Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

What’s Pretty Today?

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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 closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.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.

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‘Black Tulip’ magnolia

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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‘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.

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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!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Bulbs for Early Color

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Viridapice’ snowdrops (photo sent to me by the amazing Joan L)

Your comments on my last post, Trees and Shrubs for Early Color, click here to read, inspired me to write more with the goal of giving readers a bright spot during what is one of the grimmest times in our nation’s history. Please encourage all your gardening friends to read my blog.  And let’s make it even more interactive.  Leave comments about your experiences with the plants profiled or recommend similar plants and ask questions, nothing is too basic.  There is a wealth of knowledge in the gardening community that we can all share here.

The photos below are of flowering bulbs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are easy to grow, inexpensive to buy, and multiply readily.

I am dedicating this post to New York City Police Officer Tim G., whom we have known his whole life, and his fellow officers who continue to serve even though over 900 of them have tested positive for coronavirus.  And to the 11,000 health care workers who have contracted the virus in Spain.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems trivial.  Stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

.It is not going to surprise anyone who reads this blog that snowdrops, Galanthus, are my favorite bulb—I explain why in my post Classic Snowdrops, click here to read.  This is ‘Kite’, a large and elegant snowdrop that has the unique ability to produce twin flowers (two flowers on one stem).

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Yes, snowdrops can be yellow.  A customer sent me this photo of the lovely ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

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Everytime it gets warm enough during the winter for honeybees to fly, they swarm onto the snowdrops.  This honeybee on ‘Straffan’ has collected an impressive amount of bright orange pollen.

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Winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, starts blooming in early January and often continues through March.  This photo shows our last blooming stand on March 24.

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The winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, along our woodland path flowers in February.  It is interplanted with common snowdrops, G. nivalis, which in this photo taken February 12 are not open yet.

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Siberian squill, Scilla siberica, blooms in the most amazing color of blue in February and March.  It is still in bloom today.

.White Siberian squill, S. siberica ‘Alba’, is less common and really stands out in the winter landscape.

.‘Beth Evans’ corydalis (top of photo), C. solida, also known as fumewort, blooms through out March.  It is shown here with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium, which usually blooms in April but flowered early this year.

.Although we started with named cultivars of Corydalis solida, like ‘Beth Evans’ above, it has seeded through out our gardens in a multitude of beautiful colors.  It is a bulbous corydalis and much more reliable than the herbaceous coydalis in blues and purples, which look glorious in pots but can’t withstand our hot summers.  It goes dormant very quickly after it flowers.

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In the last post, I showed glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under our star magnolis.  Its sky blue flowers look up and have an elegant white center.

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Glory-of-the-snow comes in pink too, C. forbesii ‘Pink Giant’.

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I especially like this white glory-of-the-snow, C. luciliae ‘Alba’, because it shows up so well in the winter garden.

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‘Charmer’ Greek windflower, Anemone blanda, was new for us last year and is quite striking and unusual.  We have had the blue and white forms seeding happily in our woodland for years.

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Two-toned grape hyacinth, Muscari latifolium, combines pale and dark blue in a single flower.  There are many forms of grape hyacinth, but this is my favorite.

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A harbinger of things to come, Anemone x seemanii, European wood anemone, blooms in March, earlier than all my other wood anemones, which generally flower in April.  I hope to include more of them in a later post.

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I have dozens of varieties of daffodils, Narcissus, planted all over the garden.  I am enjoying them more than ever this year, especially this early-blooming form right outside my front door whose name is lost in the mists of time.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter bulbs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Classic Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The classic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ glowing on a sunny day in February at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Highlighted in this post are five classic snowdrops that will be available in our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue. These snowdrops are still treasured by snowdrop enthusiasts everywhere even though they are more than 100 years old, and they all embody what attracts me to snowdrops.

People often ask me why I love snowdrops.  There are many reasons.  Originally, it was their bloom time: who can resist a flower looking like ‘Atkinsii’ in the above photograph in early February, my least favorite time of year?

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.  If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

Snowdrops are also quite beautiful and elegant, especially when they are tall and stately with large flowers like ‘Atkinsii’ and several of the other classic snowdrops shown below.

. Snowdrops describes ‘Atkinsii’ as having “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I”—a true English classic.  The reference is to Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), which contains a lot of the information in this post.

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This photo illustrates the size difference between ‘Atkinsii’ in the back and the double common snowdrop in the front.

Third, snowdrops are also the most reliable winter-blooming plants in my garden and are very easy to grow.  And, among the many forms I grow, the tried-and-true classics multiply the fastest to form eye-catching swathes of blooms, which is what I am after.  I am not a collector who wants to have one of everything!  It would be impossible now anyway as experts estimate that there are over 2,500 snowdrop cultivars in existence.

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‘Atkinsii’ is a great multiplier.  Here it fills a hillside at Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire, England.  For more on ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick, read my blog post here.  It has received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (“RHS AGM) as one of the most suitable snowdrops for the garden.  ‘Atkinsii’ was selected in the 1860s by a prominent 19th century plantsman, James Atkins, who retired to the village of Painswick.  It was named after him in 1889 by James Allen, one of the most important snowdrop experts of all time.

Fourth, snowdrops are plants with colorful histories, which I find fascinating.  The stories of the horticulturists who selected the earliest snowdrop cultivars like ‘Atkinsii’ are well-documented in The Galanthophiles: 100 Years of Snowdrop Devotees by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer (Orphans Publishing 2018) from which I extracted many of the historical facts in this post.  Snowdrops are also found in historic places like Colesbourne Park, (in the photo below) the estate of the famous Victorian plant explorer and snowdrop lover Henry John Elwes (1846-1922), who received his original stock of ‘S. Arnott’ from Samuel Arnott.

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Thousands of another classic snowdrop ‘S. Arnott’ bloom every year at Colesbourne Park, the premier snowdrop destination in England.  Snowdrops describes ‘S. Arnott’ as “a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone….[a] classic snowdrop.”   This is the snowdrop that collectors repeatedly state that they would choose if they were limited to one—the so-called “desert island snowdrop”.  It is named for an early galanthophile, Samuel Arnott (1852-1930).  ‘S. Arnott’ has also received an RHS AGM, one of only 28 snowdrops to receive this honor.

 And, finally, I have met some of my favorite people while visiting snowdrops.

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Our friends Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes maintain Colesbourne Park as a spectacular snowdrop destination.  Here, Sir Henry Elwes talks about snowdrops at Colesbourne Park, standing in a patch of ‘S. Arnott’.

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Alan Street in a border of ‘S. Arnott’ during our walk around Avon Bulbs.  He is the only person I know who gets more excited about snowdrops than I do.

.‘S. Arnott’ in the lovely private garden “Welshway” of Hilary and Hugh Purkess in Gloucestershire, where we received a wonderful garden tour and some hot tea with delicious cake on a freezing day in February.

Despite the fact that all these snowdrops have been around for over a hundred years, they are still treasured by galanthophiles and grown in every serious enthusiast’s garden because they are such good plants.

.Although there are a plethora of new snowdrop cultivars, Avon Bulbs still chose to feature ‘S. Arnott’ in its award-winning display at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show.

Here are three more classic snowdrops I think you will love:

.‘Merlin’ is a another beautiful classic snowdrop discovered in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

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‘Merlin’s’ almost solid green inner segments are quite striking shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It has been awarded an RHS AGM as an excellent snowdrop for the garden.

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‘Hill Poë’ is a beautiful and vigorous classic snowdrop, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It was discovered by James Hill Poë in his garden at Riverston, County Tipperary, Ireland, in a patch of Galanthus plicatus, sometimes called the Crimean snowdrop.  In March of 1917, he wrote to an RHS publication that the G. plicatus came to him from a family who received them from an officer serving in the Crimean War (1853-1856).  Many soldiers sent or brought home snowdrops from the Crimea, a testament to the irresistible attraction of snowdrops.
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‘Hill Poë’ is double and has five outer segments.

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‘Hill Poë’s’ inner segments are very regular and full.

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‘Hill Poë’ at Evenley Wood Garden in Northamptonshire, England.

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‘Scharlockii’ is another classic snowdrop, which, though not as tall, is even more vigorous than the others profiled in this post, shown here growing at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It is identified by the lovely green markings on its outer segments and even more so by the “rabbit ears” overarching each flower.  They appear when the spathe (flower covering) splits to drop the flower bud and then elongates into two leafy ears.

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‘Scharlockii’ is a selection from Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, made by Julius Scharlock in 1868 near Frankfurt, Germany.

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‘Scharlockii’ in the copse at Avon Bulbs in Somerset, England.

It is difficult to imagine now with the multitude of named snowdrops available, that at a seminal RHS snowdrop conference in 1891, there were only 42 cultivars in existence.  All five of the snowdrops in this post existed then and have persisted as desirable plants to this day despite the competition.  In 2001, when Matt Bishop’s book (referenced above) was published as an exhaustive reference, there were approximately 500 snowdrops included.  Earlier in 2019, A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops: Second Edition by Freda Cox (Crowood Press) was published and provides beautiful drawings, descriptions, and brief histories for 2,400 cultivars.  It takes a lot to stand out in that crowd.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Early-Blooming Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The species snowdrop Galanthus reginae-olgae blooming in our garden in October with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium.

Around this time every year, I start to get emails from customers and blog readers asking which early-blooming snowdrops will be available for purchase in our catalogue.  When you see the photo above, you can understand why gardeners who appreciate snowdrops are trying to extend their season into early fall.   Early snowdrops are beautiful in their own right but especially appreciated when not surrounded by the many other snowdrop cultivars that flower in the heart of the snowdrop season.  And  this beautiful clump of fresh white flowers is in full bloom when everything around it is going by for the year.

Highlighted in this post are five, early-blooming snowdrops that will be available in the 2020 catalogue.  Keep in mind that exact bloom time is affected by how quickly the soil cools off in the fall and the amount of moisture available to the bulbs—warmer and drier falls seem to equate with later-blooming.

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders. If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local 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.

 

Galanthus reginae-olgae looks a lot like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, but it blooms reliably by mid-October in our garden, and it has a more rigidly upright habit.

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G. reginae-olgae also lasts a long time—here it is looking a little worse for wear on December 3.

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The G. reginae-olgae that we sell comes from bulb expert Charles Cresson who selected it as a form that thrives in our climate as opposed to the other forms of this species he has trialed.  I too have tried G. reginae-olgae from other sources without success.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Potter’s Prelude’ begins to bloom in mid-November in our garden and can often last into January.  It is a rare American snowdrop selected in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s.

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fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Potter’s Prelude’s’ flowers are big and beautiful.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ is a great companion plant for fall-blooming camellias—here with the petals of ‘Winter’s Joy’.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ has beautiful foliage.  The leaves of early-blooming snowdrops come out with or immediately after the flowers, which means that, if we have a hard winter, they can look somewhat battered when it is snowdrop shipping time in late February or early March.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Barnes’ is a November-blooming snowdrop so highly regarded in England that it has earned the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, one of only 28 snowdrops to do so.

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‘Barnes’ in our garden

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‘Barnes’ also remains ornamental for a long period of time.  It still looks great here at the very end of December.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Standing Tall’ is a very large and beautiful December-blooming snowdrop selected by bulb expert Charles Cresson in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, after many years of evaluation.

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The big flowers have beautiful dark green markings.

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It is a bold plant that can hold its own among evergreen groundcovers like the Chinese wild ginger in the photo.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Xmas’, a December-blooming snowdrop, originated at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.  I introduced it and named it ‘Xmas’ because it blooms around Christmas and has a distinct X on its inner segments.

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‘Xmas’ is quite vigorous in my mid-Atlantic garden.

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Each plant quickly produces two or three flowers.

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‘Xmas’ is gorgeous on a sunny December day.

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When you look through our catalogue in December, think about adding some of these beautiful, early snowdrops.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

The Garden Tourist

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, hosta, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The cover of The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker features the teacup garden at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which is 10 minutes from our nursery.  Many of our out-of-state visitors tour Chanticleer and shop at our nursery on the same day.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selected as one of the 120 must visit destination gardens and nurseries in the Northeast United States in the wonderful guidebook The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker.  This book is a great resource for those of us who love to visit gardens as it covers Maine through Pennsylvania with detailed information on each entry, including photos, suggested daily itineraries, and nearby restaurants.  You can purchase The Garden Tourist on Amazon here, or at Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Pennsylvania, if you are local. 

I have visited, photographed, and written about many of the destinations included in the book, so, from personal experience, I can say that they are well-chosen.  As a sample, here are the featured Pennsylvania gardens and nurseries:  Ambler Arboretum, Bartram’s Garden, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, Chanticleer, Highlands Mansion & Garden, Hortulus Farm Garden & Nursery, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm, Shofuso Japanese Garden, Scott Arboretum, Terrain, and Wyck Garden.

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 to US customers only.  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.

 

The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page from The Garden Tourist.

We are so honored to be included in this wonderful garden resource.  Many of our customers have already purchased it and are looking forward to putting it to use.  One longtime customer even brought his copy over so I could autograph the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page!  I thought it would be fun to give my readers, especially my international followers, a more in depth photographic tour of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  The photographs used in this post were taken from 2010 to 2019.  Enjoy!

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Stone stairs lead from the nursery area, past the original entrance to the two-room gardener’s cottage that is now our home, to the Main Terrace.  All the areas of our garden have names, which I will capitalize.  That way my husband Michael and I can communicate about garden maintenance.  During our last open house, visitors were overheard referring to “the team of workers who [must] take care of the gardens.”  We are still laughing and wondering when our team will arrive!  Michael does most of the maintenance, and I help when I can.  5/7/2012

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On the way down the stairs, you pass the entrance to the Main Rock Garden.  It is mostly a winter garden filled with snowdrops, snowflakes, hardy cyclamen, winter aconite, and other early bulbs.  4/25/2016

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The Main Terrace outside the front door in early spring.  4/15/2012

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The Main Terrace a month later.  5/15/2015

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Michael’s pride and joy and a major feature of the Main Terrace is our gorgeous wisteria.  Plein Air painters come to capture it on canvas every year.  4/29/2011

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One of my favorite color combinations on the Main Terrace: ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding-heart, and Spanish bluebells emerging from a silver-variegated ornamental grass.  4/15/2012

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We call the lowest of our three terraces the Orange and Purple Garden.  Here ‘Paliban’ lilac blooms over a collection of small hostas with orange geum in the foreground.  5/10/2015

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The Orange and Purple Garden features a grass oval surrounded by stepping stones inter-planted with sedums, geums, thyme, moss phlox and other low plants.  5/8/2011

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The Orange and Purple Garden in fall when our coral bark maple ‘Sango-kaku’ is the star of the show.  11/2/2013

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in front of the terraces in the lawn area is a very old American hornbeam with lots of surface roots and a dense canopy requiring plants that can handle full dry shade.  The Hornbeam Garden features Japanese woodland primroses (in flower above), Athyrium-type ferns (Japanese painted, lady, and ‘Ghost’ ferns), hellebores, cardamine, golden groundsel, and pulmonarias, among other plants.  4/15/2012

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The Chain Link Strip Garden (don’t ask) along the right boundary of our property is a great place to grow hostas because all the water from the driveway drains through here—hostas love water.  Blue-leafed ‘Neptune’ is on the left, and 2007 Hosta of the Year ‘Paradigm’ is on the right behind a native Carolina allspice.  ‘Paradigm’ measures 60″ wide.  6/7/2019

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Native ‘Golden Shadows’ pagoda dogwood is dwarfed by this ‘Great Expectations’ hosta in the Chain Link Strip Garden.  Hosta experts tell me it is the biggest specimen they have ever seen at 52″ wide.  6/7/2019

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All the way at the bottom of the yard where it is actually consistently moist are our Production Beds where we grow shade plants to sell at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Pictured are ‘Old Brick Reds’ primroses, two types of pulmonaria, and golden groundsel.  5/10/2015

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Walking back uphill towards the woodland, you pass our River of Phlox ‘Sherwood Purple’.  Native, evergreen creeping phlox makes an excellent groundcover with gorgeous purple, blue, pink or white flowers, depending on which cultivar you plant.  In the River, we have planted a large part of our snowdrop collection, which blooms December through March before the phlox flowers extend.  4/24/2019

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In late winter, snowdrops and winter aconite begin to emerge along the woodland path.  3/2/2019

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The snowdrops have been multiplying here for over 100 years and fill the Woodland with white when they open.  3/26/2015

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When the snowdrops and aconite are done, the Woodland bursts into bloom with mostly native wildflowers—the native, white redbud trees play a starring role.  4/15/2019

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Plants native to Pennsylvania fill the Woodland, here mayapples, golden groundsel, and Virginia bluebells.  4/25/2017

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Epimediums, daffodils, cinnamon ferns, and Celandine poppies replace the February-blooming aconite whose leaves are still visible at their base.  4/26/2015

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Natives dwarf Jacob’s ladder, black cohosh, and foamflower line the path.  5/10/2015

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The Lower Deck Garden provides early color from hellebores, ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, pink old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and the rose-colored new leaves of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple.  4/26/2015

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The Upper Deck Garden comes into its own later in May with Hosta nigrescens, pulmonaria, Spanish bluebells, and variegated Solomon’s seal, all echoing the blue and silver garden under the Kentucky coffee tree across the path.  ‘Butterfly’ has assumed its main season color of green and white but will turn pink again in the fall.  5/6/2011

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The Kentucky Coffee Tree Garden across from the deck is filled with silver and blue plants, including ‘Ghost’ fern, ‘Bunny Blue’ sedge, ‘El Nino’ hosta, white bigroot geranium, variegated Japanese kerria, and ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Dawson’s White’ brunnera.  5/27/2012

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Sugar maples, behind the Kentucky coffee tree on the left and the two giant black walnuts center and right, light up the woodland in fall.  For scale the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is on the far right.  10/27/2010

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Moving up the hill, ‘Eye Declare’ hosta steals the show when it emerges in the Sycamore Garden in mid-spring (for orientation, you can see the Blue and Silver Garden in the top right of the photo).  The trees are actually London plane trees but the garden’s name stuck.  5/8/2011

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In early summer, native Indian pinks (spigelia) fill the Sycamore Garden and hummingbirds vsit from miles around.  6/7/2019

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Above the Sycamore Garden, behind the carriage house, is Hosta Hill, filled with hostas of all sizes plus epimediums, ferns, and hellebores.  5/26/2019

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I have a special place in my heart for our Mini Hosta Rock Garden, featuring mini hostas in a multitude of colors and sizes plus a wide assortment of dwarf plants, including ferns, irises, epimediums, conifers, lady’s mantles, and sedums, among others.  6/9/2015

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The garden is never without flowers unless deep snow covers the snowdrops, which start blooming in mid-October and finish in late March.  12/10/2013

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Michael and I rest in deep winter waiting for the cycle to begin again as soon as the snow melts.  2/21/2014

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Although it may seem like winter-, spring-, and early summer-blooming plants predominate, our garden is beautiful in late summer and fall too—I just don’t photograph it then.  I enjoyed writing this post and seeing our garden develop and change over the 10 years that these photographs were taken.  I hope you enjoyed the tour too.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

What’s Up at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens?

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Just a few days ago our woodland was empty, but now it is filled with flowers.

We think that the winter garden at our nursery is gorgeous.  But it is still sparse with lots of empty patches of brown leaves even though it is filled with blooming hellebores, snowdrops, cyclamen, winter aconite, and other late winter bulbs.  It’s not until early spring that our woodland explodes with color, mostly from native plants taking advantage of all the sunlight before the trees leaf out.  I thought you might like to see what that looks like, especially if you visited more than a week ago.  Our many epimediums are also in full bloom!

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 to US customers only.  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.

 

a small field of native Virginia blue bells

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Epimediums and European wood anemones play a starring role.

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Native cinnamon ferns erupt through the winter aconite.

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Even with all the color below, the three native white-flowered redbuds steal the show.

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Pine needle paths draw visitors through the woods.

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Yellow and blue are my favorite spring colors: here Virginia bluebells with native Celandine poppy and yellow wood anemone.

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Yellow and white is pretty stunning too: here Celandine poppy and white wood anemone.

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‘New York Night’ hellebore and native yellow violets

And now for the epimediums:

Red epimedium, E. x rubrum, is a great spreader.

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Sulphur yellow epimediums, E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum, look great with the blue of pulmonarias.

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‘Purple Prince’ epimedium with ‘Pagoda’ dogtooth violets in the background.

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‘Cherry Tart’ epimedium

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The leaves and flowers of ‘Domino’ epimedium are especially lovely, and it flowers twice.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium

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I love orange flowers, and Epimedium x warleyense produces a lot.  It’s also a great groundcover.

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‘Bandit’ epimdium is the perfect size for my miniature hosta rock garden, and its white flowers really stand out against its black-bordered leaves.

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I love this combination: ‘Tama No Gempi’ epimedium and ‘Little Wonder’ mini hosta.

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I had to leave so much out—maybe there will be a part two.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 snowdrops 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 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.

Terrain Visits Our Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

The creative team from Terrain put together this beautiful snowdrop collage after their photo shoot at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Before reading further, see if you can guess the name of each snowdrop.

Unbeknownst to us, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has quite a following at Terrain, the home and garden-related arm of URBN, which also owns Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie and is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, very near us.  Members of Terrain’s marketing department contacted us recently to find out if they could visit our gardens and photograph snowdrops.  Of course, I am always happy to host anyone who admires snowdrops!

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.

 

Terrain has a charming store in the old Styers greenhouses in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

I asked Terrain’s Brand Writer Megan Parry to describe Terrain for readers who have never experienced it.  Here’s what she said:

Terrain is a garden, home, and outdoor lifestyle brand deeply rooted in nature. Our seven store locations are inspired by the idea of merging house and garden to create an experience for the senses, catering to customers with a curated assortment of plants for all seasons, as well as inspired items for the home and garden. Situated in a luxurious indoor-outdoor environment, our on-site nurseries are flanked by cafes and garden terraces, providing the ideal environment to host events and workshops.

Michael and I have visited Terrain’s Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, location many times.  We love to walk around the beautiful grounds and eat at the delicious Terrain Cafe.  Terrain has a new location in Devon, PA, as well as stores in Maryland, Connecticut, and California.  I have even written a blog post about visiting the Longwood Gardens orchid show and eating at Terrain to cure cabin fever.  To read it, click here.

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The Terrain Cafe not only has delicious food, but it is also housed in a scenic and beautifully decorated greenhouse.

After their visit, the Terrain team composed a blog post about my interest in snowdrops and featuring the collage at the top of the post.  To read their post, click here.  You can discover if you correctly identified the six snowdrops in the collage and find out more information about each variety.  To end this post, I will show you some close ups of the snowdrop varieties selected for the collage.

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Number One is ‘Viridapice’.  ‘Viridapice’ is the banner at the top of my website/blog.

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Number Two is ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.

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Number Three is ‘Ballerina’.

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Number Four is the snowdrop species Galanthus elwesii, also known as the giant snowdrop.  Its shape and markings are variable.  This collage shows some of the many forms it has taken in our garden.

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Number 5 is ‘Blewbury Tart’.

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Number Six is ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’.

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Thank you to Cat, Adelyn, Laura, and Megan from Terrain for making this such a fun experience for us.  You mentioned coming back later in the season, and you are most welcome!

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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.

Winterthur Bank to Bend 2019

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The opening photo for John Anderson’s lecture on Saturday at Winterthur was quite arresting, and the remaining slides were equally as beautiful.

On Saturday, Michael and I attended the annual Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur Gardens in Delaware, U.S.  The event honors Henry Francis du Pont’s walk from bank to bend to celebrate the gorgeous bulb display on the March Bank.  That walk was beautiful on Saturday as you will see below. 

The lecture was delivered by John Anderson, the Keeper of the Queen’s Gardens of Windsor Great Park, a very big job as the gardens host 6 million visitors a year.  His lecture showed us some arresting views of the Savill and Valley Gardens, totaling over 900 acres, and how they have changed over time as well as his reasoning behind those decisions.   The Queen is Anderson’s boss and there has been a garden here for a thousand years, so any changes must be well thought out.

Anderson is also in charge of the gardens at Frogmore House, which is HM the Queen’s private residence and garden at Windsor.  After the lecture, we had a delicious lunch and walked around Winterthur for three hours.  It was heavenly.

I hope you will enjoy our journey through photos:

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.

 

The Savill Garden hosts an outstanding magnolia collection.

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The rose garden at Savill has recently been renovated to make it more attractive to visitors and visually interesting.

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Frogmore House and Gardens, HM the Queen’s private residence and garden at Windsor.

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Frogmore was also the location of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception. Anderson described the incredibly tight security arrangements this entailed.

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Our intrepid group left to right: Carol Long, Curator of the Winterthur Garden; Charles Cresson, local horticultural authority and educator; John Anderson, Keeper of the Queen’s Gardens at Windsor Great Park; Linda Eirhart, Director of Horticulture at Winterthur; and Michael Drennan, co-owner of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  They are posed in front of Winterthur’s dawn redwood, Metasequoia glytostroboides, part of the original collection of these trees in the 1940s.

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The dawn redwood was a sight to behold against the beautiful blue sky on Saturday.

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We spent most a lot of our three-hour walk admiring Winterthur’s incredible trees, many of which are champions.  John wanted his photo taken with this massive Sargent’s cherry, Prunus sargentii.

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He also wanted to record his visit to the champion tulip tree or tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, by the Winterthur mansion.

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The Winterthur March Bank was glorious, covered with winter aconite, snowdrops, adonis, and leucojum.

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Nothing like a blue sky to show off winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, to perfection.

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The Amur adonis, A. amurensis, was also peaking.

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There were massive drifts of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii.  I have never seen G. elwesii growing as well as it does at Winterthur.

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And then you come across something even more special: this little clump of three giant snowdrops that have solid green inner segments and are at least three times the size of a normal giant snowdrops.  Normal size on the right with the giants on the left and behind.  A form well worth naming!

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Charles Cresson spotted this three-headed spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum.  I have seen twin heads but never three.  Let’s hope it’s stable.

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Isn’t it gorgeous!

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This was one of the best “horticultural” days that I have ever spent.  Thank you to Winterthur, John Anderson, my mentor Charles Cresson, and my wonderful husband Michael for making it happen.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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.

The 2019 Snowdrop Season Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Wendy’s Gold’ is an elegant beauty.  It has taken me eight years to capture on film the graceful look and beautiful stature of this snowdrop.

In my last post The 2019 Snowdrop Season Part One, I showed some of my snowdrop photos that really communicate the essence of that particular selection.  To read it, click here.  I explained that there is nothing I like better than roaming around our garden photographing my collection and focusing on the differences that make each snowdrop so special.  The cold weather we have been experiencing is prolonging the snowdrop season, and many have yet to bloom.  Here are some more of my other recent captures:

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.

 

‘Wendy’s Gold’ in a group.  It is a good multiplier for me in a sloped location in my rock garden that gets deciduous shade.  I am currently trying it in two other locations.  There is a lot of variability in the growth rate of different snowdrops in different cultural conditions, and I am constantly experimenting.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, sometimes called Queen Olga’s snowdrop as it was named after Queen Olga of Greece, blooms around October 15 in my garden.  During this unusual 2018-2019 season, the flowers lasted forever—this photo was taken December 3.  It received a coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (“RHS AGM”), one of only 28 snowdrops to do so.

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‘Three Ships’ never disappoints and always sails in around Christmas.  However, it is very slow to multiply.  RHS AGM

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On the other hand, ‘Faringdon Double’ blooms between Christmas and New Years and is a vigorous multiplier.  It took five years of attempts to portray all it charms in this photo.

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‘John Gray’ is an early snowdrop with very large flowers.  It was selected by avid gardener John Gray of Suffolk, England, and rescued from his garden, along with the famous ‘Mighty Atom’, and named by renowned horticulturist Bertram Anderson after Gray died in 1951.  RHS AGM

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‘Merlin’, along with the other iconic snowdrops ‘Magnet’, ‘Galatea’, and ‘Robin Hood’, were all selected by James Allen, called by the book The Galanthophiles “one of the greatest of all galanthophiles.”  I have found its particular combination of large bright white outer segments with bright green inner segments edged in white to be particularly difficult to show on film.  After nine years of trying, I am happy with this photo.  Although other snowdrops have come along with solid green inners, I do not think ‘Merlin’ has met it’s match.  RHS AGM

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‘Starling’ is a much more recent introduction selected by my friend the internationally famous snowdrop expert Alan Street at Avon Bulbs in England.  Its name means little star.  In my garden it is very vigorous, with a mass of roots and a large clump of leaves on each plant.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’ is tall, elegant, and very early, making it stand out in the garden.  It originated from Dylan Thomas’s mother-in-law and was named for her by John Morley of North Green Snowdrops.  RHS AGM

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‘Bill Clark’ is new to me, and I particularly sought it out so that I can compare it to ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Madelaine’.  All three are Galanthus plicatus, the Crimean snowdrop species, with bright yellow flowers.  It is named after the Warden of Wandlebury Ring, an Iron Age hillfort located in Cambridgeshire, England, where ‘Bill Clark’ was discovered.

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‘Bertram Anderson’ has very large flowers and a classic beauty rarely surpassed.  It was selected from the Somerset garden of famous horticulturist E.B. (Bertram) Anderson after his death in 1971 and named for him.  RHS AGM

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‘Puck’ is a little cutey, named after the character in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, with a quirky nature and three extra segments, making it semi-double.

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It is difficult to name the particular charms of ‘Brenda Troyle’, but it is one of the most complimented snowdrops in my garden.  It was selected by William Thompson before his death in 1898 and sent to famous galanthophile Samuel Arnott, who named it.  Thompson was an expert beekeeper and probably grew snowdrops because they are one of the earliest flowers to attract honeybees.

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Honeybees have declined alarmingly in recent years, and if you want to help support them, snowdrops are a great flower to plant.  As soon as the temperature gets above freezing, the bees go foraging and during the winter snowdrops are one of the few flowers available.  My snowdrops are always covered with bees.

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Both these photos were taken by my customer Helen J. in Tennessee.  Thanks, Helen!

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Even in the freezing weather we are experiencing right now in the mid-Atlantic, I look out my kitchen window at this beautiful stand of ‘S. Arnott’.  It is considered by many the one snowdrop they would grow if they had to pick.  It was a seedling raised by the famous galanthophile Samuel Arnott.  RHS AGM

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Much of the historical information about these snowdrops, which I find fascinating, came from the recently published, excellent book The Galanthophiles by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer.

There are many more snowdrop varieties still waiting to open in my garden.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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.

The 2019 Snowdrop Season Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ extends her wings.  It has taken me eight years to produce a photo that captures the elegance of this snowdrop.

The heart of the snowdrop season is upon us, and there is nothing I like better than roaming around our garden photographing my collection.  Taking photos forces you to view each snowdrop close up and really focus on the differences that make each one so special.  My snowdrop photographs are frequently praised, and people always ask what camera I use.  But what makes my photos great is not fancy equipment, but knowing the plants intimately and capturing their unique beauty.  One photo here can be preceded by years of attempts to get on film what I know is there.  Here are some of my other recent captures:

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.

 

I took this photo of ‘South Hayes’ at the 2017 Royal Horticultural Society February Spring Show at Vincent Square in London.  It was part of the Avon Bulbs display, which Michael and I helped to set up.  I am very honored that John Morley of North Green Snowdrops in Beccles, England, thought the photo was so good that he used it on the cover of his 2019 Catalogue.  You can view his catalogue here.  When I was profiled in Naomi Slade’s book The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops, I chose ‘South Hayes’ as my utopia snowdrop.  I highly recommend Naomi’s book for gardeners who want to expand their knowledge of snowdrops beyond the basic forms.  It is available on Amazon here.

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‘Xmas’ was named at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for its vigor, bloom time around Christmas, and prominent X mark.  I have over 60 photos of this snowdrop saved on my computer (and those are the ones I saved!) and think this is one of the best.  Snowdrops look wonderful on sunny days with blue sky in the background, but it is very difficult to photograph their best angle then without casting shadows, capturing glare, or having something distracting in the background.

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Another recent shot of ‘Xmas’.  I was thrilled that ‘Xmas’ was included in the newly published second edition of Freda Cox’s book A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops and listed as one of only five notable snowdrops selected in the US.  I highly recommend Freda’s book, which is the most up-to-date encyclopedic snowdrop reference work with profiles and beautiful drawings of over 2,000 snowdrops.  It is available on Amazon here.

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Yellow snowdrops like ‘Wendy’s Gold are all the rage and rightly so, but it is difficult to capture them looking yellow.  They require sunshine, which has been in short supply this winter, to bring out their yellow color and, in the shade, they look olive.

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The simple beauty of ‘Robin Hood’ is enhanced for me by the history of the cultivar.  One of the primary reasons that I am obsessed with snowdrops is that almost every cultivar has a story attached.  ‘Robin Hood’ was selected in the later 1800s by James Allen of Shepton Mallet in England, who also selected the iconic cultivars ‘Magnet’ and ‘Galatea’.  The newly published book The Galanthophiles by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer devotes an entire chapter to Allen whom they call the greatest of all galanthophiles.  This wonderful book is available on Amazon here.

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‘Welshway’ is a petite beauty and treasured all-the-more by me for the memories it evokes.  The British snowdrop world is a small and welcoming place.  When Michael and I traveled to England in February 2017 and 2018, we were invited into the homes and gardens of people whom we had never met due to the longstanding English tradition of garden hospitality.  We visited the garden of Hugh and Hilary Purkess called Welshway Cottage for a wonderful tour and delicious tea and cake.  ‘Welshway’ came from the Purkess’s garden.

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‘Trymming’ was selected in 2007 by my friend the internationally famous snowdrop expert Alan Street at Avon Bulbs in England.  This photo captures ‘Trymming’s’ bold and bright green splashed outer segments and its ability to produce two scapes when well grown.  I had to move it a few times to get it to do that!

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Although I welcome them, snowdrop seedlings are rare in my garden.  However, this big beauty recently appeared right in the middle of a large patch of ‘Straffan’.

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‘Standing Tall’ is another notable American snowdrop profiled in the Cox book.  It was selected in 2013 by my friend and snowdrop mentor Charles Cresson after 25 years of evaluation—he just wanted to be sure it was worth naming!!!  ‘Standing Tall’ blooms in mid-December and grows to be one of the tallest snowdrops in my garden.

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Galanthus rizehensis is a relatively unknown species snowdrop with a small and perky stature and very dark green leaves.  It will be in our 2020 catalogue.

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This photo sent to me by my customer Tim Calkins really captures the petite beauty of Galanthus rizehensis, which he purchased from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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‘Richard Ayres’ is one of my favorite snowdrops due to its vigor, exquisite beauty, and early bloom time.  To capture the beauty of double snowdrops, you must photograph them at an angle that includes the outside and inside at the same time.  This involves some very awkward camera positions and body contortions.  After many years and dozens of attempts, I am happy with this photo.

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‘Richard Ayres’ also looks lovely photographed from the top.

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The charms of ‘Lapwing’ also proved hard to get onto film until now, but that doesn’t mean I will not keep trying to do even better.

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Another favorite snowdrop, the stately ‘Kite’, featuring extra long and elegant outer segments.

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‘Kite’ is also known for producing two flowers on the same scape.  You can see this in the photo above where two flowers are attached by their pedicels (stems) to the same spathe.  They come out wrinkled from being crushed in together but usually straighten out.

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‘Anglesey Abbey’ is a unique snowdrop with bright green leaves instead of the usual blue-gray.  Although it is described as being almost poculiform and almost pure white, mine is pretty close if not perfect.  Poculiform means that the inner segments have been replaced by three additional outer segments of equal  length.

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The plump, upside down hot air balloon shape of ‘Diggory’ is recognizable anywhere but difficult to capture in a photo.  I am very happy with this one as it’s the fattest I have ever seen it.

If you have snowdrops or other winter-blooming plants, I encourage you to visit them regularly with your camera and expand your enjoyment of your garden into the winter months.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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.

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