Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

Early Spring Beauty at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in bulbs for shade, evergreen, groundcover, hellebores, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hellebores are in their prime.  Here is a claret colored hybrid at sunrise.  We have a wonderful selection of hellebores for sale right now.

Apparently winter is over, although nothing could surprise me in the weather department this year.  Last weekend when Kelly Norris, Director of Horticulture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, visited my gardens, the tour consisted of me pointing and saying “if it were really spring, you would be seeing….”  Now the garden is bursting, please come back Kelly :-)!

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 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.

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Bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, stood up particularly well during the extreme heating and cooling and heavy snow that March threw at it.  Lots of customers have been asking for these, and we have more in stock.

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‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart seems to appear overnight.  It turns into a majestic plant with gold leaves and pink flowers, a combination I have grown to love.

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.‘Diana Clare’ pulmonaria’s large blue flowers look spectacular with its emerging silver leaves.

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Once you have a couple of varieties of pulmonarias, they start to cross and every one is beautiful.

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The lovely, pale yellow flowers of Anemone x seemanii were produced by a cross between A. ranunculoides and A. nemorosa, European wood anemones.  Very rare and available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for the first time this year!

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Our native double bloodroot, Sanguinaria ‘Mulptiplex’, is my all time favorite flower.  It seems to prefer the rocky slope in my woodland, and I often see the single form on road embankments.  We take special orders for this plant.

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Our display gardens have about forty types of epimediums, and their flowers are popping out of the ground.  Here, the orange-flowered E. x warleyense.  We will be selling this epimedium along with ‘Roseum’, ‘Niveum’, ‘Lilafee’, E. grandiflorum, and the rarer ‘Yubae’ (Rose Queen) and ‘Pierre’s Purple’.

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Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum

One of the first plants I ever planted and still a favorite: Dutchman’s breeches, Dicentra cucullaria.  Available this spring.

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There are lots of dogtooth violets in our woodland and they have even crossed and produced some stunning new forms.  This is the European Erythronium dens-canis.  Its flowers are gorgeous but sparse.  We sell the US native ‘Pagoda’, a vigorous plant with many yellow flowers just starting to open.

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Everything is so late this year!  Native moss phlox ‘Emerald Blue’ is just starting to open its flowers.  Moss phlox makes a great, evergreen groundcover in sun to part shade in dry areas.  Ask us to point out our amazing stand of the white-flowered form ‘Nice n’ White’.  We also sell purple, crimson, and a new, more compact cultivar called ‘Emerald Pink’ that looks like a miniature boxwood.

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‘Shell Pink’ lamium bursts into bloom now but then continues to flower until December.  It is the only lamium that produces flowers for three seasons.  Its leaves are also semi-evergreen so the ground is never bare.  It is not invasive and should not be confused with the yellow-flowered lamiastrum.

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Anemone ranunculoides, a parent of A. x seemanii shown earlier, is a bolder color and faster spreader.  We also sell ‘Bractiata’, ‘Vestal’, ‘Alba Plena’, and ‘Wyatt’s Pink’ European wood anemones.

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Now we get to one of my favorite plants, Corydalis solida, which you will see all over my garden in a rainbow of colors.  Its common name is fumewort, but I never hear anyone call it that.  The photo above shows the varieties that I sell: ‘George P. Baker’ in the foreground, ‘Purple Bird’ in the center, followed by ‘Beth Evans’, and ‘White Knight’ at the very back.

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‘White Knight’ is new this year and is a stunning form, densely packed with pure white flowers.

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If you let Corydalis solida self-sow in your garden, you will get some gorgeous un-named forms like the blue above.  Unlike other brightly colored corydalis, fumewort comes back reliably every year.  It goes dormant after it flowers but reappears bigger and better the next spring.

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A mixture in my woodland

If you are local and want to get a jump on the April 15 open house sale, we are around today, tomorrow, and all weekend.  Just email for an appointment.  Or come Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm when customers are picking up their edgworthias—let me know an approximate time.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show

Posted in bulbs for shade, flower show, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The Royal Horticultural Society February Show at Vincent Square in London.

In February, Michael and I went on a two week snowdrop trip to England.  My first two posts on the trip featured cutting edge snowdrops, click here to read it, and our six day stay at Colesbourne Park, click here.  After touring the countryside, we journeyed to London to help Alan Street of Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop sellers in the world, “moss up” for the RHS Show at Vincent Square.  When Alan invited us, we weren’t really sure what mossing up involved, but everyone said that it was quite an honor to be asked to participate.  We enjoyed every minute!

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 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.

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Unfortunately, it was impossible to get one photo of the entire Avon exhibit, but this picture shows about a third of the presentation from one corner.

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This is what we started with at about 10 am on Monday morning.

“Mossing up” is how Alan refers to setting up the Avon exhibit for the RHS Show.  Starting with the bare boards above, layer upon layer was slowly and carefully added to achieve the finished look of snowdrops displayed in a natural looking, mossy garden.  Although the snowdrops and the materials, including name tags, pieces of styrofoam, newspaper, used net bulb bags, potted plants, rustic wood, dried leaves, and the centerpiece of crystal glasses hand-etched with snowdrops, couldn’t have been better organized, it still took all day to create the masterpiece that was the display.  Here’s how we did it:

.The process started with the careful placement of the largest elements: the shelf for the crystal, the carex and mondo grass, and the metal buckets wrapped in wreaths of rustic woven vines, using thick styrofoam to elevate them.

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Next Alan Street, Avon’s Nursery Manager and the creative genius behind the exhibit, placed each pot of snowdrops.

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After the snowdrop pots were placed, Micky Little, Nurseryman at Avon, and my husband Michael, elevated the center of the exhibit by stuffing the spaces between the pots with balls of net bulb bags.  Next we all carefully inserted balled up newspaper between the pots along the edges to serve as a base for the moss.

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True “mossing up” happened next as Maxine Grice, the Office Administrator at Avon, and all the rest of us surrounded the snowdrops on all four sides of the exhibit with bags and bags of moss very carefully inserted between the pots.

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Dried leaves covered the area around the center and then lichen covered sticks were carefully added.  Only then did every pot get a label, after which the whole exhibit was reviewed for exposed edges and missing labels.  We finished around 4 pm with Michael using a pump sprayer to slowly moisten all the moss.

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Another view of the finished exhibit.

When we were done, we had created Alan’s vision of snowdrops naturalized in a woodland setting.  It was gorgeous to behold and deservedly won a gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.  Here are some of the individual snowdrops that I thought were especially beautiful in the exhibit:

I have it in my collection now, but for years ‘South Hayes’ was at the top of my list.

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‘Grave Concern’ has now migrated to the top of my must have snowdrops.

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A classic snowdrop, ‘Mighty Atom’, with gorgeous rounded petals, my favorite look.

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‘Trumps’, a vigorous and eye-catching flower.

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‘Phantom’ is aptly named.

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A new must-have, ‘Jonathan’, look at those beautiful leaves and large striking flowers.

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‘Diggory’ is recognizable anywhere.

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‘Alan’s Treat’ selected by Alan Street and a play on his name.

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ is gorgeous.

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Another for the acquisition list, ‘Walker Canada’, so elegant.

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Alan sent me this photo yesterday of his newest and probably his most exciting snowdrop selection ‘Midas’, a yellow-marked snowdrop with a green ovary (the little cap) and extremely rare yellow markings on the outers.   Keep your eyes open for a record-breaking price!

Next year’s RHS Spring Show is scheduled for February 13 and 14, 2018, and we hope to be there to moss up once again.  Thank you so much to Alan, Maxine, and Micky for allowing us to participate in an unforgettable experience.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Drifts of Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

colesbourne-lake-2-10-2017-5-16-18-amA drift of snowdrops covers the hill above the extraordinarily colored lake at Colesbourne Park.  The amazing blue is caused by light reflecting off naturally deposited clay in the water.  It is worth visiting just to see it.

Michael and I just returned from a two week snowdrop trip to England.  For six days we were the guests of Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.   Colesbourne has been called England’s greatest snowdrop garden, and wandering through the grounds for six days I can see why.  First, the 2,500 acre setting is absolutely magnificent, including the lake pictured above, a church dating back to 1067, and a charming village with a delightful pub, the Colesbourne Inn, serving delicious food.

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 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.

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Galanthus 'Margaret Owen'This lovely, very large snowdrop ‘Margaret Owen’ is a fitting tribute to its namesake, a renowned galanthophile.

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Galanthus 'Rodmarton'The double snowdrop ‘Rodmarton’ originated at the nearby Rodmarton Manor, an arts and crafts house featuring its own wonderful snowdrop collection.

Second, you can see many rare and unusual snowdrops, like ‘Margaret Owen’ and ‘Rodmarton’ above, in large clumps instead of singly or in small groups.  Colesbourne Park has over 250 varieties in its collection, and they work hard to develop each into a large stand. 

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Sir Henry Elwes stands in a field of  ‘S. Arnott’ as he entertains a guided tour with tales of Colesbourne and its snowdrops.

Third, if you are lucky enough to go on a tour, you will be taken around by Sir Henry Elwes who grew up at Colesbourne and knows all 2,500 acres intimately.  His great-grandfather was Henry John Elwes, the famous Victorian plant explorer who discovered his namesake snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey in 1874.  During the tour, Sir Henry will tell you about snowdrops, but he will also regale you with fascinating stories about Colesbourne itself.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'A close up of ‘S. Arnott’, called the desert island snowdrop because if galanthophiles could have just one, this would be it!

But for me, the most amazing thing about Colesbourne is the huge drifts of some of the more well known cultivars of snowdrops.  As I have said before, I am not interested in having a collection of hundreds of little groups of rare snowdrops.  I want plants with interesting leaves and habits as well as flowers, that are vigorous and will multiply into large clumps fairly quickly.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’, a Greatorex double snowdrop, which has been intentionally divided and spread out at Colesbourne.

When Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes took over Colesbourne Park, intervening generations had not tended John Henry Elwes’s collections and many had been sold.  However, some snowdrops remained, and Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn developed the current Colesbourne snowdrop display in the last 25 years.  Colesbourne showed me what you could do with a snowdrop collection and why snowdrops like ‘S. Arnott’ and the others pictured below are so widely grown.  It was a revelation.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’ en masse

Here are some more snowdrops that have been systematically divided to form huge stands at Colesbourne:

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’, a large and vigorous single snowdrop, called “one of the foundation stones of many collections” by Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ quickly turns into a good sized patch.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ drifts

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ is my favorite of the many Greatorex doubles and also the most widely grown.

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ as far as the eye can see.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'Early-blooming ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, another much admired classic called a “plant of great quality” by the Bishop book.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'A stand of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’, also a Greatorex double

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’ spread far and wide.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusGalanthus plicatus ‘Colossus’, an early vigorous snowdrop with a beautiful habit and elegant leaves.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusStands of ‘Colossus’

I visited some other snowdrop venues that had sweeping drifts but none with the variety found at Colesbourne.  Painswick Rococo Garden is the place where the famous snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ was first selected in the 1860s.  There are amazing drifts of ‘Atkinsii’, Galanthus nivalis, and ‘Flore Pleno’ there:

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' with Galanthus 'Flore PlenoThe very tall and stately ‘Atkinsii’ in the back with ‘Flore Pleno’ in the front at Painswick.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A hillside of ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick.
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Welford Park is awe-inspiring for sheer numbers of snowdrops, which grow in sheets through out their woods.  All of the plants are Galanthus nivalis:
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-7-26-017Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with winter aconite.
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-50-02-amCommon snowdrops at Welford Park
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-40-38-amIt looks like it just snowed in the woods at Welford Park.

Thank you so much to Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes for opening their world, both snowdrop and otherwise, to two very grateful visitors from across the pond.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Snowdrops in the Pipeline

Posted in bulbs for shade, New Plants, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus 'Pieces of Eight'

‘Pieces of Eight’ is a new snowdrop found by renowned snowdrop hunter Veronica Cross.

Michael and I just returned from two weeks in England visiting famous snowdrop venues and meeting the rock stars of the galanthus world.  We found our way to Welford Park, Painswick Rococo Garden, Colesbourne Park, Avon Bulbs, East Lambrook Manor Garden (Margery Fish), Rodmarton Manor, the RHS Spring Show at Vincent Square, North Green Snowdrops, and Gelli Uchaf Garden in Wales. 

And, even more fun, we spent time with Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne, Alan Street at Avon and the RHS Show (plus Maxine and Mickey), Simon Biddulph at Rodmarton, Phil Cornish in his garden, John Morley at North Green, and Julian and Fiona Wormald in their Welsh garden.  Thank you to all our wonderful hosts.

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 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.

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Galanthus 'Pieces of Eight'‘Pieces of Eight’ combines a very bold form of the ‘Trym’/’Trumps’ type marking with the fuller, rounder look that I prefer in a snowdrop.  I predict a big price on UK eBay if that hasn’t already happened.

1,500 photos later it is hard to know where to start especially since it is time for me to focus on shipping snowdrops.  However, I thought it would be easy and fun to highlight some of the amazing snowdrops that are coming down the pipeline or have been very recently introduced.  So here is a sneak preview of developments in the snowdrop world.

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Galanthus 'Neckless Wonder'Matt Bishop named this snowdrop ‘Neckless Wonder’ because it has no pedicel attaching it to the stem—not an endearing name but certainly descriptive.  It is fun to be able to look straight into the flowers.

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Galanthus 'Fiona's Gold' nivalisAlthough ‘Fiona’s Gold’, a G. nivalis cultivar, has been around for a few years, it really stood out for its bright yellow color.  Most of the yellow snowdrops we saw looked anemic compared to what I am used to in the states because they need sun to turn gold, and there isn’t any over there.  Michael and I expected terrible weather (and dressed for it), and we weren’t disappointed.  It was freezing cold, damp, and raining or snowing most of the time we were there.

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Galanthus 'Compu.Ted'This charming snowdrop called ‘Compu.Ted’ was in the Avon RHS display.  I was so busy helping to set up the exhibit and taking photos that I didn’t have a chance to ask Alan Street about the name.  Edit: According to Emma Thick, it is one of John Sales’s snowdrops named after his grandson who works with/likes computers.  Thanks, Emma!

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Galanthus 'Miss Prissy'‘Miss Prissy’ with her outward facing stance really stood out.  I wonder if she is named after the spinster hen in Looney Tunes.

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Galanthus 'Joy Cozens'‘Joy Cozens’ is not new but it was the first time I saw an orange tip in person—it really is orange!

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Galanthus 'Anglesey Orange Tip' elwesiiI was also thrilled to see this thriving clump of ‘Anglesey Orange Tip’.  None of the flowers opened while I was there so I don’t know if they maintain their orange hue.

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Galanthus NGZZZ-R-OVXVXPI thought this un-named snowdrop at North Green was gorgeous.

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Galanthus gracilis 'Andreas Fault' Matt BishopA lovely G. gracilis cultivar named ‘Andreas Fault’ by Matt Bishop.  Is it named for the San Andreas Fault in California or did Andrea do something wrong?  Edit: According to Janet Benjafield, it is named for Andy Byfield by Matt Bishop, a teasing name.  Thanks, Janet.

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Galanthus 'Long John Silver'Veronica Cross, sticking with the Treasure Island theme, calls this beauty ‘Long John Silver’.  Edit:  According to Janet Benjafield, Treasure Island refers to a patch in Veronica’s garden that yielded these new snowdrops.

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Galanthus 'Treasure Island'This is Veronica’s ‘Treasure Island’, a star money maker.  Unfortunately, it’s closed like many of the snowdrops I saw and photographed.  When it is cold, gray, and raining every day, you get desperate and take the photo anyway.  I never realized how lucky we American galanthophiles are with all our sun.

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Galanthus 'Grave Concern'Another gorgeous snowdrop—just look at those outers—from Alan Street and  named inadvertently ‘Grave Concern’.  Quite a somber name for such a beautiful flower, apparently it was found in a graveyard.

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Galanthus 'Golden Fleece' plicatusMy only sighting of the record holder for most expensive snowdrop, ‘Golden Fleece’.  A little out of focus as I was on the east coast of England with the wind howling in from the North Sea and snow was falling.  I always wonder if the name is a play on words.
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Galanthus 'Midas' seedling‘Golden Fleece’ is going to be given a run for its money by another yellow Trym-form about to hit the market, ‘Midas’.  This is actually a ‘Midas’ seedling as the real thing wasn’t open yet.
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Galanthus 'Dragonfly'Veronica Cross gave us ‘Wasp’ and now this beautiful and more substantial insect ‘Dragonfly’.
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Galanthus 'Dragonfly'A swarm of ‘Dragonflys’ at the Avon RHS Show.

Who knows when any of these gorgeous snowdrops will be available in the US, but at least we know what’s coming.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Curating a Plant Collection: Snowdrops or Otherwise

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, my garden, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus reginae-olgaeGalanthus reginae-olgae is the earliest snowdrop to bloom in my garden, around the third week of October.

My garden is not a collection of plants, especially those that require any sort of extra maintenance.  If you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, you will see that most plantings are quite natural looking with a focus on natives.  However, there are a few exceptions, and most of you know by now that I am an unapologetic collector of snowdrops.  I also sell snowdrops, click here for the 2017 catalogue, and some of them are quite pricey, so I thought it would be helpful if I explained how I keep track of mine.  This system can be used for any plant collection.

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 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.

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Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude' elwesii‘Potter’s Prelude’ always flowers by mid-November and, weather permitting, continues into January.

My system involves written records on my computer and physical markings in the garden.  There may be a fancy computerized plant database available, but I use a simple table with columns in a Word document.  The first column is alphabetical and lists the complete botanical name of the snowdrop, including the species and cultivar names if applicable, e.g., Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  The remaining columns describe the pertinent information about the snowdrop for each location in the garden: date planted, exact location, number of plants, and source.

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Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle'This is the ‘Brenda Troyle’ planting that corresponds to the first location entry below. 

For example, ‘Brenda Troyle’ is listed in column one as Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’ as it is a hybrid with no species name like elwesii or nivalis.  Column two describes location one: “2012, front walk next to Dbl Rose hellebore, 2 Cresson.”  Column three describes location two: “2014, carriage house 2nd bed on left, moved 1 Cresson.”  It is very important that the location description is as detailed as possible so that if all your outdoor markings disappear, you still know where your snowdrop is located.

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Galanthus elwesii ex Montrose GardensAnother snowdrop blooming right now is Nancy Goodwin’s fall-blooming G. elwesii var. monostictus, which she shared with me in 2013.  At the back of the clump is the metal tag and peeking out in front is the plastic stake.

Out in the garden, each snowdrop gets two markers.  The first is a 10″ zinc plant marker produced by Bosmere, item H185, in sets of 10.  Included is a carbon pencil, but I don’t use that to write on the markers.  All labels in my garden are inscribed with an opaque paint marker made by Uchida, Decolor 200-S Black, and available at art supply stores.   All other writing materials, including pencils and “permanent markers” wear off.  I place the metal plant marker directly behind the snowdrop and record the full name, date acquired, and source.

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dscn7338Bosmere zinc plant markers

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dscn8464opaque paint marker

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dscn7336A paint marker is used to record the name, date acquired and source.

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Each snowdrop is also marked with a second tag directly in front of the plant.  For this, I use a 6″ Rapiclip plant label made by Luster Leaf in packages of 50.  These plastic stakes are long and sturdy but flexible, not brittle.  They can be pushed almost all the way into the ground and bend instead of breaking if you step on them.  I write the same information on them with a paint marker.

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dscn7337Rapiclip plant labels

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Galanthus 'Foxgrove Magnet'‘Foxgrove Magnet’ with its metal marker behind and plastic tag in front.
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dscn8458There are variations on my marking scheme.  For example, this bed has random, unnamed, fall-blooming G. elwesii.  Each clump has a plastic tag behind it describing its special characteristics, if any.
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dscn8459I am superstitious so if I plant dormant snowdrops in the fall, they get a reused plastic tag and part of a bamboo garden stake until they come up in the spring.
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dscn8460I also use bamboo poles, hammered solidly into the ground, if the snowdrops are planted in an area where a lot of leaves fall and obscure the metal and plastic stakes.  The photo below shows what I found under the leaves.
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dscn8452I may not have remembered that this snowdrop grouping was there if it hadn’t been marked with the bamboo stake.

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I realize that not everyone is obsessed with snowdrops, but this system can be used for any plant collection that has grown to the point where its size exceeds the mental capacity of the collector  :-).  I grow about 30 varieties of epimediums and keep a chronological handwritten record plus metal and plastic markers outside.  European wood anemones get metal tags and a handwritten list.  Mini hostas are marked with plastic tags and recorded haphazardly.  The rest of the plants have to rely on invoices and various notations in garden journals.  Every winter I consider making a complete database of all the plants at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens but the prospect is daunting.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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.

Snowflakes (Leucojum) Continue the Snowdrop Season

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllum

Summer snowflake with Celandine poppy in the woodland at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

When snowdrops are finishing, their close relatives, snowflakes (Leucojum),  are ready to take over the display.  They are quite beautiful, but haven’t been subjected to the intense selection process that has resulted in over 1,500 snowdrop cultivars.  They are very easy to grow, and I think they deserve more attention.

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 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.

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllum 4-26-2015 6-43-58 PMLeucojum aestivum in my woodland in April.

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There are two main species of snowflakes: Leucojum aestivum or summer snowflake and Leucojum vernum or spring snowflake.  Summer snowflake blooms in April in our area so the common name is very confusing.  It is a large and vigorous plant reaching 12 to 18 inches with multiple green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem. 

It likes moist soil but grows quite well in my dry woodland as you can see from the photos.  It grows in dappled woodland conditions but also quite sunny spots and seeds aggressively in my garden.  Summer snowflake is native to Central and Eastern Europe.  The cultivar ‘Gravetye Giant’ has bigger flowers, but I have not grown it.

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 Spring snowflake

Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, blooms in March in our area so it could easily be called winter snowflake. On its own, it is a diminutive plant reaching 6 to 9 inches with single, green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem.  The leaves are strap-shaped and a very pretty glossy, bright green.  It likes moist soil but grows quite well in average moisture conditions in deciduous shade to part shade locations.  Spring snowflake is native to Central and Southern Europe. 

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-21-07 PM
A very upright and dark green Leucojum vernum—it stood out from the hundreds around it.
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Although unassuming as a single plant, spring snowflake is breath-taking when massed as the following photos show:

Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM

A clump of spring snowflake.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-49-41 PM

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-31 PM

A hillside of spring snowflake in mid-March at Winterthur.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-46-20 PM

Spring snowflake combined with Amur adonis and glory-of-the-snow in mid-March at Winterthur.

There are some named forms of Leucojum vernum, which are quite interesting:

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-19 PM

Leucojum vernum var. wagneri (or vagneri) produces two flowers on each stem, although none of mine did that this year.  I have read that it is no longer a valid variety.  If you visit naturalized populations of Leucojum vernum, a certain percentage will have twin flowers. This photo shows a wagneri with standard-shaped flowers and green spots.

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Leucojum vernum var. wagneri

This wagneri has the yellower spots typical of var. carpaticum pictured below.

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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum

Leucojum vernum var. carpaticum has yellow spots on each petal instead of the normal green spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Null Punkte'

‘Null Punkte’ from Germany is pure white with no spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister' Cresson garden

‘Gertrude Wister’ is a semi-double spring snowflake with 12 or more petals instead of the normal 6.  It was discovered by noted bulb expert Gertrude Wister in her garden on the Swarthmore College campus in Pennsylvania, US.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister'

A group of ‘Gertrude Wister’.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is honored to be the only source for this cultivar.

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The surface has barely been scratched though—there are many beautiful forms under evaluation:

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Leucojum vernum Cresson garden

A form with 8 petals found in Charles Cresson’s garden.  This is the one I want.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-08 PM

This lovely flower appeared in the midst of a group of var. wagneri.  It has the spots, but then the very pointy tips are dipped in green paint.

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DSCN7757

A similar paint-dipped flower, but this one is outward facing, even more pointy, and has more color.

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DSCN7756

A very large flower with much more prominent spots.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-18-044

A very large-flowered wagneri.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-24-032

A wagneri with more separated petals.

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Leucojum Johan Germany 2

A very large flower with alternating spotted petals and pure white petals.

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Leucojum vernum 2016

Two flowers fused on the same stem: we will have to see if this repeats itself.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

A true double flower under evaluation by a friend in Belgium.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

Very beautiful!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Winterthur Snowdrop Event

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Crocus tommasianus

Snow crocus in the courtyard behind the house at Winterthur.

If you are crazy about snowdrops and other winter-blooming plants like snowflakes (leucojum), snow crocus, winter aconite, adonis, and glory-of-the-snow (chionodoxa), then a visit to the March Bank at Winterthur should be on your lifetime bucket list.  The display is as magnificent as anything found at the great British snowdrop estates.  The best time to see it is at the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Lecture and snowdrop event, being held this year on Saturday, March 12, details 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 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.

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Hellebore Collage 2016

Some of the hellebores I am bringing to Winterthur, clockwise from upper left: Mango Magic, Apricot Blush, Blue Diamond, Rio Carnival, Sparkling Diamond, Painted, and True Love.

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The speaker for Bank to Bend is Lady Carolyn Elwes, who, with her husband, owns Colesbourne Park, considered the premier snowdrop venue in England.  She even has a beautiful yellow snowdrop named after her.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling snowdrops, including a limited selection of some rarer cultivars, hellebores, cyclamen, and winter aconite.  There will be guided and self-guided tours of the March Bank.  It is worth the trip even if you are not local.  Here are the details and more photos to entice you:

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 Giant snowdrops and winter aconite on the March Bank at Winterthur.

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March 12
Winterthur’s Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event

Enjoy the spectacle of the March Bank clothed in snowdrops, winter aconite, adonis, and early snowflake in flower.

Bank to Bend Features:

• A lecture by Lady Carolyn Elwes, who will share the story of how a garden of private obsession grew into one of international importance in her 11:00 am talk, “Snowdrops at Colesbourne, Gloucestershire.”

• Sales of rare and unusual plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden (www.carolynsshadegardens.com), 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

• Guided tours of the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm.

• A self-guided “White Arrow” tour through the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center and available all day.

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory available all day.

Lecture: $10 per member. $20 per nonmember. Free for Garden and Landscape Society and Garden Associate Members. All other activities (tours and plant sales) are included with admission.

For more information and to register, visit http://www.winterthur.org/spring or call 800.448.3883..

Winterthur Fall 2013-025

The Winterthur house is considered the premier museum of American decorative arts and is worth a visit in and of itself.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-024

Another view of the house.

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Galanthus and Eranthis at Winterthur photo Winterthur

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Chionodoxa on the March Bank photo Winterthur

Glory-of-the-snow follows the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and Eranthis

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Adonis amurensis

Adonis is abundant

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Leucojum vernum

Snowflakes at Winterthur

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Winterthur

Snowflakes (leucojum)

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Crocus tomasinianus

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I hope you can make it on Saturday—it is well worth the trip no matter where you are coming from.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

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