Archive for the landscape design Category

Native Plants for June and Beyond

Posted in garden to visit, green gardening, landscape design, my garden, native plants, organic gardening, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Indian pink or spigelia is the most requested plant at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  None of our suppliers have any luck growing it in pots, so we are trying to grow it ourselves for sale in 2020.

A long time ago, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens made sustainable practices one of its missions.   We have fulfilled this in many ways, including making a wide range of native plants available to our customers, showcasing native plants in our display gardens, and getting rid of our lawn.  Since we purchased the property in 1983, all our gardens have been maintained organically without herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or supplemental water.  We mulch with ground leaves, and never use potentially toxic hardwood mulch.

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 to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of 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.

 

The long spires of black cohosh are one of the highlights of our garden in June.

You can read more about our sustainable practices and why they are important in these posts: 

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

Your Native Woodland: If You Build it They Will Come, Part 2, more native plants for your woodland

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 humans, pets, and the environment 

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

Strike a Blow for the Environment in your own Yard, how to incorporate large quantities of native plants into your garden

Looking back over these posts, I realized that many of them feature native plants that bloom in the spring.  As 2/3 of the plants in our display gardens are native, I wanted to highlight some of the summer- and fall-blooming varieties.  Every photo is taken in our garden, and every plant is native, most to Pennsylvania.  If you want to know the Latin name, click on the photo.

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We have two gigantic walnuts in our display gardens and have no trouble growing native plants under them.  Shown here is oakleaf hydrangea, my favorite of all the hydrangeas, surrounded by blue wood asters, which bloom in October.

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My favorite oakleaf hydrangea is ‘Snowflake’ with gorgeous double flowers.  Double flowers are not as good for pollinators, so the majority of our oakleafs have single flowers.

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Blue wood asters and foamflowers make a weed-free groundcover under our walnuts.

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Coral bells or heucheras add color to the garden all season.  However, many of the coral bells marketed to gardeners do not grow well in the mid-Atlantic.  At Carolyn’s Shade Gardens we only sell heucheras that thrive in this region, including my favorite ‘Berry Smoothie’.

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Our woodland is quiet in summer and fall but blooming along the entrance path is the native shrub, flowering raspberry.  I love it for its light green almost tropical leaves and large raspberry-colored flowers.

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Maidenhair ferns with their delicate and unusual leaf pattern and wiry black stems are ornamental all season.  They spread slowly to make a bigger and bigger patch.

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Our Ashe magnolia with its gigantic white flowers just finished blooming.  At its feet are sweeping stands of culver’s root, which will bloom in late July and August.

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White baneberry is just starting to make its creepy fruit, which looks just like its other common name: doll’s eyes.  I like everything about this plant—its delicate shrub-like habit, lovely white flowers, and unique berries.

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The yellow and green variegated leaves of ‘Golden Shadows’ pagoda dogwood are beautiful all season, while the spiderwort at its base produces lovely blue flowers now, and the New York ironweed next to it will bloom in August and September.

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Giant Solomon’s seal on the right towers over non-native Solomon’s seal to its left.  In the foreground is twinleaf, whose elegant and unsual leaves look good all season.

.Evergreen hart’s tongue fern (in front) provides interest all year.  In the back, our gigantic stand of bottlebrush buckeye is getting ready to put on its breath-taking show.

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We have had no luck with native bleeding-hearts, which we have tried in many different locations in the garden, until it planted itself in the stump of our dead ash tree.  Sometimes you have to let the plants decide where they want to grow!

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Indian pink on the left with variegated ‘Oehme’ palm sedge on the right and fall-blooming blue stemmed goldenrod at its base.  Palm sedge is a great grass for shade—it happily grows in full shade in our garden.

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Indian pink enjoys this sunny, dry location, even re-blooming in the fall.  Over it is a fringe tree, which blooms in late spring.

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We are not native plant purists as our business also specializes in snowdrops, hellebores, and hostas.  However, we believe that gardeners should try to incorporate as many native plants in their gardens as possible for the reasons that author Doug Tallamy so eloquently describes in his ground-breaking book Bringing Nature Home.  It’s not about saving the planet: it’s about the survival of humans, including our children and grandchildren, on the planet.

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.

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The Garden Tourist

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, hosta, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The cover of The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker features the teacup garden at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which is 10 minutes from our nursery.  Many of our out-of-state visitors tour Chanticleer and shop at our nursery on the same day.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selected as one of the 120 must visit destination gardens and nurseries in the Northeast United States in the wonderful guidebook The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker.  This book is a great resource for those of us who love to visit gardens as it covers Maine through Pennsylvania with detailed information on each entry, including photos, suggested daily itineraries, and nearby restaurants.  You can purchase The Garden Tourist on Amazon here, or at Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Pennsylvania, if you are local. 

I have visited, photographed, and written about many of the destinations included in the book, so, from personal experience, I can say that they are well-chosen.  As a sample, here are the featured Pennsylvania gardens and nurseries:  Ambler Arboretum, Bartram’s Garden, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, Chanticleer, Highlands Mansion & Garden, Hortulus Farm Garden & Nursery, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm, Shofuso Japanese Garden, Scott Arboretum, Terrain, and Wyck Garden.

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 to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of 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.

 

The Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page from The Garden Tourist.

We are so honored to be included in this wonderful garden resource.  Many of our customers have already purchased it and are looking forward to putting it to use.  One longtime customer even brought his copy over so I could autograph the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page!  I thought it would be fun to give my readers, especially my international followers, a more in depth photographic tour of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  The photographs used in this post were taken from 2010 to 2019.  Enjoy!

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Stone stairs lead from the nursery area, past the original entrance to the two-room gardener’s cottage that is now our home, to the Main Terrace.  All the areas of our garden have names, which I will capitalize.  That way my husband Michael and I can communicate about garden maintenance.  During our last open house, visitors were overheard referring to “the team of workers who [must] take care of the gardens.”  We are still laughing and wondering when our team will arrive!  Michael does most of the maintenance, and I help when I can.  5/7/2012

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On the way down the stairs, you pass the entrance to the Main Rock Garden.  It is mostly a winter garden filled with snowdrops, snowflakes, hardy cyclamen, winter aconite, and other early bulbs.  4/25/2016

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The Main Terrace outside the front door in early spring.  4/15/2012

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The Main Terrace a month later.  5/15/2015

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Michael’s pride and joy and a major feature of the Main Terrace is our gorgeous wisteria.  Plein Air painters come to capture it on canvas every year.  4/29/2011

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One of my favorite color combinations on the Main Terrace: ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding-heart, and Spanish bluebells emerging from a silver-variegated ornamental grass.  4/15/2012

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We call the lowest of our three terraces the Orange and Purple Garden.  Here ‘Paliban’ lilac blooms over a collection of small hostas with orange geum in the foreground.  5/10/2015

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The Orange and Purple Garden features a grass oval surrounded by stepping stones inter-planted with sedums, geums, thyme, moss phlox and other low plants.  5/8/2011

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The Orange and Purple Garden in fall when our coral bark maple ‘Sango-kaku’ is the star of the show.  11/2/2013

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in front of the terraces in the lawn area is a very old American hornbeam with lots of surface roots and a dense canopy requiring plants that can handle full dry shade.  The Hornbeam Garden features Japanese woodland primroses (in flower above), Athyrium-type ferns (Japanese painted, lady, and ‘Ghost’ ferns), hellebores, cardamine, golden groundsel, and pulmonarias, among other plants.  4/15/2012

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The Chain Link Strip Garden (don’t ask) along the right boundary of our property is a great place to grow hostas because all the water from the driveway drains through here—hostas love water.  Blue-leafed ‘Neptune’ is on the left, and 2007 Hosta of the Year ‘Paradigm’ is on the right behind a native Carolina allspice.  ‘Paradigm’ measures 60″ wide.  6/7/2019

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Native ‘Golden Shadows’ pagoda dogwood is dwarfed by this ‘Great Expectations’ hosta in the Chain Link Strip Garden.  Hosta experts tell me it is the biggest specimen they have ever seen at 52″ wide.  6/7/2019

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All the way at the bottom of the yard where it is actually consistently moist are our Production Beds where we grow shade plants to sell at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Pictured are ‘Old Brick Reds’ primroses, two types of pulmonaria, and golden groundsel.  5/10/2015

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Walking back uphill towards the woodland, you pass our River of Phlox ‘Sherwood Purple’.  Native, evergreen creeping phlox makes an excellent groundcover with gorgeous purple, blue, pink or white flowers, depending on which cultivar you plant.  In the River, we have planted a large part of our snowdrop collection, which blooms December through March before the phlox flowers extend.  4/24/2019

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In late winter, snowdrops and winter aconite begin to emerge along the woodland path.  3/2/2019

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The snowdrops have been multiplying here for over 100 years and fill the Woodland with white when they open.  3/26/2015

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When the snowdrops and aconite are done, the Woodland bursts into bloom with mostly native wildflowers—the native, white redbud trees play a starring role.  4/15/2019

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Plants native to Pennsylvania fill the Woodland, here mayapples, golden groundsel, and Virginia bluebells.  4/25/2017

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Epimediums, daffodils, cinnamon ferns, and Celandine poppies replace the February-blooming aconite whose leaves are still visible at their base.  4/26/2015

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Natives dwarf Jacob’s ladder, black cohosh, and foamflower line the path.  5/10/2015

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The Lower Deck Garden provides early color from hellebores, ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, pink old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and the rose-colored new leaves of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple.  4/26/2015

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The Upper Deck Garden comes into its own later in May with Hosta nigrescens, pulmonaria, Spanish bluebells, and variegated Solomon’s seal, all echoing the blue and silver garden under the Kentucky coffee tree across the path.  ‘Butterfly’ has assumed its main season color of green and white but will turn pink again in the fall.  5/6/2011

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The Kentucky Coffee Tree Garden across from the deck is filled with silver and blue plants, including ‘Ghost’ fern, ‘Bunny Blue’ sedge, ‘El Nino’ hosta, white bigroot geranium, variegated Japanese kerria, and ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Dawson’s White’ brunnera.  5/27/2012

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Sugar maples, behind the Kentucky coffee tree on the left and the two giant black walnuts center and right, light up the woodland in fall.  For scale the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is on the far right.  10/27/2010

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Moving up the hill, ‘Eye Declare’ hosta steals the show when it emerges in the Sycamore Garden in mid-spring (for orientation, you can see the Blue and Silver Garden in the top right of the photo).  The trees are actually London plane trees but the garden’s name stuck.  5/8/2011

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In early summer, native Indian pinks (spigelia) fill the Sycamore Garden and hummingbirds vsit from miles around.  6/7/2019

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Above the Sycamore Garden, behind the carriage house, is Hosta Hill, filled with hostas of all sizes plus epimediums, ferns, and hellebores.  5/26/2019

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I have a special place in my heart for our Mini Hosta Rock Garden, featuring mini hostas in a multitude of colors and sizes plus a wide assortment of dwarf plants, including ferns, irises, epimediums, conifers, lady’s mantles, and sedums, among others.  6/9/2015

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The garden is never without flowers unless deep snow covers the snowdrops, which start blooming in mid-October and finish in late March.  12/10/2013

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Michael and I rest in deep winter waiting for the cycle to begin again as soon as the snow melts.  2/21/2014

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Although it may seem like winter-, spring-, and early summer-blooming plants predominate, our garden is beautiful in late summer and fall too—I just don’t photograph it then.  I enjoyed writing this post and seeing our garden develop and change over the 10 years that these photographs were taken.  I hope you enjoyed the tour too.

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.

What’s Up at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens?

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Just a few days ago our woodland was empty, but now it is filled with flowers.

We think that the winter garden at our nursery is gorgeous.  But it is still sparse with lots of empty patches of brown leaves even though it is filled with blooming hellebores, snowdrops, cyclamen, winter aconite, and other late winter bulbs.  It’s not until early spring that our woodland explodes with color, mostly from native plants taking advantage of all the sunlight before the trees leaf out.  I thought you might like to see what that looks like, especially if you visited more than a week ago.  Our many epimediums are also in full bloom!

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 to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of 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.

 

a small field of native Virginia blue bells

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Epimediums and European wood anemones play a starring role.

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Native cinnamon ferns erupt through the winter aconite.

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Even with all the color below, the three native white-flowered redbuds steal the show.

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Pine needle paths draw visitors through the woods.

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Yellow and blue are my favorite spring colors: here Virginia bluebells with native Celandine poppy and yellow wood anemone.

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Yellow and white is pretty stunning too: here Celandine poppy and white wood anemone.

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‘New York Night’ hellebore and native yellow violets

And now for the epimediums:

Red epimedium, E. x rubrum, is a great spreader.

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Sulphur yellow epimediums, E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum, look great with the blue of pulmonarias.

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‘Purple Prince’ epimedium with ‘Pagoda’ dogtooth violets in the background.

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‘Cherry Tart’ epimedium

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The leaves and flowers of ‘Domino’ epimedium are especially lovely, and it flowers twice.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium

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I love orange flowers, and Epimedium x warleyense produces a lot.  It’s also a great groundcover.

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‘Bandit’ epimdium is the perfect size for my miniature hosta rock garden, and its white flowers really stand out against its black-bordered leaves.

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I love this combination: ‘Tama No Gempi’ epimedium and ‘Little Wonder’ mini hosta.

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I had to leave so much out—maybe there will be a part two.

Carolyn

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

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

The Ringling in Sarasota, Florida

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Michelangelo’s David, the symbol of the City of Sarasota, Florida, is the centerpiece of the Italianate piazza at The Ringling.

Just outside Sarasota, Florida, is The Ringling, a very unique cluster of museums set in a lovely 20-acre garden along the shore of Sarasota Bay.  The grounds and one of the museums were the home of John (1866 to 1936) and Mable (1875 to 1929) Ringling.  John Ringling is most famous as the owner, along with his four brothers, of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, “The Greatest Show on Earth”.  However, he had many other business interests and accumulated almost $200 million in the 1920s.

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 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.

 

The Venetian Gothic gateway where the Ringlings welcomed their guests is now the entrance to the art museum.

The Ringlings purchased the property in 1911 and went on to own almost 25% of the land in Sarasota.  Between 1924 and 1926, Mable Ringling personally oversaw the construction of a $1.5 million Venetian Gothic palace on the banks of the bay.  Called “Ca’d’Zan” or House of John, it is five stories tall and 36,000 square feet with 56 rooms.  Mable used the finest materials, including colored marble, glazed terra cotta, and stained glass. 

In 1931, John Ringling opened a 21-gallery museum to house the art he acquired while searching Europe for circus acts.  It is modeled on the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, and has a giant piazza filled with replicas of Greek and Roman sculptures.  At his death in 1936, he bequeathed the museum, his home, and the grounds to the people of Florida.  The Ringling Circus Museum was added to the complex in 1948.

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The Ringling Art Museum surrounds this Venetian Gothic piazza.

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Ten 100-year-old Cuban royal palms flank the statue of David.

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Giant terra cotta pots line all the balustrades.  The floors of the colonnades are intricately fitted marble.

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A bride awaits her cue under the colonnades.

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We didn’t have time to tour the art museum, but it is quite beautiful.  Two of the galleries are the re-assembled salon and library from the 19th century Astor Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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A lovely walk through the grounds and along the bay brings you to “Ca’d’Zan”.

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The Venetian Gothic palace that the Ringlings called home.  If you want to tour the inside, you need to buy tickets in advance as both times we were there, they were sold out.

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the waterside of “Ca’d’Zan”

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The marble piazza above leads to a water level boat landing on Sarasota Bay, which Mable Ringling considered her Venetian Grand Canal.

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The detailed workmanship on the outside of the house is gorgeous.

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Decorative glazed tiles are everywhere.

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Close up of the tile in the previous photo.

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Close up of the tile in the previous photo.

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The grounds around the museums are filled with mature trees dripping in Spanish moss.  There is also a famous rose garden installed by Mable Ringling, but unfortunately it was being renovated when we were there.

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Evergreen strangler figs, the only fig native to North America, have claimed many large trees as their victims.  They develop from seedlings in the crotches of established trees, sending aerial roots down to take hold in the soil, eventually smothering their hosts.

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a grove of strangler figs

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The Secret Garden where the Ringlings are buried.

Michael and I have toured The Ringling gardens twice and highly recommend a visit if you are in the Sarasota area.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number 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 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.

The Owls Head Maine Post Office

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The quaint and colorful Owl’s Head Post Office sits on the village green in Owls Head, Maine.  You would never know that a magical garden awaits you down the gravel path to the right.

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“.  Each year this tour highlights gardens in a different area of the Georges River watershed, and this year it featured six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  My post Gardens in the Watershed Tour 2018: Part One shows photos of the first five gardens on the tour.  To read it, click here. The gardens were beautiful as was the scenery viewed while traveling between properties in this undeveloped area of Maine.

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 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.

 

Plantings along the right side of the gravel entrance path.  The unique green fencing echoes and complements the colors in the plants in front.  This is not a coincidence—the whole garden integrates plants, objects, colors, and textures into a gorgeous tapestry.

Unlikely as it seems, the final and best garden on the Watershed tour surrounded the Owls Head Post Office in Owls Head, another beautiful and undeveloped area of Maine.  You would never know that it is five minutes from Rockland and 15 minutes from Camden.  Just as photos of a painting are not the same as seeing the painting itself, my pictures of this garden do not do justice to the subtlety of the artistry.  However, they do capture its beauty and attention to detail.  Enjoy:

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Plantings along the left side of the entrance path.  The spiral staircase leads to the owner’s vacation home, which is above the post office.  The building dates from the 1800s and has been used as a post office since 1931.

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I was admiring the unusual pink color of the allium when I discovered that all the alliums in this garden were spray-painted.

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At the back of the garden was a pond accessed by this dock-like deck on which sat another scenic and historic building.  Even the canoe seems to have been chosen for its aesthetics.

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The crow on top watched us tour the garden.

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This is Doug Johnson, the owner and creator of this magical garden.  Not surprisingly, he is an artist and an art teacher.  He rents his vacation home on VRBO, and the inside is just as charming as the outside.  You can see photos by clicking here.

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number 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 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.

Hillwood Estate Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , on July 23, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The entrance to Hillwood Estate, featuring a 19th century sculpture of Eros, the Greek God of Love.

Michael and I traveled to the Washington DC area recently to view gardens and enjoy the city.  For photos and a description of our visit to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, the first president of the United States, click here.  The second day, we visited Hillwood Estate, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post.  It is located near Rock Creek Park in Washington DC and is easily accessible by car from downtown.

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 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.

 

The Hillwood gardens are divided into a series of secluded garden rooms.

Marjorie Post (1887 to 1973) inherited the Postum Cereal Company at the age of 27. During her ownership, the company grew to become General Foods, and Post became one of the wealthiest women in the world.  She purchased Hillwood in 1955 to serve as her spring and fall residence—she also owned Mar-La-Go in Florida and a home in the Adirondacks—and to house her extensive art collection, including the largest collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia.  The gardens surrounding the future museum were landscaped to provide a backdrop for her extensive and lavish entertaining.

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The French parterre garden: it is interesting that this style of garden is a prominent element of both Hillwood and Mt. Vernon.  The sculpture is Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

The estate comprises 25 acres with woodland, accessed by meandering paths, surrounding the 13 acres of formal gardens.  The formal gardens extend out from the house and patios in a series of secluded garden rooms, including a French parterre, rose garden, putting green, Japanese-style garden, pet cemetery, and cutting garden, among others.  Each “room” is unique and hidden from view by hedges and other taller plantings.  There is a surprise around every corner.  Enjoy!

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Walls of English ivy divide the French parterre garden from the rose garden.  The shape of the boxwood in the four sections of the parterre intentionally mirrors decorations inside the adjacent drawing room.

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The garden is filled with quirky and unusual sculptures and ornaments:  here, a marble sphinx with winged cherubs on her back, one of a pair at the terrace entrance.

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.Marjorie Post added this bay window to her second floor bedroom suite so she could overlook her gardens while working in her office.

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Japanese holly and viburnum enclose the nine-hole putting green.

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These vintage bright blue chairs appeared through out the garden.

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a statue at the entrance of the pet cemetery

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The Japanese-style garden combines Japanese and American elements.

.The multi-level, Japanese-style garden includes small ponds and streams with stepping stone paths as well as bridges, boulders, and traditional Japanese sculptures and pagodas.

.The very large and well-organized cutting garden supplies flowers for the house, which we did not visit.  Marjorie Post stipulated that on her death Hillwood would be opened to the public as a museum and fresh flowers would be used to adorn the house.

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A view across the cutting garden to the ornate greenhouse.

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For more information about Hillwood and its gardens, click here.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number 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 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.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , on June 23, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The mansion at Mount Vernon viewed across the large swathe of sloping lawn known as the bowling green.

Michael and I traveled to the Washington DC area recently to view gardens and enjoy the city.  When torrential rains cancelled our Sunday visits and Monday closures forced a total rethink of our intended itinerary, Michael said what about Mount Vernon.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit there and would recommend it to gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

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 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.

 

This map of a portion of the Mount Vernon estate shows the mansion on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River with the sloped bowling green in front bordered on both sides by serpentine access paths enclosed in large trees.  Behind the trees on the left are the formal gardens and greenhouse.  On the right are the extensive kitchen gardens and below them the fruit gardens.

Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington, the first President of the United States, the Commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and the president of the convention that produced the US Constitution.  Among his greatest achievements were the voluntary transfer of control of our country from the military back to civilians at the end of the war and the peaceful succession of John Adams as the second president after Washington’s two terms.  For an upstart country like ours, neither was a given.  But while shaping our history, he was also shaping his gardens, which are a delight to visit.

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Michael stands by one of the huge trees that line the gravel paths climbing the hill to the mansion.  Despite the presence of numerous school groups and other visitors, we often found ourselves alone while wandering the grounds.

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Washington made major changes to the mansion, which was originally just the center door and windows to either side.  The building on the right is the kitchen and, through the connecting archway, you can see the trees on the opposite shore of the Potomac River.  We were hesitant to stand in line for the mansion tour, but it was well worth it.  No photos are allowed inside.

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The servants hall and side yard—you can just see the river on the left above the fence.

.The Potomac side of the house has a very large, two story porch with an amazing view of the river where George and Martha Washington would entertain their frequent guests—over 650 while they lived there.

 

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The entrance to the formal gardens looking towards the greenhouse, which Washington built to house tropical and semi-tropical plants like citrus and palm trees.  Although Martha Washington oversaw the kitchen gardens, George Washington closely supervised the ornamental gardens and the estate, receiving weekly reports even during the Revolutionary War.  He designed and built the formal gardens for the enjoyment of his many visitors.

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The formal gardens consist of six beds, two of which are parterres filled with boxwood clipped into fleur di lis.

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The bright green boxwood combined with the redbrick buildings with red tile roofs was quite striking.

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The remaining beds have exotic ornamental trees and flowers along the edges with rows of vegetables and fruit trees in the center.

.Ornamental flowers and espaliered fruit trees border the walls enclosing the formal garden.

.Southern magnolias line the access road behind the greenhouse.

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The gorgeous flower and evergreen leaves of southern magnolia, M. grandiflora.

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From the path on the right side of the bowling green, we entered the kitchen gardens, which were overseen by Martha Washington.

.The kitchen gardens have been continuously producing fruits and vegetables since the 1760s.

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A cistern surrounded by geometrically laid out vegetable beds.

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A view across the kitchen gardens towards the seed house.

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Seeds for the coming year’s crops were collected and stored in this charming building.

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There is a lot to see at Mount Vernon, and we could have spent another half day exploring the remainder of the property, including the distillery, gristmill, wharf area, indoor museum, Washington’s tomb, and the slave memorial.  Mount Vernon is so peaceful and beautiful that I had to constantly remind myself that the actual work was done by enslaved people who numbered 317 at Washington’s death in 1799.

Carolyn

P.S.  Mount Vernon receives no government funding.  It is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which purchased the estate in 1858 after the founder’s mother, Louisa Cunningham, brought its dilapidated state to her daughter’s attention.  Louisa wrote:“If the men of America have seen fit to allow the home of its most respected hero to go to ruin, why can’t the women of America band together to save it?” I find this 19th century quotation to be incredibly inspirational and relevant in the 21st century.

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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 phone number 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 mail order only.

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

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

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

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