A Photographer Visits Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

 ‘Mai Tai’ geum and ‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox

I thought it would be fun to see the gardens at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens through someone else’s lens.  I asked my friend Marielle, who is an excellent photographer, to walk around our property unaccompanied and photograph whatever caught her eye.  The beautiful results are below.  Local customers beware: many of these plants are not for sale here. 

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 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.


Pulmonarias, hellebores, and Japanese woodland primroses fill the bed under our American hornbeam.



Hellebores are everywhere, including between the roots of this huge London plane tree.


The setting sun shines through one of the hundreds of hellebores in bloom right now.


Hellebores fill the beds in front of the pride of our magnolia collection, ‘Black Tulip’.  It is magnolia season, and many of our almost 20 trees are in bloom


Epimediums are also everywhere with almost 40 varieties in the garden, here orange-flowered Epimedium x warleyense.


Purple-leafed ‘Yubae’ epimedium


One of my personal favorites: ‘Kaguyahime’ epimedium.

.Summer snowflake grows well in our dry woodland and our moist runoff areas.



My children planted these Darwin hybrid tulips almost 25 years ago.  The key to getting them to return is to plant them at least 8″ deep, which I learned in Charles Cresson’s excellent bulb course at Longwood Gardens.


Pulmonarias seed around the garden.  They are in bloom now, and every one is lovely.


Perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers.


Another favorite is Japanese woodland primrose.  It grows in moist or dry soil and returns reliably every year.


‘Roseus’ spring vetchling


Our woodland garden is almost at its peak.


Little sweet Betsy, Trillium cuneatum, with yellow European wood anemone.


A side path in the woodland garden is lined with purple spring vetchling and Celandine poppies.


Upright wild ginger, Saruma henryi, emerging in the woodland.



Virginia bluebells on the left and yellow European wood anemone on the right in the woodland.


Double bloodroot in front of a mass of Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies.


If you are local, I hope you can stop by on Saturday and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Thank you, Marielle, for providing a fresh look at our plantings.



Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number 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 mail order 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 miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

19 Responses to “A Photographer Visits Carolyn’s Shade Gardens”

  1. Beautiful!

  2. Bonnie Devine Says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos! Don’t you just love this time of year!!! I always think of it as my reward for making it thru another winter…

  3. Paula Allen Says:

    Your gardens are beautiful…..my passion is Woodland gardens.! I live in East Texas on heavily wooded acreage.! It took me awhile to fully appreciate “shade gardening”.!
    Thank you for posting these lovely pictures…..wish I was close by to pay a visit.!

  4. Sheena McGrath Says:

    Your hellebores are gorgeous! Beautiful pictures.

  5. So beautiful and so much growing now! Along Lake Michigan north of Chicago things are very s-l-o-w to appear this season. With thanks.

  6. Jon Latham -Peter Says:

    Beautiful Pictures… where is the sale?

  7. Nora Sirbaugh Says:

    What a lovely, lovely show. Thank you so much for sharing. The spring woodland garden is, by far, my favorite. Lovely emergence of spring!

  8. Hey, I just featured geum (or avens) for next week (on Tuesday here). It seems to e making a comeback. I mentioned that in the article. I had not seen much of it for years, and have been seeing more recently.

    • Tony, I love orange flowers, so I love Geum as it comes in so many shades of orange. Just planted ‘Totally Tangerine’ and ‘Mai Tai’ in my orange and purple garden. Carolyn

      • With purple? That must be wild. My colleague who grow rhododendrons likes that combination. I happen to like the subdued ‘rusty’ or ‘toasty’ oranges of some avens, although the bright orange that looks like nasturtium orange is pretty excellent too!

  9. This was a treat. Your garden is stunning through anyone’s lens….I wish mine were half of the blooms and growth as yours…we are weeks behind.

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