Archive for the Fall Color Category

Berries for Fall

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Shrubs, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma

For fall and winter ornamental interest, you can’t beat berries.  They are incredibly showy and last much longer than flowers.  They attract birds to my garden when they come in flocks to feast on the bounty—sometimes sooner than I would like.  And this year seems to be the best year ever for fruit production.  All my berry producing plants are loaded.  Is it because of all the rain we had this summer?  Or does it portend a hard winter like the presence of lots of acorns?  Who knows, but I am enjoying them and want to share some of my favorites with you.

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Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'‘Red Sprite’ winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata

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Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite''‘Red Sprite’

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Winterberry holly is a must for fall interest.  It is a native deciduous holly that grows in sun to part shade and is salt and wet site tolerant.  Just remember that like all hollies, it requires a male and female plant to produce fruit.  ‘Red Sprite’ is more compact than most winterberries at five feet tall and four feet wide, it never needs pruning.  My plants drape down over the wall of one of my terraces and are stunning this time of year.  ‘Red Sprite’ produces more profusely than most winterberries, and its berries are larger and very showy.  Unfortunately the robins know this too, and they sweep in and strip the bush in one day.

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Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry

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Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'The fruit clusters of Callicarpa dichotoma, an Asian native, are held away from the branch on a stalk, whereas the fruit of C. americana (photo below) surrounds the branch.

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The fruit of beautyberries, both native and non-native, is such a striking purple color that it stops people in their tracks.  I have written about ‘Early Amethyst’ before in Woody Plants for Shade Part 3 so you can go there for all the details.  ‘Early Amethyst’ is a much more fine-textured plant than the American native and fits well in a mixed border.  In the last few years, I have cut my plants back to 12 to 24″ in the spring, and they have grown back to produce a 5 to 6′ plant with a beautiful habit (see top photo).

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Begonia grandishardy begonia, B. grandis

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Begonia grandishardy begonia

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No, hardy begonias do not produce fruit.  But the persistent seed pods and pink stems remain quite ornamental after the flowers drop off.  They decorate my whole back hillside.  For more information on hardy begonias, read this post Hardy Begonias for Fall Color.

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Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'‘Winter King’ green hawthorn, Crataegus viridis

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Cratageus viridis 'Winter King'‘Winter King’ hawthorn

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I have had my ‘Winter King’ hawthorn for over 15 years, and it has never produced like this.  It has a prime position outside my living room windows, and the view is amazing.  Green hawthorn is a native plant adaptable to many locations and soil types.  ‘Winter King’ is said to reach 30′ tall and 25′ wide in sun to part sun, although my mature plant is smaller.  In the spring, fluffy white flowers cover the tree, and its silver bark is also attractive.  ‘Winter King’ is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society gold medal plant.  For more information, read the PHS write up.

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Callicarpa americanaAmerican beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, it is difficult to get a good distance shot of the fruit when the leaves are still on.  However, they will drop shortly and the berries will persist.

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Callicarpa americanaThe fruit of American beautyberry surrounds the branch.

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I have been looking for American beautyberry to add to my garden for almost 20 years and just installed three shrubs last fall.  Although I have the Asian variety and like it, there is something about the color (blackberry purple?) and placement of the larger berries on the American variety that I find more attractive.  As with a lot of North American plants, it is less refined and bigger than its Asian counterpart so not suitable for a mixed border.  For more information, go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 9.

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Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii Amethyst‘Amethyst’ coral berry, Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii, I must have taken 25 photos in an attempt to show you how beautiful this shrub is even from a distance but could not get one that does it justice.

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Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Amethyst'‘Amethyst’ coral berry

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New to me this fall, ‘Amethyst’ coral berry has everything I am looking for in a shrub.  It is a cross between two Pennsylvania native shrubs, and it grows to 3 to 5′ tall with a similar spread in part shade but is full shade tolerant.  It is deer resistant and the gorgeous and unusual bright pink berries are attractive to birds.  For more information, go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 9.

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I have highlighted just a few of the plants that are making my fall garden as enjoyable as my spring display.  Enjoy the remaining warm days of fall and pray for rain.  Meanwhile, all new plantings and drought susceptible established plants should be watered deeply twice a week.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the winter.  Look for the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue in early January.

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.

Fall at Brandywine Cottage

Posted in books, Fall, Fall Color, garden to visit, landscape design, Shade Gardening, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 14, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-013.

I recently had the privilege of visiting Brandywine Cottage, the house and gardens of horticulturalist and author David Culp.  I have toured these extraordinary gardens many times over the last 20 years, but always in the winter and spring as David and I share a passion for (or should I say obsession with) snowdrops and hellebores.  The arrival of a special shipment of snowdrops from England gave me an excuse to make the trip and experience Brandywine Cottage in October.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013Looking down on the gardens from the driveway.

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Among his other accomplishments, David Culp is the author of The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage (Timber Press 2012).  The Layered Garden recently received the 2013 Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association for Best Overall Book.  For more information on this wonderful book detailing David’s approach to garden design, his passion for plants, and the development of Brandywine Cottage over the last 20 years, click here.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-001the front entrance

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Fall is a difficult time to view a garden in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The leaves are falling off all the huge trees, obscuring the beds and detracting from the perfection we can achieve in spring.  The wonderful plants that might provide some lovely close up shots are eaten by insects, browned by drought, and beaten down by torrential rain.  However, a well-designed garden like Brandywine Cottage highlights the subtle beauty of fall.  It  was still a pleasure to visit even on an overcast and dreary day with more heavy rains threatening.  I hope you enjoy your virtual trip through this special place.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-002A courtyard by the front entrance is shaded by a giant Norway spruce whose roots make an interesting pattern in the gravel.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-003.

Edgeeworthia chrysanthaDavid has several edgeworthias thriving in full shade.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-005.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-006.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-007.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-008.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-009The vegetable garden with its white picket fence is on the left and the largest perennial border is on the right.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-010large perennial border

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-011vegetable garden

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-012.

David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-014.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-019Narrow paths crisscross the hillside above the house which is filled with shade plants, including hundreds of hellebores.

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David Culp's Garden Fall 2013-017An opening through the trees allows a view from the hillside towards the gardens below.

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Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the winter.  Look for the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue in early January.

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.

Woody Plants for Shade Part 9

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Magnolia asheiAshe magnolia is a rare native bigleaf magnolia in a size suitable for almost any garden.

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Because shade gardens are not composed solely of perennials, three times a year I offer woody plants—shrubs, trees, and vines—to my customers.  I want them to have a reliable source for large and healthy specimens, but I also want to make available woody plants for shade that are wonderful but hard-to-find.  I am in the middle of an offer right now, and customers need to let me know if they want to order by Sunday, September 29.  To see the 2013 Fall Shrub Offer, click here.

When I do these offers, I also do a post describing the plants in more detail.  These posts are some of the most popular I have ever written.  In fact, Woody Plants for Shade Part 2 is number four for all time views and Woody Plants for Shade Part 1 is number eight.  If you want to read about all the plants I have recommended, you can find the remaining six by using the Search My Website feature on the right hand side of the home page.  So let’s get to the plants that I am recommending this time, starting with the trees.

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Magnolia asheiThis is my own Ashe magnolia, which I planted in an open, north-facing bed.  It bloomed after its first full year and was spectacular as promised.

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I have been coveting the native bigleaf magnolia, also known as the large-leaved cucumber tree, M. macrophylla, for a long time.  It has gorgeous, gigantic fragrant flowers and the most amazing leaves and did I say it was native?  There is even one in my neighborhood for me to lust after.  However, it’s huge, the sources say 40 feet tall by 40 feet wide, but I have seen larger specimens.  Plantsman Michael Dirr calls it a “cumbersome giant”, and it takes forever to bloom.  Imagine how excited I was when I discovered a small version of this tree tucked into a courtyard at Chanticleer.

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Magnolia asheiThe flower bud on the Ashe magnolia.

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Ashe magnolia, M. macrophylla ssp. ashei, is a subspecies of the bigleaf magnolia, or maybe it is its own species, but the important thing is that it only grows to 15 to 20 feet tall with a similar width.  The specimen at the Scott Arboretum is 10 feet tall after 20 years.  It has the same spectacular, tropical-looking 24″ leaves.  The huge 10″, highly fragrant flowers are pure white with a purple center spot and bloom in early summer.  Unlike its big relative, it blooms at a very young age in sun to part shade.  It originates in the Florida panhandle and its hardiness range is unclear.  However, it does fine in the Delaware Valley.

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Stewartia koreanaKorean stewartia has attractive exfoliating bark that is especially ornamental in winter.

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Stewartia koreanaStewartias are known for their striking fall color.

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Stewartia koreanaKorean stewartia blooms in the summer with white, camellia-like flowers.

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Korean stewartia, S. koreana,  is another small tree that is easily integrated into home gardens.  It reaches 25 feet in height and has an upright, pyramidal shape.  Its large, white, camellia-like flowers appear over a long period of time in June and July.  Its cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark is visually interesting in winter.  The refined dark green leaves turn a beautiful orange-red color in fall.  Korean stewartia has received the coveted Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant award.  For details, click here.  This is an elegant tree for the smaller landscape with a solid 365 days of ornamental interest.

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'Fall-blooming hardy camellia ‘Long Island Pink’

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Fall-blooming camellias hardy in zone 6, the zone for most of southeastern Pennsylvania, are hard to find for sale especially in a decent size.  Even though hardy camellias suitable for our more northern climate were developed over 20 years ago, they are not well known to most gardeners and even to the horticultural trade.  That is why I always include a nice selection in my offering.  For more information on them generally, you can read my posts by clicking here, which will take you to Part 4 in the series and provide links to the first three parts.  To summarize, they bloom in part to full shade in the fall, generally from October through December, with large showy flowers and have glossy evergreen leaves and a lovely habit.

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Camellia Northern Exposure Monrovia‘Northern Exposure’ fall-blooming camellia

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I am offering three camellias this time.  ‘Long Island Pink’ has a compact and upright habit reaching 5 feet tall and three feet wide.  It produces lovely single pink flowers in mid-fall and has glossy dark evergreen leaves.  ‘Northern Exposure’ grows to 6 feet tall and five feet wide.  Its pale pink buds open to very large, single white flowers with bright yellow stamens over a long period of time in fall.  The flowers look gorgeous against the glossy dark evergreen leaves

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Camellia 'Winter's Dream'‘Winter’s Dream’ fall-blooming camellia

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‘Winter’s Dream’  also has a compact and upright habit, reaching 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide.  It produces very showy semi-double pink flowers in early fall.  ‘Winter’s Dream’ was developed by famous camellia breeder Dr. William Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum.  All three of these camellias are fully cold hardy in our area but benefit from siting to protect them from winter sun and wind, which generally comes from the northwest.

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Callicarpa americanaThe berries of our native American beautyberry are eye-catching to say the least.

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I always try to plant native trees and shrubs when I can for many reasons ranging from their durability and beauty to the ultimate survival of the human species (for more on this read My Thanksgiving Oak Forest).  So you can imagine how happy I was to find a source for native American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.  I immediately planted three of them on the shady open hillside above my nursery and have been very impressed with the spectacular berries they produced this fall.

American beautyberry grows 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in sun to part shade.  Its pink flowers in early summer are nice, but, like all beautyberries, it takes center stage in fall.  Right now large clusters of spectacular, long-lasting, magenta-purple berries march up and down the branches wherever the leaves join the stem.  The color is so unusual it stops people in their tracks.  This striking native plant is also deer resistant and attractive to birds.  I am thrilled to be able to offer this wonderful native to my customers.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaRight now edgeworthia is just forming its gorgeous silver buds, which remain ornamental all winter.

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Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Snow Cream' Cresson gardenThe whole bush is loaded with these buds all fall and early winter before the flowers open.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia’s fragrant and unusual yellow flowers are very long-blooming.

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I have profiled Edgeworthia chrysantha (supposedly called paper bush but everyone calls it edgeworthia) before in my woody plants for shade series and written a post on what is one of my top five favorite shrubs.  For all the details, see Edgeworthia, A Shrub for All Seasons.  I continue to offer it again and again because it is very hard to find for sale.  I am not sure why because it is ornamental 365 days a year with an elegant habit, reddish bark, large tropically-textured leaves, gorgeous silver buds from fall to late winter, and fragrant flowers from January to March.  For all the details, including a discussion of edgeworthia’s cultural requirements, you will have to read my post.

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball' & 'Invincible Spirit'‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea in my garden.

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' photo MOBOTThe flowers of ‘Incrediball’ are gorgeous in both their white and green stages.  They last forever in a vase.

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Another native, ‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens,  grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide in part shade and is full shade tolerant.  Its very showy pure white, 12″ and larger globular flowers are set off beautifully by smooth bright green leaves from June through August.  Unlike some other hydrangeas whose flowers turn brown, these flowers age to a lovely green and are wonderful in dried arrangements.  ‘Incrediball’ is a vast improvement on ‘Annabelle’ because it has very sturdy upright stems and its flowers do not flop even in the torrential rains we had early this summer.  My one-year-old plants shown above were loaded with upright flowers all summer.  Smooth hydrangea is said to be deer resistant and mine, which are exposed to deer, have not been touched.

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Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever Pink'The leaves and flowers of ‘Forever Pink’ are both beautiful.
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I chose ‘Forever Pink’ bigleaf hydrangea, H. macrophylla,  for the offer because its leaves still look beautiful in the fall and it has striking flowers.  It grows to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide in sun to full shade.  The vibrant, large, dark pink flowers cover the plant for an extended period in summer.  It has a compact, globe-shaped form with thick stems that resist falling over.  ‘Forever Pink’ is very tolerant of cold temperatures and salt and can take more sun than other bigleaf hydrangeas due to its thick leaves.

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Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Pee Wee’ oakleaf hydrangea is small enough to fit almost anywhere in the garden.

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Hydrangea quercifoliaAll oakleaf hydrangeas have lovely red to burgundy fall color.

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Hydrangea quercifoliaOakleaf hydrangea’s large flowers

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Everyone should have a native oakleaf hydrangea in their garden for four-season interest.  They get quite large, but  ‘Pee Wee’ dwarf oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia,  is the perfect cultivar for  smaller gardens and smaller spaces.  It grows to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide in full sun to full shade.  The large, long-lasting, upright pyramids of white flowers in June and July change to pink as they age and even look good brown.  The bold-textured leaves with burgundy-red fall color and cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark move the season of interest through fall and winter.  Oakleaf hydrangeas are walnut tolerant and native to the southeastern US.

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Symphoricarpos 'Amethyst'The berries of ‘Amethyst’ coral berry cover the shrub.

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I was looking through my supplier’s availability list when I came across native  ‘Amethyst’ coral berry, Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii, a shrub unknown to me.  I was very excited when I discovered that it is a hybrid of two Pennsylvania natives and thrives in the shade.  ‘Amethyst’ grows to 3 to 5 feet tall with a similar width in part shade, but is full shade tolerant.  Small pink flowers appear in June.  In the fall, abundant and unusually striking pink fruit are set off beautifully by fine-textured blue-green leaves and then remain after the leaves drop.  Coral berry is deer resistant and attractive to birds.

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I hope I have introduced you to some new trees and shrubs that excite you.  Remember orders must be received by September 29.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will hold a full-fledged open house sale on Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Shrub and tree orders are due by September 29.  For details, click here.  We are currently offering double hellebores, both by pre-order and at the nursery.  For details, click here.   Now that it’s cool, we are also shipping miniature hostas again.  For details, click here.  Low maintenance seminars are in the works.

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.

September 2013 GBBD

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, groundcover, hosta, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Begonia grandis & Hosta 'Paul's Glory'Hardy begonias and ‘Paradise Joyce’ hosta

I have been very busy getting the nursery ready for the fall season but took a few hours off to get this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post done.  First though, I want to tell you what is in the fall line up.   Our fourth annual Double Hellebore Offer is underway.  To look at the brochure, click here.  These hellebores are the biggest doubles we have ever sold, and they are almost guaranteed to bloom this spring because they bloomed last spring.  If you want to see them in person, they are here right now and ready to go, so make an appointment or come during our open hours tomorrow, Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm.

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Begonia grandisHardy begonias are the ideal fall plant—they come up late and look pristine when they bloom from September through the first frost.

Our fall season started today, September 14, when we opened for a few hours so customers eager to start planting could shop.  Thanks to everyone who came by.  We will be open again tomorrow from 1 pm to 3 pm.   The first full-fledged open house sale is scheduled for Septmebr 28, and cyclamen breeder John Lonsdale will be making a guest appearance with his gorgeous hardy cyclamen.  He will have selected forms of Cyclamen hederifolium plus many other rare species.  Customers will get an email with all the details.  If you want to come before September 28, just send me an email with your preferred day and time.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'white hardy begonia

I am currently putting together a Shrub, Tree, and Vine Offer with woody plants suitable for all your shady areas.  Look for an email this week if you are on my customer email list.  Finally, my husband Michael will be holding three sessions of his well-attended Low Maintenance Gardening Seminars.  They are tentatively scheduled for September 27, 29, and 30, but all the details will arrive by email shortly.  That’s all the business for now so on to the post….

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Begonia grandis 'Alba' & Hosta 'Striptease'My back hill is filled with large patches of hostas, and I use hardy begonias to fill in between them and even to cover up plants that are worn out by fall.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (GBBD) hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on the 15th of the month) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos each month of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  I encourage all gardeners, but especially my customers, to expand their floral display beyond spring so that their gardens delight them with flowers whenever they go outside.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'hardy begonias

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Anemone x hybridaAnother fall star is Japanese anemone, which blooms from August into October depending on the variety.  The taller cultivars look beautiful draped over shorter plants, here hybrid hellebores.  However, shorter and more upright types have been introduced lately, look for the Pretty Lady series and ‘Pink Saucers’, both available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Anemone x 'September Charm'‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone

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Anemone x 'Pamina'My favorite, ‘Pamina’ Japanese anemone

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Hosta 'Honeybells'I generally do not grow hostas for their flowers, but I make an exception for the highly fragrant varieties like ‘Guacamole’.  This photo shows ‘Honeybells’ towering over my miniature hosta rock garden.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'Another hosta with deliciously fragrant flowers is ‘Stained Glass’, the 2006 Hosta of the Year.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'‘Stained Glass’ is one of my favorite hostas—how many of your hostas look like this by fall?

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'Another hosta that comes through summer in pristine condition is the adorable miniature ‘Mighty Mouse’.

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Phlox paniculata & Spiraea 'Magic Carpet'It wouldn’t be fall without garden phlox.  I let this highly fragrant native plant self sow throughout my gardens and it is usually covered with butterflies.

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Phlox paniculata 'Starfire'The more modern garden phlox cultivars are mildew resistant and come in vibrant colors like ‘Starfire’ in this photo.

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Phlox paniculata 'Nicky' & Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'‘Nicky’ garden phlox with ‘Citronelle’ coralbells

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Heuchera villosa 'Berry Smoothie'Customers have been raving about ‘Berry Smoothie’ coralbells for the last couple of years so I finally planted it in my garden—gorgeous.

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Ceratostigma plubaginoides & Hypericum 'Briggadoon'Two of my favorite colors, yellow and blue, come together through the side-by-side pairing of ‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s wort and plumbago (also called autumn leadwort), both excellent groundcovers.

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Polystichum polyblepharumTassel fern makes such an elegant specimen with its circular habit and shiny evergreen leaves.

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Cyclamen hederifoliumIt wouldn’t be September without fall-blooming hardy cyclamen.  The flowers start blooming in August (and last into October) and are followed by the beautifully patterned leaves which last until the next June.

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Cyclamen hederifolium 'Alba'white fall-blooming hardy cyclamen

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Ajuga 'Black Scallop'‘Black Scallop’ ajuga is the only one I sell because it is so superior.  It produces a solid weed-choking mat of very shiny, semi-evergreen leaves topped by lovely blue flowers.

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Rudbeckia speciesThis late-blooming black-eyed Susan species, Rudbeckia triloba (thanks Heide) self sows like mad, but I wouldn’t give up the beautiful display.

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Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'‘Aureola’ Japanese hakone grass is beautiful all year.

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Pennisetum 'Moudry'Black fountain grass comes into its glory in the fall.  Yes, I know it can spread, but I have had it for 15 years and it hasn’t gone anywhere that I didn’t want to leave it.  Gardeners with smaller areas or less tolerance for the natural look should beware.

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Chelone lyoniiAnother favorite native, pink turtlehead, peaks in my garden in September.

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Tricyrtis 'Sinonome'A glimpse of what’s to come in October, the first flower opens on my ‘Sinonome’ toad-lily.

Almost all of these plants are available for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens so, if you are in the area, I hope you will stop by.  If not, you now have a lot of ideas for your fall shade garden.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be open Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm, and for a full-fledged open house sale on Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 3 pm.  We are currently offering double hellebores, both by pre-order and at the nursery.  For details, click here.   Now that it’s cool, we are also shipping miniature hostas again.  For details, click here.  Low maintenance seminars and a chance to order shrubs and vines are in the works.

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.

Woody Plants for Shade Part 7

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall Color, native plants, Shade Shrubs, shade vines, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Camellia x 'Spring's Promise'Spring-blooming camellia ‘Spring’s Promise’ is available in the current offer but was profiled in a previous woody plant post so I am not describing it here.  However, it is a favorite of mine, and I wanted to include a photo.  For a full write up of this plant,  go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 1.

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My nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, specializes in perennials for shade with an emphasis on hellebores, unusual bulbs especially snowdrops, hostas particularly miniature hostas, native plants, and ferns.  However, a satisfying shade garden does not consist of just perennials but includes trees, shrubs, and vines.  I provide a quality source for these plants by doing a special offer three times a year. 

I have just sent my first 2013 list to my customers.  To view the catalogue, click here.   However, I thought my blog readers who are not customers might be interested in learning about the woody plants that I would recommend they add to their shade gardens.  And doing an article allows me to add more information and explain why I chose the plants I included so customers might be interested also.

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Camellia japonica 'Korean Fire'Spring-blooming camellia ‘Korean Fire’ has the most beautiful leaves of any camellia.

The offer focuses on winter- and early spring-blooming plants, evergreens and winter interest, native plants, and fragrance.  Included are four camellias, six other shrubs, and one vine.  Six of the plants I have chosen are evergreen, and seven bloom off season, in fall or late winter/early spring.   This reflects  my desire to see gardeners expand their gardens’ season beyond spring and summer to become a year round paradise for them to enjoy.  With that introduction, here are the plants I am highlighting:

Camellia japonica 'Korean Fire'‘Korean Fire’


I included four hardy camellias for their spectacular early (or late) season flowers and elegant evergreen leaves. These camellias, along with many other cultivars, have been selected to be fully cold hardy in the mid-Atlantic U.S, zones 6B and 7A.  Nevertheless all camellias benefit from being sited to shelter them from winter wind, which comes from the northwest.  They also maintain their lustrous dark green leaves in better shape if they are sheltered from winter sun.

‘Korean Fire’ is a Camellia japonica cultivar hardy in our area because it was selected from the most northern range of the species.  It has very showy bright red single flowers in April and May and glossy dark evergreen leaves.  It grows to 10′ tall and 6′ wide in part to full shade.  It was introduced by Barry Yinger of Asiatica Nursery from plants collected in Korea in 1984 and has received the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Award for outstanding plants for our area.

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Camellia x 'April Rose'‘April Rose’ spring-blooming camellia

Camellia x ‘April Rose’ is a spring-blooming hardy camellia with gorgeous plump buds opening to formal double rose-pink flowers in April and May.  It has large glossy dark evergreen leaves.  It is 5’ tall and 4′ wide, growing in part to full shade.  It is part of the April series of exceptionally cold hardy camellias developed by Dr. Clifford Parks of North Carolina.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Star'Fall-blooming camellia ‘Winter’s Star’

‘Winter’s Star’ is a fall-blooming, cold hardy camellia with single pink flowers in October and November and glossy evergreen leaves.  It is a vigorous plant with an upright habit, reaching 6′ tall and 5′ wide at maturity and sporting lustrous dark evergreen leaves in part to full shade.  It was selected for cold hardiness by Dr. William Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

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Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Sasaba'‘Sasaba’ holly osmanthus (also known as holly tree olive), O. heterophyllus, blooms in the fall and is beautifully fragrant.

Fall-blooming holly osmanthus‘Sasaba’  is the fifth evergreen in the offer, and I would grow it just for its dramatic, deeply incised dark evergreen leaves.  Its delicious fragrance perfumes my whole hillside in November when it blooms: if you are visiting you can see it on the back hill.  Its prickly foliage repels deer.  It grows 6’ tall and 4’ wide in full sun to full shade.

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Japanese mahonia, Mahonia japonica, is the sixth evergreen in the offer.  It was previously profiled here, but I am including it again because I think it is the most fragrant and best all round mahonia species.

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There are four deciduous shrubs in the offer:

Chaenomeles speciosa 'Texas Scarlet'‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince, Chaenomeles x superba, is another repeat.  This compact selection gives you the wonderful early flowers of quince without the lethal thorns and out-of-control growth habit of normal quinces.  For a complete profile, click here.

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Fothergilla MOBOTThe lovely fragrant flowers of fothergilla.

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Fothergilla gardeniiThis is a photo of my unselected fothergilla so I can only imagine what ‘Red Licorice’ must look like in the fall.

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Native ‘Red Licorice’ fothergilla has honey-scented, white bottlebrush flowers in April and May.  It is a new fothergilla cultivar selected for its spectacular cherry red fall color.  It grows to 6’ tall and 5’ wide in full sun to full shade.  It is wet site tolerant,  deer resistant, and attracts butterflies.  It is native to the southeastern US.

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Kerria japonica Golden Guinea_DK‘Golden Guinea’ Japanese kerria, Kerria japonica, produces copious amounts of large, bright gold flowers.

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Kerria japonica Golden Guinea2 apr_LS (1)A close up of ‘Golden Guinea’

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‘Golden Guinea’ Japanese kerria is covered with 2 ½” yellow flowers  in April and May and then reblooms sporadically.  It has delicate, bright green pointed leaves, and its graceful stems are a vibrant green providing great winter interest.  It grows to 5’ tall and 4’ wide in part sun to almost full shade (full sun bleaches the flowers).  Kerria grows in average garden soils, is tough and adaptable, and resists deer.

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Rhododendron arborescens 1-15-13_LS (1)The lovely buds of native sweet azalea, Rhododendron arborescens.

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Rhododendron arborescens 4-27-12_LS (2)The fragrant flowers of sweet azalea.

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Native sweet azalea’s very attractive buds, which are on the plant right now, produce light pink to white very fragrant flowers with showy red stamens from May to June.  Its lustrous green leaves turn a stunning orange to red in fall.  It can grow to 10’ tall and 7’ wide in full sun to almost full shade but is usually smaller.  Sweet azalea is wet site tolerant and is one of Pennsylvania’s hardiest native deciduous azaleas.  It was first described by John Bartram in 1814.

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Gelsemium sempervirens 'Margarita'Carolina jessamine ‘Margarita’, Gelsemium sempervirens, is a vine that I have offered before but its many fragrant, bright yellow flowers, semi-evergreen leaves, and the fact that it is native to the southeastern US make it a very desirable plant.  For a complete profile, click herePhoto courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder.

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I grow most of these plants in my gardens so I know you can’t go wrong by adding them to yours!  If you are a customer, see Nursery Happenings below for details on how to order these wonderful shade plants by noon on March 30.  If not, now you have some plants to ask for at your local independent nursery.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  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.

Nursery Happenings:  The nursery is open and fully stocked.  If you can’t come to an event, just email to schedule an appointment to shop.  If you wish to order shrubs, everything you need to know is in the catalogue, which can be accessed here.   The deadline for shrub orders is noon on March 30.  Our Native Wildflower Weekend takes place on Friday, April 5, from 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, April 6, from 10 am to 2 pm.  If you are a customer, expect an email shortly with all the details.

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 York Times Photos

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, Shade Shrubs, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ (fall blooming), the lead photo in the NYT article.

Readers will soon tire of me featuring myself in my posts, especially since the recent snowdrop post did just that.  However, I am bursting with excitement and will explode if I can’t do it one more time.  I was recently hired by the New York Times as a free lance photographer to provide the photos for a camellia article interviewing camellia expert Charles Cresson.  The print article “Camellias Ready for a Cold Snap” appeared on January 17, 2013.  One photo is on the cover of the Home section with the full article on page D4.  If you read the small print you will see my name.  You can find the on line version here.  Be sure and click through the slide show.

Camellia "Wax Lips"Unnamed Korean Camellia japonica seedling (spring blooming)

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Camellia japonica 'Berenice Boddy' Cresson Garden‘Berenice Boddy’ (spring blooming)

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While letting you know about the New York Times article, I thought this post would be a good place to list helpful articles on cold hardy camellias for easy reference.  I did this in the snowdrop post, and it has already proved invaluable to me.  I have interspersed the article names and links with some of my favorite camellia photos to keep the attention of those of you who don’t want to read up on camellias.  I am also going to list the camellias covered in each article in case a reader is interested in a particular cultivar.

Camellia 'April Tryst'‘April Tryst’ (spring blooming)

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Camellia x (Ackerman seedling)Unnamed Ackerman Seedling (fall blooming)

December 8, 2010

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 1”

Camellia oleifera, Elaine Lee, Winter’s Darling

click here to read

Camellia x 'Moon Festival'‘Moon Festival’ (fall blooming), not hardy in zone 6.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Interlude'‘Winter’s Interlude’ (fall blooming)

December 17, 2010

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 2”

Snow Flurry, Winter’s Dream, Autumn Spirit, Winter’s Snowman, Winter’s Charm, Scented Snow, Winter’s Beauty

click here to read

Camellia x 'April Rose'‘April Rose’ (spring blooming)

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Camellia x 'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ (fall blooming)

November 10, 2011

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 3”

Snow Flurry, Winter’s Snowman, Winter’s Star, Winter’s Interlude, Moon Festival, Carolina Moonmist

click here to read

Camellia x 'Elaine Lee'‘Elaine Lee’ (fall blooming)

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Camellia x 'Pink Icicle'‘Pink Icicle’ (spring blooming)

December 2, 2012

“2012 Fall-blooming Camellias”

Winter’s Joy, Winter’s Snowman, Snow Flurry, Autumn Spirit, Survivor, Long Island Pink, Polar Ice, Ashton’s Ballet, Winter’s Rose, Winter’s Fire

click here to read

Camellia x 'April Blush'‘April Blush’ (spring blooming)

January 2006

“Camellias for Cold Climates” by William L. Ackerman

details Dr. Ackerman’s cold hardy camellia breeding at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC, and describes each cultivar’s ornamental attributes and hardiness

click here to read

Camellia x 'Winter's Beauty'‘Winter’s Beauty’ (fall blooming)

January 17, 2013

The New York Times

‘Camellias Ready for a Cold Snap” by Anne Raver

excellent article profiling cold hardy camellias for the mid-Atlantic and discussing many additional cultivars not mentioned in my articles

click here to read

 

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I hope that this post will act as a central reference point where I can collect information on cold hardy camellias for the mid-Atlantic.  I intend to add titles and links as I discover more information about one of my favorite topics.  I can see already that I have neglected spring-blooming camellias in favor of the fall-blooming varieties.

Enjoy, Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  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.

Nursery Happenings:  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted.  To view the catalogue, click here.  There are a few spaces left in both sessions of Charles Cresson’s 2013 Winter Interest Plants Seminar.  To view the brochure and register, click here.

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.

2012 Fall-blooming Camellias

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'The fall-blooming camellias are flowering in my garden, pictured above is ‘Winter’s Joy’.  I planted this camellia last fall, and it bloomed all through our mild winter.  This year it is once again loaded with buds and began blooming in October.

For the past two falls, I have written posts on fall-blooming camellias, shrubs that have quickly become favorites in my garden.  Who can resist their tough nature, glossy, evergreen leaves, tidy habit, and, best of all, large, elegant flowers from September through December?  To read my posts, click Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ was planted in spring 2011 in dense shade and bloomed sparsely last fall.  This year it is well established and has been covered with flowers since October.

I only have four fall-blooming camellias in my garden: the two pictured above plus ‘Elaine Lee’ and ‘Winter’s Darling’.  My desire to showcase some new varieties on my blog gave me a great excuse to venture forth and visit the camellia collections of two great gardeners, both located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.  I spent two glorious afternoons obsessing on camellias with Charles Cresson, whose garden you have visited many times on my blog, and with Keith Robertshaw, a diehard camellia collector and one of my nursery customers.

Camellia x 'Snow Flurry'‘Snow Flurry’, which I have shown you before in the Cresson garden, is having a banner year this year.

The weird weather patterns we have been experiencing have had one good result, camellias are blooming early this year with an abundance of flowers.  I usually find it very difficult to photograph a full camellia shrub.  When I step back far enough to get the whole bush in the photo, the flowers lose their impact even though they look great in person. That was not a problem on my recent trip when cultivars like ‘Snow Flurry’ were bursting with flowers as you can see in the above photo.

Camellia x 'Snow Flurry'‘Snow Flurry’ is the earliest to flower of the cold hardy fall-blooming camellias selected by William Ackerman at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC.  It is at the top of the list for additions to my garden.

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Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ is another cold hardy camellia that blooms early and has produced a plethora of flowers this year.  Early bloomers are desirable because they are guaranteed to bloom even if we have an early winter that freezes the buds on the late bloomers.

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Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ was selected by the North Carolina nursery Camellia Forest for its intense color, early bloom, and cold hardiness.

I have featured all four of the camellias shown above in my previous posts.  However, my visits to the Robertshaw and Cresson gardens did yield seven new cold hardy camellias that I haven’t seen before.  If you combine these with the approximately 20 cultivars profiled in my 2010 and 2011 posts, you will have a pretty comprehensive reference library of camellias suitable for the mid-Atlantic area of the US.  Here are the new candidates:

Camellia x 'Survivor'‘Survivor’ is another Camellia Forest introduction producing an abundance of single white flowers in early fall.  If you are in an area north of the mid-Atlantic, you might want to try this very cold hardy camellia which survived -9° F (-22.8° C) in the Camellia Forest Nursery garden.

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'Another camellia in addition to ‘Survivor’ for gardeners who prefer single flowers, ‘Long Island Pink’ is also valued for its large highly polished leaves.  Although it is a cultivar of  C. sasanqua, which is generally considered tender, ‘Long Island Pink’ was selected for cold hardiness from a Long Island, NY, garden.

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Camellia x 'Polar Ice'‘Polar Ice’ is a cold hardy Ackerman hybrid with anemone form flowers blooming in November and December.

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Camellia x 'Ashton's Ballet' ‘Ashton’s Ballet’ is an Ackerman hybrid with rose form double flowers blooming in November and December.  It has a compact form and makes a beautiful garden specimen.

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Camellia x (Ackerman seedling)I am cheating by putting this camellia in the post because you can’t buy it.  It was an Ackerman seedling given to Charles Cresson but never introduced to the trade.  The flowers are huge, gorgeous, and pure white.  I think we need to lobby to have it named! 

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose'The Ackerman hybrid ‘Winter’s Rose’ is unusual.  It is a semi-dwarf that grows very slowly and densely with small leaves and flowers, making a great patio plant.  If you don’t have much room, this is the camellia for you.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose'‘Winter Rose’ has an abundance of small delicate shell pink flowers from mid-October to early December.  Charles Cresson pointed out that although the plant is exceedingly hardy, the flowers freeze easily.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose' ‘Winter’s Rose’ seems to be the favorite among commenters so I thought I would add another photo.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Fire'‘Winter’s Fire’ was present in both gardens and is the most intriguing camellia that I saw during my visits.  The flower color is very unusual, a beautiful mix of red, pink, and coral with contrasting white splotches.  While Keith and Charles both stated that the white was caused by a non-harmful virus and both plants displayed this coloring, I could find no mention of this on the internet.

[Thanks to reader Alisa Brown for answering my question about ‘Winter’s Fire’.   Variegation in camellias caused by a virus is not considered part of the official description of the flower.  You can read more about this by clicking here.]


Camellia x 'Winter's Fire'William Ackerman, who selected ‘Winter’s Fire’, characterizes it as having “spreading growth with a weeping habit.”  In the Robertshaw garden, it was growing like a groundcover.  This photo is taken from above.  I would love to try it cascading over a wall.

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Camellias in Cresson gardenThis is one corner of the Cresson garden showing ‘Snow Flurry’ on the left and the unnamed white Ackerman plant on the top right intermingled with several other large camellias.  Though it may be hard at first to get used to such big gorgeous flowers in November, as you can see they make for a beautiful fall landscape.

 

My annual fall camellia hunt is over with seven new specimens bagged.  Now I have a year to determine where I will continue my search next fall.  If you know of any local public or private gardens showcasing camellias please let me know.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

The Maine Coast in Late Fall

Posted in Fall, Fall Color with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

The dramatic fall color of red maples has been replaced with the more subtle color of American beech.  All the photos in this post were taken in and around Cliff Island, Maine, US, located off the coast of Portland in Casco Bay.

I have gotten a lot of comments in person and on line about how much everyone has enjoyed my posts from Maine.  To read my post The Maine Coast and see photos in summer, click here.  I was there again at the end of October so I thought I would show you the coast at a very different time of year.

The bay is empty of boats.

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The mooring buoys are stacked on the shore.

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The summer cottages are closed.

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This is the house where the movie The Whales of August with Betty Davis, Lillian Gish, and Vincent Price was filmed.

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The ocean loses its benign summer look.

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The cliffs for which Cliff Island was named.

The landscape of Cliff Island changes too.  Gone are the wildflowers blooming everywhere and even the colorful leaves on the deciduous trees.  The palette narrows to the blue sky, gray fog, green conifers, brown grasses, white bark, red berries.  Everything is more subtle yet every bit as beautiful.

Cattails and winterberry holly

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winterberry holly

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The paper birches glow against the clear blue sky.

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In the fall, I am able to focus on the big picture.  And I have found that the larger landscape contains a design element that comes to the forefront in the stark vistas of fall.  No dotter of individual plants here and there, nature is the queen of massing.  She uses broad bands of color to achieve spectacular results.  I try to imitate this in my garden in Pennsylvania by planting in large swathes and allowing vigorous plants to self-sow.  Of course, the results aren’t as spectacular as this….

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I am truly blessed to have access to this gorgeous native landscape.  I am glad I can share it with you on my blog.  This post was supposed to be up in time to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving so it will have to be belated.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

November GBBD: What’s Peaking Now

Posted in evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, hellebores, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

This Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, of unknown origin broke off in the ice and snow in January 2011.  For a photo of it then, click here.  It has recovered beautifully with an even more interesting habit.

I have said before that no matter how much I try to enjoy it, November is not my favorite month.  As I wander around, all I see are plants dying back, work to be done, and time running out.  Last year wasn’t too bad because we had a long warm fall with beautiful weather and plenty going on through the middle of November.  I even called my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post “Prime Time” (click here to see the show).  This year most gardeners in the mid-Atlantic US agree that fall colors on many plants have been muted and gardens have gone by early.  Even September and October contained few of the clear, crisp, and sunny days we look forward to, and then along came Sandy.

A seedling Japanese maple along my front walk.

Despite the bad fall, there are plants in my garden right now that make a stroll outside worthwhile.  What is it about them that so attracts me?  It is that these plants are reaching their ornamental height right now.  They are not just re-blooming or showing a few flowers on a plant that really peaked earlier like asters or phlox, and they are not producing lovely fall color on a woody that I grow just as much for its flowers like hydrangea or viburnum.  November is the month when they reach the top.

The Japanese maples that seeded around this London plane tree produce a variety of fall colors from yellow to orange to red.

In this post I re-introduce you to some of the plants that show their best side in November and December.  I have written about many of them before, and I will provide links to those posts.  However, I wanted to gather these plants together here to provide a complete reference of fall stars to use during your spring shopping  trips.

‘Shishigashira’ is a gorgeous Japanese maple that just starts to turn in mid-November.  It will eventually become a solid orangey red.

When all the other trees have shown their colors and lost their leaves, Japanese maples are just starting to turn.  Every time I go outside I grab my camera to take one more shot of their eye-catching color.  I think it is their prime ornamental characteristic, especially because of its timing, even though I also appreciate their fine branching structure, delicate leaves, and variety of habits.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

The white and pink flowers of hardy cyclamen.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen is dormant in the summer and re-emerges in the fall.  To get all the details, click here to read my recent post on this unusual but easy to grow plant.  For the purposes of this post, what makes it so desirable is that November is its peak when its leaves are fully emerged and provide a stunning backdrop for the flowers.

The basic Italian arum, A. italicum, sometimes called ‘Pictum’.


‘Gold Dust’ Italian arum has much more distinct markings with gold veins.


The leaves of ‘Tiny Tot’ Italian arum are about one-third the size (or less) of the species and very finely marked.


Italian arum’s life cycle is very similar to hardy cyclamen: it goes dormant in the summer and comes up fresh and beautiful to peak in the fall and through the winter.  It makes a great groundcover, and you can read more about it by clicking here.


Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii.

A giant snowdrop with unusually long outer segments (petals).

‘Potter’s Prelude’ giant snowdrop, G. elwesii var. monostichus, is just starting to open in mid-November.

I couldn’t write a post this time of year without mentioning fall-blooming snowdrops.  Although we think of snowdrops as blooming in March, there are several species that bloom in the fall, including G. reginae-olgae, which blooms in October and is done now.  Also the giant snowdrop, whose flowers are quite variable, blooms for a long period from November to February so I have included some photos above.  But the king of fall is ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a very robust and vigorous snowdrop that blooms reliably in November.  For more information, click here to read my post on fall-blooming snowdrops.

Christmas rose ‘Josef Lemper’, Helleborus niger

This photo was taken today—as you can see ‘Josef’ Lemper’s’ October flowers have gone by, but a whole new crop of buds are preparing for November.

 

The Christmas rose ‘Jacob’ begins a month later that ‘Josef Lemper’.  Its buds are just beginning to reach up beyond the leaves.

‘Josef Lemper’ and ‘Jacob’ Christmas roses are also stars in my November garden, producing pure white 3 to 4″ wide flowers set off by smooth evergreen leaves.  Fall is their season, and they produce copious amounts of flowers to cheer up dreary November days.  For more information on fall-blooming hellebores, click here.

Fall-blooming camellia ‘Winter’s Joy’ produces its first two flowers but look at all the buds to come.

The last photo is a teaser because of course fall-blooming camellias play a huge part in my November garden.  As with the other plants profiled, they are not just hanging on into November but instead come into their own then.  Look for an upcoming post featuring my camellias and my recent visit to the garden of a customer who also loves camellias.

All these plants (except the single flower of ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose) are pictured blooming in my garden right now so I am linking to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (“GBBD”) hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

Your Most Precious Garden Resource

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, green gardening, How to, organic gardening, sustainable living with tags , , , , on October 25, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Yes, the sky is really this blue and the trees are really this red during fall in the northeastern US.

Fall in Pennsylvania (mid-Atlantic US) is a big picture time of year.  For a good two months, everywhere you go there are gorgeous vistas like the one above as the leaves change color before dropping.  The show is long-lasting because the leaves turn at different times, starting in my garden with the American hornbeam’s golden yellow hue, progressing through the bright red tones of maples and native dogwoods, and ending with the burgundy and orange of hydrangeas and viburnums.


The soil is deep and very fertile in my area, allowing trees to grow to gigantic size.  And after the color show, the leaves fall and create what I consider my most precious garden resource.  Those leaves are what nature supplies for free to protect and improve the soil year after year.  That is why it is so disturbing to see many area residents collecting their leaves and putting them by the side of the road to be removed by their municipality.


Here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens we use every leaf that falls to improve our soil either by leaving them in the beds or by grinding them and using them as mulch.  A detailed description of our methods can be found in Shade Gardening in Fall: Fall Clean-up.  In addition, up to 18″ of leaves can be ground up and left on the lawn with beneficial results as described in Shade Gardening in Fall: Leaves on the Lawn.  There is a video by the Scott Lawn Care Company in the second post to show to your doubting spouse.

In early October, about 35 Carolyn’s Shade Gardens customers attended two Low Maintenance Gardening Seminars given by my husband Michael during which he demonstrated how to grind leaves for mulch.  For the benefit of my far flung readers  and in the hope of converting more gardeners to this practice, I thought I would show you step-by-step photographs of the process.  Michael is the reluctant star of the do-it-yourself guide below.

Step One:  Gather the leaves from an area where they can’t be left to decompose on their own.  Michael is removing leaves from the pine needle paths on our back hill using a tarp.  All leaves in the beds will remain in place as mulch and eventually compost.

Step Two:  Take the leaves to a level area like your lawn or driveway.  Our driveway is closest to the back hill so Michael took the leaves there for grinding.

As you can see in the photo, we use a standard lawnmower to grind our leaves.  We recommend wearing steel-toed footwear, ear protection (see photo below), and, if appropriate, eye protection when using a lawnmower.


Step Three:  Grind the leaves to the required consistency.  Michael usually goes over them twice, but you can make them as fine or as coarse as you want.


A large amount of leaves becomes a manageable pile after grinding.


Step Four:  Gather your free mulch into a container for easy transportation and application.  Michael is using a township recycling barrel.



Step Five:  Spread the mulch in your garden.  Here Michael uses it around the base of newly planted viburnums.

I hope I have made this process look as easy as it really is.  Once you try it and see the beneficial results for your soil, you too will be a convert.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

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