Archive for the How to Category

Fun with Mini Hostas in Containers

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, How to, miniature hosta, my garden, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

You can use all sorts of fun containers to house your mini hostas.  Here ‘Lakeside Cupcake’ and ‘Teaspoon’ (back row) and ‘Sun Mouse’ and ‘Munchkin Fire’ (front row) join mini hosta companion plants dwarf Solomon’s seal, European ginger, and dwarf lady fern in an old toolbox.

In May 2011, I wrote my fourth most popular post called Miniature (& Small) Hostas.  In it I introduced a number of mini hostas and showed how to use them in the ground and in containers.  To read it, click here.  In this post, I continue the container theme with some new pots and some new plants in the old pots.

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.

.

‘Twist of Lime’ in a flea market metal milk pitcher.

Whether you use a smaller container with a single plant like ‘Twist of Lime’ above or a collection of plants like those featured in the toolbox at the top, there are some important rules to follow.  First you must provide adequate drainage.  We drill holes in the bottom of our containers and then cover them with pieces of broken terra cotta pots so they don’t get clogged.  A layer of broken terra cotta in the bottom is even better.

.

‘Curly Fries’ continues to live in its re-purposed oil can.  It would be bigger and fuller in the ground, but I think it is perfect for this container.

Second, if you intend to leave the containers outside for the winter, which is what I do, they must be made of a material that can withstand freezing like stone, metal, concrete, plastic, or high quality glazed ceramic.  The plants in the container must also be able to withstand freezing, which hostas and all the companion plants I use are able to do.  I store the large containers in place and move the small ones to a protected area and cover them with pine needles.

.

Two small hostas with contrasting habits make good container companions, here ‘Stiletto’ and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.

.

Dwarf Solomon’s seal thrives in containers with hostas, filling in nicely.  This container has been going strong for six years.

.

A small trough with a selection of rock garden plants and featuring ‘Pandora’s Box’ hosta (lower left corner) wintered over perfectly on the wall by my front steps.

Third, the container must be filled with a potting medium that drains well.  Thanks to Janet Novak (who created this container) of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (DVC-NARGS), I use a mix of one third ProMix, one third vermiculite, and one third small gravel like coarse builders sand or turkey grit.  The DVC-NARGS is a great organization with wonderful speakers and events.  If you are local you should consider joining, click here

Those are the basics: now it is up to you to fill the pots.  Here are some ideas from my containers:

.

A close up view of my toolbox, showing the contrasting textures, colors, and habits of the hostas, ginger, Solomon’s seal, and fern.

.

This is a view of the top of my glazed strawberry pot filled with 17 different mini hostas.

.

I have had this dish garden in full shade along my front steps for years.  It features the bright gold of ‘Appletini’ and ‘Cracker Crumbs’ mini hostas, among others, and ‘Purple Form’ and ‘Tricolor’ sedum along with European ginger, which adds great shiny, round texture.

.

This antique stone trough filled with Mouse Ears hostas, my personal favorites, has been going for years too.  This end holds ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Green Mouse Ears’, and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, among others.

A view of the other end of the Mouse Ears trough, featuring clockwise from upper left: dwarf Solomon’s seal, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, dwarf lady fern, ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’, ‘Mighty Mouse’, ‘Voodoo’ purple sedum, and ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’.

.

There will be hand-carved, antique, solid stone troughs for sale on Saturday at the open house for you to use to create you own containers filled with a colorful collection of minis and companions.  Four are available, first come, first served!

I hope you can stop by on Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm and see all my mini hostas containers in my garden. They are a lot of fun!

Carolyn

.

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

Advertisements

Edgeworthia Update

Posted in garden to visit, How to, my garden, Shade Shrubs, winter interest with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Edgeworthia chrysanthaThis is still the best photo that I have of an edgeworthia in bloom despite dozens of photos taken since my 2012 blog post.  Edgeworthias without leaves are very hard to capture in a photograph.  Photo taken by Rhoda Maurer and used with the permission of the Scott Arboretum.  Scott Arboretum, March 2006

On December 10, 2012, I wrote an article for my blog entitled “A Shrub for all Seasons: Edgeworthia”, click here to read it.  This post is my fifth most viewed of all posts since I started my blog in November of 2010.  That’s saying a lot as my blog is just about to reach 2 million views!  There are also 137 comments and responses on the post from readers all over the US and abroad.  Readers are so interested in edgeworthias that I decided it was time to cover the topic again. 

And my wholesale supplier just notified me that they will actually have edgeworthias in stock this spring so I can satisfy the demand that is usually created by showing photos of this elegant and unusual shrub.  Send an email if you want to reserve one, sorry no mail order.

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.

.

edgeworthia-chrysantha-3-6-2016-9-44-03-pmThis edgeworthia in bloom won a blue ribbon in March of 2016 at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the world’s largest indoor flower show.  Like the first photo, it shows the lovely rounded habit that can be achieved through judicious pruning and a part sun location.

Four years after my first post, edgeworthias are still very rare, and available cultural information remains sparse.  In this post, I will let you know what I have learned in the last four years, but keep in mind that my observations are hardly scientific.  I am not going to repeat anything in my previous post so if you are new to this plant, I suggest you read that article first, including the comments, click here.

.

edgeworthia-chrysantha-3-21-2016-6-39-29-pmThe beautiful and wonderfully fragrant flowers of edgeworthia.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, March 2016

First and foremost, I can say with even more assurance than in 2012 that edgeworthias are hardy in southeastern Pennsylvania, US, and surrounding areas.  We are in USDA hardiness zone 7 with an average annual minimum temperature of 0 to 10 degrees F (-17.8 to -12.2 C).  In January of 2014, the weather for the suburbs of Philadelphia, where Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is located, repeatedly dipped into this range and below.  In spring of 2014, all the established edgeworthias that I have been following remained alive and are still thriving.  However, most of them did not bloom that spring as the buds were frozen.  Some had stem damage but have since recovered robustly.  To put this in perspective though, many shrubs with borderline hardiness for our area died that winter.

.

Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe buds, tropical looking leaves, and cinnamon red stems of edgeworthia in fall.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 2015

.

Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe buds in winter are my favorite phase of edgeworthia although it is lovely 365 days a year.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, January 2015

The only other new hardiness information I have comes from Andrew Bunting, the former Curator of Plants at the Scott Arboretum and now Assistant Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Andrew points out that there are actually two species of edgeworthia, E. chrysantha and E. papyrifera.   Although they are sometimes treated as synonymous, Andrew thinks they are distinct species.  In his experience, E. papyrifera is much weaker in growth than E. chrysantha.  Commenters on my first post agree with Andrew’s assessment.  The orange-flowered edgeworthia ‘Akebono’ is apparently a cultivar of E. papyrifera, although some sources disagree.  My wholesale supplier doesn’t carry it because it hasn’t proved hardy for them.  

.

Edgeworthia at ScottThis photo shows a very large edgeworthia in bud in the Winter Garden at the Scott Arboretum.  The location faces south in an exposed but part shade area.  March 2013

.

Edgeworthia Scott Arboretum Fall 2014The same edgeworthia in September 2014.

What else have I learned?  Sources generally describe edgeworthia’s ultimate height and width as much smaller than is actually the case.  For example, my favorite source for plant information, Missouri Botanic Garden lists the height and width as 4′ by 6′.  Edgeworthias in our area grown in part shade grow to a minimum of 6′ by 6′, and the one at the Scott Arboretum in the photos above is probably 8′ by 8′.  If they are grown in a sunnier spot, they are shorter and more compact but still quite large.  If you read the reader comments on my first post, which are a great source for information about edgewothias in different locations and climates, many people have been surprised by the size of their edgeworthia and have had to prune it drastically or move it.  Luckily, it responds well to their pruning (I have never pruned mine).

.

edgeworthia-chrysantha-11-18-2016-2-29-43-pmMy unpruned edgeworthia is much larger than planned and is currently trying to eat my lion’s head Japanese maple.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 18, 2016

.

Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia leaves turn yellow in the fall and sporadically through out the year.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 7, 2015

.

Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe leaves also droop when the weather turns cold.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 23, 2015

.

edgeworthia-chrysantha-11-6-2016-3-58-01-pmEdgeworthias in sunnier locations go through the fall transformation earlier and have a longer ugly duckling stage before the exquisite buds emerge from the yellow, droopy leaves.  Scott Arboretum, November 6, 2016.

It is normal for the old leaves on edgeworthias to turn yellow and fall off through out the season.  This has been a cause for concern for many readers, but it is something that can be ignored.  In the fall all the leaves droop, turn yellow, and fall off unveiling the beautiful silver buds.  The leaves also droop when it is really hot out.  I think this is a natural protective measure in response to the temperature and not necessarily a sign that supplemental water is required.  Other plants in my garden do this, ligularias come to mind.  I have never watered my edgeworthia, even during the extended drought and high temperatures this past summer and fall.  It is quite healthy.

.

Edgeworthia Scott Arboretum Fall 2014A group of three edgeworthias behind the Scott Arboretum offices on the Swarthmore College campus.  September 2014

.

edgeworthia-chrysantha-1-18-2017-2-11-10-amThe same group in January 2017.  I feel like the edgeworthias on the Swarthmore campus are old friends as I visit them so often.  If you are in this area and want to see edgeworthia specimens in a  variety of cultural conditions, you should visit the Scott Arboretum.
.
Two final cultural pointers:  I have concluded that edgeworthias grow best in part sun to part shade in an east-facing location.  However, several southern gardeners have written in that they grow it in full sun, and it thrives.  No one has mentioned success in full shade.  Also, my original edgeworthia was planted quite close to two gigantic black walnuts.  Although it has never died completely, it has slowly declined to the point where it is almost nonexistent.  This is not scientific evidence of susceptibility to walnut toxicity, but I would recommend avoiding walnuts when siting edgeworthia.

.

 
Edgeworthia Chanticleer Fall 2014Chanticleer also has a nice specimen in the courtyard near the swimming pool.  October 2014
.
Edgeworthia Cresson Garden Fall 2014A large specimen in Charles Cresson’s garden.  October 2014

Let’s keep this conversation going.  If you are growing edgeworthia, please leave a comment describing your experience with it, especially if you are north of the Delaware Valley area.

Carolyn

.

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

2017 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS)

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

 

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

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

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

Carolyn

.

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

Curating a Plant Collection: Snowdrops or Otherwise

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, my garden, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus reginae-olgaeGalanthus reginae-olgae is the earliest snowdrop to bloom in my garden, around the third week of October.

My garden is not a collection of plants, especially those that require any sort of extra maintenance.  If you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, you will see that most plantings are quite natural looking with a focus on natives.  However, there are a few exceptions, and most of you know by now that I am an unapologetic collector of snowdrops.  I also sell snowdrops, click here for the 2017 catalogue, and some of them are quite pricey, so I thought it would be helpful if I explained how I keep track of mine.  This system can be used for any plant collection.

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.

.

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude' elwesii‘Potter’s Prelude’ always flowers by mid-November and, weather permitting, continues into January.

My system involves written records on my computer and physical markings in the garden.  There may be a fancy computerized plant database available, but I use a simple table with columns in a Word document.  The first column is alphabetical and lists the complete botanical name of the snowdrop, including the species and cultivar names if applicable, e.g., Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  The remaining columns describe the pertinent information about the snowdrop for each location in the garden: date planted, exact location, number of plants, and source.

.

Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle'This is the ‘Brenda Troyle’ planting that corresponds to the first location entry below. 

For example, ‘Brenda Troyle’ is listed in column one as Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’ as it is a hybrid with no species name like elwesii or nivalis.  Column two describes location one: “2012, front walk next to Dbl Rose hellebore, 2 Cresson.”  Column three describes location two: “2014, carriage house 2nd bed on left, moved 1 Cresson.”  It is very important that the location description is as detailed as possible so that if all your outdoor markings disappear, you still know where your snowdrop is located.

.

Galanthus elwesii ex Montrose GardensAnother snowdrop blooming right now is Nancy Goodwin’s fall-blooming G. elwesii var. monostictus, which she shared with me in 2013.  At the back of the clump is the metal tag and peeking out in front is the plastic stake.

Out in the garden, each snowdrop gets two markers.  The first is a 10″ zinc plant marker produced by Bosmere, item H185, in sets of 10.  Included is a carbon pencil, but I don’t use that to write on the markers.  All labels in my garden are inscribed with an opaque paint marker made by Uchida, Decolor 200-S Black, and available at art supply stores.   All other writing materials, including pencils and “permanent markers” wear off.  I place the metal plant marker directly behind the snowdrop and record the full name, date acquired, and source.

.

dscn7338Bosmere zinc plant markers

.

dscn8464opaque paint marker

.

dscn7335.

dscn7336A paint marker is used to record the name, date acquired and source.

.

Each snowdrop is also marked with a second tag directly in front of the plant.  For this, I use a 6″ Rapiclip plant label made by Luster Leaf in packages of 50.  These plastic stakes are long and sturdy but flexible, not brittle.  They can be pushed almost all the way into the ground and bend instead of breaking if you step on them.  I write the same information on them with a paint marker.

.

dscn7337Rapiclip plant labels

.

dscn7339

.

dscn7340
.
Galanthus 'Foxgrove Magnet'‘Foxgrove Magnet’ with its metal marker behind and plastic tag in front.
.
dscn8458There are variations on my marking scheme.  For example, this bed has random, unnamed, fall-blooming G. elwesii.  Each clump has a plastic tag behind it describing its special characteristics, if any.
.
dscn8459I am superstitious so if I plant dormant snowdrops in the fall, they get a reused plastic tag and part of a bamboo garden stake until they come up in the spring.
.
dscn8460I also use bamboo poles, hammered solidly into the ground, if the snowdrops are planted in an area where a lot of leaves fall and obscure the metal and plastic stakes.  The photo below shows what I found under the leaves.
.
dscn8452I may not have remembered that this snowdrop grouping was there if it hadn’t been marked with the bamboo stake.

.

I realize that not everyone is obsessed with snowdrops, but this system can be used for any plant collection that has grown to the point where its size exceeds the mental capacity of the collector  :-).  I grow about 30 varieties of epimediums and keep a chronological handwritten record plus metal and plastic markers outside.  European wood anemones get metal tags and a handwritten list.  Mini hostas are marked with plastic tags and recorded haphazardly.  The rest of the plants have to rely on invoices and various notations in garden journals.  Every winter I consider making a complete database of all the plants at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens but the prospect is daunting.

Carolyn

.

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

.

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

.

Hosta 'Twist of Lime'

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

.

.Hosta Little Wonder

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

.
Hosta Lemon Lime
‘Lemon Lime’ is an outstanding groundcover hosta.
.

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.

.

Hosta Green with Envy

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

.

Hosta Rock Prince

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

.

Hosta Baby Bunting

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

.

Hosta Lemon Delight

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

.

Hosta Dragon Tails

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

.

Carolyn

.

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

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

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

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

Late Fall Interest at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in Camellias, Fall, Fall Color, How to, landscape design, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Magnolia virginianaThe sunrise lights up the heavy frost outlining the semi-evergreen leaves of native sweetbay magnolia.

At Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in southeastern Pennsylvania, US, colorful fall foliage is mostly gone and deciduous trees and shrubs are no longer the focus of garden interest.  We must rely on other plants to take over where fall color left off and help us satisfy our goal of providing ornamental interest 365 days a year.  At this point, every plant still thriving assumes greater value in the garden, and we look to the understory to draw us outside for a stroll.  Here are some of my favorites for December:

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.

.

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'The berries of native winterberry hollies stand out in the landscape after their leaves have dropped.  In my garden, robins strip the berries fairly early in the season, but I have noticed that in most locations they persist well into the winter.

.

Cyclamen hederifoliumFall-blooming hardy cyclamen is done blooming, but the leaves are gorgeous all winter.  If you look closely, they all have a different pattern like a snowflake.  Although I plant them where I want them, they move and thrive in sites of their own choosing.  Here they were planted at the front of the bed and moved to the back directly at the base of a stone wall, one of their favorite sites.

.

Here ants moved the cyclamen seeds about 30 to 40 feet up hill all around the base of a gigantic London plane tree where they have filled in and thrived.  This is not an area of the garden that I visit often so you can imagine my surprise when I found this display.  An Italian arum made the trek too.

.

Sasa veitchiiKuma bamboo grass, Sasa veitchii, has plain green leaves during the season but acquires this elegant white edge for the winter.  I planted my sasa over 10 years ago, and this is the first time that it has spread to a decent patch.  Generally it is considered quite aggressive.

.

Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata'Variegated East Indian holly fern, Arachnoides simplicior ‘Variegata’, is a beautiful evergreen fern.  Before you go looking for it though, I think it is borderline hardy here and it doesn’t thrive.

.

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude' elwesiiFall-blooming snowdrops like ‘Potter’s Prelude’ pictured here are a highlight of the fall season starting around October 15 and continuing until early main season snowdrops take over in January.

.

Epimedium stellulatum "Long Leaf Form"This photo could show any number of my evergreen epimediums, but this is E. stellulatum “Long Leaf Form”.  They all have very interesting and attractive leaves which persist until spring when I cut them back.

.

Pennisetum 'Moudry'Black fountain grass, Pennisetum ‘Moudry’, remains my favorite grass.  After a few hard frosts, it turns a lovely tan.  It does move around quite a bit but has never gone anywhere that I didn’t want it in 20 years.  It is downright invasive for others though, so beware.

.

Arum italicum 'Gold Rush'Italian arum stays fresh and beautiful all winter—it goes dormant in the summer instead.  This cultivar is ‘Gold Rush’.

.

Arum itlaicum selected seedlingAnother Italian arum with much more white on the leaves—for comparison a typical arum leaf is on the left of the photo.  It is possible to get a variety of leaf forms from specialized nurseries.

.

Chionanthus retusus 'China Snow'Chinese fringe trees, Chionanthus retusus, produce lovely dark blue berries in the fall which persist after the leaves drop.  This plant is the superior form ‘China Snow’.

.

Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia is beautiful all year round but especially during late fall and winter when the large silver buds start to swell.  The leaves turn bright yellow and drop, leaving the bare branches covered with delicate silver ornaments.

.

Camelia x 'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ camellia blooms in November and December with large, semi-double white flowers.

.

Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'-001‘Winter’s Joy’ camellia

.

Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'-003‘Winter’s Joy’ produces hundreds of buds.  When a hard frost turns the open flowers brown, new buds open and flowers cover the plant again as soon as it gets warmer.  Although this is usually the case, it didn’t happen during the last two winters when the buds froze early.

.

Camellia oleifera 'Lu Shan Snow'The tea camellia ‘Lu Shan Snow’, C. oleifera, is particularly cold tolerant and has thrived in my garden for almost 20 years.  Camellias planted from 2013 on have been very hard to establish in the garden due to our unseasonably cold temperatures during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 winters.  The camellias that I planted prior to 2013 have all thrived.

.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Fall Foliage Color at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, How to, landscape design, my garden, native plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-0011Japanese maples are a great source of November fall color because they lose their leaves later than most other trees.

At Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, the landscape provides ornamental interest 365 days a year.  To make this happen, I expect most trees and shrubs to have at least two ornamental qualities peaking at different times before they are given precious garden space.  Ornamental interest can come from flowers, fruit, bark, leaves, habit, texture, and fall color.  Brightly colored fall leaves are a wonderful way to extend your garden’s interest through November.  Some of my favorite fall foliage stars are profiled below.      

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.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-006Native oakleaf hydrangeas turn beautiful shades of red and then burgundy over a long period of time.  The leaves in the upper left of the photo are still green while the foliage in the upper right is deep burgundy.  I also grow oakleaf hydrangea for its fresh and dried flowers, peeling bark, unusually shaped large leaves, walnut and dry shade tolerance, and tropical texture.  It is a true four-season star.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-003Plants in the witch hazel family often have elegant leaves and beautiful fall colors, and winter hazel, Corylopsis, is no exception.  Here it is surrounded by ‘All Gold’ Japanese hakone grass.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade GardensThe lovely purple spots on the leaves of ‘Katherine Adele’ hardy geranium darken as the fall progresses.  In mid-November, as other perennials go dormant around it, ‘Katherine Adele’ fills out and reaches an ornamental peak.  I also grow it for its pretty pink flowers in spring.  However, I grow many varieties of hardy geranium and this variety is the worst for self-sowing, and the seedlings are hard to remove.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-005‘Mohawk’ viburnum resulted from a cross between Burkwood hybrid and Korean spicebush viburnums.  It is a medium-sized shrub with elegant and highly fragrant flowers.  ‘Mohawk’, a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society gold medal winner, is particularly treasured for its stunning and log-lasting fall color.  I also love the rose-red buds that precede the white flowers in April.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-004My grove of native pawpaws turns a beautiful yellow in the fall.  Very easy to grow, pawpaws produce an abundance of edible fruit with a taste and texture resembling banana-mango-pineapple custard.  Fruit production is enhanced by planting two different cultivars.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-007Native flowering dogwood, on the left above, turns a gorgeous red in the fall.  Its flowers, fruit, bark, and habit are also highly ornamental. 

Witch hazels have a very unique yellow-orange fall color that stands out in the landscape.  ‘Angelly’, on the right above, is my favorite witch hazel because of its striking, bright yellow, spring flowers, which made my choice easy when I was confronted with a greenhouse full of hundreds of witch hazels in bloom.  ‘Angelly’s’ flowers stood out.   It also has the crucial ability to shed its old leaves.  Witch hazel flowers blooming among hundreds of old brown leaves are not attractive and removing the leaves by hand is a chore.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-002Another perennial that comes into its own in the fall is Ruby Glow euphorbia or wood spurge.  The leaves and stems darken as the season progresses and are much more purple now than when I took this photo on November 7.  I also value Ruby Glow for its unusual chartreuse flowers in spring and its upright, shrub-like habit.  Although its common name is wood spurge, it prefers a sunny location.

.

DSCN7098Japanese maples have stunning fall color very late in the fall foliage season.  They can self sow prolifically and have sometimes been called invasive.  This tree was a seedling that appeared in my garden in the right place at the right time.  In the lower right of the photo are the beautiful yellow leaves of native ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-008Generally unselected Japanese maples have red fall color.  However, I prefer the seedlings that have yellow or orange foliage in fall.  The above seedling growing out of the side of a giant London plane tree in my nursery sales area has multi-colored leaves.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens1If you are considering adding a Japanese maple to your garden, you can choose from the hundreds of cultivars selected from Acer palmatum.  The variety of sizes, leaf shapes, habits, fall colors, etc., available is amazing.  Pictured above and at the top of the post is ‘Shishigashira’ or lion’s head Japanese maple, one of my favorites.  It is under-planted with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium and fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, fall stars in their own right.

.

Fall Foliage 2015 Carolyn's Shade Gardens-009I will end this post with a photo of three spectacular native plants.  The taller tree is yellowwood, valued as a medium-sized shade tree with beautiful, fragrant flowers and striking yellow fall color.  The small tree is a flowering dogwood discussed earlier in the post.  The shrub with the orange fall color is a flame azalea, one of our stunning native deciduous rhododendrons.

.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

%d bloggers like this: