A Beautiful Tapestry

the view from our deck right now

The ground never froze during our incredibly warm winter here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  All our plants are blooming early and, due to the cool weather we are experiencing now, they are lasting a long time.  We still have hellebores in bloom that started in January along with primroses that usually flower in late April or early May and everything in between.  Our gardens are filled with a tapestry of beautiful flowers, so I thought it would be a good time to show some long views of our garden beds rather than focusing on individual plants.

I am dedicating this post to Bill, Ben, Joe, Sue, and Larry at the Bryn Mawr Post Office and all their colleagues across the country who continue to work despite risk of infection so that we get our mail every day.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.This is the view from our living room window along the terrace outside our front door.  in the foreground is ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea and ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-hearts while ‘Texas Scarlet’ quince remains in full bloom at the back.


‘Diana Clare’ pulmonaria, ‘Raspberry Rhapsody’ epimedium, Japanese painted fern, and lamium


Although the yellow hellebores in the back left have faded a bit, the blue Siberian squill continues to bloom while native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox begins to open and ‘Aureola’ hakone grass shows its bright gold color.


The woodland is glorious right now.



Spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus) on the left, hellebores, and native Celandine poppies

.I love the combination of yellow and white in the spring.  Here the white flowers of summer snowflake in the back left, European wood anemones in the center, and Dutchman’s breeches in the right corner are surrounded by native Celandine poppies.

.native Virginia bluebells with Celandine poppies on the left and yellow European wood anemone on the right

.The lovely pink spring color of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple on the right of the stairs to our deck echoes the flower colors of ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and pink hellebores on the left.


Along the deck, white corydalis, black-flowered and ‘Penny’s Pink’ hellebores, yellow primroses, and pale blue spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum).


spring starflower, yellow primroses, and hellebores


Orange flowered Epimedium x warleyense on the left, native yellow violets in the middle, and ‘Yubae’ epimedium on the right.


Looking up our back hill, ‘Pink Elf’ epimedium in the foreground with pulmonaria and the fresh colors of newly emerged miniature hostas.

Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!


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.

36 Responses to “A Beautiful Tapestry”

  1. Irene DeCesare Says:

    Dear Carolyn, i love reading your blog and seeing lovely spring flowers and your garden. here in conn. things are just starting to emerge. i have ordered snowdrops from you before and they just stopped blooming. keep the photos of your trips and yard coming. Irene

  2. Nancy Bowman Says:

    Thank you for the super pictures of your garden and woodland area. I currently reside in the Harrisburg PA area but went to Cabrini college so I know your area well. Your nursery was on my list to visit for over a year and now with the quarantine I’m doing more gardening and research and bumped a visit to Ardmore to the top of the list as soon as we are free to travel. 🌸🌷🌈

  3. I loved seeing the long views of your splendid spring gardens! How many years (decades?) has it taken to reach this stage of beauty? It’s just breath taking!

  4. Patricia Says:

    So nice to see all the spring flowers quilting the ground. Here in northern Pennsylvania, the trilliums are just pushing thru the ground, and the hellebore, altho flowering, are very short plants. No signs of life with any hosta, nor epimedium. There are flower buds on the quince. Such a difference.

    • Plants come up based on how quickly the soil warms up in the spring. We had no winter so the soil never really cooled off. Our gardens are also situated on the side of a south-facing hill, which the soil always warms faster than most other locations.

  5. It’s hard to express how beautiful your woodland space is. Do you live in awe each spring? Here in mid-Michigan it dropped to 26 degrees last night so I must remain patient for a couple more weeks at least. Thank you for showing your long views!

    • In the woodland, we removed the invasive plants, improved the soil with compost (the woods had been used as a dump), chose a palette of native plants, and just let them spread. I am in awe when I look at it—it is amazing what native plants will do if you let them spread as nature intended.

  6. Tony Parr Says:

    Carolyn, my garden in Bellevue WA has many lovely plants but not that many.
    I bought snowdrops from you this year and look forward to next year.
    May I ask why you don’t do mail order for other plants?
    Thanks for blogs pics and nice words…. Tony

    • We are a retail nursery where customers from all over the mid-Atlantic come to shop. My husband and I run it together and have no employees. I am not interested in branching out to mail order as we already have enough to do. Glad you like the snowdrops enough to want to order more plants!

  7. Jane Neal Says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos. I have visited your garden several times over the past few years and the hellebore that I have purchased are doing well in our woods. Your garden has been an inspiration to us. I have several questions – how do you gardens look in the summer? What replaces the ephemeral plants? How do you ensure such wide spread success of, for example, the celandine poppy… mine do not spread anything like yours. Today we are going to go out into our woods and will divide and spread plants to see what we can do to mirror what you have done but I would welcome any tips you have. We live in Doylestown and spring is a little further behind here so it is good to see your garden. It is amazing what a difference a few miles can make! Keep well and safe and I hope we get to see your garden next spring.

  8. I, too, went to Cabrini College! Thank you for sharing all of this beauty. Such salve and solace for the soul. I planted tulips last fall and they are glorious right now. I’m hoping this heavy wind doesn’t denude them.

  9. Mary Silverstein Says:

    Thank you so much, Carolyn, for replacing my annual spring visit to your garden with this wonderful panorama of delicious. I’ve had hellebores in bloom since December–and they are all still smiling away. Snowdrops, scilla, aconite, bloodroot, daffodils and tulips joined them at one time or another, but nothing in my tiny space compares to your wonderful woodland. Thanks for being this elderly gardener’s inspiration!

  10. Your yard is amazing, thank you for sharing these spectacular views.

  11. Ioana Drew Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your gardens. They are so beautiful and inspiring. I live in Southern Vermont but in the mountains so like Michigan I have to wait a bit longer. I particularly can’t wait for my mouse ear hostas to emerge. Your post on your awesome collection in the giant container made me a huge fan with my very own little guys. Thank you. 😁

  12. Corinne Applegate Says:

    Carolyn: There are no words to express how beautiful your property is at this time of year. I enjoyed it many times on your sale days. I have just about everything you do only in smaller quantities; many from your Shade Garden. Thanks for sharing your blogs with all of us “shady” ladies and men.

  13. Bonnie Iris Devine Says:

    Awesome!!! My thoughts as they tumbled out of my only partially functioning brain (so overwhelmed with emotions about COVID-19):
    your initial photo is so exquisite that I’m going to try to paint it (how hard can a blur of colors be?!?) As many times as I have walked around your gardens (10 x 12 years??? (I live maybe 15 minutes away) I have always been so consumed with the beauty that I can’t remember actually looking at your house—deck, what deck?) Because all my plants are from Carolyn’s Gardens, though not as prolific, I share the majesty of what nature gives us to appreciate, especially in times of need, like now, and, I don’t remember so many replies in such a short period of time!!! Thank you for the gift of renewal in the time of the virus.

  14. Stargazers Says:

    Why have you politicized your posts? Every time I look at your post there is an ad promoting a Covid scam, conspiracy theory, or Trump message

    John Weygandt stargazers@kennett.net

    • John, It is interesting that you automatically assume that I would be placing those ads. Has there ever been anything political in any of my actual posts? I don’t intentionally allow any ads and certainly don’t receive any money for them, nor do I agree with the viewpoints expressed. Ads are thrown up all over the internet without the permission of the site where they appear. I have no idea why these ads are appearing on mine, but only a few readers have mentioned seeing them. I am looking into it, but wonder if there is something about your settings that allows you to see these ads. Do you have ad blocker turned on?

      • Page Morahan Says:

        The ads on sites are annoying, and i know that bloggers have little choice. I have gotten pretty content focused and just jump over the ads and don’t even ‘see’ them anymore. I used to click the stop my seeing this button, and that led to 2-3 steps and I’m not sure it really did anything. I just don’t ‘see’ them anymore.

      • Thanks, Page, that ‘s what I do too. I think that if the ad had aligned with the political beliefs of the readers who were outraged (as opposed to those who just let me know what was going on), they wouldn’t have noticed or minded either.

  15. Page Morahan Says:

    Carolyn, I had no idea that epimediums came in such luscious colors! The ones we have here are all pale yellow. will have to consider adding some! Page

  16. Thank you for posting these pictures, I am using my imagination to take a walk in your woodland garden. It is a treat to see the long view and have a meander in your garden.

Leave a Reply to Tony Parr Cancel reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: