photo taken February 12 are not open yet.

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Siberian squill, Scilla siberica, blooms in the most amazing color of blue in February and March.  It is still in bloom today.

.White Siberian squill, S. siberica ‘Alba’, is less common and really stands out in the winter landscape.

.‘Beth Evans’ corydalis (top of photo), C. solida, also known as fumewort, blooms through out March.  It is shown here with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium, which usually blooms in April but flowered early this year.

.Although we started with named cultivars of Corydalis solida, like ‘Beth Evans’ above, it has seeded through out our gardens in a multitude of beautiful colors.  It is a bulbous corydalis and much more reliable than the herbaceous coydalis in blues and purples, which look glorious in pots but can’t withstand our hot summers.  It goes dormant very quickly after it flowers.

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In the last post, I showed glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under our star magnolis.  Its sky blue flowers look up and have an elegant white center.

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Glory-of-the-snow comes in pink too, C. forbesii ‘Pink Giant’.

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I especially like this white glory-of-the-snow, C. luciliae ‘Alba’, because it shows up so well in the winter garden.

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‘Charmer’ Greek windflower, Anemone blanda, was new for us last year and is quite striking and unusual.  We have had the blue and white forms seeding happily in our woodland for years.

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Two-toned grape hyacinth, Muscari latifolium, combines pale and dark blue in a single flower.  There are many forms of grape hyacinth, but this is my favorite.

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A harbinger of things to come, Anemone x seemanii, European wood anemone, blooms in March, earlier than all my other wood anemones, which generally flower in April.  I hope to include more of them in a later post.

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I have dozens of varieties of daffodils, Narcissus, planted all over the garden.  I am enjoying them more than ever this year, especially this early-blooming form right outside my front door whose name is lost in the mists of time.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter bulbs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Trees and Shrubs for Early Color

Posted in my garden, Shade Shrubs, Shade trees, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The fragrant, rose-pink double flowers of ‘Peggy Clarke’ flowering apricot, Prunus mume, have been a sensation at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens since early March.

Blogging is a lot of work, and 2020 marks my tenth year of providing quality content to my readers all over the globe.  It requires so much computer time that I have been taking a break since last October to dedicate more hours to my plant nursery and my own garden.  However, with coronavirus spreading quickly through the US and my own state of Pennsylvania, I have been wracking my brain for a way that I could contribute without leaving my home.  I hope that reviving my blog will give readers, and especially my wonderful customers in the beleaguered mid-Atlantic area, a brief moment of pleasure in the terrifying world we have entered. 

The photos below are of trees and shrubs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are electrifying in my garden when everything else is still winter brown.

I am dedicating this post to my high school friend Adrienne’s sister who is currently struggling to beat corona in New York and to all the healthcare workers and other personnel on the front lines, who are risking their own lives to keep us healthy.  Sty home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.‘Peggy Clarke’ is a gorgeous small tree with a vased-shaped habit, sited here in a west-facing location near our front door for optimal late-winter viewing.

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Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, cascades off the corner of our terrace, but I have also seen it grown as a groundcover.  It normally opens a few flowers during warm days in January and February; however, we have had such a mild winter that it has been flowering for about five months.  The photo shows the last few blooms as the leaves start to open.

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Our star magnolia, M. stellata, is often damaged by frost, but I wouldn’t be without its glorious masses of early, pure white flowers.

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We have planted a field of blue glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under the star magnolia, and the combination is beautiful.  I couldn’t get a satisfactory shot of the two together, but you can see the magnolia trunk in the background.

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Another shrub that has been blooming off and on since late fall is evergreen Japanese mahonia, M. japonica.  This mahonia is the best species for garden use as its leaves remain pristine and its flowers are a lovely shade of yellow in large sprays.

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If Cornelian cherry dogwood, Cornus mas, bloomed later in the season, it would be overshadowed by many other small flowering trees.  However, its fresh, yellow-green flowers stand out in the stark late winter landscape.

.‘Okame’ cherry, Prunus x incam ‘Okame’, viewed here from an upstairs window, provides shade for our deck and is the earliest blooming cherry with very long-lasting flowers.

.Under the ‘Okame’ cherry, by the edge of the deck is a dwarf Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Yatsubusa Kiyohime’.  Its leaves come out very early and are a striking combination of red and bronze.

.Our edgeworthia opens its fragrant yellow and white flowers in late winter.  This shrub has four seasons of ornamental interest with beautiful flowers, cinnamon-colored bark, tropical leaves, and, my favorite, copious silver buds like tassels on Victorian cushions starting in November.

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Edgeworthia flower

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Yulan magnolia, M. denudata, is a relatively rare, early-blooming magnolia with large, goblet-like white flowers.  Again, it can get damaged by late frosts but is well worth having in the years like this one when it is magnificent.

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Yulan magnolia flower

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Buttercup winter hazel, Corylopsis pauciflora, is an early-blooming, fine-textured shrub with elegant, butter yellow flowers.

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‘Texas Scarlet’ dwarf flowering quince gives an eye-catching punch of color in what can still be a dreary winter landscape.  It stays quite small and doesn’t have thorns like regular quinces.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter trees and shrubs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

.

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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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