Archive for the flower show Category

Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another view of the finished exhibit.

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Phantom’ is aptly named.

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

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‘Diggory’ is recognizable anywhere.

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

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ is gorgeous.

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

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

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

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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2017 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS)

Posted in flower show, green gardening, How to, my garden, organic gardening, product review, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

img_2272A beautifully designed display decorating the MANTS booth of one of my wholesale suppliers.

Last week Michael and I attended the Mid-Atlantic Nursery and Trade Show (MANTS) at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.  MANTS is a yearly event in early January with over 960 exhibiting companies covering 300,000 square feet (seven acres) of the convention center and hosting 11,000 attendees.  We go to MANTS not only to get ideas about new products and plants for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, but also to discover potential new suppliers and renew acquaintances with existing suppliers.  I thought you might enjoy a quick peak at what goes on at a trade show of this size.

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

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Helleborus x 'Molly's White'I am very excited about this new hellebore that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling in 2017.  It is called ‘Molly’s White’ and is a sister plant to the best-selling ‘Penny’s Pink’.  I already have it in my garden, and it’s doing quite well.  My ‘Penny’s Pink’ plants have lots of buds showing right now.  to read more about this newer type of hellebore, click here.

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img_2262There are many beautifully displayed plant exhibits at MANTS like the one above featuring an edgeworthia, camellias, and hellebores. It is difficult with the odd lighting to get a good photo though.

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img_2264If you start flowers and vegetables from seed, you can’t go wrong with Hart Seed Company, a 100-year-old, family owned and operated business, specializing in untreated and non-GE (genetically engineered) seed.  They support independent, local nurseries by refusing to sell to big box and discount stores.

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img_2270Colonial Road, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, makes very comfortable, recycled plastic Adirondack chairs that come close to looking like the high maintenance wood version (at least if you buy it in the white shown in the poster instead of the kaleidoscope of colors displayed here).  I loved my wooden Adirondack chairs but was constantly replacing rotted slats, and have you ever tried to paint one?  Let me know if you are interested in seeing mine or buying any as Carolyn’s Shade Gardens can get them for you.

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img_2280It is tempting to turn to harmful chemicals when confronted by the possibility of Lyme disease or Zika virus.  Thankfully you don’t need to.  Here’s Mark Wilson, President of Natural Repellents LLC, holding his ground-breaking product Tick Killz, a natural insecticide made from 100% organic ingredients and safe for children, pets, beneficial insects, and the environment.  It controls deer and other ticks, mosquitos, fleas, mites, and aphids, among other insects.  If you spray your property, this may be the product for you, 1 oz. makes 5 gallons.

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img_2268I wouldn’t consider using anything but organic potting soil and mulch to grow vegetables for my family (and even in my perennial gardens).  Coast of Maine makes 100% organic products using predominantly lobster and crab shells mixed with seaweed and blueberry bush trimmings.  I have used their potting soil for containers at my family’s house in Maine with great results.   Their website has a store locator to help you find local nurseries carrying their products, click here, and Whole Foods carries them.

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img_2279Unlike most nurseries, I mix my own potting soil using compost with ProMix added to lighten it.  ProMix has a high proportion of sphagnum/peat moss, which cannot be sustainably harvested.  Ground coconut hulls or coir is a sustainable product, and the condensed block above, which yields this wheelbarrow-full when water is added, reduces transportation and storage costs.  However, the product is made in Sri Lanka so I am not sure where I come out.

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img_2284The folks from Jolly Gardener have just introduced a new line of organic soils and mixes.  I always want to support companies who decide to take the organic route!

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50601438057__5a52bfc7-9c6c-4098-ad06-d5e92ecab530Given the trend towards legalization and what a big business this is becoming, I was surprised there wasn’t more marketing to this specialized segment of the green industry.

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img_2278Another fun aspect of MANTS is seeing the lengths exhibitors go to attract attendees to their booths.  This tree touched the roof of the convention center, and the holly and evergreen next to it are huge too.
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img_2273Michael standing next to the biggest tree spade I have ever seen.
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img_2281Amazing boxwoods
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downtown-baltimore-1-12-2017-5-28-05-pmBaltimore is a fun city to visit.  We had a delicious dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant located in a charming re-purposed factory.
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Fort McHenry, BaltimoreWe visited Fort McHenry, a late 18th century, star-shaped fort guarding the entrance to Baltimore Harbor.   Francis Scott Key composed “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1814 about the flag flying at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore against the British in the War of 1812.
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orpheus-statue-fort-mchenry-1-12-2017-2-51-48-pmOn the grounds of Fort McHenry, you will find this somewhat startling 24 foot statue of the Greek mythological figure Orpheus on a 15 foot tall base and clothed in nothing but a fig leaf.  It was commissioned in 1914 to commemorate Francis Scott Key for the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore even though “The Star-Spangled Banner” did not become our national anthem until 1931.  Click here to read the rather humorous background of the statue.

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Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Woody Plants for Shade Part 4

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, flower show, Shade Shrubs, shade vines, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 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.

Spring-blooming camellia ‘Pink Icicle’

For years, my customers have been asking for woody plants for shade—trees, shrubs, and vines—in addition to the perennials I sell.  I now have a wholesale woody plant nursery with the quality and selection I needed to be able to offer them at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.   I have just sent out my first 2012 list.  To view the catalogue, click here.   However, I thought my blog readers who are not customers might be interested in learning about the 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.

Spring-blooming camellia ‘April Tryst’

The offer focuses on winter- and early spring-blooming plants, evergreens, and fragrance.  Included are three camellias, six other shrubs, and one vine.  Four of the plants I have chosen are evergreen, and seven bloom in the off season: late winter or 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:

The buds are just starting to expand on ‘April Snow’ camellia.


I included three hardy camellias for their spectacular early season flowers and elegant evergreen leaves. These camellias, along with many other cultivars, have been bred 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.  For more information on cold hardy camellias for our area, click here.

‘April Snow’ spring-blooming camellia

Camellia x ‘April Snow’ is a spring-blooming hardy camellia with gorgeous plump buds opening to large pure white rose-form double 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 hardy camellias developed by Dr. Clifford Parks of North Carolina.


‘April Tryst’

‘April Tryst’ is very similar to ‘April Snow’, reaching 5′ tall and 4′ wide at maturity and sporting lustrous dark evergreen leaves in part to full shade  However, it blooms earlier, in March and April, and has knock-your-socks-off red anemone form flowers.  It is also part of the April series of exceptionally cold hardy camellias.  ‘April Tryst’ was starting to bloom in Charles Cresson’s garden during our recent Winter Interest Seminars, and Charles highly recommends it.

‘Pink Icicle’

Spring-blooming camellia ‘Pink Icicle’ has very large, peony form, shell pink flowers that glow when displayed against the glossy evergreen leaves.  It blooms in March and April in part to full shade.  It has a compact and upright growth habit and was selected by Dr. William Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum.

Japanese mahonia, Mahonia japonica

amazingly fragrant flowers of Japanese mahonia

The final evergreen plant is Japanese mahonia, Mahonia japonica.  Aside from being evergreen, this was the most fragrant plant in the Cresson garden during the Winter Interest Seminars, and there was plenty of competition.  In February and March, extremely fragrant yellow flowers on 8” racemes cover Japanese mahonia.  The evergreen leaves are a dark glossy green with a finer texture than other mahonias, and they rarely get damaged in winter. The  glaucous blue fruit in early summer attracts birds.  Japanese mahonia grows to 6′ tall and 3′ wide in moist, well-drained soil.  It is also deer resistant.  For more information, click here.

‘Jet Trail’ flowering quince

There are five deciduous shrubs in the offer, including two flowering quinces.  Now I love the early flowers, beautiful colors, and deer resistance of quince, but it is difficult to fit a 10′ plus tall and wide shrub covered with lethal thorns into the garden.  That’s why I was excited when new low and compact quinces that won’t dominate your garden were introduced.  They are not marketed as thornless, but I can’t find any thorns on mine.  As an added benefit, the leaves remain healthy all summer.

‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince

‘Jet Trail’ and ‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince, Chaenomeles x superba, are identical plants other than their flower color, growing 3’ tall and 3’ wide in sun to part shade.  They produce multitudes of very showy white or coral red flowers in March, which are beautifully displayed by the elegant branching structure.  The  glossy dark green leaves stay ornamental through the season.  The  yellow fruit is wonderfully fragrant.  Both cultivars will grow well in clay soil and drought conditions.  For more information, click here

Spike winter hazel, Corylopsis spicata

Spike winter hazel, Corylopsis spicata, is the elegant shrub with the unusual yellow flowers that everyone admires in my garden in early spring. Dangling panicles of very fragrant, lemon yellow flowers cover this graceful shrub in March and April before the foliage.  The bold-textured leaves emerge burgundy and age to a lovely blue-green.  Winter hazel grows to 8′ tall and 6′ wide in full sun to part shade.  It takes average garden soils and is deer resistant; for more information, click here.


The lovely dusty blue leaves of native ‘Blue Shadow’ fothergilla.


‘Blue Shadow’ has honey-scented bottlebrush flowers.  Photo courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

fall color of fothergilla

Native ‘Blue Shadow’ fothergilla, Fothergilla x intermedia, has stunning ornamental attributes three seasons a year.  In March and April, it is covered with honey-scented white bottlebrush flowers.  Its gorgeous dusty blue leaves provide an unusual color and texture for the shade garden.  In the fall, the foliage turns lovely shades of yellow, orange, and red.  ‘Blue Shadow’ grows to 4′ tall and 3′ wide in full sun to part shade.  It is native to the southeastern U.S., wet site tolerant, and deer resistant.  For more information, click here.

Snowball flowers of ‘Cayuga’ Koreanspice viburnum

‘Cayuga’ Koreanspice viburnum, Viburnum x ‘Cayuga’, is a cross between a smaller Koreanspice viburnum (V. carlesii) and the fragrant snowball viburnum (V. x carlcephalum) introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum.   It has the best attributes of both.  In April and May, striking pink buds open to abundant, fragrant, large white snowball flowers.  It has a compact habit with dark green leaves that change to orange-red in the fall.  It grows to 6′ tall by 5′ wide in full sun to part shade.  ‘Cayuga’ tolerates a wide range of soils and is deer resistant.  For more information, click here.

Climbing hydrangea, photo courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The final plant in the offer is a vine.  Climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, is really the best vine for shade with 365 days of ornamental value.  Its lustrous, dark green leaves are neat and attractive all season before turning a buttery yellow in the fall.  In June and July, fragrant 8” wide hydrangea-like white flowers layer over the leaves.  The exquisite exfoliating cinnamon bark provides winter interest.  Climbing hydrangea is self-attaching and reaches 30 to 50′ at maturity in part to full shade.  It is a Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit.  For more information, click here.

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 26.  If not, now you have some plants to ask for at your local independent nursery.  If you would like to read about the other woody plants I have recommended for shade, see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Carolyn

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens now 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.

Nursery Happenings: I will be having a native wildflower event sometime during Easter weekend.  Look for an announcement here or in an email if you are on my customer email list.

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.

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 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show

Posted in flower show with tags , , , on March 16, 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 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show took place last week.  It is the world’s largest indoor flower show and can be a bit intimidating.  My husband and I  find that Friday night is a less crowded time to go especially if you want to photograph the exhibits.  This year’s theme was Hawaii, which was a great choice for me because I attend for the “show” aspects and not to get ideas for my garden.

One of the most interesting parts was the entrance where visitors walked underneath a realistic sounding wave made of screens projected with changing sea life and striped with white flowers evocative of Hawaii.  Created by Valley Forge Flowers of Wayne, PA, it was a full immersion experience as if you were inside the wave:


View of the wave from outside.

There were many scenes of Hawaii (or at least what us easterners think Hawaii looks like), and surf boards were very popular:



My husband and I volunteer to staff the exhibit of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society.  I am not a rock gardener but this organization is worth joining for its lectures and plant sales alone.  Their exhibit was very well received and included a tufa outcropping and hypertufa troughs:

My absolute favorite part of the show is the competitive classes where regional gardeners enter their well grown plants to receive ribbons.  This area, known as the hort court, takes up half the area of the show.  Here are the bulb classes:


The competitive classes are filled with well grown individual plants.  Some of them come to the flower show year after year, but I never tire of seeing them:






My favorite exhibit was put on by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and featured the use of edible plants in an ornamental landscape.  Fruits and vegetables are just as beautiful as any other plants, and this exhibit showed some very innovative uses such as a 10 foot wall of lettuce, a large pergola covered with cherry tomatoes, and a wooden walkway through healthy, gorgeous edible plants:



I really enjoyed the flower show this year, and, if you couldn’t visit in person, I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour.

Carolyn

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens now 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.

Nursery Happenings: My Hellebore Extravaganza open house sale is Saturday, March 24, from 10 am to 3 pm.  To view the Woody Plant Offer Catalogue and place an order by March 26, click here.  To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  Snowdrops are still available for pick  up at the nursery, but mail order is closed.

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.

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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