Archive for the my garden Category

Bigger Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Great Expectations’ is just unfurling its lovely spring colors.

Last week I showed photos of little hostas in our gardens.  To see the pictures, click here.  In this post, I will cover medium and large hostas emerging with their vivid and beautiful spring colors.  All the hostas pictured in this post are for sale at our nursery.  I have noted Hosta of the Year award winners.  Only 22 hostas out of the thousands of named cultivars have received this honor.  For more information on these winning hostas, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, hellebores, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

‘Great Expectations’ has a lovely habit when fully out.

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We grow ‘Praying Hands’ in a pot with dwarf Solomon’s seal, and it emerges very late—you can just see the first leaf poking through.  2011 Hosta of the Year

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‘Praying Hands’ fully emerged.  2011 Hosta of the Year

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‘Paul’s Glory’ will have a gold center later in the season.  1999 Hosta of the Year

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‘Patriot’ also emerges late.  1997 Hosta of the Year

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‘Liberty’ has wide, bright yellow margins.  2012 Hosta of the Year

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‘Liberty’ is a glorious sight when full grown.  2012 Hosta of the Year

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‘June’ looks different depending on whether it is grown in sun or shade.  In shade above, it is very blue.  2001 Hosta of the Year

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‘June’ is yellower in a sunny area.  2001 Hosta of the Year

.Many beautiful hostas have been selected from ‘June’—here ‘June Fever’.

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Another progeny of ‘June’—‘June Spirit’.

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‘Halcyon’ is a great medium-sized hosta with a true blue color.

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‘First Frost’ was selected from ‘Halcyon’ so has a deep blue center but with creamy yellow margins.  2010 Hosta of the Year

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The intense spring color of ‘Blue Ivory’, another progeny of ‘Halcyon’.

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‘Empress Wu’, the world’s largest hosta, is going to be truly massive this year.

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‘Brother Stefan’ is just getting started.  2017 Hosta of the Year

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‘Brother Stefan’ when more fully emerged.  We grow it in a very sunny spot, and it is immense.  2017 Hosta of the Year

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One of my favorites, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ with its huge, blue, cupped leaves.  2014 Hosta of the Year

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‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’s’ leaves actually hold water.  2014 Hosta of the Year

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If you are local, be sure to check out the medium and large hostas in our garden in person.  They do not display their lovely habits and colorful leaves as well in a nursery container.  You will find them all clearly labeled in our display gardens.

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 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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Little Hostas in Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in hosta, hosta, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ has the center spot in our Mouse Ears Family trough accompanied by dwarf Solomon’s seal.

It’s little hosta season, and I thought readers might like to see how we use them in containers and in the ground.  All the hostas pictured in this post are available for pick up at the nursery or for mail order in the 2018 Mini and Small Hosta Catalogue, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

‘Twist of Lime’ is thriving in an antique metal pitcher along our front walk.

We have a collection of pots and unusual containers planted with mini hostas along our very shady front walk:

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‘Lemon Love Note’ also merits a pot of its own with its unusual shape and shiny leaves.

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‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in a very small, terra cotta pot.

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‘Appletini’, one of my favorite small hostas, brightens up this ultra shady spot with its glossy gold leaves.

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A vintage metal tool box houses four small hostas plus European ginger and dwarf lady fern.

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‘Sun Mouse’ in the tool box.

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‘Munchkin Fire’ thriving!

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‘Lakeside Cupcake’

Up by the drive, we have a strawberry pot planted with many mini hosta varieties.  Unfortunately, it got hit by a car, but my wonderful and very handy husband Michael put it back together:

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‘Wonderful’, you can just see the white outlining on the unusually shaped leaves that makes it so special.

.‘Gemstone’

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‘Green with Envy’

We have gathered together a collection of Mouse Ears hostas in a very large, antique, stone watering trough:

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This photo shows the trough when we first planted it.

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‘Holy Mouse Ears’ is tiny and holds pride-of-place in the left front corner.

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‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ with the reverse variegation of ‘Holy Mouse Ears’ gets the other front corner.

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‘Green Mouse Ears’ dwarfed by some leaves of ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ on the left and dwarf Solomon’s seal on the right.  Its leaves have a folded appearance when it emerges.

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‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ gets brighter as the season progresses.

.‘Mighty Mouse’

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The trough has filled in quite a bit since it was originally planted, but the Mouse Ears continue to thrive.

Finally, I do grow almost all of these little hostas in the ground in a rock garden area on the back hill:

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‘Appletini’ is bright gold with some direct sunlight.

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‘School Mouse’ was newly introduced in 2017 and did very well in the ground over the challenging winter.

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‘Cracker Crumbs’ is our all-time best-selling mini hosta.

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‘Giantland Mouse Cheese’ among the rocks.

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‘Dragon Tails’, another of my personal favorites, with white dwarf crested iris.

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‘Green with Envy’ accompanied by ‘Niveum’ epimedium, a perfect small plant to use as a companion for mini hostas.

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‘Mighty Mouse’ with a dwarf balsam and other minis.

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‘Sun Mouse’ was also introduced in 2017 and is doing well in a new area of our rock garden.

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‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with a larger epimedium called ‘Domino’.

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If you are local, be sure to check out the mini and small hostas in our garden in person.  Local and mail order customers can try these adorable plants in their own gardens by placing an order from the catalogue, click here.

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 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.

Our Woodland is Glorious

Posted in bulbs for shade, landscape design, my garden, native plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 A native white redbud underplanted with natives Virginia bluebells, May apples, and golden groundsel.

This is one of my favorites times of the year: our woodland is at its peak and epimediums and emerging hostas fill our side hill.  The almost 90 degree weather is moving the plants along quickly, but the native plants in our woodland are glorious right now, and I wanted to capture it on film. 

Nursery News:  Appointments are still available for our primrose and hosta event this Saturday, May 5,  from 9 am to 4 pm on the hour and half hour.  To schedule an appointment, email your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of times to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, and I will confirm.  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

Native Celandine poppies under white redbuds.

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Pine needle paths thread through our woods.

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Native Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies under a ‘Waterfall’ Japanese maple.

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Native mayapples grow through ‘Alba Plena’ European wood anemone.

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European wood anemones, like ‘Leed’s Variety’, fill in among the native plants in our woods.

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‘Leed’s Variety’ European wood anemone

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Pale yellow European wood anemone, Anemone x seemanii.

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Some of my favorite native plants make a cameo appearance right now: Tennessee form bloodroot.

.‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot blooms for a much longer period than the single flowered forms.

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I let native Dutchman’s breeches seed around wherever it wants to go from our natural woodland to our formal hellebore beds.

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Pulmonarias are another plant that I allow to roam at will in the garden.  Their seedlings take many beautiful forms.

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‘Jack Frost’ perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers and silver-frosted leaves.  Many of its seedings also display silver leaves, and it does very well in the dry shade of our woods.

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Another plant that does well in dry shade is Japanese woodland primrose.  It goes dormant when it gets hot out so doesn’t care about our dry summers.

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Cowslip primroses are also not picky and grow at the edge of our woods in average soil.

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‘Old Brick Reds’ primrose with white bleeding-hearts and native Celandine poppy.

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Grecian windflower is a startling shade of blue and seeds through our woods.

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Delicate rue anemone prefers to grow in the rocks along our woodland paths.

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The extreme heat has forced our amazing ‘Black Tulip’ magnolia to the end of its bloom period.  However, there are a lot of wonderful plants coming into their own right now.

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If you are local, I hope you can stop by tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, by appointment to shop and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Just send an email requesting an appointment with some convenient times.

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 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.

A Photographer Visits Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden with tags on April 26, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Mai Tai’ geum and ‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox

I thought it would be fun to see the gardens at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens through someone else’s lens.  I asked my friend Marielle, who is an excellent photographer, to walk around our property unaccompanied and photograph whatever caught her eye.  The beautiful results are below.  Local customers beware: many of these plants are not for sale here. 

Nursery News:  Appointments are still available for our primrose and hosta event this Saturday, May 5,  from 9 am to 4 pm on the hour and half hour.  To schedule an appointment email your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of times to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, and I will confirm.  The 2018 Mini Hosta Catlalogue is on our website here, and we are taking orders for mail order and pick up at the nursery. Our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, hardy geraniums, ferns, and later-blooming shade plants is Saturday, May 19,  from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine, cash or check only, directions here.

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.

 

Pulmonarias, hellebores, and Japanese woodland primroses fill the bed under our American hornbeam.

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Hellebores are everywhere, including between the roots of this huge London plane tree.

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The setting sun shines through one of the hundreds of hellebores in bloom right now.

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Hellebores fill the beds in front of the pride of our magnolia collection, ‘Black Tulip’.  It is magnolia season, and many of our almost 20 trees are in bloom

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Epimediums are also everywhere with almost 40 varieties in the garden, here orange-flowered Epimedium x warleyense.

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Purple-leafed ‘Yubae’ epimedium

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One of my personal favorites: ‘Kaguyahime’ epimedium.

.Summer snowflake grows well in our dry woodland and our moist runoff areas.

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My children planted these Darwin hybrid tulips almost 25 years ago.  The key to getting them to return is to plant them at least 8″ deep, which I learned in Charles Cresson’s excellent bulb course at Longwood Gardens.

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Pulmonarias seed around the garden.  They are in bloom now, and every one is lovely.

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Perennial-forget-me-not or brunnera has strikingly beautiful true blue flowers.

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Another favorite is Japanese woodland primrose.  It grows in moist or dry soil and returns reliably every year.

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‘Roseus’ spring vetchling

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Our woodland garden is almost at its peak.

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Little sweet Betsy, Trillium cuneatum, with yellow European wood anemone.

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A side path in the woodland garden is lined with purple spring vetchling and Celandine poppies.

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Upright wild ginger, Saruma henryi, emerging in the woodland.

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Virginia bluebells on the left and yellow European wood anemone on the right in the woodland.

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Double bloodroot in front of a mass of Virginia bluebells and Celandine poppies.

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If you are local, I hope you can stop by on Saturday and see our gardens, especially the woodland, in person.  Thank you, Marielle, for providing a fresh look at our plantings.

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 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.

Hellebores in the Garden Today

Posted in hellebores, my garden, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Anna’s Red’, a new addition to the FrostKiss™ hellebore family.

All my customers have been commenting that their hellebores are spectacular this year.  Mine are too, and I thought it would be fun to show you photos of hellebores in my garden today. 

Although I have hundreds of hellebores in bloom, I have limited the photos to hellebores that will be available for sale at the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens open house sale this Saturday, April 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you can’t come on Saturday, I still have appointments available on Friday, April 13, on the hour and half hour from 10:30 to 5—just email me, carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com, your top three choices, and I will confirm.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores, early spring-blooming shade plants, and native plants is this Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

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.

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First up, the FrostKiss™ outward-facing hellebores, including ‘Anna’s Red’ above:

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‘Dorothy’s Dawn’, another 2018 addition to the FrostKiss™ line of hellebores, has beautiful flowers, but what I really love is….

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….the leaves, which, like all FrostKiss™ foliage, lasts all winter into spring.

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FrostKiss™ ‘Penny’s Pink’ has been around for four years and thrives in my garden.

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The flowers of FrostKiss™ ‘Molly’s White’ are prolific and lovely, but the best attribute of this hellebore is ….

.….the gorgeous leaves.

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Other outward-facing hellebores:

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‘Pink Frost’ is a lovely hellebore, shorter than the FrostKiss™ hellbores and perfect for a smaller garden or space.

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‘Spring Party’ is also shorter and smaller, but blooms later and has beautiful marbled leaves that last through the winter.

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For unusual colors and double flowers, you can’t beat “Lenten Roses”, the standard hybrid hellebores and my personal favorites:

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‘Wedding Bells’ is part of the Wedding Party™ series, a vigorous and well-selected group of double hellebores.  White hellebores really stand out in the garden.

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Another Wedding Party™ series hellebore, ‘Flower Girl’.

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The Winter Jewels® series of double hellebores is also spectacular:

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‘Harlequin Gem’ has a lighter interior with dark purple-black outer petals.

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‘Golden Lotus’, a double yellow hellebore, is prominently featured in my yellow hellebore collection.

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‘Onyx Odyssey’, a blue-black selection, is outstanding.

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‘Peppermint Ice’, along my front walk, catches everyone’s eye.

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The Honeymoon™ series of single hellebores is also quite beautiful:

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‘New York Night’ is amazing, look for it around back by the deck.

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‘Spanish Flare’ is another prominent feature of my yellow hellebore collection.

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If you are local, I hope you can stop by on Saturday and see all these lovely hellebores in person in my garden.  For all my far flung readers, enjoy the photos!

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 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.

Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden essay, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

The cover of the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

In 2015, I was asked by Fine Gardening magazine to write an article on snowdrops, which appeared as the cover article of the February 2016 issue.   For readers who don’t subscribe to this excellent gardening magazine, I am going to reprint the text of the article here, accompanied by images of the magazine layout and some additional photos of the featured snowdrops.  Look for my article on spring ephemerals, scheduled for inclusion in the April 2018 issue.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website here.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

.  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

“Passions are born in strange ways, and serendipity often plays a part.  In December of 1983, my husband and I purchased our home, not knowing that a treasure trove of snowdrops lay beneath the snowy landscape.  Our house was the gardener’s cottage for a large estate, and the gardener who lived there had planted thousands of common snowdrops, (Galanthus nivalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8), which greeted us that February with their delightful honey-scented fragrance.  Those snowdrops were to become an important part of my personal and professional life.

For me, the original and greatest appeal of snowdrops is their bloom time.  I live on the side of a south-facing hill, where the soil heats up early, and common snowdrops begin to bloom in early February, just when I need some relief from the winter doldrums.  I have since planted snowdrop varieties that bloom from October through March, but it is the bursting into bloom of thousands of snowdrops in early February that thrills me the most.

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As I gained experience as a gardener, I was exposed to less common varieties and realized that their ornamental characteristics were as interesting as their bloom time was uplifting.  Yes, they are small, and you do have to look at individual plants close up; but there are varieties that stand out when viewed from farther away if massed, and many that are worth a closer look.  Besides, most snowdrops are easy to grow in deciduous shade and multiply quickly to form striking swathes.

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‘Viridapice’ and ‘Flore Pleno’

If you don’t currently have snowdrops, then start with the common snowdrop, cultivated in England since the 16th century.  The flowers have pure white outer segments (the correct term for a snowdrop petal), and the inner segments have bright green tips.  The linear leaves are gray-green, and the plant is only about 4” tall.  It is very easy to grow in almost all soil conditions, multiplies rapidly to form satisfying clumps, and is readily available both “in the green” (see sidebar below) and as a dried bulb.  With a very small investment of time and money, you can enjoy masses of honey-scented white flowers in late winter.

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‘Blewbury Tart’, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, and a photo showing how I ship my snowdrops.

If you are already growing the common snowdrop, you may want to expand your palette to include several other easy-to-grow and easy-to-find cultivars.  Of the many cultivars selected from G. nivalis, my favorite is ‘Viridapice’, a vigorous, bold plant with green marks on the outer and inner segments.  It multiplies for me almost as fast as the species and, at 5 to 6” tall, has a distinct presence in the garden.  The double form of G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, is also lovely, if a bit disheveled.  It is the earliest recorded snowdrop cultivar, with references to its existence in the early 1700s.

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Galanthus elwesii, ‘Magnet’, and a photo showing how I divide snowdrops.

For an even more distinctive look, plant G. nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’ or ‘Lady Elphinstone’, both double-flowered, vigorous growers.  ‘Blewbury Tart’ points its mostly green, frilly, double segments upward and definitely stands out in a crowd.  It was discovered in a churchyard in Blewbury, England, in 1975 by snowdrop expert Alan Street.  Although a prominent British journalist told him it looked like a squashed fly on a windscreen, Alan introduced it, and it has become a favorite here and abroad.  ‘Lady Elphinstone’ is another venerable snowdrop, dating from 1890, and is one of a kind: its inner segments are a lovely egg yolk yellow.  Sometimes the yellow takes a year or so to settle in, but it is worth the wait.

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‘Diggory’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’

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There are 19 species of snowdrops in addition to G.nivalis, and many of them have produced cultivars and hybrids, resulting in over 1,000 named varieties.  Most are not available in the US due to treaty restrictions; however, a diligent search yields a nice collection.  Here are five more I recommend for beauty and vigor.

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Galanthus elwesii, the giant snowdrop

Not only is the giant snowdrop (G. elwesii, Zones 3–9) larger than the common snowdrop, but also it blooms earlier, starting in midwinter. This species tolerates hotter and drier conditions, making it great for Southern gardens. Its broad, upright, blue-gray leaves surround large, well-formed flowers with two bold green marks on the inner segments. Lots of natural variation in this species produces powder blue leaves, a variety of marks, and bloom times anywhere from November to February.

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‘Diggory’

‘Diggory’ (G. plicatus ‘Diggory’) is a cultivar whose heavily quilted, pear-shaped, squared-off flowers make it recognizable anywhere. The wide, elegantly pleated leaves are characteristic of G. plicatus. Found in 1993, ‘Diggory’ became an instant, much-sought-after classic.

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‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

A hybrid snowdrop with dignified double flowers, ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ (G. ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’) features a tightly packed inner rosette edged in green and a distinctive mark split into two elegant dots. It is easy to grow and multiplies well.

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‘Magnet’

‘Magnet’ (G. ‘Magnet’) was selected in the 1880s and is still loved by collectors for its classic beauty and vigorous growth. It is instantly identifiable by its long flower stalk that allows the large blooms to sway in the slightest breeze.

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‘Wendy’s Gold’

‘Wendy’s Gold’ (G. plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’) offers beautiful, large yellow markings on the inner segments and the ovary (the little cap above the segments), and wide, elegantly pleated leaves. It is much sought after for its beauty and vigorous growth. Other nice yellows available in the U.S. include ‘Primrose Warburg’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.”

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I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Carolyn

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

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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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

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

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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’.

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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

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

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

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

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

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