Archive for the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day Category

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.

March 2013 GBBD: Hellebores on Parade Again

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 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.

hellebores at Davoid Culp'sMy friend David Culp had this lovely bowl of hellebore flowers on his porch when I visited his garden Brandywine Cottage recently.  This is an elegant way to display your hellebores and gives a feeling for the range of colors and forms available.  For more gorgeous photos of David’s garden, check out his book The Layered Garden.

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 am calling this post Hellebores on Parade Again because for GBBD in January 2012 I also put my hellebores on parade (click here to read it).

This month I am using this opportunity to profile the hellebores that will be available at my upcoming Hellebore Extravaganza Sale at my nursery on Saturday, March 23, from 10 am to 3 pm.  All photos are of hellebores blooming in my garden right now.

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


Helleborus x 'Pink Frost'
‘Pink Frost’ is my favorite of the Christmas rose crosses.  Its blue leaves set off the bright pink flowers beautifully, and the flowers fade to a gorgeous rose-red for an extremely long season of interest.

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hellebore pink frost at David Culp's‘Pink Frost’ also works quite well in a container where its beauty can be examined up close (Culp garden).

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Helleborus niger‘There is nothing like the pure white, outward-facing flowers of Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, to stop you in your tracks.  A mature clump can have dozens of flowers.

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Helleborus niger 'Double Fantasy'The double Christmas rose ‘Double Fantasy’ is quite striking.

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Helleborus x 'Mary Lou'Hellebore ‘Mary Lou’ has huge flowers and a wide pink border surrounding a bold maroon spotted “face”.

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Helleborus x 'Warbler'The late afternoon sun shines through the early-blooming, yellow hellebore ‘Warbler’, whose flowers continue to be very ornamental even when they have technically “gone by”.  As you can see though, new buds are on the way.

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Helleborus x 'Warbler'Here is a close up of ‘Warbler’ that I have posted before.

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Helleborus x 'Phoebe'The double pink hellebore ‘Phoebe’ is just coming into bloom in my garden.

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Helleborus x 'Phoebe'A close up of ‘Phoebe’.  

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Helleborus x 'Painted Bunting'‘Painted Bunting’ is the first hybrid hellebore to bloom in my garden and isn’t fazed by all the cold weather we have been having.

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Helleborus x 'Painted Bunting'‘Painted Bunting’s’ picotee markings with the maroon center flaring out to outline the pure white petals makes it very special.

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Helleborus x 'Elegance White'‘Elegance White’ is another lovely double hellebore.

.Helleborus purpurascensThe species hellebore H. purpurascens has a very unique slate purple color not found in any other hellebore.

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Helleborus purpurascensA close up of Helleborus purpurascens.

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Helleborus odorusFragrant hellebore, H. odorus, adds a bright note to the winter garden and looks gorgeous paired with red hellebores like ‘Red Lady’.

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Helleborus odorusA close up of fragrant hellebore.

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Helleborus x 'Red Lady'‘Red Lady’ hellebore

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Helleborus x ballardiae 'HGC Cinnamon Snow'Another early-blooming Christmas rose cross, ‘Cinnamon Snow’.

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Helleborus x ballardiae 'Cinnamon Snow'A close up of ‘Cinnamon Snow’.

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Helleborus x 'Black'This black hybrid hellebore grabs the attention of every garden visitor I have.

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Helleborus x 'First Cuckoo'The double hellebore ‘First Cuckoo’ is new to me this year.

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Helleborus x sahinii 'Winter Bells,This very unusual flower belongs to the first ever cross between bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, and Christmas rose, H. niger, called H. x sahinii ‘Winter Bells’.  It is new for me this year but looks quite promising for flowers and foliage interest.

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Two more hellebore container ideas from David Culp:

hellenores David Culp'sDouble black hellebores paired with their favorite companion, snowdrops.

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hellebores David CulpAn enchanting combination of cream-colored hellebores and pussy willows, a shrub I may offer in my upcoming woody plant offer.

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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 nursery is open and fully stocked.  If you can’t come to an event, just email to schedule an appointment–we are available this weekend.  My Hellebore Extravaganza open house sale is Saturday, March 23, from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you are a customer, expect an email shortly with all the details.  There are still a few spaces left in the hellebore seminar on Monday, March 18, at 10 am.  For details click here.  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted now.  To view the catalogue, click here.  The 2013 General Catalogue is available 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.

February GBBD: Hellebores and Snowdrops

Posted in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 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.

Helleborus x 'Warbler'This is just one of the many gorgeous hellebores that will be for sale at my nursery this spring.  ‘Warber’ is a lovely creamy yellow and is blooming in a pot for me right now.

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 February 15) 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.  Several nursery customers have mentioned wanting to have color in late winter so I hope they will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season.

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


Helleborus x 'First Cuckoo'
‘First Cuckoo’ is a double  hellebore with white petals shading to pink with deep raspberry edges.  It is also blooming in a pot and will be for sale this year.

Things really change from year to year.  In February 2011, my hellebores and other winter interest plants were barely emerging from under the ice and snow (to see photos click here).  In February 2012 when we had an extremely warm winter, all my hellebores were in full bloom (to see photos click here). 

This year, my early plants are up and blooming, but most of my hellebores are just starting to send up flowers.  That makes me appreciate the early-blooming varieties even more.  But it is the snowdrops that really steal the show right now.  They give me a reason to walk through the garden every day.  So enjoy the photos and keep warm until spring.  Note: For the benefit of my customers, I will indicate which hellebores will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG) this spring.

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Helleborus x ballardiae 'Pink Frost'

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Helleborus x ballardiae 'Pink Frost'‘Pink Frost, pictured here with common snowdrops,’ is an early blooming hellebore coveted for its flowers and blue leaves with burgundy highlights.   I can’t decide if the front or the back of the flowers is prettier (for sale at CSG).

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Helleborus x ballardiae 'Cinnamon Snow'‘Cinnamon Snow’ is a close relative of ‘Pink Frost’—they both resulted from crosses between Christmas rose and a hellebore species from Majorca.  ‘Cinnamon Snow’s’ creamy flowers flushed with cinnamon pink are very elegant (for sale at CSG).

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Helleborus dumetorum subsp. atrorubensThis hellebore is so rare it has no common name but its botanical name is Helleborus dumetorum subsp. atrorubens (for sale at CSG).

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Helleborus niger 'Praecox'

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Helleborus niger 'Praecox'Christmas roses bloom continually in my garden from October through April.  ‘Praecox’ is the showiest right now but I also love ‘Jacob’, ‘Josef Lemper’, and ‘Potter’s Wheel’ (for sale at CSG).  

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Helleborus x 'Old Early Purple'‘Old Early Purple’ is always one of the first hybrid hellebores to burst into bloom.

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Helleborus x 'Snow White'This flower on ‘Snow White’ opened so long ago that it is already fading to green from its original pristine white color.

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Helleborus x 'Painted Bunting'

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Helleborus x 'Painted Bunting'

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Helleborus x 'Painted Bunting'‘Painted Bunting’ is always one of the first hybrid hellebores to bloom in my garden.  The bold burgundy red central central star spreads outward along the veins and edges the delicate petals.  Again the back of the flower is quite beautiful (for sale at CSG).

I managed to limit myself to eight snowdrops, all of which I think are very special. 

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'‘S. Arnott’, a classic early snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'The fat, rounded flowers and heart-shaped markings of ‘Ophelia’, a double snowdrop in the Greatorex group.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold'Even non-galanthophiles admire ‘Wendy’s Gold’, a rare yellow snowdrop.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Kite'I fell in love with the extra long petals of ‘Kite’ when I saw it in a fellow galanthophile’s garden in 2010, and she kindly gave me a plant.  Now there are five with four flowers.

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Galanthus 'Blewbury Tart'‘Blewbury Tart’ is just waiting for a warm sunny day to explode into bloom.  You can feel the pent up energy.  Unfortunately sunny days are few and far between right now.

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Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'The refined elegance of the double snowdrop ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ makes her one of my favorites.

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Galanthus elwesii with X markI got this unnamed giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in trade from a customer.  It has very large flowers with a distinctive X marking and starts blooming before Christmas, a very desirable trait.  It is still blooming now.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Godfrey Owen'‘Godfrey Owen’ is the snowdrop that I was most looking forward to this year.  It is very unusual for having 6 outer segments instead of the usual three.  When it opens, the petals form a completely symmetrical whorl.  Unfortunately, the flower was flattened by ice immediately upon opening, bending the stem, and then an insect ate away parts of the petals, ruining the whorl.  Isn’t that always the way?  I tried to prop it up unsuccessfully but then bit the bullet and brought it inside.

There are many other plants blooming right now, but it has been so hard to get photos.   The flowers are always closed because the sun refuses to shine, or waterlogged with the never ending rain and snow.  In fact, three of these photos are from previous years, but I decided to use them because they depict the plants as they look today:

Whenever the weather warms up winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, opens some flowers.

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Arum italicum 'Pictum'Italian arum always looks great.

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Crocus tommasinianusSnow crocus, C. tommasinianus, is the earliest crocus in my garden and is a great companion plant for hellebores and snowdrops.

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Eranthis hyemalisI am always surprised by how quickly winter aconite appears in the garden.  Monday there was no sign of it and Tuesday it was carpeting my woods.

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Aucuba japonica 'Gold Dust'‘Gold Dust’ Japanese aucuba is one of the best shrubs for lighting up full shade.  If you can find male and female plants, it produces these large berries which ripen now.

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Cyclamen coumThe first winter-blooming cyclamen, C. coum, peak through the leaves.  Hardy cyclamen is another great companion for snowdrops and hellebores.

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Cyclamen at Carolyn's Shade GardensPots of hardy cyclamen waiting to find homes with my nursery customers.

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 now.  To view the catalogue, click here.  The 2013 General Catalogue is available here.  Look for a brochure for my very popular hellebore seminars very soon.

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.

April GBBD: Native Phlox for Your Garden

Posted in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, green gardening, groundcover, landscape design, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 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.

‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox in my garden

In my last post, Your Native Woodland, I explained how to create your own native woodland garden.  Here I am going to profile some of the wonderful members of the genus Phlox, all native to eastern North America and Pennsylvania in particular.

All the plants except smooth and garden phlox are pictured blooming in my garden right now so I am linking to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (“GBBD”) hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on April 15) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.

‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox in my woodland

Phlox are very satisfying native plants to add to all areas of your garden.  They are easy to grow and spread rapidly but not aggressively.  All species that I am profiling are fragrant, some amazingly so, and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  They are also disease-free except garden phlox, which gets powdery mildew.  And, most importantly, they have copious amounts of gorgeous flowers in purple, blue, pink, and white.  Did I mention that they are native to Pennsylvania and all of eastern North America?!?  What more could you want.

Wild sweet William ‘Blue Moon’, Phlox divaricata


Wild sweet William is the most fragrant of the phlox described here.  Its heavenly scent perfumes the whole garden when it is in bloom from April to June.  It is 8 to 10″ tall and spreading with semi-wintergreen leaves.  Although I have seen it growing in the wild in full shade, I have better success with it in sun to part shade.  Cut it back after flowering to maintain an attractive habit.  My favorite cultivars are ‘Blue Moon’ (photo above), ‘May Breeze’ with steely white flowers, and ‘Blue Elf’, a compact form.

‘Morris Berd’ smooth phlox, Phlox glabberima

Smooth phlox is a taller clump-forming plant, although the clumps expand rapidly when it is happy.  It is 18 to 24″ tall and grows in full sun to part shade in average to moist soil.  Flowers appear from late spring to early summer, a time when not much else is blooming.  The only smooth phlox I have ever seen for sale is ‘Morris Berd’ (photo above).  Its velvety pink flowers with silver highlights are breathtaking.


Garden phlox, P. paniculata, left with purple coneflower and ‘Goldsturm’ rudbeckia in my front border in 1993.

I dream of the day that I can plant a field of every cultivar of garden phlox on the market.  The fragrance of the flowers, second only to wild sweet William, the long bloom period, and the colors available make this a very desirable plant.  It grows anywhere in full sun to a good bit of shade (but not full shade).  It reaches 2 to 4′, and I have cultivars blooming from June to October.  My favorites are very early-blooming ‘Blue Paradise’ (photo below), compact ‘Pixie Miracle Grace’, pure white ‘David’, and ‘David’s Lavender’ with huge flower heads.  Unfortunately, I have failed to photograph these plants in past years, but I hope to remedy that this summer.

‘Blue Paradise’ garden phlox

I get questions all the time about powdery mildew on phlox.  The only phlox that gets powdery mildew in my garden is garden phlox.  The best way to avoid this is to buy mildew resistant varieties but in bad years even these cultivars get mildew.  You can also prevent mildew organically by spraying the leaves with a baking soda and oil formula before mildew strikes.  However, my approach is to ignore it because it doesn’t hurt the plants, it just looks ugly some years.  Focus on the flowers instead and plant plants in front of the phlox that hide the leaves.  Your garden does not have to look perfect.


Creeping phlox ‘Blue Ridge’, P. stolonifera, in my woodland.

If I had to pick one phlox that is my favorite, it would be creeping phlox (not to be confused with P. subulata whose correct common name is moss phlox not creeping phlox).  It has beautiful and plentiful fragrant flowers attractive to butterflies like all the native phlox here.  But in addition, it grows in full, dry shade and makes an excellent 3 to 6″ mat-like groundcover that remains green through winter.  It flowers from March to May.  My favorite cultivars are ‘Sherwood Purple’ (photo at the beginning), which is the most vigorous, ‘Blue Ridge’ (photo above), ‘Home Fires’ (photo below), and ‘Pink Ridge’, which is a slightly different pink and blooms later than ‘Home Fires’.

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‘Home Fires’ creeping phlox


‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox, P. subulata, in my garden


For abundance of flowers, you can’t beat moss phlox: you can’t even see the leaves when it is in bloom in April and May.  It grows in full sun to part shade and forms a wintergreen mat that solidly blocks out weeds.  The needle-like leaves provide an attractive texture year round.  A great plant for dry sites with thin soil because it has a shallow root system and likes to be well-drained.  An annual shearing is recommended although I don’t do this.

‘Amazing Grace’ moss phlox

A lot of breeding has been done with moss phlox to produce a plethora of beautiful flower colors.  They are all good plants, and I don’t have a favorite, but I like ‘Emerald Blue’ (photo at beginning and above), pink ‘Fort Hill’, white with a red eye ‘Amazing Grace’ (photo above), and ‘Purple Beauty’ (photo below).

‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox

You can’t go wrong when you add any of these wonderful native phlox to your garden.  Enjoy the flowers!

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: My second Open House Sale, featuring spring-blooming plants for shade, will take place on Saturday, April 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Look for an email listing the plants available 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.

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.

February GBBD: New Hellebores for 2012

Posted in evergreen, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 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.

‘Phoebe’ is a beautiful double hellebore selected by Dan Hinkley formerly of Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, WA, as were most of the hellebores pictured here.  They are all superior forms.

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 February 15) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos 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.  This month I hope that my nursery customers and blog readers will get excited about adding colorful hellebores to their own shade gardens to extend the garden season through winter.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 7A (old 6B).


I grow the double ‘Elegance White’ for its distinct reddish purple spots and its symmetrical pointed leaves.

Because of the mild weather, I am overwhelmed with work at my nursery and behind on blogging.  So I am combining my GBBD post with a post on all the gorgeous new hybrid hellebores I will be offering this spring at my snowdrop and hellebore seminars and at my Hellebore Extravaganza on March 24.  They are coming into bloom right now so they definitely qualify for GBBD.  I will save the new species hellebores for a later post.

I decided to start with the doubles because, although I generally prefer single flowers, I love double hellebores.  Their flowers last for months.  In addition to the two above, I offer:


Hybrid hellebore “Double Rose”


Helleborus x "Double Purple"Hybrid hellebore “Double Purple”

My absolute favorite type of hybrid hellebore is known as anemone-flowered.  In this form, the nectaries around the center of the flower create a ruffle of mini petals matching the color of the flower.  I collect anemone-flowered hellebores (those of you who bought my calendar can see one in the February collage) but have never found them for sale.  I am thrilled to be able to offer one this spring:


The ruffle in the middle of this anemone-flowered hellebore picks up the beautiful colors of the larger petals (actually sepals).  Slate is also a very desirable hellebore color, and ‘Slate Anemone’ is similar to ‘Starling’, another Hinkley-selected hellebore.

I am also excited about the nine new single hybrid hellebores that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will carry this spring representing every color of the rainbow.  I don’t know if I can pick a favorite:


‘Gold Finch’ has rounded petals of buttery yellow spotted with red flecks.


‘Black’ has striking near black flowers with a perfect rounded shape.


Helleborus x 'Pink Tea Cup'‘Pink Tea Cup’ is early-blooming with soft blush pink flowers reminiscent of cherry blossoms.

‘Raspberry Mousse’ has two-tone pale rose flowers with creamy white veins, and dark rose edges and reverse (the back of the flower).

‘Phoenix’ has apple green flowers edged in burgundy and with a burgundy center.


Slate gray petals with a metallic sheen and burgundy highlights in the center and veins make ‘Slate’ very desirable.


‘Painted Bunting’ has white flowers with a bold burgundy red central star, radiating red veins, and red picotee edges.


‘Velvet Lips’ has bright wine-red flowers with a soft creamy-yellow center and a shiny darker reverse.  I would buy this beautiful hellebore for the name alone.

The Yokoyama nursery in Japan has achieved the first ever cross between Christmas rose and hybrid hellebores to produce ‘Snow White’, this gorgeous early-blooming pure white hellebore with large, flat, outward-facing flowers; easy to grow like all the hybrids but easy to see the flowers too!

I tested all these hellebores in Spring 2011 by planting them in my garden.  This year I am being rewarded with big healthy plants loaded with flowers.  Stop by and see for yourself after I open on March 15.

Carolyn

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

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: The 2012 Hellebore Seminars are now available for registration.  To view the brochure, click here.  To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.  This post is part one of my exciting new hellebore offering.

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.

January GBBD: Hellebores on Parade

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, garden to visit, hellebores, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 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.

I have had this gorgeous double purple hellebore in my garden for several years but it has never bloomed this early.  Photo 1/7/12

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on December 15) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos 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.  This month I hope that my nursery customers and blog readers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season through winter.

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


‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’ is usually one of my first hybrid hellebores to bloom but this is early even for her.

Last January, the whole garden was under snow, and I didn’t even participate in GBBD.  This year couldn’t be more different with 7 days in the 50s (10C) and 6 days at 60 degrees (16C) or above since December 15.  Frankly, I find it extremely worrisome, but it means that I didn’t have to go searching for plants peaking between December 15 and January 15.  There are a few other plants worth featuring, but my hellebores are all blooming early so I call this post Hellebores on Parade.  For the benefit of my customers, I will note which hellebores will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG) this spring.


‘Pink Tea Cup’ has the best pink color of any hybrid hellebore and was the first to come into bloom this season ( for sale at CSG this spring).  Photo 1/9/12


‘Jacob’ Christmas rose just keeps going and going with new white flowers appearing and mixing with the older pink flowers for a gorgeous effect, see below (for sale at CSG).  Photo 12/31/11


‘Jacob’ Christmas rose with Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’.  Photo 1/2/12

Flowers are emerging on the hellebore species cross ‘HGC Pink Frost’ (for sale at CSG).  Notice the dark red to burgundy highlights on the leaves and stems and the amazing color of the buds.  As noted in Cutting Back Hellebores, I leave the foliage on to make a nice backdrop for the flowers.  Photo 12/31/11


‘Praecox’ Christmas rose is also blooming at least a month earlier than usual.  Photo 12/31/11


The hellebore species cross ‘HGC Winter’s Song’ is now fully in bloom.  Photo 1/10/12

The rare species Helleborus dumetorum (no common name) continues to bloom (for sale at CSG).  It is deciduous so all the “leaves” in the photo are actually flower bracts.  The leaves will come up later.  Photo 12/31/11

This beautiful, pure white, outward-facing hellebore called ‘Snow White’ (aka ‘Snow Bunting’) is an extremely rare cross between hybrid hellebore and Christmas rose—something that was thought to be impossible (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/9/12


The lighter chartreuse buds of bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, are becoming more prominent and will remain ornamental through May (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/10/12


Helleborus x "Double Purple"Another look at the hybrid hellebore “Double Purple” (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/7/12

My new favorite this year, hellebore species cross ‘HGC Cinnamon Snow’ (for sale at CSG).  I like it so much that I decided to put it in a basket by my front door.  Photo 1/9/12

There are some other plants looking great in my garden besides hellebores.  Most of the fall-blooming camellias still have viable buds but no flowers open to show you.  They will continue to bloom if the weather cooperates.  Here are the non-hellebore stars:

My un-named Korean Camellia japonica, which blooms in the spring and fall, continues to produce flowers.  Photo 1/9/12

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’ also has buds, and look at those shiny leaves.  Photo 1/10/12

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’ has been flowering since October and is still covered with buds but none are open right now.

The buds on my variegated winter daphne, D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’, are coloring up early.  It is the sole survivor of five shrubs I put in this spring.  Although I gave them excellent drainage, they just couldn’t tolerate all the rain we had in August and September.  One by one they wilted from too much water and died, while this one remained healthy.  Photo 1/9/12

If we have cold weather, winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, blooms in February, but right now it is opening flowers continuously.  Photo 1/10/12

Galanthus elwesiiThe only snowdrop in bloom right now is the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/9/12

My fall-flowering snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has finished blooming, but I wanted to show you its beautiful leaves (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/1/12

On New Year’s Day, my husband and I went walking in the Pinetum at the Haverford College Arboretum, a wonderful local treasure.  We saw two unusual conifers with great texture that I wanted to share:


Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, is native from Virginia to Texas but is not usually found around here.


I love firs, and the texture of this Algerian fir, Abies numidica, really stood out.

I dedicate this post to Bob Stewart, my friend and horticulturalist extraordinaire, who died on December 16, 2011.  Bob and his wife Brigitta started the amazing nursery Arrowhead Alpines in Fowlersville, MI.  If you haven’t visited their site, you should by clicking here.  Bob will be greatly missed.

Carolyn

If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 1/20/12.  For details, click 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.


Nursery Happenings: To view the
2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.

Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  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.

December GBBD: Past Prime

Posted in Camellias, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2011 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.

Every year I make a Christmas wreath using all natural materials from my property.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos 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 also hope that my customers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season well into late fall.

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


I used berries from this native winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, to make the wreath.  On December 7, the robins came and cleaned off all the berries.

Last month was still prime time in my gardens, but now with hard frosts and generally colder weather, my gardens are past their prime.  The show goes on though with the focus shifted from the garden as a whole to individual plants peaking between November 15 and December 15 (I do not take all my photos on December 15).  This means that they bloom now (or are still blooming), have ornamental fruit, or feature exceptional foliage or fall color during this period.

Let’s start with flowers:

The large and vigorous fall-blooming snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’ is in full bloom through this entire period.  Mine is surrounded by the marbled purple foliage of ‘Frosted Violet’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa ‘Frosted Violet’.  For more on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

Over the years, I have planted hundreds of giant snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii, and in the process have acquired plants that bloom in the fall instead of January when this species normally blooms.

I am always raving about the long bloom time of  ‘Shell Pink’ lamium so I thought you might like to see a photo of it in full bloom in December.  For more on lamium as a wintergreen groundcover, click here.

The buds on my paperbush, Edgeworthia chrysantha, have gotten large enough to show their beautiful silvery color and will remain ornamental until they start to open in March.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, does not seem to be bothered by hard frosts.

Hellebores are one of the primary contributors to flowers during the winter months:

The spent flower heads of ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Josef Lemper’, which has been blooming since early October, seem more ornamental when everything else has gone by.  Buds are forming at the base for the next wave of bloom.

Since November 15, another Helleborus dumetorum (no common name) has put out fresh foliage and covered itself in flowers.

The lighter chartreuse buds are forming on bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, which will remain ornamental through May.

‘Jacob’ Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’, is covered with buds just starting to open.

This photo might not look very exciting, but I am thrilled to see buds on my rare double Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Double Fantasy’.  In all my years of collecting hellebores, I have only seen a double Christmas rose once in a garden.  Now I will be offering blooming plants to my customers in my 2012 snowdrop catalogue.

This is what ‘Double Fantasy’ will look like when it’s open.

My fall-blooming camellias are a mainstay of my garden right now.  The first three pictured below are Ackerman hybrids, which I profiled in Fall-Blooming Camellias Part 1:

This is the last flower on Camellia x ‘Winter’s Darling’.

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’ still has a few buds left .

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’ has been flowering since October and is still covered with buds.

Fall-blooming Camellia oleifera is no longer covered with flowers but still continues to produce blooms when the weather warms up.

I was very lucky to receive as a gift this fully hardy, red-flowered Camellia japonica from Korea.  It has not yet been introduced for sale.  For more information on and photos of camellias, including this one, click here and here.

If you are just in it for flowers, then you can stop here because the last few plants rely on leaves to make their contribution.  However, foliage is very important for filling out the late fall garden, and I wanted to give you a few ideas:

Although they have dropped now, dwarf fothergilla, F. gardenii, holds its gorgeous fall leaves way beyond November 15.  For more information on this outstanding native shrub, click here.

Another woody with late fall color is ‘Shishigashira’ Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’.

‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, S. japonica ‘Magic Carpet’, is still displaying some of its gorgeous fall color right now.

‘Albury Purple’ St. John’s wort, Hypericum androsaemum ‘Albury Purple’, remains fully clothed in plum-colored foliage.

This is the first year that I have grown ‘Cool Splash’ southern bush honeysuckle, Lonicera sessifolia ‘Cool Splash’, but I am amazed to find that it looks like this right now.  For more information on this great native shrub, click here.

I have over 20 kinds of pulmonaria or lungwort in my garden providing me with beautiful flowers from February to April, but I appreciate them almost as much for their pristine foliage through early winter.

‘Diana Clare’ lungwort, Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’

Both native ‘Bronze Wave’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa ‘Bronze Wave’, and fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. herifolium, will look like this all winter.

My post, More Flowering Wintergreen Ground Covers of Shade, included several photos of Italian arum cultivars, which are great winter interest plants.  I won’t repeat those plants here but show you a seedling that appeared among my arum.  The leaves are more pointy and narrow than the species and the markings go beyond veining to cover the leaf.

If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, and free ground shipping with the proper code.  For details, click here.

Enjoy the last few days of fall,  Carolyn


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.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  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.

November GBBD: Prime Time

Posted in Camellias, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2011 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.

I think Disanthus cercidifolius (no common name) has the best fall color of any plant in my garden.  It is also in full bloom right now (photo below).

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos 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 also hope that my customers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season well into fall.  I am also joining my friend Donna’s Word for Wednesday theme of texture and pattern at her blog Garden Walk Garden Talk.

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


The re-blooming tall bearded iris ‘Clarence’ is a star performer in my fall garden.  It got knocked over by our unseasonable snow storm so it doesn’t look like this now, but it continues to bloom.

In colder months there is a tendency to include GBBD photos of anything with a flower, and I may do that in January.  But fall is still prime time in my gardens (no hard frost yet) so I am showing here only plants that are at their peak between October 15 and November 15 (I do not take all my photos on November 15).  This means that they bloom now (or are still blooming), have ornamental fruit, or feature exceptional fall color during this period.  For more ornamental ideas for fall, see A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers and A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit.

Let’s start with perennials:

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium, continues to flower through November.

Yes, the snowdrop season has started with Galanthus reginae-olgae, which has been blooming since mid-October.  Fall-blooming ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has just produced its first flowers as has the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, but they will be featured next month .

When I was touring Chanticleer this spring one of the gardeners gave me a clump of this very late-blooming monkshood, Aconitum sp.  I am not sure what species it is, but I am loving it’s dark violet-blue flowers.

‘Immortality’ is another re-blooming tall bearded iris that puts on a fall show.  I appreciate these flowers much more now when most other showy blooms are gone.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, shows up in the most unlikely places in my garden, here my terrace stairs, and produces generous quantities of blooms through fall.

Gorgeous ‘Moudry’ black fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, is one of the most asked about perennials in my fall garden and is well behaved here, but it can spread aggressively in some sites.

Hellebore season has started too with this little gem that was sold to me as Helleborus dumetorum (no common name), probably mislabeled.  Christmas rose ‘Josef Lemper’ has been blooming for quite a while but has no fresh flowers now.  I will include it next month.

Here are some trees and shrubs that I would grow for their ornamental contribution to the fall garden from flowers or berries:

The award winning hydrangea ‘Limelight’, H. paniculata ‘Limelight’, continues to produce fresh flowers late into fall.

Pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens, is ornamental almost all the time, but I would grow it even if all it did was produce these gorgeous cones.

Native green hawthorn ‘Winter King’, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’, has produced a bumper crop of berries this year, which the robins are just starting to enjoy.

The flowers on my evergreen ‘Sasaba’ holly osmanthus, O. heterophyllus ‘Sasaba’, are small but they make up for their size with their heavenly fragrance which perfumes the whole garden.

The berries of evergreen Japanese skimmia, S. japonica, persist well into spring.

Disanthus cercidifolius is in full bloom right now.

The scarlet flowers are interesting and beautiful, but you have to get quite close to see them.

All my fall-blooming camellias are covered with flowers.  The first four pictured below are Ackerman hybrids, which are hardy in zone 6 see Fall-Blooming Camellias Part 1, and the final plant is one of their parents:

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Darling’

Fall-blooming Camellia oleifera was introduced to the U.S. from China in 1948.  In 1980, Dr. Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum noticed that it alone survived the U.S. mid-Atlantic’s cold winters and began crossing it with non-hardy fall-blooming species to produce what are now known as the Ackerman hybrids.  My camellia in the photo above is a seedling from the original C. oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’ at the National Arboretum.

There are dozens of plants that are vying to be included on GBBD because of their beautiful fall color.  However, I have decided to showcase only the seven that I think are exceptional, including disanthus pictured above and at the very beginning of the post:

Our Pennsylvania native vine Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is underused in gardens especially when you consider its fall look.

Many magnolias, including star magnolia, turn a lovely yellow in the fall, but native hybrid Magnolia x ‘Yellow Bird’ (named for its yellow flowers) is the most beautiful.

Redvein enkianthus, E. campanulatus

Pennsylvania native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, is ornamental 365 days a year, but it definitely reaches one of its peaks in the fall.

Another woody with 365 days of interest, coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, has stunning and long-lasting fall color.  For more information on this lovely tree, read Coral Bark Maple.

Pennsylvania native sugar maple, Acer saccharum, has gorgeous orange fall color.  Pictured above is a sugar maple tree in my garden that turns red instead of orange.  Sadly, when the iconic Princeton Nursery closed its doors, they had been evaluating it for seven years for possible introduction.

Enjoy your fall,  Carolyn


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.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  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.

October GBBD: A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, landscape design, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2011 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 subtle coloring of ‘White Towers’ toad-lily, Tricyrtis latifolia ‘White Towers’, is magical in the fall.  Every photo was taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this fall.

I am linking this post to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for October when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  I am also linking to Gesine’s Bloom Day at Seepferds Garten.  I am located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., and zone 6b.

In my last post, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit,  I explained that, inspired by an article about dressing up your fall garden with mums because everything else is finished, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to prove them wrong.  There was so much going on that I divided the plants into three posts: foliage and fruit, flowers, and hostas for fall.  This is part two highlighting flowers.  So here are some of the flowers dressing up my shady gardens right now:

Japanese anemones, Anemone x hybrida, are one of the undisputed stars of my fall garden, growing anywhere from full sun to almost full shade and thriving no matter what the weather.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘Honorine Joubert’, ‘Margarete’, ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Bodnant Burgundy’, ‘September Charm’.

The black plumes of ‘Moudry’ fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, glow in the low-angled fall light.  ‘Moudry’ does well in the shade, flowering later and remaining more compact.

I grow about five different varieties of native golden rod, Solidago,  with my current favorite ‘Little Lemon’, growing only 12 to 18″ high.  Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause allergies as it is pollinated by insects.  Wind pollinated ragweed, which blooms at the same time, is the culprit.

Toad-lilies, Tricyrtis, bloom throughout the fall in full shade with ‘Sinonome’ just getting started now and continuing into November.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘Sinonome’, ‘White Towers’, ‘Miyazaki’, ‘Empress’.

Another plant that is just warming up is Pennsylvania native northern sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium.  Its foliage will turn orange later in the fall and then dry to a beautiful khaki for the winter.  Be forewarned, however, when this plant reaches critical mass, it starts spreading, and its wiry roots are very difficult to remove.  Give it room and then triple the space you think you need.

Autumn leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, is one of my favorite groundcovers.  Its true blue flowers start blooming in June and continue through October when its leaves turn bright red.

Pennsylvania native ‘Bluebird’ smooth aster, A. laevis ‘Bluebird’, seeds all around my garden in full sun to part shade.  Butterflies and bees love it.  Please click here to find out why most native cultivars are just as friendly to native fauna as the species.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, seems to move around my garden at will, but it never fails to steal the show with its 3 to 4′ stalks loaded with showy flowers.  It grows best in full to part sun.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium, is one of the plants I would take to my shady “desert island”.  Right now its pink or white flowers are floating all around my shady gardens.  Later its evergreen leaves will emerge from summer dormancy and look like the photo on the left all winter long.

I am always raving about the foliage of the coral bell cultivars derived from our Pennsylvania native Heuchera villosa.  Well this is the plant that started it all, Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’.  It has very large and attractive fuzzy green leaves and beautiful flowers that bloom right now–this is the only cultivar I would grow for its flowers (the rest I grow for the leaves).

The cultivar ‘Cory’ of Pennsylvania native hardy ageratum, Eupatorium coelestinum, is far superior to the straight species.  It has more abundant and showier flowers, ornamental purple stems, interesting crinkled leaves, and a much better upright habit.  ‘Cory’ is also a good spreader in sun to part shade so give it room.  Pictured above with another of my favorite Pennsylvania natives, wrinkleleaf goldenrod, Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’.

Hardy begonias, Begonia grandis, have spread all over my garden in full shade, and I have yet to find a place that I don’t want them.  Because they come up very late in May and really just get going in the fall, I use them to fill in between my hostas on my back hill.  

Pennsylvania native Joe Pye weed, Eupatorium dubium, reaches 10′ tall in my garden and flops over in our torrential rains.  The “dwarf” version called ‘Little Joe’ grows to a diminutive 5′ tall and has remained erect through the 30″ of rain we had in August and September to bloom now with its large purple flowers–a magnet for butterflies and bees.

In the spring, a gardener I very much admire brought over this plant, telling me it was a salvia with yellow flowers that grows in full shade and blooms in the fall.  I duly planted it in my shady “yellow garden” and it thrived through heat, drought, and rain with no attention.  It is called woodland sage, Salvia koyamae.

I am just beginning to learn about hydrangeas because until last year there was no point in planting them because of the deer.  One of my first acquisitions after the netting went up was ‘Limelight’, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’.  The large white flowers aging to pink have been blooming all summer in part shade, and there are still buds coming—very impressive.

If you want a multitude of fall flowers in dry, full shade, you can’t find a better plant than Pennsylvania native blue wood aster, Aster cordifolius.  It fills in all the difficult sites in my woodland and produces a glorious blue haze in the fall.

It is fitting that I should end with my favorite Pennsylvania native perennial for fall, garden phlox, Phlox paniculata.  I love everything about garden phlox: its heavenly fragrance, its long bloom time from early summer through fall, the wealth of colors available, its polite self-sowing, and its attraction to butterflies.  I dream of installing a meadow area and collecting dozens of plants of every phlox cultivar out there!

Of the 17 photos above, 8 picture plants that are native to Pennsylvania and eastern North America.  I believe that planting native plants is crucial to our survival.  Please take the time to read this short essay explaining why.  And Pennsylvania’s native plants really come into their own in the fall eliminating the need for dressing with mums!


Click to enlarge

Carolyn

To read Part 1, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit, click here.  Stay tuned for Part 3, Hostas for Fall.  In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that sadistic botanists have recently changed the botanical names of many of the native plants that I highlighted to completely unpronounceable and unspellable but “botanically proper” names.  At this point, I refuse to follow.


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.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery closes for the year on October 16.

July GBBD: The Energizer Bunnies of Summer

Posted in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, landscape design, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , on July 14, 2011 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.

‘Westerland’ shrub rose just keeps sending out new sprays of blooms.  EB

Summer is here, and we have reached the middle of the month when I encourage each of you to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make this season an exciting time in your landscape.  This time of year I like to focus on the “energizer bunnies” of the garden: plants that bloom or rebloom from late spring through fall. Plants in this category will have “EB” following their caption description.  They give me a reason to stroll in my garden when the weather is not as inviting as spring.  Make sure your garden doesn’t end with the spring rush by adding plants that bloom through summer. 

I love irises, and I think Japanese iris, I. kaempferi, is my favorite.  The colors and the flower shapes are magical.

Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping for plants you know what you need and where it should go.  You never know what you might find waiting in your garden like new blooms on my ‘Westerland’ rose (photo at top), which I photographed during my own  inventory.

The remontant or reblooming daylilies are some of my “bunnies”.  They start early and rebloom all season.  Clockwise from left: Hemerocallis ‘Black Eyed Stella’, ‘Stella de Oro (d’Oro)’, and ‘Happy Returns’.  EB

July 15 is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for July when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  Here are  some more highlights from my July stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, starting with woody plants:

I cut back my ‘Purple Robe’ smokebush, Cotinus coggygria ‘Purple Robe’, every year to improve the leaf color so it never blooms, but I think the red beebalm, Monarda didyma, compliments it nicely.

My grove of native bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, is stunning in bloom in full shade.


St. John’s wort is a woody subshrub that I cut back almost to the ground in the spring when I see signs of new growth.  Hypericum calycinum on the left and H. androsaemum ‘Albury Purple’ on the right.

I don’t grow ‘Winterthur’ beautyberry, Callicarpa ‘Winterthur’,  for the flowers, but between the lime green leaves, the pink flowers, and the striking light purple berries in fall, this shrub is a workhorse.  EB


Himalayan leptodermis, L. oblonga, starts blooming in June and doesn’t quit until later in the fall.  Its flowers are small but abundant.  EB

‘Black Knight’, Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’, is my favorite butterfly bush cultivar.  It is the first to come into bloom in June and doesn’t stop until at least mid-fall.  EB

My native honeysuckle vines are still throwing out blooms after a spectacular spring show, here Lonicera sempervirens ‘John Clayton’.  EB

And here native Lonicera sempervirens ‘Crimson Cascade’.  EB

Native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, will keep going until winter with its beautiful flowers turning colors and then forming a dried arrangement.  If you don’t have this shrub, it should go to the top of your list!  EB

I am surprised that more gardeners do not grow native flowering raspberry, Rubus odoratus.  It is a gorgeous tropical looking shrub for full shade with brightly colored raspberry flowers.  The native bees love it.

There are so many perennials in bloom that I had to leave a lot out.  I am focusing on the unusual plants and the ones that bloom for a long time:

The deep violet flowers on red stems of ‘Caradonna’ sage, Salvia ‘Caradonna’, continue to rebloom all summer while the yellow corydalis, C. lutea, behind it blooms nonstop from April to December.  EB

This rare and unusual plant, Chinese foxglove, Rehmannia elata, appeared in my rock garden without my help, but I am glad it did.

Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, with catmint, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

Many hosta have quite beautiful flowers, especially if they are compact and white, here the species Hosta tokudama.

Reportedly there are 8,000 hosta cultivars, but some just stand out in the garden: Hosta ‘Summer Lovin’

The gorgeous corrugated blue leaves, white flowers, and elegant habit of Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ have stood the test of time.

Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ is also a classic with white flowers.

I am infatuated with the mouse ears series of miniature hostas, and one of their wonderful attributes is that their flowers are compact and proportional to their size, here ‘Holy Mouse Ears’.

I have tried so many of these orange coneflowers, Echinacea cultivar,  only to have them die, revert, or display a virus.  This is the only one that survived and, of course, I lost its tag.

‘Concord Grape’, Tradescantia ‘Concord Grape’, is my favorite cultivar of US native spiderwort.  I cut it to the ground completely after flowering to rejuvenate the plant.

Giant ox eye, Telekia speciosa, is an unusual sunflower-like perennial that reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide in the full shade of my London plane trees.

Solitary clematis, C. integrifolia, just keeps blooming and blooming, here with orange million bells, Calibrachoa ‘Aloha Hot Orange’EB

I always read that the groundcover autumn leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, blooms in the fall, but in my garden it starts in June and keeps going through fall.  You can’t beat the true blue color all season.  EB

I have a collection of hens and chicks, but I think this is my favorite: Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Red Cobweb’.  When not in bloom, the chicks are red and covered with cobwebs.

This is the second flush of bloom on ‘Sarastro’ bellflower, Campanula ‘Sarastro’, the first flush has double the flowers.  I have tried several large-flowered bellflowers, and ‘Sarastro’ is the best.  EB

I devote a large space in my meadow (you have to, it spreads) to beebalm, Monarda didyma, the flowers are so spectacular.

I always let some of my onion sets get away from me so they will produce this beautiful flower after all my other alliums are done.

If I had the right growing conditions for red hot pokers, Kniphofia ‘Alcazar’, I would have every cultivar, but sunny, hot, dry, well drained conditions are few and far between at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Spiny bear’s breeches, Acanthus spinosus, just keeps blooming and blooming.  EB

I will leave you with the very unusual and long lasting  ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ sea holly, Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’.  Miss Willmott was a 19th century English gardener who secretly sprinkled seeds of this sea holly in gardens she visited leaving behind her “ghost”.  EB

Please let me know in a comment/reply which flowers are “energizer bunnies” in your summer garden.  If you participated in GBBD, please provide a link so my nursery customers can read your post.

Carolyn

I made this collage for a customer email, but I couldn’t resist including it in this article.  The flowers of summer:

Notes: Click on any photo to enlarge.  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 website’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with your name and phone number.

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