Archive for the winter interest Category

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘Godfrey Owen’, one of my all time favorite snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. 

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2019 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us if you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

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.

 

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks beautiful in snow.

It is no surprise to me that ‘Godfrey Owen’ has recently been added to the very small group of snowdrops, 28 out of the over 2,500 named varieties, to receive the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  It is an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without looking at the label.

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Looking at ‘Godfrey Owen’ is a pleasure from any angle, but here you can see the distinctive six outer segments.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Godfrey Owen’ has six pointed and concave, longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments.  The inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base.  The flowers in my garden all originate from one bulb but have a mixture of markings.   ‘Godfrey Owen’ was discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii, the giant snowdrop, by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband.

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‘Barnes’ blooms in the fall.

When snowdrops bloom in October or November, they really make a statement.  Galanthus elwesii (Hiemalis Group) ‘Barnes’ is a lovely, fall-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop with well-formed outer segments and a heart-shaped mark on the inners.  Considered by many to be the earliest blooming, sometimes in October, and best of the Hiemalis Group, it recently received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its superiority.

The name ‘Barnes’ originates from E.P. Barnes, a surgeon in Northampton, who selected an early-flowering form of G. elwesii and sent it to Oliver Wyatt, possibly in 1928.  After 1973, a group of snowdrops labeled ‘Barnes’ was discovered at Wyatt’s home in Suffolk.

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‘Art Noveau’ is striking.

Confronted recently with hundreds of varieties of snowdrops, all in bloom, I gravitated immediately to the captivating elegance of Galanthus nivalis ‘Art Noveau’.  An artistically curved spathe, like a shepherd’s crook, tops the long, slender flower with bold markings inside and out.  The outer segments are pointed and splashed with pale green, while the inners are almost as long as the outers and sport a darker green, heart-shaped mark.  Given to Avon Bulbs by a famous garden in Normandy, France.

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‘Armine’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus ‘Armine’ is a tall, easy-to-grow, hybrid snowdrop with large, well-proportioned flowers.  It has a beautiful mark on the inner segment, which is clearly visible even when the flowers are not fully open.  It was named in the late 1950s for the daughter of Brigadier and Mrs. Matthias, the owners of the famous (at least among galanthophiles) Giant Snowdrop Company in Gloucestershire.  Lady Carolyn Elwes tells me that a Catholic nun came to visit Colesbourne Park a number of years ago and explained that she was the daughter for whom the snowdrop was named—how fun.

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‘Armine’s’ inner mark is almost always visible.

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‘Puck’ is a fun semi-double snowdrop.

‘Puck’ is a charming and quirky form of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with three extra segments haphazardly arranged over the top of the normal three inner segments and three outer segments.  The result is a fat, semi-double flower.  Named for the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, who seems to have cast his spell on this snowdrop, and found in a woods in Devon.

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‘Sprite’ has a unique look.

I am always looking for snowdrops that stand out from the crowd to add to my collection.  When I toured snowdrop gardens in England, I realized that Galanthus ‘Sprite’ was not only beautiful but could also be easily identified without a label.  The broad, round, bluntly pointed outer segments are painted with five or six distinct green lines with slight shading in between.  A wide, green band covers 2/3 of the inner segments.  Introduced about 10 years ago by the discerning horticulturist Alan Street at Avon Bulbs.

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‘Sprite’ proudly displayed in the Avon Bulbs exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in February 2018.

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Look for another blog post soon profiling an additional seven new offerings for 2019.

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.

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A Day in the Life of an Avon Bulbs Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘EA Bowles’ was one of the very lucky snowdrops selected to be displayed on the Avon Bulbs table at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show in February.

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited:  in this post, Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop nurseries in the world.

We visited Avon in February 2018 and 2017 and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Alan Street, known through out the snowdrop world for the exceptional snowdrops he has selected and named.  During both years, we also helped set up the Avon exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Show in London.  For a post about our 2017 RHS experience, read Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is 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 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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Alan Street standing among Avon’s free range planting of ‘S. Arnott’.  Alan advises snowdrop enthusiasts to let the flower heads form and drop their seeds, as you never know what you will get.

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Avon has a beautiful woodland full of “wild” snowdrops plus other winter-blooming plants like the winter aconites, hardy cyclamens, and spring snowflakes in this photo.  They are all allowed to mix and match, which has resulted in some amazing snowdrop selections.

The title of this post should really be “years in the life of an Avon snowdrop” because that’s how long it takes to evaluate, select, and name a truly special snowdrop.  Although Avon propagates many snowdrops selected by others, it has introduced some wonderful cultivars found in the woods on its own property.  I thought you might like to see where and how this happens plus which lucky snowdrops go on to the RHS show.

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A swarm of ‘Wasp’ in the Avon woods.  The woods are filled with masses of named snowdrops, and, when the bees go from flower to flower, magic happens.

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A group of seedlings in the Avon woods from the very prolific ‘Trym’, results in….

.….’Trympostor’, first shown by Avon in 2011.

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The appearance of a seedling like this one pairing a green ovary (the cap at the top of the flower) and yellow markings on the outer segments results in….

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….the introduction in fall of 2017 of ‘Midas’, a spectacular and ground-breaking snowdrop with yellow on the outers as well as the inners and….

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…., to be introduced in the near future by Avon, ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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‘Sprite’, another Avon introduction, seen in the Avon woods.

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‘Phantom’ also originated at Avon.

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An un-named seedling currently under evaluation by Avon.

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Also under evaluation, a yellow ‘Trym’ from Olive Mason.

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If a woodland seedling looks promising, it might be potted up for further evaluation in the greenhouse.

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All snowdrops are eventually chipped and grown on in pots in Avon’s production beds.

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Avon production beds

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Alan Street holds one of the pots from the production beds.  In it is ‘Alan’s Treat’, which he selected and named—a play on his own name.

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Plants chosen for sale in the catalogue are individually potted, usually in their third year after chipping, and stored in this cold frame.

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From the cold frame, they are loaded onto carts for transportation to the various snowdrop venues where Avon sells its plants.  This particular cart is bound for the RHS show and contains snowdrops for sale on the bottom shelf and snowdrops for display on the top two shelves.

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The Avon truck arrives in London, and Michael helps Alan unload the carts and roll them into Lindley Hall where the snowdrop portion of the RHS show was staged.

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All the materials are ready for us to create the display.  Unfortunately, the Avon table was in an out-of-the-way corner with poor lighting and a terrible background for photos.  I am not sure what the RHS was thinking!

.There was a three-tier effect with four snowdrops displayed in the metal stands shown to create the upper tier.  It was very hard to get the pots to sit in the stands but perseverance paid off!

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The middle tier featured pots raised up in attractive metal buckets wrapped in woven vines, here ‘Rosemary Burnham’, a show-stopping virescent (green) snowdrop.

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The lowest tier pots sat on the table and were covered by leaves, here ‘George Elwes’, a stately snowdrop selected at Colesbourne Park.

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Alan waters the display while Michael continues to level the pots in the stands.

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The only way to get an overall photo was to take it from a balcony overlooking the table.

Some snowdrops displayed by Avon at the RHS show in addition to EA Bowles at the top:

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‘Jade’

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‘Gloria’, a gorgeous poculiform (all segments are outers) snowdrop.

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‘Sprite’ is a very eye-catching snowdrop.

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‘Veronica Cross’

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‘Moortown’, I think this was my favorite.

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We are so grateful to Alan Street for sharing his RHS adventure with us among many other things!

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.

Rodmarton Manor Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, landscape design, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 Rodmarton Manor

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited, starting with Rodmarton Manor.

We visited Rodmarton in February 2017 also and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Simon Biddulph, the current owner.  Simon grew up at Rodmarton, and it was built by his grandparents, Claud and Margaret Biddulph.  We were given a tour of the house and gardens; however, no photos are allowed inside the house.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is 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 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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The Village of Rodmarton features a Norman church built in the 1100s.

Rodmarton is a tiny and very scenic village in the Cotswolds near Cirencester.  The Biddulphs built and furnished their home there between 1909 and 1929, using what is now called the Arts and Crafts style.   Everything, including the amazing furniture, was made by hand on site using local materials and craftsmen.

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The entrance drive to Rodmarton Manor.

The garden’s outline was laid out by the architect of the house, Ernest Barnsley, but Margaret Biddulph, a trained horticulturist, and her head gardener created the eight acres of gardens. The Rodmarton Garden is considered a fine example of the Arts and Crafts gardening movement, which emphasized harmony with the house and featured garden rooms outlined by walls or clipped evergreens and leading from one to another.   To read an excellent article about the Rodmarton garden, click here.

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The front drive is lined with moss-covered staddle stones, which were originally used to support grain storehouses and keep water and rodents out.

.Inside the wall pictured in the photo above, note the espaliered trees.

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Clipped hedges, quirky, ornamental buildings, and long views from “room to room” are important characteristics of Art and Crafts gardens.

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In February, all the borders were dormant—-I would love to see Rodmarton in June.

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Just one of many Art and Crafts style structures in the garden.

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This view looks through at least four garden “rooms”.

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Arts and Crafts design considered the garden an extension of the house, and beautiful views of the house are everywhere.

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the South Terrace

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The layout and structure is quite grand, but close attention is also given to smaller details and the garden is richly planted.  Here, some masses of spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, against a stone wall.

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Yellow snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group, in groundcover.

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Winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, beside a moss-covered stone wall.

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Snowdrops in a stone urn on the wall leading to the Topiary Garden.

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the Topiary Garden

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Planted stone troughs in the Topiary Garden.

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Pleached lime trees in the Topiary Garden.

.I was very envious of the moss, which covered everything, including the lime trees.

Snowdrops are everywhere at Rodmarton in big, glorious clumps.  For this post, I will show you the varieties selected by the Biddulphs at Rodmarton.

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Simon Biddulph grows many of his snowdrops at the base of small trees inside Rodmarton’s walled orchard.  Here, Simon tells us about his gorgeous selection ‘Rodmarton Regulus’, a very large and vigorous snowdrop with big flowers.

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‘Rodmarton Regulus’

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‘Rodmarton Regulus’

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‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ with its big, rounded petals is a favorite.

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‘Margaret Biddulph’, a rare virescent (greenish) snowdrop.  My favorite of all the snowdrops I saw was a virescent called ‘Claud Biddulph’ after Simon’s grandfather, but the wind was blowing so hard the photo didn’t come out.

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‘Rodmarton’, a double snowdrop—it was blowing so hard it was difficult to get the snowdrops in focus!

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Galanthus RS 2015/02, under evaluation

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Galanthus RS 2015/01, also under evaluation—I love those twisted outer segments.

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Michael with Simon Biddulph (left) looking thoroughly frozen after our windy and cold visit in 2017.

We are so grateful to Simon Biddulph for giving us a private tour of Rodmarton, not once but twice, and sharing his memories and snowdrops with us!

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.

Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens, England February 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, flower show, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The best place to see snowdrops in England is Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.

Michael and I traveled to England during snowdrop season again this year.  We stayed with Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, called the greatest snowdrop destination in England.  From there we visited Evenley Wood Garden, Ronald Mackenzie at Barn Cottage, Olive Mason at Dial Park, John Massey at Ashwood Nurseries, Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, Simon Biddulph at Rodmarton Manor, and Hilary and Hugh Purkess at Welshway Cottage. 

We also helped set up the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in London.  Each of these visits will eventually be a blog post, but I wanted to give you a few highlights now.

Nursery News:  We will be selling winter interest plants at Winterthur this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, details below.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is 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 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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Glory-of-the-snow on the March Bank at Winterthur.

Before I get to England though, this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, is the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Event.  It promises to be a great time with a lecture, garden tours, and interesting vendors, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Here are the details:

Celebrate the first flowers of the year at Winterthur on Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm. At 11 am, Dr. Peter Zale, Curator of Plants at Longwood Gardens,  will explore Intrinsic Beauty: Snowdrops, Choice Bulbs, and How They Enrich Gardens. From 1 to 2 pm, enjoy guided or self-guided garden tours.  Shop at the specialty sale of rare and unusual plants from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, RareFind Nursery, and Edgewood Gardens. Garden tours and plant sale are included with admission.  To purchase tickets please call 800.448.3883.

And now for snowdrop highlights from England:

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Leucojum vernum, spring snowflake, on a stream bank at Evenley Wood Garden.  Although snowdrops generally prefer well-drained sites, leucojum thrives in wet areas.

.One of the rarer Greatorex double snowdrops, ‘Desdemona’, at Evenley Wood.

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One of my favorite snowdrops of the whole trip, ‘Don Armstrong’ in Ronald Mackenzie’s garden.

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This snowdrop, also at Ronald Mackenzie’s, has been at the top of my wish list for a while, although it is supposed to be hard-to-grow, ‘Daglingworth’.

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Michael thinks Olive Mason’s long-pediceled snowdrop, apparently a relation of ‘Fly Fishing’, should be introduced as “Deep Sea Fishing”.

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As we walked around Dial Park, I pointed out snowdrop after snowdrop with very interesting marks and asked what it was.  Olive Mason’s response: “Oh, it’s just another ‘Trym’ seedling.”  ‘Trym’ seedlings were even growing out of the hedges and between paving stones.

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A beautiful use of snowdrops in a stumpery in John Massey’s private garden at Ashwood Nurseries.

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The beautiful and eBay record-setting, yellow Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ in John Massey’s garden.  One plant sold for £725 in 2012.

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A very pale virescent snowdrop from Andy Byfield, ‘Northern Lights’, seen at Avon Bulbs.

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A lovely and rare new snowdrop with yellow on the outer segments to be introduced soon by Avon Bulbs as ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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Again this year, we were privileged to be escorted around Rodmarton Manor and gardens by owner Simon Biddulph.  Rodmarton is one of the best surviving examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement with 8 acres of gardens.

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Introduced by Simon Biddulph, ‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ is one of the most impressive snowdrops I have ever seen.

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Another rare and beautiful snowdrop seen at Rodmarton, ‘Celia’s Double’.

.An enchanting scene from Hilary and Hugh Purkess’s garden, Welshway Cottage.

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The best display of ‘Augustus’ I have ever seen, at Welshway Cottage.

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Another wonderful snowdrop at Welshway where every scape produces a twin-headed flower, ‘Harewood Twin’.

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Drifts of ‘S. Arnott’ at Colesbourne Park, the place to go to see massive quantities of snowdrops!

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Snowdrops cover the hillside above a huge, moss-covered English oak on the shore of the naturally, bright blue Colesbourne lake.

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‘Under Cherry Plum’ in the Avon Bulbs Royal Horticultural Society Exhibit.

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ in Avon’s exhibit.

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Such a gorgeous snowdrop and so well-named, ‘Puffin’ from Avon Bulbs.

Each of these venues deserves a post of its own, but for now, all I have time for is a sampler!

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.

A Cure for Cabin Fever

Posted in garden to visit, winter interest with tags , , on January 31, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The Main Conservatory is my favorite indoor room at Longwood Gardens.  This time of year it is filled with orchids.

Exceedingly cold weather from Christmas through the middle of January kept us inside for days on end.  Although I have plenty of paperwork to complete before the nursery season, by the middle of January, I had cabin fever.  My cure is always a trip to the conservatory at Longwood Gardens.  This year we extended our outing to include lunch at Terrain at Styers and shopping at our favorite farm market, Wolff’s Apple House.

Nursery News:  Local customers can order winter interest plants like hellebores, cyclamen, winter aconite, and more in the 2018 Winter Interest Plant Catalogue, to access it click 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 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.

The entrance to the East Conservatory framed by a 12′ archway of orchids.

Cabin fever always occurs during Longwood’s Orchid Extravaganza when the conservatory is filled with thousands of orchids and hundreds of varieties.  I am not an orchid lover, but there is nothing more cheery when it’s 25 degrees outside than brightly colored orchids in a tropically warm conservatory.  This year was especially fun because we visited two days before the show opened while it was still being mounted.  It was fascinating to watch the care with which the employees placed each orchid in the elaborate displays. 

The Orchid Extravaganza, featuring over 4,500 orchids, runs until March 25, so you have plenty of time to get there.  Meanwhile, you can enjoy my photos from inside your warm home.

In the Visitor Center, a very large wall with potted orchids of every description inspires visitors to make the freezing trek to the conservatory.

.  We didn’t spend any time walking around outside but went directly to the conservatory, which you can see across the frozen landscape in the middle of the photo.

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Longwood employees, however, were outside climbing trees to remove the Christmas lights used in A Longwood Christmas, another do not miss event if you haven’t seen it.

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A map of the conservatory at Longwood—sorry it’s hard to read.  You enter on the right side of the map into the East Conservatory.  The conservatory area covers four acres—there is a lot to see.

.The orchid archway in the East Conservatory under construction.

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Construction of the archway—it’s big!

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Orchid orbs hanging in the East Conservatory.

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A wall of orchids outside the Music Room.  The woman on the ground was giving the woman on the ladder exact instructions as to how to turn the orchid she was placing to display it to best effect.

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The giant columns at the end of the Exhibition Hall are ringed with orchids.  A Longwood employee proudly informed me that they had just finished the display minutes before.

.A close up of the orchid-covered column.

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There was more evidence of the changeover in the Main Conservatory: salvias were going in….

.….and ferns were coming out.

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Color combinations are always especially nice in the Main Conservatory.  This planting just glowed.

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The four quarters of the Main Conservatory have their own color schemes.

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No matter when you visit, there is an elegant display of orchids in the Orchid House.

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No orchids here but a beautiful plant combination in the Mediterranean House.

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Orchids are added to the permanent displays in the conservatory, here the Palm House.

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The Cascade Garden

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The Tropical Terrace

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The entire ceiling of the Silver Garden is filled with hanging orchids.

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This could be my favorite: daffodils among the espaliered nectarines in the Estate Fruit House.

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After wandering through the Longwood Conservatory, we had lunch a short distance north on Route One in the greenhouse room of the Garden Cafe at Terrain at Styers—very good food and wonderful atmosphere.  They serve fresh baked bread in terra cotta garden pots.

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After lunch, you can visit Terrian’s lovely shop spread over an additional three or four greenhouses.

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A little farther north on Route One, you can stop to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and prepared food at Wolff’s Apple House.

Enjoy your outing!

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.

North Green Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2018 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.

John Morley welcomes us to his elegant home and the gardens at North Green Snowdrops.

Last February, my husband Michael and I traveled to England to visit gardens and meet famous galanthophiles.  One of the most famous is John Morley of the legendary nursery North Green Snowdrops.  North Green has named snowdrops that are iconic in the galanthus world, including ‘Trumps’, ‘Comet’, ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, ‘Three Ships’, and ‘Remember, Remember’.   John recently introduced the golden yellow ‘Mother Goose’, which immediately topped my acquisition list.  To view North Green’s gorgeous 2018 catalogue, click here.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website 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 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.

The lovely Morley home

.  As the snow falls, John Morley gamely points out snowdrops in the garden at North Green.

On a trip where we never saw the sun and it rained or snowed every day, our visit to North Green stood out as the coldest day of the two weeks we were in England.  North Green is located in Beccles on the east coast of England where the land juts out to receive icy blasts from the North Sea. As we toured the garden, Arctic wind blew the snow sideways, and at least half my photos were out-of-focus as the snowdrops swayed.  However, we persevered and saw many snowdrops I had only read about before, which I want to share with you.

.‘Walter Fish’

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‘Yaffle’

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‘Trumps’ found in the North Green garden by Matt Bishop.

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‘Golden Fleece’, the first yellow ‘Trym’, introduced by Joe Sharman at Monksilver Nursery, and an eBay record setter at £1,390 for one plant.  Yellow snowdrops often look olive in England, to me anyway, rather than the bright yellow they display in the US due to our sunny weather.

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‘Green Comet’ originated in the garden at North Green and was named for its large flowers, resembling ‘Comet’, and its lettuce green leaves, usually in threes as you can see in the photo.

.‘Fieldgate Prelude’

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‘Green of Hearts’ originated at North Green and distinguished from ‘Trumps’ by its darker green and more heart-shaped markings.

.A curiosity that has not been introduced, “747 Short Leaf” has, of course, very short leaves.  This photo also shows the icy snow that was falling during our visit!

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‘Jubilee Green’ with its bright green leaves was named to commemorate North Green’s 25th year in business.

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‘Ray Cobb’, another yellow looking quite olive.

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‘Fenstead End’

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Matt Bishop named this snowdrop ‘Neckless Wonder’ because it has no pedicel attaching it to the scape.

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I thought this was one of the prettiest snowdrops I saw, maybe because after 10 tries it stood still for its photo.  Not introduced yet and called “NGZZZ-R-OVXVXP” for now.

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Halfway through the tour, when I was the coldest I had ever been, John invited us into his warm and cheery home for some very welcome tea.  He rated us very keen galanthophiles indeed when we were eager to continue the tour after tea.

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.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 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.

Known as the Exedra, this curving Gothic screen is the most famous of the many follies found at Painswick Rococo Garden.

When we traveled to England last year, we visited Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire.  We went there to see the snowdrops and found tens of thousands of them blooming in one of the most quirky and extravagant gardens I have visited.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website 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 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.

.  Gate leading to Painswick House, which is next to but not part of the garden.

Rococo is a style of art and architecture that originated in France and Italy in the early 1700s.  Rococo gardens were designed as theatrical sets for lavish parties rather than horticultural undertakings.  Garden historians describe them as flamboyant, frivolous, and capricious.  Rococo gardens were laid out with sweeping vistas, framed views, and serpentine paths designed to lead the visitor to explore extravagant water features, staircases, statuary, and especially follies, costly ornamental buildings in diverse architectural styles with no practical purpose.

.Painswick House

Painswick House was purchased and expanded by the Hyett family in the 1730s.  In the 1740s, Benjamin Hyett, the son of the original owner, built the fanciful garden nestled in the hidden valley behind the house.  The garden was created to entertain guests in flamboyant outdoor rooms and to intrigue them into exploring extravagant follies. 

In 1748, Hyett commissioned a painting of the garden, which was used by Lord and Lady Dickinson, direct Hyett descendants, to restore it beginning in the 1970s.  In 1988, the garden was turned over to the Painswick Rococo Garden Trust.  It is the only surviving rococo garden currently open to the public.

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Painswick House has a beautiful view of this folly, the two story Pigeon House.

.Visitors entering the garden find themselves on a hillside with a sweeping view of the garden in the valley below.  Here you see the orchard and kitchen garden.  The Exedra is visible on the middle right.

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The other half of the view looks towards the bowling green, fish pond, and Snowdrop Grove.

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In February, the hillside is packed with the very tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick in the 1800s by James Atkins, an estate worker.

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Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’

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‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops and bearsfoot hellebore along the path to another folly, the Eagle House.

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Looking across the orchard at the Eagle House, you can see its lower vaulted chambers built into the hillside.

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The Snowdrop Grove is a large woodland area carpeted in white in February.

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Many of the snowdrops in the woodland are the double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’.  I have never seen it growing so beautifully.

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The garden nestles up to Painswick House on the right in the photo.

.The garden features a gigantic maze.  For scale, find the visitor inside the maze on the outermost path on the right.

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Although the garden is only six acres, views like this one from the maze make it seem much larger.

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The largest folly known as the Red House.

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the orchard

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Standing behind the Exedra, you can see its formal garden and beyond that the kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

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We really enjoyed visiting this unusual garden.  I only wish that the weather had cooperated in helping me produce better photos.  During our 12 days in England, the sun never came out, and it rained or snowed, sometimes both, every day.  However, that has not deterred us from contemplating another trip this February.

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.

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