Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

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.

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.

Your February 2019 Snowdrop Trip to England

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

Expect fields of snowdrops and hardy cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens had been selling snowdrops for 25 years when we decided it was time to visit England during snowdrop season.  This was the trip of a lifetime for me, and my husband Michael was a very good sport about spending a vacation outside in winter looking at my favorite flower.  We both had so much fun that we returned in February 2018.  Now it’s time for you to plan your trip.  All the gardens described below are within driving distance of the Colesbourne Inn where I recommend that you stay.

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.

 

This 11th century church on the grounds of Colesbourne Park is open for visitors on snowdrop weekends.

Although England is a popular vacation destination, most people don’t travel there in February.  That means you still have plenty of time to make airline reservations, and hotels are very inexpensive and practically empty.  However, once you arrive, you will find plenty of fellow gardeners from all over Europe and even Asia touring snowdrop venues and the winter gardens that surround them.

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‘S. Arnott’ is the signature snowdrop at Colesbourne, but you will also see breath-taking sweeps of ‘Ophelia’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Colossus’, ‘Galatea’, and many more.

Your first stop should be Colesbourne Park, which is considered England’s greatest snowdrop garden.  It is located in the beautiful Churn Valley in the heart of unspoiled Gloucestershire, which is in the Cotswolds. Colesbourne’s ten-acre snowdrop garden is filled with sweeps of what must be millions of snowdrops and thousands of cyclamen plus a collection of more than 350 snowdrop cultivars, including many rare varieties, artfully displayed around the stone buildings. 

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Colesbourne’s ethereal blue lake

Colesbourne has been owned by the Elwes family since 1789, and the snowdrop collection was started in 1874 when Henry John Elwes discovered the snowdrop that bears his name, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey.  The current owners, Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes, are always present on snowdrop days to greet visitors and answer questions.  There is plenty to see in addition to snowdrops, including the 11th century church pictured above, the trails through the woods and around the surrounding 2,500 acre park, the scenic “blue” lake shown above, and the very impressive Colesbourne Arboretum of trees.

Colesbourne Park is open every Saturday and Sunday from February 2 to March 3, 2019, between 1 and 4:30 pm.  Local charities raise money by serving tea, coffee, and delicious cakes.  To view the Colesbourne website, click here.  For more photos of Colesbourne and its garden, read my blog post here.

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Michael poses in front of a sequoia in the Colesbourne Arboretum, which contains 13 National and 37 Gloucestershire Champion Trees.

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Rodmarton Manor

Rodmarton Manor was built in the 1920s in what is now called the Arts and Crafts style, and everything was made on site using local craftsmen.  The grandmother of the current owner and her head gardener designed the eight acres of gardens that surround the house, creating what is considered a premier example of the Arts and Crafts gardening movement.  The snowdrop collection is extensive with the base of trees in the orchard surrounded by many rare cultivars and snowdrops planted through out the dozens of garden “rooms”, a feature of Arts and Crafts style.

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A planting of the very rare snowdrop ‘Rodmarton Regulus’ surrounds a tree in the orchard.

Rodmarton is near Colesbourne in a very scenic part of the Cotswolds close to Cirencester.  Snowdrop open days are generally on Sundays in February starting at 1:30 pm, but the 2019 schedule is not on the website yet.  If you get a chance to tour the inside of the house, don’t miss it.  View the Rodmarton website by clicking here.  For more photos of Rodmarton and its garden, read my blog post here.

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Even without snowdrops, the Rodmarton Garden is well worth visiting especially if you are accompanied on your trip by a non-galanthophile.

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Welford Park

Welford Park has an illustrious history, starting as the site of a monastery dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536 when it became the king’s deer hunting lodge.  The house, which was built around 1652, served as a convalescent home for soldiers wounded in World War I.  The gardens, woods, meadows, and river banks are awe inspiring because of the sheer number of winter aconites and snowdrops, all of which are Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop.  It is located in Welford, Berkshire, about an hour from Colesbourne.

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Winter aconites and common snowdrops at Welford Park

Welford Park is open for snowdrops from January 30 to March 3, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11 am to 4 pm.  A tearoom serves homemade cakes and homegrown sausages among other mouth-watering delicacies.  View the Welford website by clicking here.

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A walk through Welford’s snowdrop woods is an unforgettable experience.

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Painswick House through the trees on the right with two of the garden’s famous Rococo “follies” in the middle surrounded by the hillside covered in ‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops.  The orchard is in the foreground.

Also in Gloucestershire near Colesbourne, Painswick Rococo Garden is a marvel, not only for its glorious snowdrops, but also because it is the only surviving Rococo garden currently open to the public.  Painswick has the sweeping vistas, framed views, serpentine paths, and extravagant architectural features characteristic of the most lavish gardens of its style.  The garden plus the beautiful Snowdrop Grove and hillside covered in the tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick, make it a must see.

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This curving Gothic screen called the Exedra is Painswick’s most famous folly.  Beyond it, you can see its formal garden, kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

During February, Painswick is open every day from from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.  There is a very good cafe on site with hot and cold lunches and homemade cake.  View the Painswick website by clicking here.  For more photos of Painswick and its garden, read my blog post here.

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the Snowdrop Grove at Painswick

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the private garden of John Massey, the owner of Ashwood Nurseries

Ashwood Nurseries is a world renowned nursery in Kingswinford in the West Midlands about 1 1/4 hours from Colesbourne.  It is famous for its winter and early spring-blooming plants like hellebores, cyclamen, snowdrops, hepaticas, and primroses but carries a wide-ranging selection of other plants at its canal side location in the lovely English countryside.  Last February, Michael and I attended a Snowdrop Lecture there, which included a private tour of John Massey’s personal garden. 

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Snowdrops, hellebores, and cyclamen by the canal

Ashwood Nurseries is worth visiting just to see the nursery.  However, I highly recommend attending an event, especially one that includes a tour of the Massey garden, which is not open to the public.  In 2019, there is a Snowdrop Lecture on Tuesday, February 5, which includes a garden tour.  The morning session is already sold out.  John’s garden is open to raise money for charity on Saturday, February 9, from 10 am to 4 pm, no reservation necessary.  Through out February there are “behind the scenes” pre-booked Hellebore Tours.  There is a tearoom on site with hot and cold food, an open fire, and garden views.  For the Ashwood website, click here.

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Just one of the hundreds of beautiful Ashwood hellebores

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The historic Colesbourne Inn, located right outside the entrance to Colesbourne Park (sorry, not a great photo)

During your exploration of snowdrops and winter gardens, you can’t go wrong staying at the Colesbourne Inn.  A charming inn with very comfortable en suite rooms is combined with a traditional English pub and a gourmet dining room using fresh, local ingredients, including eggs raised by Lady Carolyn Elwes.  Have a cappuccino or beer by the cozy fire or enjoy a delicious meal in the high quality restaurant.

If you do go to England to see snowdrop gardens, please let me know about your trip.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘Richard Ayres’ is one of the largest-flowered double snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December (2018) and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. Part One of the preview, can be viewed by clicking here.

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2020 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us whether you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

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 fat flowers of ‘Richard Ayres’ in my garden on 2/1/17

‘Richard Ayres’ has an eye-catching, very large and full double flower on a tall, vigorous, and easy-to-grow plant.   The outer segments vary in number from four to six, and the inner markings are also variable but quite pretty.  It was discovered in 1987 by celebrated plantsman Richard Nutt in the gardens of Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge and named by the UK National Trust, which owns Anglesey Abbey, for the head gardener.

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‘Green Brush’ has a gorgeous outer mark.

Galanthus elwesiiGreen Brush‘ is a one of the best green-tipped snowdrops with big, bold, substantial flowers on a tall plant—very striking and distinct.  The fat outer segments are thick and waxy with strong markings at the apex as though dipped in paint.  The inner segments are solid green.  Selected in the Netherlands by fifth generation bulb breeder Gerald Oud.

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‘Faringdon Double’ is one of my earliest blooming snowdrops, pictured here on 1/6/13.

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‘Faringdon Double’

Early-blooming snowdrops really make a statement, and ‘Faringdon Double‘ is one of the earliest in my garden and definitely the earliest double.  It has large, well-formed flowers on vigorous and easy-to-grow plants.  The outer segments are large and rounded, and the inner segments are very regular with a broad heart-shaped mark.  It was discovered growing in a churchyard in 1988 in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, by British snowdrop collectors David and Ruby Baker.

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This photo shows ‘Faringdon Double’s’ characteristic inflated spathe, which encases the flower bud before it drops and opens.

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‘Merlin’ is a striking classic snowdrop.

Merlin‘ is another snowdrop so special that it earned an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012, one of only 28 out of more then 2,500 snowdrops to get this recognition.  It is a beautiful, vigorous, highly-prized classic snowdrop, possibly a hybrid between G. elwesii and G. plicatus.  It is the best known and most widely grown snowdrop with completely dark green inner segments.  Discovered in his garden in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

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‘Trym’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus plicatus ‘Trym’ caused a sensation when it first appeared in the snowdrop world due to its unique flower structure where the three outer segments have been replaced by three more inner segments.  This iconic, pagoda-like look has since been coined inverse poculiform and applied to ‘Trym’s’ many descendants, most with ‘Trym’ in their name.  The outer segments have a large heart-shaped, green mark and are broad, reflexed, and sport the notch in the tip of the segments typical of an inner segment.  The result is a distinctive, striking, and lovely snowdrop.  It was discovered by Jane Gibbs, a gardener in Westbury on Trym, Bristol.

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‘Trym’ is a great snowdrop to have in your garden if you want to produce some interesting seedlings, here growing out from under a hedge.

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‘Starling’ is a beautiful double snowdrop.  For a better photo on the Scottish Rock Garden Club Galanthus Forum, click here and then click the photo to enlarge.

‘Starling’s’ short flower stem causes the flower to face outward giving a direct view of its cluster of star-like, dark green inner segments, hence star-ling, meaning young star. Its outer segments are long, pointed, and boat-shaped, and the overall effect is lovely.  It was found in the famous copse at Avon Bulbs and may be a cross between G. elwesii and ‘Hill Poe’, one of my favorite doubles.  Be sure and click on the link in the caption above for a better photo.

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Snowdrop season is upon us with fall-bloomers in full flower, and the tips of many other snowdrops rising from the mulch.  While heavy frosts and freezing temperatures end the gardening year, the emerging snowdrops give me hope and the promise of flowers to come in the dead of winter.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘Godfrey Owen’, one of my all time favorite snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. 

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2020 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us if you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

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.

 

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks beautiful in snow.

It is no surprise to me that ‘Godfrey Owen’ has recently been added to the very small group of snowdrops, 28 out of the over 2,500 named varieties, to receive the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  It is an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without looking at the label.

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Looking at ‘Godfrey Owen’ is a pleasure from any angle, but here you can see the distinctive six outer segments.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Godfrey Owen’ has six pointed and concave, longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments.  The inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base.  The flowers in my garden all originate from one bulb but have a mixture of markings.   ‘Godfrey Owen’ was discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii, the giant snowdrop, by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband.

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‘Barnes’ blooms in the fall.

When snowdrops bloom in October or November, they really make a statement.  Galanthus elwesii (Hiemalis Group) ‘Barnes’ is a lovely, fall-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop with well-formed outer segments and a heart-shaped mark on the inners.  Considered by many to be the earliest blooming, sometimes in October, and best of the Hiemalis Group, it recently received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its superiority.

The name ‘Barnes’ originates from E.P. Barnes, a surgeon in Northampton, who selected an early-flowering form of G. elwesii and sent it to Oliver Wyatt, possibly in 1928.  After 1973, a group of snowdrops labeled ‘Barnes’ was discovered at Wyatt’s home in Suffolk.

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‘Art Noveau’ is striking.

Confronted recently with hundreds of varieties of snowdrops, all in bloom, I gravitated immediately to the captivating elegance of Galanthus nivalis ‘Art Noveau’.  An artistically curved spathe, like a shepherd’s crook, tops the long, slender flower with bold markings inside and out.  The outer segments are pointed and splashed with pale green, while the inners are almost as long as the outers and sport a darker green, heart-shaped mark.  Given to Avon Bulbs by a famous garden in Normandy, France.

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‘Armine’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus ‘Armine’ is a tall, easy-to-grow, hybrid snowdrop with large, well-proportioned flowers.  It has a beautiful mark on the inner segment, which is clearly visible even when the flowers are not fully open.  It was named in the late 1950s for the daughter of Brigadier and Mrs. Matthias, the owners of the famous (at least among galanthophiles) Giant Snowdrop Company in Gloucestershire.  Lady Carolyn Elwes tells me that a Catholic nun came to visit Colesbourne Park a number of years ago and explained that she was the daughter for whom the snowdrop was named—how fun.

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‘Armine’s’ inner mark is almost always visible.

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‘Puck’ is a fun semi-double snowdrop.

‘Puck’ is a charming and quirky form of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with three extra segments haphazardly arranged over the top of the normal three inner segments and three outer segments.  The result is a fat, semi-double flower.  Named for the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, who seems to have cast his spell on this snowdrop, and found in a woods in Devon.

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‘Sprite’ has a unique look.

I am always looking for snowdrops that stand out from the crowd to add to my collection.  When I toured snowdrop gardens in England, I realized that Galanthus ‘Sprite’ was not only beautiful but could also be easily identified without a label.  The broad, round, bluntly pointed outer segments are painted with five or six distinct green lines with slight shading in between.  A wide, green band covers 2/3 of the inner segments.  Introduced about 10 years ago by the discerning horticulturist Alan Street at Avon Bulbs.

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‘Sprite’ proudly displayed in the Avon Bulbs exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in February 2018.

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Look for another blog post soon profiling an additional seven new offerings for 2019.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Our Woodland is Glorious

Posted in bulbs for shade, landscape design, my garden, native plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 A native white redbud underplanted with natives Virginia bluebells, May apples, and golden groundsel.

This is one of my favorites times of the year: our woodland is at its peak and epimediums and emerging hostas fill our side hill.  The almost 90 degree weather is moving the plants along quickly, but the native plants in our woodland are glorious right now, and I wanted to capture it on film. 

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.

 

Native Celandine poppies under white redbuds.

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Pine needle paths thread through our woods.

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Native Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies under a ‘Waterfall’ Japanese maple.

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Native mayapples grow through ‘Alba Plena’ European wood anemone.

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European wood anemones, like ‘Leed’s Variety’, fill in among the native plants in our woods.

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‘Leed’s Variety’ European wood anemone

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Pale yellow European wood anemone, Anemone x seemanii.

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Some of my favorite native plants make a cameo appearance right now: Tennessee form bloodroot.

.‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot blooms for a much longer period than the single flowered forms.

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I let native Dutchman’s breeches seed around wherever it wants to go from our natural woodland to our formal hellebore beds.

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Pulmonarias are another plant that I allow to roam at will in the garden.  Their seedlings take many beautiful forms.

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‘Jack Frost’ perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers and silver-frosted leaves.  Many of its seedings also display silver leaves, and it does very well in the dry shade of our woods.

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Another plant that does well in dry shade is Japanese woodland primrose.  It goes dormant when it gets hot out so doesn’t care about our dry summers.

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Cowslip primroses are also not picky and grow at the edge of our woods in average soil.

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‘Old Brick Reds’ primrose with white bleeding-hearts and native Celandine poppy.

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Grecian windflower is a startling shade of blue and seeds through our woods.

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Delicate rue anemone prefers to grow in the rocks along our woodland paths.

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The extreme heat has forced our amazing ‘Black Tulip’ magnolia to the end of its bloom period.  However, there are a lot of wonderful plants coming into their own right now.

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If you are local, I hope you can stop by tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, by appointment to shop and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Just send an email requesting an appointment with some convenient times.

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 phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

A Photographer Visits Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden with tags on April 26, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

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

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Purple-leafed ‘Yubae’ epimedium

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One of my personal favorites: ‘Kaguyahime’ epimedium.

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Roseus’ spring vetchling

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Our woodland garden is almost at its peak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

A Day in the Life of an Avon Bulbs Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘EA Bowles’ was one of the very lucky snowdrops selected to be displayed on the Avon Bulbs table at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show in February.

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited:  in this post, Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop nurseries in the world.

We visited Avon in February 2018 and 2017 and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Alan Street, known through out the snowdrop world for the exceptional snowdrops he has selected and named.  During both years, we also helped set up the Avon exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Show in London.  For a post about our 2017 RHS experience, read Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

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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Alan Street standing among Avon’s free range planting of ‘S. Arnott’.  Alan advises snowdrop enthusiasts to let the flower heads form and drop their seeds, as you never know what you will get.

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Avon has a beautiful woodland full of “wild” snowdrops plus other winter-blooming plants like the winter aconites, hardy cyclamens, and spring snowflakes in this photo.  They are all allowed to mix and match, which has resulted in some amazing snowdrop selections.

The title of this post should really be “years in the life of an Avon snowdrop” because that’s how long it takes to evaluate, select, and name a truly special snowdrop.  Although Avon propagates many snowdrops selected by others, it has introduced some wonderful cultivars found in the woods on its own property.  I thought you might like to see where and how this happens plus which lucky snowdrops go on to the RHS show.

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A swarm of ‘Wasp’ in the Avon woods.  The woods are filled with masses of named snowdrops, and, when the bees go from flower to flower, magic happens.

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A group of seedlings in the Avon woods from the very prolific ‘Trym’, results in….

.….’Trympostor’, first shown by Avon in 2011.

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The appearance of a seedling like this one pairing a green ovary (the cap at the top of the flower) and yellow markings on the outer segments results in….

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….the introduction in fall of 2017 of ‘Midas’, a spectacular and ground-breaking snowdrop with yellow on the outers as well as the inners and….

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…., to be introduced in the near future by Avon, ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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‘Sprite’, another Avon introduction, seen in the Avon woods.

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‘Phantom’ also originated at Avon.

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An un-named seedling currently under evaluation by Avon.

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Also under evaluation, a yellow ‘Trym’ from Olive Mason.

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If a woodland seedling looks promising, it might be potted up for further evaluation in the greenhouse.

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All snowdrops are eventually chipped and grown on in pots in Avon’s production beds.

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Avon production beds

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Alan Street holds one of the pots from the production beds.  In it is ‘Alan’s Treat’, which he selected and named—a play on his own name.

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Plants chosen for sale in the catalogue are individually potted, usually in their third year after chipping, and stored in this cold frame.

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From the cold frame, they are loaded onto carts for transportation to the various snowdrop venues where Avon sells its plants.  This particular cart is bound for the RHS show and contains snowdrops for sale on the bottom shelf and snowdrops for display on the top two shelves.

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The Avon truck arrives in London, and Michael helps Alan unload the carts and roll them into Lindley Hall where the snowdrop portion of the RHS show was staged.

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All the materials are ready for us to create the display.  Unfortunately, the Avon table was in an out-of-the-way corner with poor lighting and a terrible background for photos.  I am not sure what the RHS was thinking!

.There was a three-tier effect with four snowdrops displayed in the metal stands shown to create the upper tier.  It was very hard to get the pots to sit in the stands but perseverance paid off!

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The middle tier featured pots raised up in attractive metal buckets wrapped in woven vines, here ‘Rosemary Burnham’, a show-stopping virescent (green) snowdrop.

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The lowest tier pots sat on the table and were covered by leaves, here ‘George Elwes’, a stately snowdrop selected at Colesbourne Park.

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Alan waters the display while Michael continues to level the pots in the stands.

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The only way to get an overall photo was to take it from a balcony overlooking the table.

Some snowdrops displayed by Avon at the RHS show in addition to EA Bowles at the top:

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‘Jade’

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‘Gloria’, a gorgeous poculiform (all segments are outers) snowdrop.

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‘Sprite’ is a very eye-catching snowdrop.

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‘Veronica Cross’

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‘Moortown’, I think this was my favorite.

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We are so grateful to Alan Street for sharing his RHS adventure with us among many other things!

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 phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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