You Asked for the Long View Part 1

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.

The entrance to the gardens from the nursery is down these stone stairs because a lot of the property is on the side of a south-facing hill.

I haven’t posted in a while due to technical difficulties.  I recently bought a “new iPad” and was very excited about using it to compose a post with long shots of my garden.  My current camera is great for macro shots but not very good for landscape photos.  The new iPad reportedly has a very good camera so I thought I would take a lot of long shots to satisfy all my readers who have been asking to see the big picture of my garden.  Unfortunately I have found the WordPress app that is supposed to coordinate the iPad with WordPress to be challenging—at least for this technologically unsavvy blogger.

A view of the bed along the steps from the nursery to the main terrace.

Giving up on the idea of actually posting from the iPad, I downloaded the iPad photos to my PC.  Another touted feature of the new iPad is even higher quality screen resolution.  That means, as I discovered, that the photos look fabulous on my iPad but pretty ordinary on my PC.  But having come this far, I am going ahead with the long view garden tour.  I hope you are all viewing it on an iPad and will think I am an incredible photographer.  For those of you on a “normal” computer, please don’t tell.

On the way down the stairs, we passed by the rock garden terrace and landed on the main terrace by the front door.  You are looking to the left towards the door.

Looking from the front door out towards the same beds.

Looking to the right towards the other end of the main terrace.

A wider view of the right end of the main terrace by the front door.

Looking from the main terrace back up the hill towards the rock garden terrace, which really shines in early spring but still looks nice now.

The view from the main terrace down to the bottom terrace and beyond.

The stairs from the main terrace to the bottom terrace.  Most of the flowers on this level are orange and purple.

The left side of the bottom terrace.

The right side of the bottom terrace.

Another view of the right side of the bottom terrace.

A closer view

The view from the bottom terrace down to the raised bed area where the birdhouse resides.

The stairs down to the next level.

The raised bed area was built as a vegetable garden but converted to hellebore beds when deer overran our property.  It is currently being reclaimed for fruit and vegetables now that we have a deer fence.

Below the raised beds is what we call the dry shade garden under an American hornbeam.  It is filled with roots and not much rain gets through the leaves.  Beyond this garden is lawn until you get to my production beds where I grow plants to sell at the nursery.

A close up of the dry shade garden.

Looking from the dry shade garden back up the hill.

That’s the tour of the gardens going down the hill on the west side of the house.  It is the sunniest area of my property—the real shade gardens are in the back.  You will have to wait for part two to see those.


Nursery Happenings:  We will be at the Bryn Mawr Farmer’s Market this Saturday, June 9, from 9 am to 1 pm.  The following weekend we will have our final open hours at the nursery.  We close on June 17 until September.  Customers on my email list will receive an email with details.  If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

79 Responses to “You Asked for the Long View Part 1”

  1. Carolyn-

    This looks SPECTACULAR!!!! I can’t believe what you have done. I think you are ready to write a book.

  2. Your gardens look very inviting Caroline, thank you for the sharing the longer views it makes it that much more enjoyable when I later view smallerr areas within the garden. All your hard landscaping all looks lovely too. Christina

  3. Your sun gardens are stunning Carolyn. The property looks quite large considering we’ve only seen half of it so far. This makes me wonder who takes care of your gardens?

    • Patty, My husband and I do all the work. The beds are all pretty much filled in with plants so there’s not much weeding. We don’t water or spray anything. Grinding our leaves and using them for mulch is the most work. Carolyn

  4. Such a lovely tour! Thank you Carolyn, for sharing these pics. As always, my Bethlehem gardens benefit from all your hard work.

  5. Really nice. So many delightful spaces. The bluestone entry is sweet. Geometric but free form. Actually, all the stonework is so fitting. The Peonies,purple Heuchera,and Alliums really caught my eye. I think I’d be spending a lot of time on that bench in the exquisite company of a Japanese Maple and Painted Fern. Very lovely.

  6. This is wonderful Carolyn… being able to see so much of the “whole” picture!! Thank you…I have totally enjoyed this tour tour this morning.Larry

  7. Carolyn, Love the layout of your gardens. The terraces frame the backyard so nicely. I have a lot of dry shade…will be paying close attention to all your plant material. We are in the ‘wild’ and no fencing, so deer, rabbits, voles, and chipmunks are creating havoc in some spots of my garden.
    The slate walkway is gorgeous!!!

  8. paulinemulligan Says:

    Thank you for the virtual tour of half of your garden, can’t wait for the other half! Your planting is wonderful with superb contrasting textures, but then I knew it would be! So nice to find someone else who has so much shade, I had to learn to love mine, took a few years but now they are my favourite parts of the garden.

  9. Beautiful design – great little rooms with contrasting heights and foliage. I just love full-garden shots… thanks so much for sharing them!

  10. Carolyn thank you for sharing the long view, I hadn’t realised before that your garden was on such a steep hill, very lush with foliage which does not surprise me, lovely contrasting textures and splashes of colour, so much to see I think I will be back again for a second view, Frances

  11. Caroyn, I could stare at your pics of your garden all day. But then I would not be working in my own garden, which is such a pleasure, thanks.

  12. Really nice photos Carolyn. I clicked to make them bigger and would suggest others do too. The iPad did a nice job. I never used mine for this yet and now may try.

    The gardens are gorgeous, and I was lucky to see them in person too. I did get photos that morning, but it was a rainy morning. I have to look back and see if I have similar views. I was using a wide angle, landscape lens, so my photos probably encompass more per image. It looks like much more is blooming today too.

    • Donna, The photos make the house and garden look huge which they really aren’t. In fact, the house, which has been added onto, is the gardener’s cottage for the original estate. You must be using your iPad. Thanks you so much for all your help with my iPad. Carolyn

  13. The gardens are magnificent. When I die I’m not sure if I want to go to heaven or your gardens!!!!

  14. There is nothing better than the long view. It, more than anything else, gives me ideas for my own garden because I can conceptualize better.

  15. I loved seeing your long views! I love the orange and purples, and your dry shade area look fabulous. Each area looks restful, relaxing, interesting and beautiful. So glad you allowed us to go along with you on this tour.

  16. Carolyn – I’m really glad you’re doing these posts. I’ll be looking out for your London plane trees.

  17. tina@inthegarden Says:

    Looking forward to part II! I think the first photo reminds me of the White Gate inn. So pretty and welcoming. Will you show the production beds? Your veggie garden is so nice. It must be a good view from the house. Do you ever sleep?

  18. It must of been a pain to deal with the technology. The gardens are very professional and well done. Kudos.

  19. This was a real treat to see the long views. I particularly like that in every single photo the plants are the stars…beautiful! Everything looks so lush and full. You live in a beautiful, beautiful place.

  20. Carolyn I am overwhelmed with all the garden areas starting with the iron trellis in the beginning and ending with the bottom terrace and dry shade garden….can’t wait to see these in person….

  21. Hi Carolyn, It is always nice to get an overall impression to go along with a closer look at individual plants.

  22. Well, I was viewing your photos on my laptop and they looked beautiful! I wish I lived closer because I would stop in and see your beautiful gardens in person. Thanks for the virtual tour!

  23. Wow Carolyn, your Gardens are even more beautiful than I had imagined. Really stunning!! I enlarged the photos by clicking on them … well worth the few seconds it takes to open them to give the full impact of what you have created. Wonderful! Thanks for showing us.

  24. wifemothergardener Says:

    You did a great job with your photos! No need to apologize. Your gardens are beautiful both as a whole and in minute details. That is one test of truly great garden I think… that it can be enjoyed on both scales.

  25. Wonderful! The photographs and the garden are beautiful, everything is so lush and green.

  26. Oh, I love these views. I’ve been following your blog for a while. Lots of difficult, shady spots in my garden, it used to get me down, but not anymore, not after finding your blog.

  27. Your gardens are beautiful, Carolyn. Do I see some inspiration for some future paintings in those scenes?

  28. So fun to see your world Carolyn. I totally love the iron gate you use as a trellis, and the stone steps and varied elevations, with everything so closely planted and beautiful.

  29. cathywieder Says:

    Carolyn, it’s an absolute oasis. And the fact that it’s in the SHADE makes it that much more spectacular!

  30. Stunning, Carolyn … a joy to see/visit and thank you for sharing. We share many of the same loves … and I love the birdhouse! I am looking for a similar one … might I ask where you found it?

    • Thanks, Joey. I got the birdhouse in 1996 at some kind of quaint shopping village near Raleigh, NC. I have had to completely rebuild it twice since then. If you buy one, make sure it is made out of completely weather resistant wood. Carolyn

      • Thank you … good advice! Believe me, I know about wood/weather … we have 2 all cedar homes … lots of maintenance 🙂

  31. As a local who was here last weekend, I confirm that this is all totally accurate. Carolyn, it was a pleasure to be there again after a couple of years.

  32. skeeter Says:

    Beautiful long shots of your garden! So peaceful looking as one of the gardens in Asheville! It amazes me how you gardeners are able to make a hilly lot so nice without a terrace look of timbers. Beautiful…

  33. Beautiful images of an enchanting garden

  34. Carolyn thank you for the wonderful tour. What a gorgeous spot you have. I was in awe of how many plants are spilling out of every nook and cranny. A purple and orange garden, what a fantastic colour combination.

  35. It’s always nice to get the context and see the big picture. Good luck with your interface, I know it can be maddening.

    • Les, Donna from GWGT has shown me how to post from the iPad which I will probably try this summer when things calm down at the nursery. I am “old school” and need to talk with a person to figure things out—nothing is intuitive although once I get it, I am good with it. Carolyn

  36. Your garden is spectacular, Carolyn! Even on my “regular” computer, the photos are stunning. I’m in awe of how you manage to maintain all this and grow plants for your nursery, too.

    • Rose, If you want to see some really gorgeous photos of my nursery at one of its peaks, click here for a post by Julies from Wife, Mother, Gardener. There really isn’t that much maintenance because the beds are filled in and we don’t water, spray, stake or generally fuss with the garden. Right now a fair amount of weeding needs to be done but it is the first weeding of the spring. Carolyn

  37. Thank you, Carolyn! I appreciate all the work you had to do to put this post together. I had no idea that you had terraces as you do. But the overview of your garden is just as gorgeous as I suspected. Your garden is beautifully designed!

  38. Hi Carolyn, I have the same issue, I am always happy enough with my close ups but I think my old very cheap camera did a better job of the long shots. Well anyway I don’t have an ipad, however I am so pleased to see so many pictures of your garden and they all look fantastic as does your house. I don’t know if you picked up on my paranoia regarding my new theme but I am now concerned that it may be too slow in opening up, if you happen to pop over please tell me as I trust your opinion.

    • Alistair, Apparently it is difficult to get excellent macro and landscape functions in the same affordably priced camera especially if it is a point and shoot. Oh well. glad you enjoyed the photos. Your blog is loading seamlessly for me. Carolyn

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