Pleasurable Pairings for Spring Part 2

Mertensia virginica, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and native Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, are two of my favorite plants for spring and are wonderful combined with almost anything.  Very easy to grow in part to full shade and woodland conditions.

In April 2011, I wrote a post about beautiful spring pairings.  To read it, click here.  I always meant to continue the topic and have finally taken the time to photograph the garden.  Some of the combinations are the same but that’s because I love them!

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.


Mertensia virginica, Polystichum polyblepharumVirginia bluebells with emerging tassel ferns, Polystichum polyblepharum.


Mertensia virginica, Brunnera macrophylaOr how about blue on blue with Virginia bluebells and Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla?


Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Celandine poppies are just as versatile, here with summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.


Epimedium versicolor 'Sulphureum', Stylophorum diphyllum, Osmunda cinnamomeaNative Celandine poppies with ‘Sulphureum’ epimedium, daffodils, native cinnamon fern, and the leaves of winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis.


Hosta 'Paradise Island', Vinca minor 'Bowles Purple'Gold hostas look so beautiful when they are emerging.  Here ‘Paradise Island’ hosta with ‘Bowles Purple’ vinca.  Although I don’t recommend planting vinca because it is so invasive, I couldn’t resist adding this purple variety to a contained space.


Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet', Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'One of my all time favorite combinations, the peach-colored spring leaves of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea with the similarly colored stems of ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart.


Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty', SedumNative ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, with a sedum showing its winter colors.


Fritillaria meleagrisCheckered-lily in its white, Fritillaria meleagris ‘Alba’, and purple forms seed through out my dry, full shade woodland.


Epimedium x warleyense, Hosta montana 'Aureo-marginata' Orange epimedium, E. x warleyense, with the emerging leaves of Hosta montana ‘Aureo-marginata’.


That’s all for now but look for Part 3 soon.


Nursery Happenings: Our third open house, featuring ferns, hostas, and hardy geraniums is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, don’t’ wait until then—you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase these wonderful plants.  Just send me an email at with some suggested dates and times that you would like to visit.

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.

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 “Pleasurable Pairings for Spring Part 2”

  1. These are lovely combinations, and I’m glad to notice that I have several of them in my garden. I recently added three Epimediums to my garden after wanting some for many years. Now I’m in love with them, almost as much as my dear Hellebores. They both blend well with the many Hostas that were here when we moved in. I also recently added Virginia Bluebells from seed. They’re taking a couple of years to bloom, but they’re definitely spreading. Great post!

  2. Louise Thompson Says:

    Another kind of combination to think about is ephemerals and things to interplant with them, that come up/out later. A couple of years ago I interplanted hardy begonias among my fading Va. bluebells, and it works like a dream. They don’t appear together, of course, but neither gets in the other’s way, since the bluebells disappear by late spring before the begonias really come out. I love them both.

  3. Golden ‘bleeding-heart’ with ‘spirea’; I’m going straight out to plant up that combo. I love your suggestions, many thanks:)

  4. Very nice combinations, Carolyn. I do like the bluebells, but am a bit concerned in my small garden. So many plants get frisky and bluebells are likely to do it too. That is what is wonderful about Hosta. They stay put.

    • Donna, It takes years for VA bluebells to reproduce prolifically, and you really have to have a critical mass for them to start seeding. I planted a lot and it took 10 years for them to really take off. Great with hosta because the bluebells go dormant. Carolyn

  5. christopher mcdevitt Says:

    Hello Carolyn, may i please have a catalog of mini hostas and ferns.I will be attending a may open house and would like to preview.

    Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:49:32 +0000 To:

    • Chris, There is no special fern catalogue, but ferns are all described in the 2015 Spring Catalogue on the right side of my website under Pages. The mini hosta catalogue is not available yet. It will be sent out to all customers on my email list once it’s ready. Carolyn

  6. Hi Carolyn, you certainly have put together some lovely pairings. It must feel good to have Spring visit up you way. Susie

    • Susie, Yes, we have been having wonderful cool spring weather this year. However, it is going up to 80 degrees this week which I am not to happy about. I think I am enjoying the plants more than ever because of the long and very cold winter. Carolyn

  7. Some very striking color/plant combinations. I am off to see Part 1.

  8. debsgarden Says:

    I think my favorite of the combinations you show may be the very last with the epimedium and the hosta. I love the color combination.

  9. Carolyn you have such a collection of pairings…I have just about all of them and especially love the little Checkered-lilies…so adorable like little fairy lanterns.

  10. Very handsome pairings Carolyn. I have a particular soft spot for the Fritillaria meleagris.

  11. Beautiful! I love epimedium, lovely leaves and delicate flowers. I am still waiting (years and years) for my epimedium to flower for the fist time.

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