Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here 2015

Carolyn's Shade Gardens birdhouse viewThankfully, there’s a snowy landscape at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens today.

Before I get to current events at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I want to encourage you to come to this year’s Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur on Saturday, March 7.  The featured speaker is Andrew Turvey, Head Gardener at Myddelton House Gardens in the U.K. 

Myddelton is the former home and garden of the very famous English plantsman E.A. Bowles whose plant expertise was wide ranging but included a particular focus on snowdrops.  He is said to have originated the term galanthophile to describe snowdrop enthusiasts.  Turvey worked previously at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley and is frequently a featured speaker in England.  The official details are below.

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 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.


Winterthur badge 2015

 Celebrate Spring at Winterthur!

March 7
Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event


A lecture by Andrew Turvey of Myddelton House Gardens, 11:00 am – noon, Copeland Lecture Hall

Andrew Turvey, head gardener at Myddelton House Gardens, is the caretaker of the garden of EA Bowles. A famous plantsman, Bowles had a keen interest in bulbs, is credited with coining the term ‘galanthophile’ for passionate snowdrop collectors, and introduced hundreds of plants to cultivation.

$10 members, $20 non-members, all other garden activities included with admission.

• An Introduction to Snowdrops Workshop, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Brown Center, no registration required

• Sale of Rare and Unusual Plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Visitor Center

• Guided Tours of the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm

• Self-guided ‘White Arrow’ Tour through the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center, All Day

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory, Museum, All Day

For more information and to register, visit or call 800.448.3883.
.Crocus tommasianusSnow crocus at Winterthur 

As noted, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens intends to sell a nice selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and other spring flowers, although what we actually bring is weather dependent at this point.  Flowering hardy cyclamen and a wide-ranging and beautiful selection of mature, blooming hellebores are a definite though.  I am very excited that Winterthur has added an “Introduction to Snowdrops” workshop taught by Linda Eirhart, their very knowledgeable Curator of Plants.  This is an opportunity not to be missed by anyone wanting to increase their understanding of this wonderful genus.


Galanthus nivalis and EranthisCommon snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur

You may be wondering what is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens especially if you ordered snowdrops.  Usually at this time, snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and lots of other plants are up and thinking of blooming in my garden.  Last year, which I thought was an aberration and best forgotten about, we had freezing weather and snow into March.  I didn’t think it could get any worse, but this year we have had subzero lows with no snow to protect the plants—even worse than 2013-2014.  Fortunately last night we finally had a significant snowfall.


winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensMy snowdrop propagation beds look like ancient burial mounds.  For extra protection during the subzero, snowless period, we covered them with an insulated tarp.


winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensToday, after it finally snowed, we removed the tarp and left the snow behind for insulation.  We couldn’t have done this in a “normal” year when the snowdrops were up, but nothing was going on due to the extended cold weather.


Galanthus elwesii 'Xmas'My snowdrop from the U.S. Botanic Garden, which I have now named ‘Xmas’ to reflect its distinct X mark and bloom time at Christmas, glows in its plastic box before the snow.  It is perfectly hardy and does not need to be covered, but I am trying to preserve the blooms for the customers who have purchased it.

That is about all that is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens right now.  If you have ordered snowdrops, I am hoping to start shipping in about two weeks.  However, last year we started March 17 to the Pacific North West and the South and finished April 2 to the coldest parts of New England and the Midwest.  Eventually, the snow will melt, the ground will unfreeze, and the plants will “catch up”.  Meanwhile, the long range forecast is for continued cold through next week and then a jump to the high 50s on February 28.  I hope this is not the new “normal”.


Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details above.  We are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

23 Responses to “Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here 2015”

  1. Len Lehman Says:

    Dear Carolyn
    I love your web page and wish to make a purchase of Galanthus “Wasp” for mail order(that is if you have any left). How do I go about placing an order? Thank you
    Len Lehman, Chapter Chair, Allegheny Chapter, North American Rock Garden Society

  2. I was hoping to make it to Winterthur this year but the schedule says otherwise….
    Maybe there will be a mellowing out of temperatures in the next few weeks. I like that winter has been steady and no one has been tricked into an early spring, but I sure wouldn’t mind being able to go out back for a stroll! Lets hope for a long spring so we can really enjoy it, and not a jump right into summer.

  3. Hello Carolyn,
    Really sorry to hear about your winter weather. What a blow for a galanthophile! And as you say, the longer before it warms up, the shorter the season will probably be.
    But you may like to know that the Snow Crocus image at Winterthur, which I think you posted once before, inspired us to stop pussyfooting around and get serious numbers of corms planted in front of the house. The first year we ran out, so did a top up last autumn.
    So we’re hoping for a great display which will improve year on year, and is just kicking off here right now.
    You certainly manage to tempt some good British speakers over for your meetings!
    Best wishes from a fairly benign Wales – for now!

  4. Really a show at Winterthur. This year really is turning out to be a lot like last year for us. It started with a big snowfall in November, then nothing much until the end of January. Now we are buried. I can see how this is affecting your sales and delivery schedule. I hope you are not in a prolonged weather pattern.

  5. Can you believe I have never visited Winterthur, Carolyn. How I would love to attend the Celebrate Spring day, but its not to be. Hopefully, I can make the trip later — and visit you too. I am glad to say there has been a foot of snow protecting my garden all season. How glad I will be to see my snowdrops! P. x

  6. Carolyn, When you say “snow crocus” do you mean Tommies? If not, what is the botanical name. They look lovely. We are in a deep freeze as well. Usually my snowdrops are at least peeking up by St. Pat’s but not sure about this year.

  7. Carolyn, I’m glad to see you’ve had some snow. Cold temps with no protective snow cover are definitely the worst combination for perennial gardens.
    If I had known you were hurting for snow, I would have sent you some of mine! This week, I finally broke down and had my roof shoveled off; it had 4′ drifts in some places.
    Who would have predicted that global warming would make our winters much colder (and here in New England, snowier)? I think everyone assumed last winter was an aberration, but now we’re forced to consider the possibility that this is our new normal.

  8. Carolyn, I dont think I have ever seen Crocus look quite so happy.

  9. What a glorious vision for me Carolyn, when I am reading your post it’s almost 20 º C, even unusual for Madrid. Is fascinating to se your care for your plants, I hope you have a great time on March 7th.

    • Lula, Here in the US we are not good with celsius so I used a converter to discover that it is 68 degrees in Madrid. I am so jealous. It is snowing here!!! Not seasonal for this zone at all with temperatures 20 degrees below average. Maybe I should move to Madrid. Carolyn

  10. debsgarden Says:

    Your snow looks pristine and beautiful! We have had only a brief snowfall, which came at night and melted the next morning. Cold temperatures are still flirting with us; another winter storm is possible midweek here, the day after 70 degree temps! Last year winter lingered on a month or two longer than in years past. It seems that may happen again, but I am so ready for spring!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: