Archive for the native plants Category

Your Native Woodland: If You Build It They Will Come, Part 2

Posted in green gardening, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The woodland at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens with mayapples, golden groundsel, Viginia bluebells, dwarf Jacob’s ladder, wild ginger, and white-flowered redbud, all native to Pennsylvania in the mid-Atlantic US.

I am very excited to report that my blog has now gone over 2 million views.  To see the numbers, look at the counter on the right sidebar labeled Site Stats Since 11/3/10 (if the sidebar is not visible, click the snowdrop banner at the top).  That’s a lot of people!  And what have they been reading?  Well, my fifth most popular post is Your Native Woodland: If You Build It They Will Come, which I wrote in April 2012.  In it, I tell readers how to create their very own woodland filled with native plants.  To read it, click here.

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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Photos of the six of the native plants recommended in the 2012 post, clockwise from the left: Celandine poppies and Virginia bluebells, dwarf Jacob’s ladder and wild ginger, ‘Blue Ridge’ creeping phlox, and northern sea oats.

In 2012, I recommended that readers use nine plants to create their native woodland: Virginia bluebells, Celandine poppy, dwarf Jacob’s ladder, white violets, creeping phlox, wild ginger, golden groundsel, and northern sea oats.  All the botanical names are in the original post.  I still believe that those nine plants are the best natives to start your woodland because they are beautiful, easy to grow, and spread quickly.

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Photos of the remaining three native plants recommended in the 2012 post, clockwise from upper left: white violets, blue wood aster, and golden groundsel.

I am hoping that after five years, gardeners have been successful with the original nine recommendations and are ready to broaden their selection.  Below, I profile eight more easy-to-grow native plants.  Keep in mind that the more plants of each variety you plant, the more satisfied you will be with the result.  If you are on a budget, plant five, seven, or nine of one or two of the recommendations rather than a smaller quantity of each.  Use plenty of compost and mulch with ground or whole leaves, and then stand back and watch them spread. 

Here are my suggestions for additions:

.Foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia, thrives in high shade and well-drained soil.  Here it is with blue wood aster right under my massive black walnut trees.

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Last time I recommended ‘Blue Ridge’ creeping phlox, but purple and pink creeping phlox are even more vigorous.  This is my sweep of the purple variety, Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’.  It really likes edges so plant it along your woodland path.

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‘Sherwood Purple’

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Creeping phlox also comes in pink—the cultivar ‘Home Fires’.

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Native sedge, Carex laxiculmus ‘Bunny Blue’, grows right at the base of trees and reproduces itself nicely, spreading its beautiful silver-blue hue around the woods.

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This is a western native camassia, C. leitchtlinii ‘Caerulea’.  It grows through out my woodland in filtered light but also in my part sun meadow.  Each plant increases to a gorgeous clump and blooms in May.

A very unusual native plant called Robin’s plantain, Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynnhave Carpet’, makes a tight ground cover of fuzzy gray leaves at the edge of my woods.  In May, it produces multitudes of daisy like flowers.  This patch started from a single plant given to me by Charles Cresson.

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There are many ferns that thrive in my woods but none do as well as ghost fern.  It is a native hybrid (lady fern x Japanese painted fern) rather than a straight native, but it makes up for its non-native heritage with its beautiful silvery gray leaves and striking upright habit.

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Your woods wouldn’t be complete without understory trees, and nothing works better than our Pennsylvania native redbuds.  I use white-flowered redbud, Cercis canadensis ‘Alba’, in my woods because I love blue, yellow, and white together.   ‘Alba’ is pictured here with yellow trillium, Virginia bluebells, and Celandine poppy.

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White redbud with native hardy geranium, ginger, Virginia bluebells, cinnamon fern, mayapples, and golden groundsel.

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It is a pleasure to walk this path in the spring.

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.

Bucks County PA Tour

Posted in garden to visit, native plants, Shade Perennials, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The bluebell meadow at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania (PA) USA, is at its peak right now.

My brother, Nick Walker, and his company, Cottage Industries in Wayne, Pennsylvania, did such a wonderful job on our recent home remodeling that Michael and I thought it would be fun to take him and his wife to dinner.  He lives in Stockton, New Jersey, near New Hope, Pennsylvania, giving us a great excuse to spend the night in the beautiful Bucks County area and visit local restaurants and garden related venues.  I know readers often follow in our footsteps so if you have any questions please email.

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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Our first stop was the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a 134 acre sanctuary for native plants with 3.5 miles of trails through various habitats.  This is another view of the breath-taking bluebell meadow, featuring Virginia bluebells, mayapples, twinleaf, and Celandine poppy.

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Squirrel-corn and Celandine poppy at Bowman’s Hill.

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Quaker-ladies

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red trillium and squirrel-corn

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The real marsh-marigold, Caltha palustris, a PA native plant.  Please do not confuse this with lesser celandine, Ranuculus ficaria, which is an extremely destructive, non-native, invasive plant on the PA banned plant list, click here.

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Canada mayapple

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toadshade

yellow or eastern trout-lily, Erythronium americanum

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After a few hours at Bowman’s Hill, including some shopping in their extensive native plant nursery, we walked around the scenic town of New Hope, PA, which is right on the banks of the Delaware River.  Many of the buildings date from the 18th century.

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We ate lunch in New Hope at Nektar, a small plates restaurant with amazing views of the river and town.  We liked it so much we went back for dinner.

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We spent the night at the Inn at Bowman’s Hill, run by charming innkeepers Mike and Louisa.

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The next morning we walked from the inn to Bowman’s Hill Tower, built in 1930 to honor General George Washington and the troops stationed near there during the American Revolution.

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The tower has spectacular views of New Hope and the Delaware River.  Unfortunately it was not open so we had to look through the woods to the river.

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Next we were off to Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, a 32 acre property with a nursery and very unique and extensive gardens.

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Sweeps of ‘Sagae’ hosta, variegated Solomon’s seal, ‘Lilafee’ epimedium, and cimicifuga near the Japanese garden.

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The Paxson Hill display gardens include this full scale, underground hobbit house.

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After a delicious lunch at the Stockton New Jersey Farmer’s Market, it was back to work at Carolyn’s Shade 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 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.

Early Spring Beauty at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A mixture in my woodland

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

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Native Fall Color at Longwood Gardens

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, garden to visit, green gardening, native plants, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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A view across the lake of the color in Peirce’s Woods, an area of native plants.

We have been having one of the most beautiful falls that I can remember.  Every day is bright and sunny, between 50 and 60 degrees F (10 to 15.6 degrees C) except when we have just the right amount of rain. The fall color on trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials is spectacular.  I am blessed to live in an area where I can enjoy one of nature’s most majestic shows just by walking outside my door.  So I decided to post photos for gardeners in the US and abroad who don’t experience this amazing prelude to winter.

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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Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, native to PA.

All but two of these photos were taken during a visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US, on November 2.  Every plant is native to the US and most to Pennsylvania (PA), which is part of the mid-Atlantic.  A similar color riot is still going on today, November 12, in my own PA garden.

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Pitcher plants, Saracenia, native to PA, even the planters near Peirce’s Woods are filled with natives. 

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Hydrangea quercifolia

One of my top five shrubs: oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, and fall color is a big part of that along with gorgeous flowers, tropical-looking leaves, peeling cinnamon bark, and its status as a native albeit slightly south of PA.

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Hydrangea quercifolia

The words “jewel-like color” were made for oakleaf hydrangea. 

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Cornus florida

Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, native to PA, one of the best small trees for fall color not to mention spectacular flowers and fruit as well as a unique and elegant habit.  This is a young specimen.

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Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, a PA native with beautiful flowers in the late spring.  Great for creating a grove in dense shade and dry soil.

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Fothergilla gardenii

Fothergilla, F. gardenii, native just south of PA, provides a mix of oranges, reds, and yellows that lasts a long time.  In the spring it sports lovely fragrant flowers.

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Looking across the lake towards Peirce’s Woods, the red tree to the left of center is a red maple, Acer rubrum, and the smaller peachy tree to the right is sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum.
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Acer rubrum
Red maple is a shade tree native to PA.  It colors early so I was surprised to find it still stealing the show.  Here is a view from the other side looking down at the lake.
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Oxydendrum arboreum
Sourwood, also known as dead man’s fingers due to the unusual habit of its flowers, is a smaller flowering tree native to PA with many ornamental attributes including unbelievable fall color.
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Taxodium distichum 'Prarie Sentinel'‘Prairie Sentinel’ pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens, has a more upright habit than its cousin the bald cypress and is native just south of PA.
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Acer saccharum
For all-round large shade tree, I would nominate the sugar maple, Acer saccharum, native to PA.  Photos don’t do its color justice, and large specimens have a habit that is purely regal.  This one is a youngster.
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Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'

I had to throw in this photo from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens of ‘Hartlage Wine’ allspice, Calycanthus raulstonii.  Top five shrubs again with absolutely gorgeous, bright yellow fall color; long-lasting, exquisite, large red flowers; and big, shiny, smooth blue-green leaves.  It is a native hybrid.

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Also from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, another favorite tree native to PA, yellowwood, Cladrastis kentukea.

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Carolyn

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

Mt. Cuba Part One: Formal Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, green gardening, landscape design, native plants, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-54-50 PMThe Colonial Revival manor house built at Mt. Cuba in 1935 by the Lammot du Pont Copelands.

For Mother’s Day my family surprised me with a visit to Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. Although I had visited this garden in the early 1990s before it was open to the public, I haven’t been there since.  What a mistake!  I was so enthralled by what I saw that I went back three days later to explore the gardens more thoroughly.

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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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-56-17 PMThe courtyard in front of the manor house as well as the gardens surrounding it are all very formal.

Mt.  Cuba Center is the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland.  Mr. Copeland was the President and Chairman of the Du Pont Company while Mrs. Copeland was a pioneer in the movement to protect and appreciate US native plants.  In the 1960s, the Copelands began installing extensive native, woodland gardens on their 582 acre property.  In the 1980s, they focused their efforts on developing a private botanic garden to study native plants of the Appalachian Piedmont.  When Mrs. Copeland died in 2001, Mt. Cuba became a public garden with limited access.  In 2013, it was opened for general admission in the spring, summer, and fall.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-23-16 PMThe house is beautiful from every angle, here the terraces in the back.

Mrs. Copeland wanted Mt. Cuba:

…. to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”

With that goal in mind, the Copelands developed the 50 acres surrounding their home into display gardens highlighting native plants in formal and informal settings.  All of it is spectacular, and I hope to write two more posts on the woodland gardens and the trillium collection.  This post will focus on the use of native plants in the formal gardens directly around the house.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-22-17 PMThe view from the terraces.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-31-27 PM.

Plants native to the US and particularly the Delaware Valley are a favorite of mine so I loved every part of Mt. Cuba, but I was most intrigued by the use of natives in the formal mixed borders.  Mt. Cuba demonstrates that native plants work just as well around the house as “foundation plantings” as they do out in woodland gardens where they are usually found.  In the following photos, almost all the plants are native species found on the East Coast of the United States or cultivars of natives:

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-46-16 AM

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-24-44 PM
dwarf ninebark and native azaleas
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Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'‘Carolina Moonlight’ baptisia
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-48-15 AM.
Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-57-01 PMOakleaf hydrangea as a foundation planting.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-51-50 AM.
Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-50-02 AMGoldenstar, Chrysogonum virginianum, as a groundcover.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-47-16 AMContainers filled with native plants decorate the terraces.
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-46-51 AM
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If you would like more information about using native plants in a formal design, click here for an interview on this subject with Travis Beck, Mt. Cuba’s Director of Horticulture.  He states that native plants were chosen to achieve the character of an English garden without staking, fertilizing, or watering.  The all-native redesign of the formal gardens has resulted in a very significant increase in pollinators.

I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Cuba Center and its amazing display of East Coast native plants.  I found it inspirational and a source of many ideas for my own 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 and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

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

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

Strike a Blow for the Environment in your own Yard

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

Senecio aureus

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

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

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

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Carolyn's Shade Gardens Woodland

Our native white-flowered redbud surrounded by native plants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carolyn's Shade Gardens woodland

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

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

.Viola striata

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

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

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

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

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

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

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Phlox subulata 'Nice 'n White'

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

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Iris cristata 'Tennessee White'

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

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Senecio aureus

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

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

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

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

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

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Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'

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

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Aster cordifolius

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

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Aster cordifolius

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

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

*Profiled in my blog post My Thanksgiving Oak Forest.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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