Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Blog

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  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

I am very excited to announce that I am starting a blog on shade gardening.  One of the frustrating parts of my business is not being able to tell my customers  and others all the interesting things that I have learned about shade gardening over the 18 years I have been in business (and the 35 years I have been gardening).  My open house sales are too busy.  Emails are too cumbersome (and possibly unwanted).  However, almost every day, I think of something that I have learned, observed, or experienced and want to pass on to others.

Now I can post these observations on my blog.  Interested gardeners can subscribe to my blog by clicking the “sign me up!” button on the sidebar.  Don’t worry, you can easily unsubscribe.  Please comment on as many posts as you can so I know what you like and please recommend my blog to everyone you know.

Thanks, Carolyn

49 Responses to “Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Blog”

  1. Welcome to the scene. I really like the “starting” photos. I’ll stay tuned for more…

  2. This is beautiful! I, too , will stay tuned. My toad lilies have more blooms than ever. I just noticed them this weekend when I had a chance to garden!

  3. Hi Carolyn – so happy to hear you are “shade garden chatting”. Always interested in learning something new. Gardening in the shade is the best – thanks!

  4. You selected a great tool, WordPress. Have fun!

  5. So far, so worthwhile.

  6. Looking forward to good information – thanks for doing this!

  7. Great blog!. I love the info on Toad Lilies. Mine are mot doing well this year – maybe it’s the variety. Keep the news coming. Nancy

  8. Carol McBride Says:

    Hi Carolyn

    I am thrilled that you’ve started a blog (and website). I have a very shady backyard and am always looking for ideas. I recently purchased a hydrangea tree from you and it took beautifully. Can’t wait to see the blooms in the spring. Carol

  9. Patricia Pelletreau Says:

    As the trees cover more and more sun in my garden, I am so happy to have a gardener who sells shade plants and now writes about shade plants. I have been to many sales and I will look forward to the sales in the spring and now an on-going blog. Terrific! Patricia

  10. Carolyn, It looks great–I’m very impressed! Look forward to reading more. Wendy

  11. Can you tell us about that birdhouse? Is it functional or just decorative? I’m thinking I’d like to add a few more to my shade garden.

    • Hi Ken. The birdhouse is actually a dovecote. The holes go right through it so no birds nest in it so yes it is purely decorative–the symbol of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. I bought the original 15 years ago in NC. Unfortunately, although the design was unique, the materials were shoddy. Before it completely fell apart, I had a local carpenter reproduce it with better materials. It still requires a lot of maintenance, but I love it. Carolyn

  12. Congratulations on the new blog. I’m already enjoying it and your wealth of knowledge. The one piece of info I always find helpful is how deer resistant certain plants are. Thanks for sharing.

  13. anita cohen Says:

    Great Blog. looking forward to purchasing the Toad-lily plant in the Spring.

  14. Jane Moore Says:

    Congratulations Carolyn on your new blog! I love the layout and look forward to learning from you and others as I continue to develop my woodland garden. Jane

  15. I’m thrilled to see your new blog. I loved the toad-lily photo next to the Italian arum. I have them planted together too and mine looks fabulous this year. The deer walked right past it to eat all my ferns and hostas but didn’t touch the toad-lily. Rachelle

    • Hi Rachelle, That is why I always say that my deer like my toad-lily, because yours don’t. My deer never touch ferns, yours do. It is easier to say what they always eat–tulips, daylilies, hostas–than to be right about what they don’t eat.
      but I will still try to give deer resistant information. Glad you liked the photo. Thanks, Carolyn

  16. hi carolyn,
    i think your blog idea is terrific as well as your web site. your info is always interesting, up to date, to the pt, and an easy read.
    for me, much better then any book. so keep the stuff coming
    regards, laura

    • Thanks, Laura. The answers to all your questions about the nursery are in the documents under pages on the sidebar to the right of my blog posts. If the sidebar is blank, just right click the the photo header at the top. You can always do that to see the website info. Carolyn

  17. Great web site. Beautiful gardens. You are now our official shade garden source for all of our customers.

    Adam Sherman
    Cottage Industries, Inc

  18. I was wondering if this is also true if the majority of my leaves are from white pines? Can they be used as mulch as well, or could they have a detrimental effect on certain types of plants?

    • Hi Robin. I have an area under white pine trees, and I just leave the needles as mulch. I have always felt that concerns about their potential acidity were overrated. I just did a goggle search of “pine needles as mulch,” and the results confirmed that they are very beneficial. Carolyn

  19. Murray Callahan Says:

    This is a wonderful blog – I’ve often tought of volunteering at a place like Chanticleer just to find out what to do at certain times, and this answers lots of questions I have – thank you! ~ Murray Callahan

    • Thanks Murray. I am very excited to be able to pass on all the practical stuff I have learned over the years. I think you should still volunteer at Chanticleer–that would be an amazing experience. Carolyn

  20. Patti Sandler Says:

    Carolyn – Thanks for the tip on grinding leaves for the lawn, I have two questions –
    (1) Does your husband use a regular lawn mower and how high does your husband adjust the lawn mower from the ground for grinding leaves?
    (2) Do you wait until all your leaves are down and do this leaf grinding process one time or do you do the leaf grinding process weekly until all the leaves are down and ground up?

    • Hi Patti. My husband uses a regular lawn mower to grind the leaves, and it is so old it has no settings. The leaves get ground as the lawn gets mowed. Leaves that collect after mowing has ended for the season all get ground at once. Our motto is make it easy. Carolyn

  21. Joanne Hanna Says:

    Carolyn…I’m loving your blog…just haven’t had time to comment on it. You have indeed done an elegant job in establishing this way to communicate with your “fans!” I particularly liked the section on cleaning up your yard – will save me and my husband much angst!

    Keep your thoughts coming, Joanne

  22. Enjoying your blog! I started my blog for exactly the same reasons! Much easier for clients to visit a blog at their leisure instead of bombarding them with emails. Although I’m sure a lot of the plants in your garden would not survive our brutal Texas summers, who can pass up gorgeous garden photos! Always looking for design inspiration (plant material can be adapted). Happy blogging!!

  23. Katherine Hooven Says:

    Love the blog Carolyn. You have done a wonderful job.

  24. Just stumbled across you looking for ideas of where to plant my new toad lilies. Would you please fill me in on your business and location. I am a shade gardener as well. I live in Iowa. Zone 5a.

  25. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one today.

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