Archive for the bulbs for shade Category

Visiting a Snowdrop Collection

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Bertram Anderson'

‘Bertram Anderson’ is a classic snowdrop with very large and elegant flowers, earning it a coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

You have probably figured out that I am absolutely crazy about snowdrops, a confirmed galanthophile.  This passion is hard to understand or explain even to myself.  One of the frustrations of being a galanthophile in the US is that most of the more than 1,500 varieties of snowdrops are not available for viewing here.  So while we see lots of photos, and read about all the British snowdrop events, what we really want to do is see the plants in person.

Nursery News:  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  Winter interest plants for pick up at the nursery remain available, just scroll to the end of the catalogue.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Galanthus 'Art Noveau'

This is one of the best examples of ‘Art Nouveau’ that I have seen.  Notice the way the spathe (encloses the bud before flowering) curves elegantly over the flower.

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You can imagine my excitement when I was recently invited to visit and photograph the wide-ranging snowdrop holdings of a local collector.  Although there were hundreds of snowdrop cultivars in bloom, certain plants really stood out, and I want to share them with you.  Here they are in alphabetical order.

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Galanthus 'Bill Bishop'

‘Bill Bishop’ is similar to ‘Bertram Anderson’—they are both in the ‘Mighty Atom’ group—but its flowers are longer and wider.

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Galanthus woronowiii 'Cider with Rosie'

‘Cider with Rosie’ has the glossy, bright green leaves characteristic of its species Galanthus woronowii.

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Galanthus gracilis TCM 15-220

My eye is always drawn to Galanthus gracilis because of its dark blue-green leaves and markings and the graceful flare of the tips of the inner segments.

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Galanthus 'Gravity'

‘Gravity’ is another giant flower, this time with quilted outer segments and an endearing little face.

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Galanthus 'Green Tear'

Virescent (all green) snowdrops like ‘Green Tear’ are the current rage and fetch astounding prices on eBay in the UK.

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Galanthus 'Hoverfly'

‘Hoverfly’ has a definite insect look to it when swaying in the breeze on its long crooked pedicel (flower stem).

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Galanthus trojanus 'The Iliad'

‘The Iliad’, a cultivar of Galanthus trojanus, has the dark markings and large, cupped outer segments that I prefer.

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Galanthus 'Jessica'

‘Jessica’ sports some beautiful stripes.

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Galanthus 'Madelaine' plicatus

‘Madelaine’ is a very desirable yellow snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'Mother Goose'

‘Mother Goose’ has the darkest gold marking to date and made the UK papers last year with a very high price.

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Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

‘Natalie Garton’ is a lovely cultivar that produces extra, oversized inner segments.  You can see them hanging down below the green mark.

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Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

The underside of ‘Natalie Garton’.

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Galanthus 'South Hayes'

The green stripes on the outside of ‘South Hayes’ make it very unique and desirable.

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Galanthus 'The Whopper'

‘The Whopper’ is coveted for its large size and bold markings.

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Galanthus 'Savnik B.' nivalis

This seedling of the common snowdrop, so new it has no name, is anything but common with its bold green-shaded outer segments, delicately white-edged inner segments, and ghostly teardrop marking.

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As you can tell, all snowdrops most definitely do not look alike, although I am the first to admit that they usually require up close viewing.  I was thrilled to see some of the rarer forms in person and share them with you.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Snowdrops in Snow Caves

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, Uncategorized, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

‘Spindlestone Surprise’, a rare yellow snowdrop peaks out from its cave.

In my last post, I talked about our unseasonably warm weather, and we are back to that today.  But in between we had the blizzard of 2016, which dumped 30″ (76.2 cm) of snow on Carolyn’s Shade Gardens accompanied by high winds.  Even with several days of 50 degree F (10 C) weather, the ground is covered and piles of drifted snow are everywhere not to mention the sticks and debris.

Nursery News:  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  Winter interest plants for pick up at the nursery remain available, just scroll to the end of the catalogue.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks gorgeous in the snow.

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Luckily, I covered many of my blooming clumps with plastic boxes before the snow began.  The uncovered flowering plants were damaged by the snow, but the covered groups look pristine.    When I pulled off the boxes, the snowdrops underneath were left in a roofless snow cave.  They looked so beautiful, I wanted to share them with you.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

I can’t get enough of ‘Godfrey Owen’.

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Galanthus 'Daphne's Scissors' elwesii

‘Daphne’s Scissors’ with uncharacteristic green tips this year.

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Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold' plicatus

Another beautiful yellow, ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

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Gaalnthus 'Magnet'

‘Magnet’ has been blooming for so long it is starting to go by.

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Galanthus 'Richard Ayres'

A vigorous double, ‘Richard Ayres’ .

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ today, eleven days after the storm, with the snow melted down quite a bit.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ with very long outer segments and an X-shaped inner mark.

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Galanthus 'Trumps'

‘Trumps’, one of the most sought after snowdrops.

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Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

I couldn’t resist another shot of ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.

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It seems fitting that the beauty of snowdrops is increased by snow.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Snowdrops Are Early This Year

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

‘Godfrey Owen’ has a very unusual form with six outer and inner petals (segments) instead of the usual three.

As I mentioned in the last post, southeastern Pennsylvania, US, zone 6 to 7, has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather for months.  There has been no snow and the ground was not frozen.  That all came to an end yesterday when the daytime high was 22 degrees F, and it went down to 14 degrees last night.  Significant snow is expected on Saturday.

Nursery News:  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  Winter interest plants for pick up at the nursery remain available, just scroll to the end of the catalogue.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'

‘Atkinsii’ is an old-fashioned and vigorous cultivar, looking great here with hardy cyclamen.

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I have to admit that I was worried about how this very unusual weather pattern would affect the snowdrops.  Most of my varieties are blooming a month early, and many are two months ahead of what I am used to.  How would they fare when they are shoved into the deep freeze after being coaxed out so early by temperatures reaching as high as 72 degrees F?  I am happy to say that it didn’t faze them.  They all look perfectly happy though droopy and frozen.  To celebrate, I am going to show you some of the highlights of the snowdrop season so far.  In alphabetical order…

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatus

‘Colossus’ has the beautiful pleated leaves of a Galanthus plicatus cultivar.

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Galanthus 'Daphne's Scissors' elwesii

‘Daphne’s Scissors’ has produced very pronounced green tips in honor of the weather.

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Galanthus 'Ding Dong'

‘Ding Dong’ was selected by Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, ding-dong Avon calling.

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Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'

‘Faringdon Double’ is the earliest blooming double snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'Fly Fishing'

‘Fly Fishing’ throwing out its lure.  It has produced green tips when it is usually pure white.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

Another shot of ‘Godfrey Owen’s’ beautiful habit.

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Galanthus 'Grumpy' elwesii

I can sympathize with ‘Grumpy ‘ who looks afraid to come out in this weather.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ sporting its huge, finely formed flowers.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

I couldn’t resist another shot of ‘Kite’ as it’s one of my favorites—note the extra long outer petals and the distinct X mark inside.

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Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, a vigorous and elegant double.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'

‘Magnet’ another old-fashioned and reliable cultivar.  It hasn’t released its distinguishing extra long flower stem yet.

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Galanthus 'Standing Tall' elwesii

‘Standing Tall’ combines fine markings, a beautiful habit, and indestructibility.

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Galanthus 'Three Ships' plicatus

‘Three Ships’ with its distinct sail-like petals always blooms by Christmas but was a few weeks early this year.

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Galanthus 'Wasp'

‘Wasp’ displaying its insect-like wings and “thorax”.

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Galanthus 'Xmas' elwesii

‘Xmas’ is a giant snowdrop cultivar selected and named by me for its Christmas bloom and X-like marking.  It is quite tall with a very upright habit and bulks up more quickly than any giant snowdrop I grow, even the species.

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That’s a complete record of all the snowdrops in my garden that are up and fully out.  Many more have buds starting to open so the fun is just beginning.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Just Relax and Enjoy the Flowers

Posted in bulbs for shade, Camellias, hellebores, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Helleborus niger 'Praecox'Even though praecox means developing early, ‘Praecox’ Christmas rose hellebore is one of the main season varieties that bloom later in January or February.  Here it is in mid-December.

Like much of the country, southeastern Pennsylvania, US, zone 6 to 7, has had unseasonably warm weather for weeks.  There has been no snow, the ground has not frozen, we have only had 2 or 3 real frosts, not enough to set back the acanthus, and it was 70 degrees F on Christmas Day.  It has also been raining for most of two weeks.  Quite a change from the last two falls when it got cold in October and stayed that way.  In 2013 to 2014, we experienced record snowfalls.  In 2014 to 2015, there was not much snow but record low temperatures.

Nursery News: The 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on our website, and we are taking orders now.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of additional spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'‘Winter’s Joy’ fall-blooming camellia is not blooming early but instead continuing to bloom beyond when its flowers and buds would usually be frozen and done.  It started in October and is about to enter its fourth month.

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Should we be worried?  As Mark Rylance, playing a Soviet espionage agent accused of treason, says in “Bridge of Spies”, would it help?  Lots of attention needs to be paid to the very serious issue of climate change and what the US in particular can or should do in the face of the incontrovertible evidence of evolutionary temperature changes occurring at faster than evolutionary speeds.  But worrying about the plants in our gardens and neighborhoods won’t accomplish much.  We can’t control the weather so just relax and enjoy the early flowers.  My friend John Lonsdale who is originally from England tells me that if we lived there, this would all be completely normal—the weather and the bloom times.  Here is what is early in my garden:

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Jasminum nudiflorumWinter jasmine usually sends out a few flowers through out the winter whenever it gets warm.  The whole shrub is in bloom now with not many buds left for later.

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Galanthus 'Xmas' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Xmas’ does open flowers by Christmas, but right now the whole patch is in bloom and starting to go by.  Last year I had flowers through March.

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Galanthus 'Standing Tall' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Standing Tall’ also opens its buds around Christmas.  It was so early this year that its flowers are now completely done.

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Pulmonaria rubra 'Redstart'February-blooming ‘Redstart’ pulmonaria or lungwort is in full flower all through my gardens.

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Mahonia japonicaThe lovely, evergreen Japanese mahonia is a late winter bloomer but all my shrubs are in flower.

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‘Winter’s Song’, whose name has been inexplicably changed to ‘Joker’, is a Christmas rose cross that normally waits until late January or February.

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DSCN7294Double hybrid hellebores are generally a little later in my garden but this one looks gorgeous today.

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Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'How about this for a surprise?  On Christmas Day, ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ opened two flowers.  It is the earliest daffodil that I know of but that’s usually February.

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DSCN7296Highly fragrant winter-flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is blooming.  It usually flowers slightly before forsythia.

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DSCN7292‘Blue Lady’ hybrid hellebore decided to put on an early show.

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DSCN7268My favorite hellebore form with the little ruffles inside (petaloid) didn’t disappoint me.

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Geum 'Cooky'Geum ‘Cooky’ has been flowering all fall.

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Galanthus 'Fly Fishing'One of my favorite snowdrops ‘Fly Fishing’ has been whipping around in all the rain and wind on its extra long, fishing line pedicel (flower stem).

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaNo open flowers yet, but the edgeworthia flower buds are swelling to form elegant silver tassels.

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Many people have asked me what will happen in the spring?  Most of the plants that are flowering now are using buds that they formed after they were done flowering last spring.  If every bud opens, they will not form new buds and will not bloom again.  My advice is to enjoy them now!

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

My Snowdrop Article in Fine Gardening

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Fine Gardening cover Fine Gardening February 2016

You will all want to rush to your nearest purveyor of elegant magazines—Barnes and Noble in our area—and pick up the current issue (February 2016) of Fine Gardening.  I wrote the cover article, “Snowdrops: Start spring with these easy care varieties.”  It features a lot of useful information about snowdrops especially for gardeners wanting to expand beyond the common snowdrop.  Four of the photos are also mine, and there are two lovely shots of my hands :-).

Nursery News: The 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on our website, and we are taking orders now.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of additional spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on our special advance notice lists.

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Galanthus elwesiiMy photo of the giant snowdrop illustrates one of their greatest charms: their early bloom time. Shown here boring holes through the ice on Valentine’s Day 2011.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'My photo of ‘Magnet’ illustrates how quickly the more vigorous varieties can multiply to form eye-catching masses in your garden.

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My other photos are of ‘Lady Elphinstone’ and ‘Blewbury Tart’, but you will have to read the article to see those.  Please let me know what you think and ask me any questions that the article raises by typing a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the very end of this post.

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To access the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

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

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

Pleasurable Pairings for Spring Part 2

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mertensia virginica, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and native Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, are two of my favorite plants for spring and are wonderful combined with almost anything.  Very easy to grow in part to full shade and woodland conditions.

In April 2011, I wrote a post about beautiful spring pairings.  To read it, click here.  I always meant to continue the topic and have finally taken the time to photograph the garden.  Some of the combinations are the same but that’s because I love them!

Nursery News:  Our third open house sale, featuring hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums, is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  We are also open 24/7 by appointment.  Look for a shrub offer shortly and the 2015 Miniature Hosta Catalogue.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas, please let us know and we will put you on our special list.

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Mertensia virginica, Polystichum polyblepharumVirginia bluebells with emerging tassel ferns, Polystichum polyblepharum.

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Mertensia virginica, Brunnera macrophylaOr how about blue on blue with Virginia bluebells and Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla?

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Celandine poppies are just as versatile, here with summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.

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Epimedium versicolor 'Sulphureum', Stylophorum diphyllum, Osmunda cinnamomeaNative Celandine poppies with ‘Sulphureum’ epimedium, daffodils, native cinnamon fern, and the leaves of winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis.

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Hosta 'Paradise Island', Vinca minor 'Bowles Purple'Gold hostas look so beautiful when they are emerging.  Here ‘Paradise Island’ hosta with ‘Bowles Purple’ vinca.  Although I don’t recommend planting vinca because it is so invasive, I couldn’t resist adding this purple variety to a contained space.

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Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet', Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'One of my all time favorite combinations, the peach-colored spring leaves of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea with the similarly colored stems of ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart.

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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty', SedumNative ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, with a sedum showing its winter colors.

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Fritillaria meleagrisCheckered-lily in its white, Fritillaria meleagris ‘Alba’, and purple forms seed through out my dry, full shade woodland.

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Epimedium x warleyense, Hosta montana 'Aureo-marginata' Orange epimedium, E. x warleyense, with the emerging leaves of Hosta montana ‘Aureo-marginata’.

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That’s all for now but look for Part 3 soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our third open house, featuring ferns, hostas, and hardy geraniums is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, don’t’ wait until then—you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase these wonderful plants.  Just send me an email at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with some suggested dates and times that you would like to visit.

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.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Early Spring Ephemerals Light Up the Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Corydalis solida seedling 4-3-2011 7-36-54 PMCorydalis solida comes in many colors: in the right corner is ‘Purple Bird’, in the middle is pink ‘Beth Evans’, and in the left corner is brick red ‘George P. Baker’.

As the hellebores bloom in my garden, they do not stand alone but are surrounded by large swathes of spring ephemerals.  These are plants that come up in the spring to take advantage of the available sun before the leaves come out and then go dormant for the year as it gets hot.  I especially appreciate their vibrant colors at a time of year when spring is here, but the weather is not necessarily warm and sunny.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale, featuring hellebores and many of the plants in this post, is this Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  If you are interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the special snowdrop list.

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Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker'‘George P. Baker’

All the plants shown here are in bloom now or just about to bloom.  They are very easy to plant and grow.  And best of all they spread by themselves to form large patches in the years after you plant them.  Spring ephemerals don’t take up any room as they can be interplanted with hostas, ferns, and other perennials that come up later and fill in the space.  They are also great for the backs of beds that are empty and visible before other plants emerge.

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Corydalis solida, helleborusThis riot of color is going on in my woods right now as various shades of Corydalis solida bloom with hellebores.

Here are some more suggestions for plants that will achieve this early spring bounty in your garden—all available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this weekend:

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Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'Snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, bloom with the snowdrops, and you can’t beat the color of ‘Ruby Giant’.

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Crocus tommasinianus, Helleborus x hybridus‘Ruby Giant’ with white hellebores, a match made in heaven.

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Scilla mischtschenkoana, Dicentra cucullariaPale blue squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana, is the earliest blooming of the group, here with Dutchman’s breeches.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, blooms with the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite are the most beautiful sight in my late winter garden.

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Eranthis hyemalis, Corydalis solidaAfter it blooms, winter aconite’s elegant foliage makes a great backdrop for hellebores and Corydalis solida.

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Puschkinia scilloides As the pale blue squill fades, striped-squill, Puschkinia scilloides, takes over.

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Puschkinia scilloidesStriped-squill has naturalized to form a large patch under my winter hazel.

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Scilla sibericaAlso coming into bloom now are the fluorescent blue flowers of Siberian squill,  Scilla siberica.

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Scilla sibericaSiberian squill has moved all over my garden and has never appeared anywhere that I didn’t want it.  The color is just gorgeous.

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Fritallaria meleagrisCheckered lily, Fritillaria meleagris,  is just getting started.  It too seeds to spread through out my woods.

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Heuchera 'Caramel', Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, has lovely upturned blue flowers with an ethereal white center.  Here it peeks through the winter leaves of native ‘Caramel’ heuchera.

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Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow spreads quickly to form large patches.  It looks especially beautiful under my star magnolia right now.

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Erythronium 'Pagoda'The lovely leaves of U.S. native dogtooth violets, Erythronium, are appearing now and the earliest varieties are blooming.  Although they look delicate, they are as tough as nails and come back in my woodland year after year.

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Stylophorum diphyllum & Mertensia virginicaI can see the dark purple leaves of native Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, emerging from the mulch.  I can’t get enough of its porcelain blue flowers, here with native Celandine poppy.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Mertensia virginicaEuropean wood anemones are also getting ready to pop.  The earliest is yellow-flowered Anemone ranunculoides, but they also come in pink and white.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink’ European wood anemone is quite rare and beautiful.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'The elegant flower of ‘Bractiata’ European wood anemone.

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All these flowers keep me going through the cold wet days of early spring.  Add them to your own garden to beat the winter doldrums and signal that the end is in sight.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza this Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores and other plants.

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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