Archive for the groundcover Category

Native Plants in Bloom Part 1

Posted in green gardening, groundcover, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our woodland is spectacular right now.  Here, ‘Royal White’ redbud, Cercis canadensis, underplanted with golden groundsel, Senecio (Packera) aureus.

More and more of our customers are becoming interested in native plants, which we have been promoting since we opened our nursery in 1992.  If you would like to know more about why growing native plants is important to our survival, click here.  Every plant in this post is native to Southeastern Pennsylvania unless noted.

Our woodland garden, which is filled predominantly with native plants, is in full bloom right now.  If you would like to see a video of our woodland in bloom, there is one on our Facebook page here, just scroll down past upcoming events to videos.  Meanwhile, I am going to highlight some of the natives in our woodland in this post.

I am dedicating this post to the volunteers and career emergency personnel at Narberth Ambulance and all the ambulance workers all over the country who are risking their lives daily to help people with COVID-19.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.  For an inside look at what ambulance workers face right now, please read this excellent article from the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, in the front with golden groundsel in the back.  Both of these plants should only be grown in a naturalized garden where they can spread.  Golden groundsel is a great native substitute for non-native groundcovers like pachysandra, ivy, or vinca.  It is evergreen, has beautiful flowers suitable for cutting, grows in even the most difficult site, and covers the ground completely.

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‘Blue Ridge’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, also makes a great evergreen groundcover.  ‘Blue Ridge’ is not as vigorous as some of the other creeping phlox cultivars, which can be an advantage if you have a small space.

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Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, are going by right now, but their true blue flowers have been a highlight for the last two months.  They go dormant when it gets hot out.

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Dwarf Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium reptans, in the front with blue flowers, and wild ginger, Asarum canadense, right center under the native dogwood, have moved around on their own to fill large swaths of our woodland.

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A close up of dwarf Jacob’s ladder and wild ginger.

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‘Mocha’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa, on the right, western wild ginger, Asarum caudatum (native to the west coast), on the left, surrounded by creeping phlox, P. stolonifera.

.There are pink-flowered cultivars of creeping phlox called ‘Home Fires’ and ‘Pink Ridge’, but this is the straight species.  My customers didn’t buy it last year as it is so vigorous it doesn’t look as appealing in the pots as the other creeping phlox cultivars.  I planted 12 leftover, quart-sized pots, and they completely filled in this large area in one year.

.Little sweet Betsy or bloody butcher, Trillium cuneatum, is my favorite of the many trilliums in our woodland.

.Great white trillium, T. grandiflorum, has been seeding through out our patch of white violets, Viola striata.  White violets make a great groundcover as they fill in completely and are one of the longest blooming plants in out woodland.

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‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox surrounds a small grove of ‘Blue Shadow’ fothergilla, F. x intermedia.

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This large “river” of ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox hosts many of the special snowdrops in my collection in late winter and then produces its lovely purple flowers for a long time in early spring.  ‘Sherwood Purple’ is another creeping phlox that makes an excellent groundcover.

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‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ robin’s plantain, Erigeron pulchellus, has fuzzy, silver-highlighted leaves and daisy-like flowers.

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‘Lynnhave Carpet’ spreads quickly to form a weed-choking groundcover.

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Our woodland is almost all native plants with a very narrow path through the center covered in white pine needles.

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A final view of the woodland.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Obsessed with Epimediums

Posted in evergreen, groundcover, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

What could be more beautiful than the exquisite and delicate bicolor flowers of ‘Tama No Gempei’ epimedium?

We have had epimediums in our garden for many years, developing large patches of the few cultivars available for sale.  However, my infatuation with this genus truly began in 2006 when I attended an open house at Garden Vision Epimediums in Massachusetts and was exposed to the lovely variations in flower and leaf color, habit, and leaf shape within this beautiful group of plants. 

In the last couple of years, unusual epimediums have become more available from wholesale growers, allowing us to expand the varieties we sell to our customers and plant in our own gardens.  Although I generally don’t collect plants, at last count there were 33 epimedium cultivars at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, and there is always room for more.

I am dedicating this post to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and all the governors and mayors across America who have stepped forward to make the difficult and often unpopular decisions necessary to keep us safe.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed as a non-essential business until further notice.  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue, which is sold out, is on line here.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.‘Sulphureum’ epimedium with yellow flowers and evergreen leaves is probably the most familiar epimedium in American gardens.  It spreads quickly (for an epimedium) to make an excellent groundcover, here around the base of an edgeworthia.

Epimedium is the botanical name of the genus but is often used as the common name as well along with barrenwort, fairy wings, bishop’s hat, and horny goat weed(?), among others.  It grows in part to full shade and prefers well-drained to dry conditions.  Most of our epimediums thrive on our back hillside among hostas and ferns; however, they also do well in average soil in our level perennial borders. 

Epimediums bloom in March and April, starting up just as the last snowdrops are going by.  Although a large patch of epimediums in full bloom is gorgeous from a distance, to truly appreciate the astonishing beauty of these plants, I like to view them up close.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium on the right with the orange flowers of Epimedium x warleyense in the top left corner.  Despite the size of this patch, ‘Yubae’ is fairly slow growing.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium

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Orange-flowered E. x warleyense, here with Hosta montana ‘Aureomarginata’, is an older cultivar but still one of my favorites.  It grows quickly for an epimedium and makes a great, evergreen groundcover.

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The beautiful and delicate leaves of epimediums are held aloft on wiry stems and provide a unique look and texture in the garden.  This is ‘Sweetheart’ epimedium, which, after 14 years, has formed a large patch at the base of a magnolia.

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‘Sweetheart’ has heart-shaped leaves outlined in red and dark pink and white striped flowers.

.The red in the flowers of ‘Domino’ epimedium is echoed in the breathtaking, elongated, spiky leaves, making it another favorite.  It also has the desirable characteristic of reblooming in late spring, and its leaves are evergreen.

.There are many epimediums with purple flowers, but ‘Pierre’s Purple’ is one of the best.  It has fine-textured leaves that are bronze-purple in the spring.

.Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum has brilliant and early-blooming yellow flowers.  It makes a very good, evergreen groundcover.

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‘Cherry Tart’ has also formed a large swath after 14 years in our garden.

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The cheerful flowers of ‘Cherry Tart’ often have me kneeling on the ground for a closer look.

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The reddish leaves of Epimedium lishihchenii are quite striking from a distance.

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Epimedium lishihchenii‘s two-toned lemon yellow flowers also deserve a closer look.

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Epimedium stellulatum “Narrow Leaf Forms” is the earliest cultivar to bloom in our garden.

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‘Pink Elf’ also blooms early and produces a multitude of flowers.

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Another favorite, reblooming ‘Kaguyahime’, has two-tone purple flowers and elongated, jagged-edged, purple-splashed leaves (bottom center of photo).

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In the spring, ‘Frohnleiten’ has reddish-bronze leaves with eye-catching lime green veins topped by sulphur-yellow flowers.  It makes a fast-growing, for an epimedium, evergreen groundcover.

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The pale copper-pink and yellow flowers combined with the intense red foliage make ‘Cupreum’ a standout.

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A tiny epimedium, ‘Bandit’ fits perfectly in our rock garden and has unusual, dark purple-black banded leaves and pure white flowers.

Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

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

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

Early Spring Beauty at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in bulbs for shade, evergreen, groundcover, hellebores, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Hellebores are in their prime.  Here is a claret colored hybrid at sunrise.  We have a wonderful selection of hellebores for sale right now.

Apparently winter is over, although nothing could surprise me in the weather department this year.  Last weekend when Kelly Norris, Director of Horticulture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, visited my gardens, the tour consisted of me pointing and saying “if it were really spring, you would be seeing….”  Now the garden is bursting, please come back Kelly :-)!

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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Bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, stood up particularly well during the extreme heating and cooling and heavy snow that March threw at it.  Lots of customers have been asking for these, and we have more in stock.

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‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart seems to appear overnight.  It turns into a majestic plant with gold leaves and pink flowers, a combination I have grown to love.

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.‘Diana Clare’ pulmonaria’s large blue flowers look spectacular with its emerging silver leaves.

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Once you have a couple of varieties of pulmonarias, they start to cross and every one is beautiful.

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The lovely, pale yellow flowers of Anemone x seemanii were produced by a cross between A. ranunculoides and A. nemorosa, European wood anemones.  Very rare and available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for the first time this year!

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Our native double bloodroot, Sanguinaria ‘Mulptiplex’, is my all time favorite flower.  It seems to prefer the rocky slope in my woodland, and I often see the single form on road embankments.  We take special orders for this plant.

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Our display gardens have about forty types of epimediums, and their flowers are popping out of the ground.  Here, the orange-flowered E. x warleyense.  We will be selling this epimedium along with ‘Roseum’, ‘Niveum’, ‘Lilafee’, E. grandiflorum, and the rarer ‘Yubae’ (Rose Queen) and ‘Pierre’s Purple’.

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Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum

One of the first plants I ever planted and still a favorite: Dutchman’s breeches, Dicentra cucullaria.  Available this spring.

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There are lots of dogtooth violets in our woodland and they have even crossed and produced some stunning new forms.  This is the European Erythronium dens-canis.  Its flowers are gorgeous but sparse.  We sell the US native ‘Pagoda’, a vigorous plant with many yellow flowers just starting to open.

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Everything is so late this year!  Native moss phlox ‘Emerald Blue’ is just starting to open its flowers.  Moss phlox makes a great, evergreen groundcover in sun to part shade in dry areas.  Ask us to point out our amazing stand of the white-flowered form ‘Nice n’ White’.  We also sell purple, crimson, and a new, more compact cultivar called ‘Emerald Pink’ that looks like a miniature boxwood.

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‘Shell Pink’ lamium bursts into bloom now but then continues to flower until December.  It is the only lamium that produces flowers for three seasons.  Its leaves are also semi-evergreen so the ground is never bare.  It is not invasive and should not be confused with the yellow-flowered lamiastrum.

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Anemone ranunculoides, a parent of A. x seemanii shown earlier, is a bolder color and faster spreader.  We also sell ‘Bractiata’, ‘Vestal’, ‘Alba Plena’, and ‘Wyatt’s Pink’ European wood anemones.

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Now we get to one of my favorite plants, Corydalis solida, which you will see all over my garden in a rainbow of colors.  Its common name is fumewort, but I never hear anyone call it that.  The photo above shows the varieties that I sell: ‘George P. Baker’ in the foreground, ‘Purple Bird’ in the center, followed by ‘Beth Evans’, and ‘White Knight’ at the very back.

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‘White Knight’ is new this year and is a stunning form, densely packed with pure white flowers.

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If you let Corydalis solida self-sow in your garden, you will get some gorgeous un-named forms like the blue above.  Unlike other brightly colored corydalis, fumewort comes back reliably every year.  It goes dormant after it flowers but reappears bigger and better the next spring.

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A mixture in my woodland

If you are local and want to get a jump on the April 15 open house sale, we are around today, tomorrow, and all weekend.  Just email for an appointment.  Or come Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm when customers are picking up their edgworthias—let me know an approximate time.

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.

Mini Hostas Make Excellent Groundcovers

Posted in groundcover, hosta, How to, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mini Hosta Rock Garden

Part of my mini hosta rock garden in June of 2015.  Be sure to see it when you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens—it is one of the highlights of the garden right now!

When it begins to warm up (finally!), the weeds are not far behind, and customers start asking for groundcovers.  If garden beds are filled with plants, there is no bare soil on which weeds can germinate, and garden maintenance is greatly reduced.  Covering bare ground can be accomplished economically by choosing plants that spread rather than form clumps.  Spreading mini (and small) hostas are perfect for this task, but which ones work?  Here is your answer:

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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Hosta Kiwi Golden Thimble

‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’ rapidly produces an adorable mound of golden leaves.

You can read more about mini hostas in these posts:

2016 Mouse Ears Hosta Update

Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 1

New Mice for 2014

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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Hosta 'Twist of Lime'

‘Twist of Lime’ with its blue-green edge is a very fast grower and a favorite of my customers.

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.Hosta Little Wonder

‘Little Wonder’ has colorful leaves and a very dense growth habit.

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Hosta Lemon Lime
‘Lemon Lime’ is an outstanding groundcover hosta.
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Hosta Blue Mouse Ears

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the only mouse ears hosta that I would use as a groundcover because it is so vigorous.

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Hosta Green with Envy

‘Green with Envy’ is practically jumping out of my strawberry pot as it tries to expand.

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Hosta Rock Prince

‘Rock Prince’ filled in this whole area between the stones very quickly.

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Hosta Baby Bunting

‘Baby Bunting’s’ tiny leaves make a very fine-textured groundcover.

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Hosta Lemon Delight

‘Lemon Delight’ makes an excellent dense cover, and the wavy leaf edges provide a feeling of movement.

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Hosta Dragon Tails

Of course any mini, if planted en mass, provides groundcover, here ‘Dragon Tails’.

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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.

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.

Strike a Blow for the Environment in your own Yard

Posted in garden essay, green gardening, groundcover, landscape design, my garden, native plants, organic gardening, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Senecio aureus

Golden groundsel, Senecio aureus, is the best native plant for ground cover.

I write a lot about the things we do at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens to support the environment: gardening organically without herbicides and chemical fertilizers, doing little supplemental watering, composting, mulching with ground leaves, getting rid of our lawn, landscaping with large quantities of native plants, and promoting natives at the nursery.

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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Carolyn's Shade Gardens Woodland

Our native white-flowered redbud surrounded by native plants.

You can read more about these practices in these posts among others: 

Your Native Woodland: If You Build it They Will Come, how to create your own woodland filled with native plants

My Thanksgiving Oak Forest, the importance of native plants to our survival

Your Most Precious Garden Resource, step-by-step guide to mulching with ground leaves 

Letting Go Part 1: The Lawn, the dangers of lawn chemicals to ourselves and the environment 

Do You Know Where Your Mulch Comes From?, toxic substances in shredded hardwood mulch

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Carolyn's Shade Gardens woodland

Our woodland in April with Virginia bluebells, wild ginger, golden groundsel, and mayapples—all native.

My guide to creating a native woodland has been especially popular.  However, most gardeners don’t have vast areas of woods to convert to native plants but still want to make a difference.  And I am sure that most people realize that planting three milkweed plants, though admirable and to be encouraged, is not going to save the monarch butterflies.  So what can you do? 

.Viola striata

Native white violets, Viola striata, used in quantity as an edging along the front of a border.  The violets spread rapidly by seed, filling in empty areas and preventing weeds.

One solution is to find ways to include large quantities—a critical mass—of native plants in your garden, no matter what size.  You can accomplish this by replacing non-native ground covers like pachysandra, vinca, ivy, euonymus, and turf grass with native ground cover plants.  It is easy to do and you can start small by using spreading native plants like the violets above as edging for your existing beds.  Soon you will be eliminating whole swathes of your lawn!  Here are some more ideas of plants to use:

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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'
Native ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, used as an edging.
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Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue'

This patch of native ‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox has been in place for at least a decade and requires no maintenance at all.  It is evergreen so is present year round like pachysandra but provides you with beautiful flowers and the native insects with food.  Its mat-like habit excludes all weeds.

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

Native ‘Nice ‘n White’ moss phlox used to replace non-native vinca, which you can see behind it.  This location is quite shady and the moss phlox thrives.  All it needs is good drainage.

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

Our original planting of native ‘Nice ‘n White’ moss phlox is filling in to create a solid blanket while we continue to move down the hill adding new plants.

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Iris cristata 'Tennessee White'

Native ‘Tennessee White’ dwarf crested iris, Iris cristata, used to edge our raised beds.  I expect these clumps to double in size by next spring.

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Senecio aureus

Native golden groundsel, Senecio aureus, the yellow flower in the photo above and the first photo, makes the best ground cover of any native plant.  It spreads aggressively and is evergreen and mat-forming like pachysandra but also produces beautiful, fragrant flowers suitable for cutting.  Like pachysandra it is too aggressive to be mixed with other plants, but unlike the pachysandra in our area it is not subject to alfalfa mosaic virus.

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Chrysognum virginianum 4-26-2016 11-47-39 AM

Native goldenstar, Chrysogonum virginianum, is another creeping plant that makes a good edger.

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Chrysognum virginianum 4-26-2016 11-47-51 AM

Because the goldenstar was working so well at the edge, we decided to replace a whole section of our lawn with it.

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Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'

Two years ago we replaced another section of our lawn with native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera.  This phlox grows in part to full shade and forms a flat, weed-choking mat that stays green all winter.

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Aster cordifolius

Native blue wood aster, Aster cordifolius, replaced another section of lawn at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens that surrounded a gigantic black walnut.

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Aster cordifolius

Native blue wood aster blooms in the fall and grows in part to full shade.

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Doug Tallamy explains in his amazing book Bringing Nature Home* that we can make a difference for the environment and the plants and animals (including us) which are struggling to survive there, by planting native plants in our suburban gardens.  I hope I have given you some good ideas for accomplishing this laudable goal.

*Profiled in my blog post My Thanksgiving Oak Forest.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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.

Longwood Gardens Part 5: Tulips and Natives

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, groundcover, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 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.

. Tulips at LongwoodThis color combination is magnificent for spring.

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During 2012 to 2013, I have been visiting Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, U.S., every few months and highlighting some aspect of this amazing place (last year I focused on Chanticleer).  Links to my previous four posts are at the end.  There is much to see there with 325 acres open to the public and 20 outdoor gardens. 

On April 18, Michael and I headed out to Longwood with the specific objective of photographing the plants in the native woodland, Peirce’s Woods.  Of course, on the way to the woods, we got sidetracked by the bulb displays out front and along the Flower Garden Walk.  Although masses of tulips and other bulbs are just about polar opposite to native plants naturalized in a woodland, they are still gorgeous so I will show you a few photos as I explain the history of the woodland.

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Leucojum aestivumSummer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum, is a great plant for massing.  Mine grow and self-sow quite readily in both south-facing and east-facing locations as well as in full deciduous shade in my woodland.

In 1700, a Quaker family named Peirce purchased the area that is now Peirce’s Woods from William Penn to establish a working farm.  In 1798, the Peirces began planting trees to establish an arboretum on the property.  Eventually the area became known as one of the finest collections of trees in the country.  The great industrialist Pierre DuPont (1870 to 1954) purchased the property in 1906 with the specific purpose of preserving the magnificent trees.

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container at LongwoodYou will find fabulous container gardens throughout Longwood, including this one outside the Visitor’s Center with a large native dogwood underplanted with daffodils.

Peirce’s Woods comprises seven acres planted to showcase the ornamental characteristics of native plants from the eastern U.S. deciduous forest.  The shade trees  are mostly oak, ash, maple, and tulip trees, some over 200 years old.  The understory is native flowering trees and shrubs underplanted with native groundcovers.  All the plants are labeled so it is a great place to visit to get ideas for your own woodland garden.  Before I highlight the plants there, a few more bulb photos:

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Narcissus Tahiti and Flower DriftNarcissus ‘Tahiti’ and ‘Flower Drift’

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tulips at Longwood

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tulips at Longwood.

tulips at Longwood

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Tulipa 'Yellow Wave'‘Yellow Wave’ tulip

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Tulipa 'Rococo'‘Rococo’ tulip

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Tulipa 'Rococo'I think this tulip should be called the Little Shop of Horrors tulip—you definitely would not want to stick your finger inside of it.

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Flower Garden Walk at LongwoodAs we neared the end of the Flower Garden Walk, we were greeted by this magnificent vista.

We came to Longwood with the objective of viewing and photographing Peirce’s Woods.  I fully intended to show scenes of the woods as a whole and close ups of individual native wildflowers.  However, I didn’t realize that because the weather has been so cold this spring, many of the flowers would not be blooming yet.  My own garden is always ahead because it is on a south-facing slope and the soil warms up early.  Also, as soon as we got there and typical for this spring, the sun went in, the wind picked up, it started to rain, and the temperature plummeted.

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Matteuchia pennsylvanica The only other landscape shot that I got: ostrich ferns by the shore of the lake.  These ferns can be quite tall, 3 to 5′, spread aggressively by runners, and are the source of edible fiddleheads.

Michael and I were both under-dressed with no raincoats so I decided to take photos of the plants that were blooming and come back the following week for the landscape shots and later-blooming plants.  As usual, work at the nursery got in the way, but I wanted to show you the beautiful native plants that I was able to capture on film.  Just picture me kneeling patiently by each plant and snapping the photo in between gusts of wind and bouts of rain:

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Heuchera villosa 'Miracle' ‘Miracle’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa, is one of my favorite cultivars of this tough eastern native.  The only coralbells I sell at my nursery are offspring of eastern natives H. villosa and H. americana because I find the other types not hardy.

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Anemonella thalictroides Rue-anemone, Anemonella thalictroides, is so delicate looking but  thrives and self-sows in dry shade.

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Trillium grandiflorum‘Quicksilver’ large-flowered trillium, T. grandiflorum, was selected as a rapidly multiplying form of the species by Dr. Richard Lighty, at the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware.

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Trillium grandiflorum 'Quicksilver' and Anemonella thalictroides‘Quicksilver’ surrounded by rue-anemone.

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Trillium luteum, yellow toad trilliumI find yellow toad trillium, T. luteum, quite easy to grow.

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Trillium erectum, purple trilliumpurple trillium, T. erectum

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Trillium erectum, purple trilliumThe two-tone flowers of purple trillium are gorgeous.

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Dicentra cucullaria, squirrel cornsquirrel-corn, Dicentra canadensis

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Caulophyllum thalictroides, blue cohoshBlue cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides, has these unprepossessing flowers in the spring followed by bright blue berries.  I love its leaf and stem structure and elegant overall habit.

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Caulophyllum thalictroides and Dicentra canadensisBlue cohosh can act like a small shrub, here with an underplanting of squirrel-corn.

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Mertensia virginicaVirginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, were everywhere just like they are in my own garden where they seed prolifically.

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Enemion biternatum, eastern false rue-anemoneEastern false rue-anemone, Enemion biternatum, is a new plant to me.  I am going to look for it though because its flowers were lovely perched on reddish stems and it evidently spreads to make an eye-catching patch.

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stump in Peirce's WoodsI thought what Longwood had done to the stump of a tree that came down was very interesting and actually quite attractive.

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Erythronium americanum, adder's tongueAdder’s tongue or what I call trout lily, Erythronium americanum, usually produces hundreds of leaves and a few flowers in my garden, but this year it is blooming well everywhere.

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Polstichum acrostichoidesThe emerging fronds of Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides, look like fairies should be dancing among them.

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Onoclea sensibilisSensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, is a great native fern that is underused in gardens.

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Onoclea sensibilisSensitive fern looks great in a mass planting.

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Claytonia virginica, spring-beautyThe wind was roaring when I tried to photograph these spring-beauties, Claytonia virginica, so they are out of focus, but I didn’t want you to miss them.

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Claytonia virginicaSpring-beauty really has an amazing flower even when blurry.

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Hydrophyllum macrophyllum, large-leaf waterleafLarge -leaf waterleaf, Hydrophyllum macrophyllum, has very pretty foliage.

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Cardamine concatenata, cutleaf toothwortCutleaf toothwort, Cardamine concatenata, is a spring ephemeral that naturalizes slowly to form a colony in the shade.

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Uvularia grandifloraLarge-flowered bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora, is one of my favorites.  It grows 1 to 2 feet tall, has unusual and elegant yellow flowers, and grows in full, dry shade.  I don’t know why this plant isn’t more popular, but it doesn’t sell well at my nursery even though I have big stands of it in my display gardens.

All the plants profiled are native to Pennsylvania and the East Coast.  If you would like to see if a plant is native to your state, the best place to look is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database.  All you do is put in the name of the plant and you will be shown a map of where it is native in the U.S.  I also have all these plants in my garden except toothwort and false meadow-rue, and I highly recommend them.

To read more about Longwood Gardens, follow these links:

Groundcovers, Thinking Outside the Box

Longwood Gardens Part 2: At Night

A Longwood New Year’s Eve

Cold Weather Antidote: Longwood’s Orchids

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 Spring Shrub Offer is now in full swing and orders are due May 18.  To read about the plants available and place an order, click here.  The 2013 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship.  If you are local, you can use the catalogue to see what miniatures are available at the nursery.

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.

European Wood Anemone, My Collection

Posted in bulbs for shade, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 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.

. Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'European wood anemone ‘Vestal’, Anemone nemorosa

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My last post highlighting my epimedium collection was very popular.  It set a new record for views in a single day.  It was also quite helpful in allowing me to document the collection in photographs.  That has inspired me to do a similar post introducing another relatively obscure group of plants blooming right now, European wood anemones or Anemone nemorosa.  I first saw them in Charles Cresson’s garden in 1995, and he gave me five cultivars to take home.  I have since increased that number to 13 (15 if you count the two that died).  I want to share this special plant with you and discuss its culture and garden uses.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'‘Vestal’ is a moderate spreader.

European wood anemone is what is often called a bulb ally.  It springs from skinny, stick-like rhizomes that spread through  leaf litter to form patches of beautiful flowers and leaves.  You can buy the dried rhizomes in the fall like other bulbs or you can buy growing plants in the spring from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens or other specialty nurseries.  Wood anemones grow in part to full shade and like woodland soil with lots of organic matter. I have never watered them, but I do mulch them with a covering of ground leaves in the fall.  The various cultivars spread at different rates in my woods from slow to fast.  I will indicate what type of spreader each one is in my garden, but it may depend entirely on my conditions and where each variety is planted

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A. nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'‘Robinsoniana’ is a gorgeous blue but a slow grower in my garden.

European wood anemones are a spring ephemeral.  They take advantage of the sunlight before the woody plants leaf out and then go dormant when it gets hot and shade prevails.  Although they disappear, they are still a good groundcover because the rhizomes are so thickly matted that no weeds can grow.  Just plant later emerging plants like ferns or hostas around them if the hole will bother you after they disappear.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Leeds Variety'‘Leed’s Variety’ spreads moderately.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Leed's Variety'‘Leed’s Variety’ has the biggest flowers, about 2″ wide, of any of my cultivars.

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European wood anemones bloom in the mid-Atlantic for the whole month of April and sometimes into May, depending on the weather.  Their plentiful flowers are 1 to 2″ wide and generally white, blue, and pink and can be double or semi-double.  Many of the cultivars are very similar in appearance.  The Royal Horticultural Society’s plant finder lists almost 100 varieties.  There are some closely related yellow-flowered forms as well as some weird green-flowered varieties, ‘Virescens’ and ‘Green Fingers’, both of which I have killed.  Wood anemones’ leaves are an attractive dark green with three deeply incised segments.  They form compact mounds about 6 to 8″ tall.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink‘ is a moderate grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink’

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A patch of wood anemones really lights up a woodland opening, and I like to let mine develop as big a swathe as they can manage.  They are native to the woodlands and shady banks of western Asia and the northern temperate zones of central Europe, including England where many cultivars have been selected.  According to the RHS, they are hardy to zone 5 and another source says zones 5 to 9, but you should do your own research before planting them if you are not in the mid-Atlantic.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'‘Bracteata’ is a fast grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'‘Bracteata’ is an unusual and very elegant form with the white flower color extending into the leafy bracts.

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European wood anemones are quite easy to grow and well worth adding to your garden if you can find them.  Here are some of my other cultivars:

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone, A. ranunculoides, is closely related to A. nemorosa.  It is the first to come into bloom and spreads quickly but not aggressively, even self-sowing.

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone

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Anemone nemorosa 'Lychette' ‘Lychette’ is a moderate spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Allenii' ‘Allenii’ is similar to ‘Robinsoniana’ but more silvery blue in color.  It is a moderate spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba' ‘Alba’ spreads slowly for me.

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Anemone nemorosa pink formI acquired this Anemone nemorosa from the old Heronswood Nursery in Washington with the name “pink form”.  It is a moderate grower.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'‘Alba Plena’ is very similar to ‘Vestal’ but it is a faster spreader.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'‘Alba Plena’

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Anemone x seemaniiAnemone x seemanii is a cross between A. ranunculoides and A. nemorosa, producing this lovely pale yellow flower.  It is a moderate grower.

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Anemone x seemaniiAnemone x seemanii

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Anemone nemorosa 'Blue Eye'I will end the profiles of my cultivars with this photo of the absolutely exquisite ‘Blue Eyes’, which I also got from Heronswood.

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Most of the plants in my woodland are allowed to form large patches for a natural look, and European wood anemone fits right in.  Here are some photos of how I use it:

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Anemone ranunculoidesYellow wood anemone filling a large area in front of Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppy.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bracteata'‘Bracteata’ edging a path with hellebores and checkered lily, Fritillaria meleagris, another self-seeder in my woods.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Lychette'‘Lychette’ on a shady slope with Celandine poppy.

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Anemone nemorrosa 'Vestal' and Anemone ranunculoides‘Vestal’ and Anemone ranunculoides edge a woodland path with ‘Alba’ across the way to the right of the Virginia bluebells.

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European wood anemones are for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  If you are not local or you want some of the really special cultivars,  you can order them from Arrowhead Alpines in Michigan, a great mail order nursery for unusual woodland plants.

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 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on the right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship. Next up locally is our hosta, fern, and hardy geranium open house sale on May 11—look for an email if you are on my customer email list (different than a blog subscription).

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.

Epimediums, My Collection

Posted in evergreen, groundcover, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 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.

. Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicumEpimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum, evergreen.

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Nan Ondra at the fabulous blog Hayfield recently praised my blog saying: “If you want to see how beautiful a spring garden can look here in southeastern Pennsylvania, I highly recommend popping over to Carolyn Walker’s blog, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. It’s where I go when I need a good dose of primroses, spring phlox, and other early-blooming beauties.”   A lot of Nan’s readers took her advice and visited my blog.  I have been trying to think of what I could do to thank Nan, not just for the recommendation, but for her advice when I started my blog and numerous consultations on selling my photos.  I decided that if she needs a dose of spring flowers, then epimediums are what she should have.  Nan, this post is for you!

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Epimedium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum spreads at a moderate pace and can be used as a groundcover, leaves flushed red in the spring.

I try not to let myself collect too many types of plants because it can interfere with good garden design.  But epimediums, also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, and rowdy lamb herb, are a plant I love so much that I collect them.  According to my records, I have almost 30 varieties.  That might seem like a lot, but there are actually hundreds of types of epimediums.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is the fastest spreading epimedium I have and makes an excellent groundcover, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa.  They are long-lived and easy to grow in part to full shade and are a great plant for dry shade.  Some of the more available varieties like ‘Sulphureum’, E. x rubrum, E. x warleyense, and ‘Frohnleiten’ spread readily but not quickly to form an attractive groundcover.  I grow mine all over my garden but mostly as specimens on the steep hill  in back between all my hostas (yes, I collect those too).  Their flowers are small but quite beautiful, elegant, and abundant.  Epimediums are a plant that needs to be viewed close up.  This time of year I walk around mesmerized by their beauty.

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Epimedium cantabrigienseEpimedium x cantabrigiense, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums bloom in April and May, and their flowers are breathtaking as you can see from the photos.  However, their leaves are just as beautiful with their elegant, unusual shapes.  They often come out flushed with bright colors in the spring, and many varieties have great fall color too.  Some are semi-evergreen to evergreen.  Epimediums range in height from 8 to 16″.

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Epimedium pubigerumEpimedium pubigerum, semi-evergreen.

Epimediums are perfectly suited to our mid-Atlantic climate, especially our new hotter, drier, drought prone climate.  A quick survey of the epimediums listed in the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder indicates that they are hardy from zones 4 or 5 to 8 or 9, but you should do your own research if you are not in the mid-Atlantic.  I usually choose a well-drained location because like hellebores they don’t tolerate poor drainage, and add compost at planting.  They are great under shallow-rooted trees and are deer resistant.

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Epimedium x warleyenseEpimedium x warleyense, spreading, from Miss Wilmott’s garden Warley Place, England, evergreen.

I sell up to 10 different types of epimediums at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens depending on the year.  There are seven for sale right now and now is the best time to view them in my garden.  But if you get hooked, then you need to know about Garden Vision Epimediums in Templeton, Massachusetts, 978-249-3863, epimediums@earhtlink.net.  Their catalogue lists at least a 150 epimediums and is encyclopedic with comprehensive descriptions and color photos plus zone information for each variety.  A visit to their Open Nursery Weekends, this year May 3 to 5 and 10 to 12, from 10 am to 4 pm, is a magical experience.

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Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten'Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’, tough and shiny evergreen leaves.

All the photos in this post were taken in my garden today.  I hope that you too will come to love this wonderful genus:

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Epimdium x versicolor 'Cupreum'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cupreum, look at those gorgeous leaves, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x 'Kaguyahime'Epimedium x ‘Kaguyahime’, probably my favorite epimedium for its lovely two-tone purple flowers and dagger-like, purple-mottled leaves, evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Yubae'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Yubae’, produces a second flush of leaves and flowers.

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Epimedium stellultum "Long Leaf Form"Epimedium stellulatum “Narrow Leaf Forms”, the first to bloom in my garden like a “flurry of small stars suspended above the spiny evergreen foliage”, Garden Vision catalogue.

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Epimedium x rubrum 'Sweetheart'Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’, later-blooming, notice the red rim around the semi-evergreen leaves.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Tama No Genpei'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Tama No Genpei’, I love this one too, re-blooming.

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Epimedium x versicolor 'Cherry Tart'Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium grandiflorum var. violaceumEpimedium grandiflorum var. violaceum, chocolate leaves in the spring.

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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Album'Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Album’, large pristine white flowers.

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Epimdium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit'Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’, later blooming but I had to show it, white flowers and tiny leaves rimmed with a dark purple band.

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Epimedium alpinum 'Shrimp Girl'Epimedium alpinum ‘Shrimp Girl’, I love the name and the coral-orange color on this diminutive but spreading cultivar, semi-evergreen.

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Epimedium x warleyense 'Orange Queen'Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orange Queen’, evergreen, here with Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’.

Here are some shots of mature patches of epimediums so you can get an idea of what they look like in the landscape:

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'‘Sulphureum’ just coming into bloom.  The leaves are just emerging too and will get much larger.

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Epimdium x rubrumEpimedium x rubrum with Spanish bluebells and early emerging Hosta lancifolia.

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Seven varieties of epimediums will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens’ open hours this weekend: Friday, April 19, 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, April 20, from 10 am to 2 pm.  If you are not local or you want some of the really special cultivars,  you can order them from Garden Vision Epimediums.

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 Miniature Hosta Mail Order Catalogue, containing choice selections of miniatures for shipping all over the US, is now on my right sidebar here, and we are ready to ship. Next up locally is our hosta, fern, and hardy geranium open house sale on May 11—look for an email if you are on my customer email list (different than a blog subscription).

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.

Native Plants 2013

Posted in groundcover, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 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.

Stylophorum diphyllum & Mertensia virginicaThis photo is one of my favorite shots of my native woodland which has huge swathes of some of the native plants that are particularly good spreaders, including Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and Celandine poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum.  For more photos of my woods and information on the natives I grow there click here.

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This weekend Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is holding its second annual Native Wildflower Weekend on Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.  This event is my seventh annual native plant event and is timed to coincide with my native woodland coming into bloom.  However, this is the coldest spring that I have experienced since starting Carolyn’s Shade Gardens 21 years ago.  The timetable for my events is the same but the plants in the ground and in the pots are on a totally different schedule—they didn’t get the memo, they think it’s early March.

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Polemonium reptansAnother shot of what my woods should look like with dwarf Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium reptans, in the foreground and native wild-ginger, Asarum canadense, in the background.  The Jacob’s ladder is visible right now, but the ginger has not even emerged from the mulch of ground leaves.

Normally I write a blog post around this time featuring native plants. That process usually involves heading out to the garden to take a lot of photos of my native plants to use in the article.  However, the only plants blooming right now are hellebores, pulmonarias, and many beautiful non-native bulbs—all my winter-blooming shade plants.  So I thought I would use some of my existing photos to show you what spring usually looks like and to highlight some native favorites.

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Senecio aureusThe woodland with golden groundsel, Senecio aureus, and Virginia bluebells.  Golden grounsel is a wonderful native plant with fragrant yellow flowers and wintergreen leaves.  It spreads aggressively to form an impermeable groundcover and should only be planted in places where its habit can be accommodated.  It is a wonderful replacement for pachysandra, vinca, or ivy.

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Phlox stolonifera 'Home Fires'‘Home Fires’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, is actually blooming in the pots for sale at my nursery.  You have to admire its courage!

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Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox is the best spreader for use in a shady woodland.  Creeping phlox should not be confused with moss phlox, P. subulata, which is also native but prefers part shade.

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Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'Lemon coral bells, Heuchera villosa ‘Citronelle’, keep their color all winter as do all the coral bells native to our area.  They are also tough as nails compared to the coral bells derived from western natives that don’t work here.

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Heuchera 'Green Spice' Terra Nova photo‘Green Spice’ coral bells have beautifully patterned leaves all winter.

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Spigelia marilandicaIndian pink, Spigelia marilandica, is a very flashy native that blooms in May and June and attracts hummingbirds.  It is dormant in the garden and in the pots right now.

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Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon'The lovely fragrant flowers of ‘Blue Moon’ wild sweet William, Phlox divaricata, are a great spreading addition to the woodland edge.

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Phlox divaricata 'May Breeze'‘May Breeze’ wild sweet William is a steely white.

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Lobelia cardinalisOne of my all time favorite native plants, cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, blooms in the fall and is a hummingbird magnet.

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Sanguinaria canadensisNo garden should be without bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis.

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Polemonium reptansDwarf Jacob’s ladder and Celandine poppy are equally vigorous and combine well.

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Podophyllum peltatumThe elegant leaf pattern of our native mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, is under-appreciated.

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Aquilegia canadensisAnother hummingbird attractor, wild columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, needs very good drainage.

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Asarum caudatumIf you like the shiny leaf of European ginger, the native long-tailed ginger, Asarum caudatum, from the west coast is a nice alternative.  It grows faster and is less picky about siting.
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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, is one of seven different colors that I will be selling this season.  Moss phlox is often seen in quite a bit of sun but it also thrives in part shade locations.  It likes to be well-drained.

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Jeffersonia diphyllaA treasured native, twin-leaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, has not even started to emerge yet.

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Camassia leichtlinii 'Coerulea'Another native of western US, ‘Caerulea’ camassia, C. leichtlinii, grows in the full shade of my woodland and in the sunny areas beside my lawn.

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Erythronium 'Pagoda'‘Pagoda’ dogtooth violets, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, are so happy in my woods that they have self-sowed all over.

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Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'My favorite time of year for the purple-leafed native geranium ‘Espresso’, G. maculatum, is when it first emerges in the spring.

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Tiarella cordifolia 'Brandywine'Foamflowers, Tiarella cordifolia, are a wonderful Pennsylvania native.  This is the spreading form ‘Brandywine’.

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Iris cristataIn well-drained locations, blue dwarf crested iris, I. cristata, spreads to make large colonies.

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Every photo in this post was taken in my garden.  If you live in the area, I hope you can visit when the plants are in bloom.  Meanwhile, if you want them in your garden, this weekend is your chance to acquire them.

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:  Our Native Wildflower Weekend takes place this Friday, April 5, from 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, April 6, from 10 am to 2 pm.  If you are a customer, you should have gotten an email with all the details. If you can’t come to an event, just email to schedule an appointment to shop.  If you wish to order shrubs, I will be doing a second order within the next week for customers who missed the deadline. 

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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