What’s Pretty Today?

Native ‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is my favorite flower of all time.  There is a big patch in our woodland on a very well-drained slope.  ‘Multiplex’ stays in bloom a lot longer than single-flowered bloodroot, which blooms and shatters in a day or two.

This post focuses on some of the more unusual and striking plants that have been flowering over the last few weeks but haven’t fit into my previous posts.  Please excuse any ads that appear in the email from WordPress (the email doesn’t come from me!) announcing this post.

I am dedicating this post to Danny, Maria, Terry, Joe, and their coworkers at the Rosemont Pharmacy and all the pharmacy workers across the country who continue to work despite risk of infection so that we can get our prescriptions when we need them.  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.

.We have about 20 different magnolias in our garden, and this magnolia, ‘Black Tulip’, is one of our favorites for its beautiful habit and amazing flower color.


‘Black Tulip’ magnolia


Another much-loved magnolia is ‘Wada’s Memory’.  The triangular shape is very striking.  At dawn and dusk, the white flowers glow like a ghostly Christmas tree.


‘Blue Ensign’ pulmonaria has the best blue flowers of any pulmonaria.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.


I have finally found a place in our gardens where native hepatica or liverwort thrives.  It’s a south-facing open slope under a Kousa dogwood.  This is sharp-lobed hepatica, H. acutiloba.


Not only do the flowers on double hellebores last much longer than singles, but the plants also continue to throw out additional blooms long after the singles are done.  This is ‘Harlequin Gem’ in the Winter Jewels Series with a fresh stem of flowers at the top.

.Both of my Winter Jewels ‘Peppermint Ice’ plants have new blooms right now.

.The so-called “Tennessee form” of native bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, has additional petals and also lasts longer than the fully single form.  After many years, all forms of bloodroot are starting to seed around our garden.

.Japanese cobra lilies or jack-in-the-pulpits look beautiful when they flower, but I love what they look like as they first emerge.  Here, Arisaema urashima.


A favorite every year, the dwarf tulip ‘Little Princess’ emerges from the gravel between stepping stones.


Growing around the base of epimediums, ‘Leeds Variety’ European wood anemone, A. nemorosa, has large and showy flowers, making it the most asked about wood anemone in our gardens.


The delicate, green flowers of ‘Viridiflora’ European wood anemone reappeared among the branches of a creeping juniper last year after disappearing from our garden over 15 years ago.  It’s a mystery!


What we call our “river” of native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, is quite a sight when it blooms.


Native shooting star, Dodecatheon media, also thrives in the open, south-facing bed under a Kousa dogwood.


Biennial, purple-leafed money plant ‘Chedglow’, Lunaria annua, is very rare in the US.


Japanese woodland primroses, Primula sieboldii, thrive in the full, dry shade under our American hornbeam.


There are over 500 flower forms of Japanese woodland primroses.  I especially like this one, but it didn’t come with a cultivar name.


‘Spotty Dotty’ Asian mayapple, Podophyllum, attracts a lot of attention in our garden.  For customers who were here last year, this is the plant that we had in a pot in the nursery.  It did quite well in the pot, and then we planted it in the garden last fall.  We have another even bigger plant that is at least five years old.


Considered the king of all shade plants by some, Japanese wood poppy, Glaucidium palmatum, takes many years to reach this size and bloom.

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 “What’s Pretty Today?”

  1. Bonnie Devine Says:

    I am so hoping your gardens open up soon! You know, as I say at the end of every planting season, at least after I turned 75, “that’s it! No more new plants!!!” And then, every spring….seeing your beautiful gardens with all that natural color…I start gathering all my empty Shade Garden boxes! I really miss seeing you and Michael and various sons who may be home, wandering around your gardens this time of year, and, altho I am fiercely opposed to cranking up our economy prematurely, I wish someone in the administration would realize that gardening is extremely essential, esp in times of stress.

  2. Karl Zimmerman Says:

    Your double-flowered plants are beautiful, but I read that pollinators can’t use most of the double-flowered varieties; I’m curious to know if bees/butterflies visit those kinds of flowers in your garden. Thanks.

  3. Jean Knox Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to send these beautiful photos from your gardens! A day brightened! Jeanne Knox

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Everything is pretty in your gardens! The double bloodroot blossom makes me think of star magnolia flowers. The Asian mayapple is stunning! All the spring wildflowers are so very charming. This was a lovely post, thank you.

  5. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your posts and such beautiful photographs too. A lot of plant lust going on here. Thank you for posting!

  6. Cheryl Rakestraw Says:

    Thank you for sharing the beauty of your gardens. The work you love has brought such rewards and joy.

  7. doroiams Says:

    I will never buy anything from you for advertising support for Trump and neither will my friends.

    On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 7:03 AM CAROLYN’S SHADE GARDENS wrote:

    > Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens posted: “Native ‘Multiplex’ double > bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is my favorite flower of all time. > There is a big patch in our woodland on a very well-drained slope. > ‘Multiplex’ stays in bloom a lot longer than single-flowered bloodroot, > which blooms and s” >

    • The ad in the email is not mine, nor is the email itself. The email comes from WordPress, and they must place the ad. I get no money from it and do not endorse or control its contents.

      • Knowing Carolyn for many many years now I know she has never supported trump nor would she ever. Before making such a blanket statement why not ask about it first. Give Carolyn a change to respond. She wrote to me that she is very distressed about this. When you buy a website from WordPress you have no control over the ads. Perhaps if you have a better website hosting company that would be more helpful. Charlotte

      • Thanks, Charlotte, I have been amazed at how many readers leap to the conclusion that I placed those ads.

    • Schinamama Says:

      I have to say that I felt negative response as doroiams when I saw the derogatory political ad as the email with it showed up on my preview screen. I thought to myself—-Hmmmm I never noticed any type of ad before. But a political ad on a gardening site? really was not what I was expecting. I glanced down to the comment section to see if anyone would even mention it and came upon doroiams response.

      I do enjoy reading Carolyns’ blog from time to time. I have met Carolyn when I’ve purchased plants and think she is lovely and let’s plants be plants.

      So Carolyn- my husband found that for $30 a year you can use WordPress to NOT include any ads on your page. And if money is an issue I’ll contribute $30 for the first year of add free word press. Nothing political about plants.

      • Thanks for the information, Eileen. I am looking into the issue with WordPress and waiting for a response from them. Ads like these have never appeared on my site before, in fact, no one has ever commented on the ads before. I am concerned that they aren’t coming from WordPress and something more troubling is happening. Or if they are coming from WordPress, that organization should not be placing such inappropriate ads in emails that they configure to make it look like they come from the blog owner by using our email addresses as sending address. Those emails come from WordPress, and I have no control over them. I don’t want to just upgrade and forget about it, otherwise WordPress won’t know about the issue. Stay tuned.

  8. Dorothy Zaleski Says:

    Beautiful, Carolyn! I especially love that pulmonaria. I hope your plants survived the heavy frost we had in Newark last night. I had some hostas fully leafed out. 😦

  9. Roseanne Moresco Says:

    Hi Carolyn ~ another great entry!! Your Japanese woodland primrose that didn’t come with a cultivar name looks similiar to ‘Snowflake’ that I had growing in our Ithaca, NY gardens.

  10. I am really enjoying the longer views of your garden, so beautiful!
    Pulmonaria is still available over here in the UK, a pity I can’t swop some for your Hellebore Peppermint Ice which I think is absolutely divine! Love your river of Phlox, that is fantastic and your Primula sieboldii are ahead of mine, the leaves have only just started showing here, I worry each year that I have lost them.

  11. Susan Bingler Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. Do you sell the Japanese wood poppy?

  13. Bloodroot is exquisite! Others have shared pictures of the native, which are interesting, but not enough so to explain the allure of it. Most just look like woodland wildflowers. I do like them because they are white, but that is about all. ‘Multiplex’ in the first picture is rad!

  14. Dorothy Swift Says:

    I enjoy your postings. I have some of the same plants in my much small garden. I too love P. ‘Blue Ensign’ and have to keep seedlings from my ‘Raspberry Splash’ and ‘Roy Davison’ from encroaching on the blue pulmonary area. (I have the blue behind some yellow primroses).

  15. Melissa Egbertson Says:

    I only have two sharp-lobed Hepatica, but one is white and the other a pale purple this year. I don’t remember it being purple!

  16. Today : all is pretty !
    Arisaema urashima ? I don’t know ! it’s surprising
    Belle journée à toi Caroline

  17. Mary McInerney Says:

    Carolyn, for many years I have been receiving your emails showing excellent pictures of your woodland garden and your numerous types of galanthus. I have learned a lot from you and am a collector of plants. I look forward to receiving your lists even though I live in Dublin, Ireland. I am amazed that you have much the same conditions as we have and we both can grow similar plants. We are in complete lockdown over the Covid 19 and I hope you and yours stay safe and have bumper orders when it’s over. Mary

  18. Loved seeing your garden beauties. The river of ‘Sherwood Purple’ is delightful.

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