Archive for the winter interest Category

New Snowdrops for 2022: Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2021 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus EA Bowles‘E. A. Bowles’  is in a class by itself, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Thank you to my readers for the enthusiastic response to my first post on the new snowdrops that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will offer in its 2022 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read that post, click hereThe catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December, but here is an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at more of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!
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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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.Galanthus EA Bowles-001‘E.A. Bowles’ caused a sensation in 2011 when it sold for the highest recorded price ever paid for a snowdrop.

‘E.A. Bowles’ invites the use of every over-the-top adjective in the snowdrop lexicon and, if I was forced to pick a favorite snowdrop, this would be it.  It towers over other snowdrops and produces gigantic, magnificent, pure white flowers that are perfectly poculiform, meaning all six segments are outer segments.  It blooms very late in the season and, with its height and flower size, could easily be mistaken for a white daffodil.  It is a G. plicatus cultivar, and its broad, shiny green leaves only add to the allure.

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Galanthus EA Bowles‘E.A. Bowles’ prominently featured in the Avon Bulbs display at the 2018 RHS Show.

‘E.A. Bowles’ was discovered  in 2002 by North Yorkshire snowdrop expert Michael Myers at Myddelton House, Enfield, Middlesex, the former home and garden of famous plantsman E.A. Bowles (1865-1954).  Its status as an outstanding snowdrop was immediately apparent, and it received a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  In 2011, it was the first snowdrop to receive significant attention from the non-gardening press when it fetched the then mind boggling price of £357 at auction.

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Galanthus The Wizard‘The Wizard’

‘The Wizard’s’ lighter green, heart-shaped markings on the large outer segments paired with the almost completely green inner segments result in an enchanting snowdrop.  It has the traditional, pagoda-like shape of an inverse poculiform, where all the outer segments have been replaced by a whorl of inners, and a tall, upright habit with the lovely leaves characteristic of a G. plicatus

It was discovered by snowdrop expert Alan Street in the copse at Avon Bulbs and first offered for sale in 2014.  Although there are many ‘Trym’-like snowdrops available now, ‘The Wizard’ cast its spell over Anne Repnow and was included in her new book profiling only 90 out of over 2,500 named snowdrop cultivars.  For a review of her wonderful book, click here.

Galanthus Mrs Thompson 333‘Mrs. Thompson’s’ erratic behavior is highly prized in the snowdrop world.

‘Mrs. Thompson’ defies snowdrop norms.  Uniformity is usually highly prized among snowdrop collectors, but, paradoxically, this snowdrop’s erratic behavior has made it more desirable.  Along with an elegant and stately classic flower, when well established, it also produces twins (two flowers with separate pedicels on the same scape), fused flowers, and flowers with 4, 5, or even 6 outer segments.  Rather than detracting from the beauty of the clump, these quirks make ‘Mrs. Thompson’ enchanting.

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Galanthus Mrs. ThompsonThe left flower has five outer segments instead of the usual three, and the right flower is composed of two fused flowers on the same scape.

‘Mrs. Thompson’ was discovered by Mrs. N.G. Thompson of Red House, Escrick, York, and was sent by her to the RHS Scientific Committee, chaired by E.A. Bowles, for consideration in 1950.

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Galanthus 'Cordelia'‘Cordelia’ produces a very neat, green rosette.

‘Cordelia’ is a beautiful and elegant double snowdrop originated prior to 1954 by English plantsman Heyrick Greatorex as part of his famous series of large and vigorous double snowdrops, resulting from his crosses of G. plicatus with G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  He named his doubles after characters in Shakespeare’s plays—here the youngest daughter in King Lear.

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Galanthus 'Cordelia'‘Cordelia’ at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

‘Cordelia’ is one of the lesser known but more easily identifiable Greatorex doubles due to its large, variable,  green inner marking, superior height, and very uniform and neat rosette.  It thrives in my garden!

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Galanthus 'Phantom'‘Phantom’ produces two types of flowers.  One is the very lovely, pure white poculiform shown above.  This is the flower form that appears if only one flower is produced.

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Galanthus 'Phantom'This is ‘Phantom’s’ other flower type: a spooky looking snowdrop with markings configured like G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus.

‘Phantom’ is a very mysterious snowdrop of unknown origin and previously unknown configuration.  When established, it produces two very different flowers from the same bulb. 

The first is a beautiful, large, pure white, six-petaled poculiform like ‘E.A. Bowles’.  The second is a flower with basal and apical markings on the inner segments like G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus.  The markings on the second flower resemble large and elongated eyes and a down-turned mouth, very phantom-like, which may have contributed to the name.

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Galanthus 'Phantom'Both types of flowers appear on this beautiful specimen shown by Avon Bulbs at the 2017 RHS Show.

The mystery continues with ‘Phantom’s’ origin.  It was introduced in 2015 by Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, but the collector from whom he thought he got it denies giving it to him.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Note: 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.

Some Snowdrops by Anne Repnow

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2021 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

img032An unassuming title for a wonderful book.  The snowdrop pictured on the cover is ‘Wol Staines’ from Glen Chantry in England, a nursery that I dream of visiting.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Last fall, I received my copy of Some Snowdrops: A Photographic Ramble by Anne C. Repnow (Davidia Press 2020) and  immediately read it cover-to-cover twice.  Although COVID certainly had something to do with that, I was also captivated by the excellent photographs and comprehensive descriptions.  I want to share this first-rate book with you in time for you to purchase it for use as a reference during the upcoming snowdrop season.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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.img033The book starts with some beautiful landscape photos of snowdrops, this one taken at Brechin Castle in Scotland.

Anne Repnow gardens near Heidelberg, Germany.  She started her career in scientific publishing but during that time took courses in horticulture and landscape design.  Ten years ago she followed her love of gardening into a new career as a garden designer.  Along the way she managed to accumulate 500 snowdrop cultivars in her own garden.  Anne organizes the German snowdrop event Snowdrop Days in Luisenpark.  There is no mention of photography in her bio but the photographs speak for themselves.

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img042‘Godfrey Owen’ comes into bloom early in the main season for snowdrops, generally the second half of January in my garden.  It is one of my favorites and has received the coveted Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.

The heart of the book is descriptive profiles of 90 Galanthus cultivars illustrated with nearly 280 well-chosen phtographs.  Each snowdrop gets its own page with a full paragraph of description, including an explantion of its markings, an account of its discovery, and a focus on why it is in the book.  For ‘Godfrey Owen’ above, Repnow mentions its exceptional beauty and unusual petal configuration of six inners and six outers.  She also provides a chart with an approximation of bloom time, a ranking of vigor, and a relative price.

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img041‘Wasp’ is a snowdrop that you would recognize anywhere without a label due to its long, narrow, wing-like outer segments and the striped inner segements resembling a thorax.

For this post, I have scanned four pages from Repnow’s book profiling snowdrops that will appear in our 2022 Snowdrop Catalogue: ‘Godfrey Owen’, ‘Wasp’, ‘Three Ships’, and ‘Standing Tall’, which brings me to another reason I love this book.  Repnow does not just focus on snowdrops that are new and relatively unavailable to American gardeners, although there is definitely a large number of those, but includes many snowdrops that are  available in the US.  Eleven cultivars in the book are in our 2022 catalogue, while an additional 14 have been offered previously by Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  This is not a book for dreamers, but for gardeners who want to grow snowdrops.

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img038‘Standing Tall’ is an American snowdrop selected by bulb expert Charles Cresson and introduced exclusively by Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in 2013.  Its upright habit, height, and mid-December bloom time make it an outstanding snowdrop.

Some Snowdrops includes a wide diversity of snowdrops selected in the UK and all over the rest of Europe and even covers some North American snowdrops.  She profiles ‘Green Bear’ and ‘Rosemary Burnham’ from British Columbia and ‘Potter’s Prelude’ and ‘Standing Tall’ from the US.

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img040‘Three Ships’ is another favorite available in our 2022 catalogue.  Its distinctive, large, round and seersuckered outer segments along with its Christmas bloom time earned it a rare Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.

If you would like to purchase Anne Repnow’s book, which I highly recommend, you can get it from Barnes and Noble here or Amazon here. Anne tells me that the next installment More Snowdrops is in the works—I can’t wait.

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In my last post I described six snowdrops that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is offering for the first time in our 2022 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read the post, click hereFour snowdrops from the catalogue are profiled in this post.  Look for an upcoming post with five more new snowdrops.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Note: 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.

New Snowdrops for 2022: Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2021 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus Midas‘Midas’ has yellow marks on the outer segments, something entirely new to the snowdrop world.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Getting outside in the fall to clean out and mulch my snowdrop beds always lift my spirits as we sink into winter.  Seeing the little green tips beginning to push through the soil is a sign of renewal when the light is fading, the temperature is dropping, and the rest of the garden is dying back. 

When inside, I am busy drafting the 2022 Snowdrop Catalogue, which will be posted on our website in the first half of December.  While my loyal snowdrop customers wait to receive their catalogue notification, this post will give everyone an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at some of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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.Galanthus 'Midas'Alan Street at Avon Bulbs sent me this photo of ‘Midas’ in 2017, the year it was introduced.  I couldn’t believe my eyes—here was a swarm of one of the world’s rarest snowdrops!

‘Midas’ was discovered in February 2011 by snowdrop expert Alan Street in the famous Avon Bulbs copse of trees where many unusual and popular snowdrops have originated.  It was found in close proximity to ‘Blonde Inge’ and ‘Trym’, its presumed parents.  A few days later Avon hosted the famous Immortals Luncheon for the exclusive group of people for whom snowdrops have been named.  As the immortals would be exploring the copse with their eagle eyes, ‘Midas’ was ignominiously concealed under a pot.  Avon introduced it for sale in 2017.

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Galanthus Midas

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‘Midas’ has many fine qualities:  Like ‘Blonde Inge’, its ovary is green while its markings are yellow, a very pleasing combination.  Like ‘Trym’ and its numerous progeny, it is an inverse poculiform, meaning its outer segments have been replaced by a whorl of inners. But what makes ‘Midas’ really special are the yellow markings on the outer segments in addition to the inners.

‘Midas’ is a so-called color change snowdrop—it comes out green and changes to yellow—so plant it where it gets some sun to bring out the beautiful, warm golden color.  As an x valentinei, it has the expected vigor of a hybrid snowdrop.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Augustus'‘Augustus’ is classically elegant and award-winning.

‘Augustus’s striking, rounded and quilted flowers with emerald green inner segments stand out in any snowdrop collection.  Its blooms sit atop robust and perky plants, unbeatable when massed.  It has the folded leaves of a G. plicatus but with unusually wide, bright green leaves with a distinct broad silver channel in the center.

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Galanthus Augustus‘Augustus’ is very striking in a group, here in Hilary and Hugh Purkess’s garden “Welshway”.

‘Augustus’ was found by famous plantswoman Amy Doncaster in the garden of Lewis Palmer at Headbourne Worthy, Winchester, and named prior to 1976 for E.A. (Edward Augustus) Bowles.  It has received the coveted Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit, given to only 28 snowdrops out of the over 2,500 in cultivation.

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Galanthus 'Cowhouse Green'‘Cowhouse Green’, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

‘Cowhouse Green’ is a virescent or green-shaded snowdrop.  Gorgeous apple green shading covers the apical half of the outer segments and lightly washes the inner segments—it glows in my garden at dusk.  It is instantly recognizable for its ethereal coloring, tall flower scapes, and elegantly curved flower stems (pedicels).  It was found by French horticulturist Mark Brown in the late 1980s in the garden of Susan Cowdy at Rushmere, The Lee, Buckinghamshire, in an area near Cowhouse Field.

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Galanthus Desdemona‘Desdemona’ is a Greatorex double snowdrop.

‘Desdemona’ was selected by Heyrick Greatorex from his crosses of G. plicatus with G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  He named his vigorous selections for Shakespeare characters, here Othello’s wife in the Shakespeare tragedy of the same name.  ‘Desdemona’ is one of the largest and strongest Greatorex doubles and considered one of the best for garden display.

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Galanthus Desdemona‘Desdemona’ at Evenley Wood Garden in Northhamptonshire, a snowdrop venue well worth visiting.

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Galanthus Moses Basket MacLennan2‘Moses Basket’ cannot be mistaken for any other snowdrop.  Many thanks to Margaret and David MacLennan, holders of the UK National Collection of Galanthus (Scientific), for the wonderful photo.

‘Moses Basket’ is a very unique cultivar of G. elwesii with two pale spots resembling eyes in the middle of the inner segments and very small dark green marks at the apex.  What makes this snowdrop so special is that when well established the claws (the narrow section at the base of the outer segments) pull the outers in to form a basket with the two eyes peeking out (is that Moses?). 

It was discovered in 2004 at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire by the Assistant Head Gardener David Jordan.  The snowdrop was named for the grandson of a longtime visitor to Anglesey Abbey and refers to the basket that floated the biblical baby Moses down the Nile.

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Galanthus Rodmarton Arcturus‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ at the famous snowdrop destination Rodmarton Manor in England.

‘Rodmarton Arcturus’: In February 2018, I was given a tour of the snowdrops at Rodmarton Manor in Gloucestershire by the owner, Simon Biddulph, who showed me this snowdrop, which he selected and named for the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere.  At the time, I called it one of the most impressive snowdrops I have ever seen, click here.  My superlatives have been born out by none other than Matt Bishop, the author of the snowdrop bible, who describes it in his catalogue as “one of the ten cultivars which I would take with me if sent to live on a desert island”.

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Galanthus Rodmarton ArcturusAn enviable clump of ‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ in the garden of snowdrop expert Ronald Mackenzie.

‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ has enormous, globular,  thick-textured, seersuckered flowers with wide, rounded petals like a spoon and a dark green apical inner marking diffusing to two eye-like spots—an absolute standout!  The excellent habit and attractive, glaucous, blue-green leaves with slight pleating, indicating G. plicatus parentage, complete the package.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Note: 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.

New Snowdrops for 2021: Part 2

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Sarah Dumont’ is a rare and exquisite yellow snowdrop.  Thanks to photographer Jason Ingram for permission to use this photo, to purchase this print or view others available, click here.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Thank you to my readers for the enthusiastic response to my first post on the new snowdrops that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will offer in its 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read that post, click here.  The catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December, but here you can get an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at more of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!

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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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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.Thanks to my friend Julian Wormald in Wales for this photo of ‘Sarah Dumont’.  Check out his blog, The Garden Impressionists, here, and visit his amazing garden in person if you are in Wales during snowdrop season.

‘Sarah Dumont’  is a gorgeous snowdrop with a golden yellow pedicel (flower stem), ovary (little cap above the flower), and inner segment mark and a beautiful rounded shape.  It has been described as a superb form, both vigorous and prolific.  On his blog, John Grimshaw calls it “a fabulous yellow”.  All yellows can be greenish without sun, and I have seen many olive-colored yellow snowdrops in England, but I never find this to be true in the sunny mid-Atlantic!  Believed to have been found in a Scottish woodland among a naturalized population of G. plicatus, it was named by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery for a longtime employee.

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Poculiform snowdrops add an ethereal presence to any snowdrop collection.

A snowdrop is poculiform when all six of its segments are outer segments and are roughly the same length.  They are often but not always pure white—a stunning effect.  The snowdrop in our catalogue, G. nivalis subsp. poculiformis, which is pictured above and below, is both poculiform and also pure white. Many forms of this elegant configuration have been found and named over the years.  However, the original was discovered by Head Gardener David Melville at Dunrobin Castle in Scotland and named in 1880 by Reverend Henry Harpur Crewe, an early snowdrop expert.

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Galanthus nivalis subsp. poculiformis

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‘Green Arrow’ is upright and pointy, hence the name.  Shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

When touring our snowdrops last spring, a sophisticated galanthophile with many snowdrops in her collection pointed to ‘Green Arrow’ and said “I want that one”—that’s how unique this snowdrop is.  ‘Green Arrow’ is a late-blooming, tall and upright snowdrop with striking, bright green-tipped outer segments and delicate dark emerald green shading on the inner segments, gradually lightening towards the base.  It is distinct and vigorous in our garden with a habit and coloration that makes it stand out from the pack.  Found before 2000 by Sally Pasmore in her garden at Honeysuckle Cottage, Limington, Somerset.

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“Moortown Mighty’ is big!

I am most attracted by extra large snowdrops, so ‘Moortown Mighty’ went to the top of my “must have” list after I saw it displayed at the 2017 RHS show in London.  It has done quite well in my garden.  The huge, very showy flowers with curved and thickly textured outer segments open widely to display the green stained inner segments.  It is said to produce two flower scapes per bulb when fully established.  Its beautiful, ridged and pleated, blue-green leaves show its G. plicatus heritage.  It was discovered in 2007 by French horticulturist Mark Brown in David Bromley’s  garden in Moortown, Shropshire.

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‘Moortown Mighty’ fully open at the RHS show in London.

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The pleated and ridged leaves of ‘Moortown Mighty’.

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‘Wonston Double’

‘Wonston Double’ is a very neat and fully double snowdrop with five outer segments.  The tightly packed inner segments have an inverted green u-shaped mark.  It is late-blooming and very vigorous, increasing rapidly with regular division.  It came from the garden of Hon. Lewis Palmer in the village of Wonston, Hampshire.

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‘Trympostor’ has a unique form.

‘Trympostor’ is an inverse poculiform snowdrop, meaning that all six segments resemble inner segments, creating its instantly recognizable pagoda-like shape.  It is a classic member of the ever-increasing ‘Trym’ family, but with a difference: ‘Trympostor’ is much more vigorous and has performed the best of any of the ‘Trym’ progeny in my garden.  It was selected by snowdrop connoisseur Alan Street at Avon Bulbs and introduced in 2011 at the RHS show at Vincent Square in London where it received a Preliminary Commendation.

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‘Trympostor’: beautiful, distinct, and vigorous.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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Note: 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.

New Snowdrops for 2021

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Beth Chatto’ is an extremely rare snowdrop.  Many thanks to Charles Cresson for making it available to our customers.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Snowdrops always lift my spirits as we sink into winter, and this year I need that boost more than ever.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very loyal following of snowdrop lovers and, thankfully, we will be able to satisfy their quest for snowdrops whether we are open or closed this spring as we are mailing all snowdrops this year no matter where the customer is located.  The catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December, but here you can get an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at some of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.‘Beth Chatto’s’ large, globe-shaped flowers are beautifully displayed by its elegantly pleated, prostrate leaves.  Shown here in the Cresson garden.

‘Beth Chatto’ was discovered in the 1960s at Beth Chatto Gardens, the nursery and gardens of famous English plantswoman Beth Chatto.  It was named for her at the suggestion of Graham Stuart Thomas. It is considered a superior example of Galanthus plicatus subsp. byzantinus. This lovely, late-flowering cultivar has large, rounded, arching outer segments and a bold inner marking with a basal blotch narrowly joined to an apical round-armed V.  It bulks up to an outstanding display of big, globular flowers over the almost prostrate leaves with the elegant pleats characteristic of G. plicatus.

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‘Beth Chatto’s inner markings are very important in distinguishing it from incorrect plants that are circulating under that name.

There is concern in England that the true ‘Beth Chatto’ snowdrop is lost, and some photos are clearly not the right plant—that’s why the inner markings are so important.  However, not only do the plants we are offering match the official description in Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book, but Beth Chatto Gardens has also confirmed to us that this is the right snowdrop.  The provenance of our stock is as follows:  Charles Cresson acquired ‘Beth Chatto’ from John Elsley, former horticulturist for Wayside Gardens, who got it directly from Beth Chatto herself.

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‘Bill Clark’, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

‘Bill Clark’ is the brightest yellow snowdrop in my collection with the color extending into the spathe and flower stem.  This superb and vigorous snowdrop with large and vivid yellow markings is one of the most sought after yellow cultivars of Galanthus plicatus.  The beautiful wide pleated leaves with folded margins make a lovely backdrop for the striking flowers.

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‘Bill Clark’

‘Bill Clark’ was found at Wandlebury Ring, an Iron Age fort and UK National Trust Property near Cambridge, and the birthplace of ‘Wendy’s Gold’.  It was introduced by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery and named after Bill Clark, Warden of Wandlebury Ring.

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‘Bagpuize Virginia’ has large double flowers.

‘Bagpuize Virginia’ has lovely and well-formed double flowers.  International snowdrop expert Alan Street describes it as vigorous with very large flowers for a G. nivalis.  It was found in the garden of Kingston Bagpuize House in Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, and named in 2000 for the owner Virginia Grant. The Judy’s Snowdrops site has some lovely photos of its inner ruffles, click here and scroll down.

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‘Bagpuize Virginia’ shown here at the famous snowdrop destination Colesbourne Park in England

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‘Fieldgate Prelude’ shown here in the Avon Bulbs display at the 2017 RHS spring show.

‘Fieldgate Prelude’ is a standout when it blooms early in the snowdrop season.  It has slender, well-formed flowers and a large, dark green ovary, but its striking pale green and dark green inner mark make it a desirable addition to any collection.  It is vigorous and easy-to-grow.  Snowdrop expert Colin Mason, whose many snowdrop introductions bear the name of his house Fieldgate, in Warwickshire, selected it around 1990 from seedlings of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’.

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‘Pom Pom’ has very neat rows of inner segments.

‘Pom Pom’ is a wonderful, neat double snowdrop with multiple rows of perfect inner segments resembling a tiny double green camellia.  It was found in a remote churchyard in Berkshire, England, by renowned snowdrop expert Alan Street.

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‘Pom Pom’ in the garden.

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‘Natalie Garton’ in the Avon Bulbs display at Vincent Square in London.

‘Natalie Garton’ is a strong grower in our garden with large, round, and substantial flowers with thick petals and a prominent, heart-shaped inner marking.  Its extra inner segments make it a semi-double snowdrop and add to the excitement when the many blooms appear in late winter.  It was named for the Oxfordshire gardener who discovered it prior to 1996.

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‘Natalie Garton’s’ extra inner segments make it a semi-double snowdrop.

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‘Natalie Garton’, shown here in the Warwickshire garden of Olive Mason, is a Galanthus elwesii and multiplies rapidly to form a substantial clump.

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‘One Drop or Two?’ is a rare twin-flowered snowdrop.

When choosing snowdrops for my own garden, I seek out unique and eye-catching cultivars, e.g., extra large flowers, bright yellow color, poculiform configuration, among others.  Of the many traits a snowdrop can have, twin flowers, two flowers and pedicels on the end of each scape, are very rare.  This charming snowdrop with its whimsical name, ‘One Drop or Two?’, does just that once it has settled in.  It was discovered around 2005 in a remote corner of Berkshire by expert snowdrop hunter Alan Street who also bestowed the clever name.

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This photo clearly shows the twin flowers emerging from one stem.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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

Hellebores for Early Color

Posted in evergreen, hellebores, my garden, Shade Perennials, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

A customer sent me this lovely photo of hellebores she purchased from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (thanks, Jane).

This is the third in a series of posts on early-blooming plants, which include Trees and Shrubs for Early Color, click here to read, and Bulbs for Early Color, click here to read. I have revived my blog to provide a few moments of beauty to my readers all over the globe during the worldwide health crisis.

I am dedicating this post to Jeremy and Fran T. at Trader Joe’s and all the brave people who are staffing our grocery stores so we can continue to buy food as COVID-19 keeps us indoors.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems trivial.  Stay home to save lives.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.Hybrid hellebores, H. x hybridus, are my favorite hellebores because of their color range and variations in flower forms.  Although the inside of the  nodding flowers are often difficult to see without flipping them over, each flower is like a gift when I raise it into view.  And the back of the flowers are often as pretty as the inside.  The photo above shows a rare anemone form with an extra layer of ruffles around the center of the flower.  It does not have a name and cannot be purchased.  All the anemone form hellebores in our garden were discovered among the hundreds of single-flowered forms we sell each year.

The photos in this post are of hellebores, one of the specialties of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens nursery.  Hellebores bloom anytime from January to March, depending on the weather—some even start in the fall.  They are easy to grow in well-drained soil in light conditions ranging from almost full sun to almost full shade.  Their leaves are evergreen and deer resistant. 

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Another anemone form flower.  If you want one for yourself, check all the flowers whenever you see hellebores for sale and you may find one.  I found this among thousands of singles at one of our wholesale suppliers.

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Hybrid hellebores or Lenten roses with nodding flowers and plainer green leaves come in a wide range of colors including the highly sought after black, yellow, and orange-tinged cultivars as well as fully double flowers.  Many of the hybrid hellebores in our garden are unnamed or no longer available. If known, I am giving cultivar names as well as alternate cultivars that are similar in color and form.

Christmas rose types have desirable outward-facing flowers and often more interesting marbled leaves, but their color range is limited to white, pink, and red and the shades in between, and they do not come in doubles.

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A double-flowered hybrid hellebore called ‘Peppermint Ice’ in the Winter Jewels Series.

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a close up of ‘Peppermint Ice’

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‘Dark and Handsome’, a double-flowered hellebore in the Wedding Party Series.  Dark-flowered hellebores are very striking in the garden but need to be carefully sited so they show up.

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Light-colored hellebores, especially those with white flowers like double-flowered ‘Sparkling Diamond’ in the Winter Jewels Series, stand out in the landscape.

.When hybrid hellebores are happy, they produce dozens of flowers on very large plants.  For optimal viewing, site them where you walk in the winter.  This unnamed clump is on the hill above the stone wall along our drive, allowing us to look up into the flowers.

.an old cultivar called ‘Single Black’

.‘Cherry Blossom’ in the Winter Jewels Series sometimes has a dark ruffle around the center but can also be fully single or fully double.

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‘Cotton Candy’ in the Winter Jewels Series

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A customer sent me this photo of hybrid hellebores displayed beautifully in her garden (thanks, Mary).

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‘Glenda’s Gloss’ is a Christmas rose-type hellebore and a new addition to the FrostKiss Series.  All hellebores in this series are upright with outward-facing flowers and gorgeous marbled leaves.  They are the result of a complicated cross including Christmas rose, hybrid hellebores, and H. lividus.

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The new leaves of ‘Glenda’s Gloss’ are painted with pink and silver.  The leaves of all FrostKiss hellebores gradually fade over the summer to bright green with gold marbling and remain ornamental all winter unlike hybrid hellebores, which can become unsightly.

A customer photo of ‘Molly’s White’ purchased recently at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It is a very early-blooming member of the Frostkiss series and is almost identical to FrostKiss ‘Moondance’, which blooms a little later (thanks, Martin).

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A customer photo of ‘Ice N’ Roses Red’ purchased at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens last spring.  The Ice N’ Roses Series results from a complicated cross of Christmas rose and hybrid hellebores plus two other hellebore species, resulting in very robust plants with outward-facing flowers (thanks, John).

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‘Shooting Star’ is another product of crosses between hellebore species, this time Christmas rose, Corsican hellebore, and H. lividus.  Its delicate pink flowers fading to darker pink face outwards.

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I love green-flowered hellebores.  The photo shows pulmonaria with the faded flowers of ‘Honeyhill Joy’, the result of a cross between Christmas rose and Corsican hellebores.  Christmas roses, H. niger, have outward-facing, pure white flowers and bloom very early in our garden.  They are done now.  Although Corsican hellebores, H. argutifolius, are hardy in our area, I don’t consider them a good garden plant as the flowers appear on the end of last year’s ratty leaf stalks.

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Another customer photo showing bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, in her garden.  I love this hellebore species with its clusters of bright chartreuse flowers topping the spidery dark evergreen leaves.  The plants can be short-lived but usually reseed themselves before they disappear (thanks, Mary).

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You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own favorite hellebores.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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.

Bulbs for Early Color

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Viridapice’ snowdrops (photo sent to me by the amazing Joan L)

Your comments on my last post, Trees and Shrubs for Early Color, click here to read, inspired me to write more with the goal of giving readers a bright spot during what is one of the grimmest times in our nation’s history. Please encourage all your gardening friends to read my blog.  And let’s make it even more interactive.  Leave comments about your experiences with the plants profiled or recommend similar plants and ask questions, nothing is too basic.  There is a wealth of knowledge in the gardening community that we can all share here.

The photos below are of flowering bulbs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are easy to grow, inexpensive to buy, and multiply readily.

I am dedicating this post to New York City Police Officer Tim G., whom we have known his whole life, and his fellow officers who continue to serve even though over 900 of them have tested positive for coronavirus.  And to the 11,000 health care workers who have contracted the virus in Spain.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems trivial.  Stay home to save lives.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.It is not going to surprise anyone who reads this blog that snowdrops, Galanthus, are my favorite bulb—I explain why in my post Classic Snowdrops, click here to read.  This is ‘Kite’, a large and elegant snowdrop that has the unique ability to produce twin flowers (two flowers on one stem).

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Yes, snowdrops can be yellow.  A customer sent me this photo of the lovely ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

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Everytime it gets warm enough during the winter for honeybees to fly, they swarm onto the snowdrops.  This honeybee on ‘Straffan’ has collected an impressive amount of bright orange pollen.

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Winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum, starts blooming in early January and often continues through March.  This photo shows our last blooming stand on March 24.

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The winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, along our woodland path flowers in February.  It is interplanted with common snowdrops, G. nivalis, which in this photo taken February 12 are not open yet.

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Siberian squill, Scilla siberica, blooms in the most amazing color of blue in February and March.  It is still in bloom today.

.White Siberian squill, S. siberica ‘Alba’, is less common and really stands out in the winter landscape.

.‘Beth Evans’ corydalis (top of photo), C. solida, also known as fumewort, blooms through out March.  It is shown here with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium, which usually blooms in April but flowered early this year.

.Although we started with named cultivars of Corydalis solida, like ‘Beth Evans’ above, it has seeded through out our gardens in a multitude of beautiful colors.  It is a bulbous corydalis and much more reliable than the herbaceous coydalis in blues and purples, which look glorious in pots but can’t withstand our hot summers.  It goes dormant very quickly after it flowers.

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In the last post, I showed glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under our star magnolis.  Its sky blue flowers look up and have an elegant white center.

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Glory-of-the-snow comes in pink too, C. forbesii ‘Pink Giant’.

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I especially like this white glory-of-the-snow, C. luciliae ‘Alba’, because it shows up so well in the winter garden.

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‘Charmer’ Greek windflower, Anemone blanda, was new for us last year and is quite striking and unusual.  We have had the blue and white forms seeding happily in our woodland for years.

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Two-toned grape hyacinth, Muscari latifolium, combines pale and dark blue in a single flower.  There are many forms of grape hyacinth, but this is my favorite.

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A harbinger of things to come, Anemone x seemanii, European wood anemone, blooms in March, earlier than all my other wood anemones, which generally flower in April.  I hope to include more of them in a later post.

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I have dozens of varieties of daffodils, Narcissus, planted all over the garden.  I am enjoying them more than ever this year, especially this early-blooming form right outside my front door whose name is lost in the mists of time.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter bulbs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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.

Trees and Shrubs for Early Color

Posted in my garden, Shade Shrubs, Shade trees, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The fragrant, rose-pink double flowers of ‘Peggy Clarke’ flowering apricot, Prunus mume, have been a sensation at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens since early March.

Blogging is a lot of work, and 2020 marks my tenth year of providing quality content to my readers all over the globe.  It requires so much computer time that I have been taking a break since last October to dedicate more hours to my plant nursery and my own garden.  However, with coronavirus spreading quickly through the US and my own state of Pennsylvania, I have been wracking my brain for a way that I could contribute without leaving my home.  I hope that reviving my blog will give readers, and especially my wonderful customers in the beleaguered mid-Atlantic area, a brief moment of pleasure in the terrifying world we have entered. 

The photos below are of trees and shrubs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are electrifying in my garden when everything else is still winter brown.

I am dedicating this post to my high school friend Adrienne’s sister who is currently struggling to beat corona in New York and to all the healthcare workers and other personnel on the front lines, who are risking their own lives to keep us healthy.  Sty home to save lives.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.‘Peggy Clarke’ is a gorgeous small tree with a vased-shaped habit, sited here in a west-facing location near our front door for optimal late-winter viewing.

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Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, cascades off the corner of our terrace, but I have also seen it grown as a groundcover.  It normally opens a few flowers during warm days in January and February; however, we have had such a mild winter that it has been flowering for about five months.  The photo shows the last few blooms as the leaves start to open.

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Our star magnolia, M. stellata, is often damaged by frost, but I wouldn’t be without its glorious masses of early, pure white flowers.

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We have planted a field of blue glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under the star magnolia, and the combination is beautiful.  I couldn’t get a satisfactory shot of the two together, but you can see the magnolia trunk in the background.

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Another shrub that has been blooming off and on since late fall is evergreen Japanese mahonia, M. japonica.  This mahonia is the best species for garden use as its leaves remain pristine and its flowers are a lovely shade of yellow in large sprays.

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If Cornelian cherry dogwood, Cornus mas, bloomed later in the season, it would be overshadowed by many other small flowering trees.  However, its fresh, yellow-green flowers stand out in the stark late winter landscape.

.‘Okame’ cherry, Prunus x incam ‘Okame’, viewed here from an upstairs window, provides shade for our deck and is the earliest blooming cherry with very long-lasting flowers.

.Under the ‘Okame’ cherry, by the edge of the deck is a dwarf Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Yatsubusa Kiyohime’.  Its leaves come out very early and are a striking combination of red and bronze.

.Our edgeworthia opens its fragrant yellow and white flowers in late winter.  This shrub has four seasons of ornamental interest with beautiful flowers, cinnamon-colored bark, tropical leaves, and, my favorite, copious silver buds like tassels on Victorian cushions starting in November.

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Edgeworthia flower

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Yulan magnolia, M. denudata, is a relatively rare, early-blooming magnolia with large, goblet-like white flowers.  Again, it can get damaged by late frosts but is well worth having in the years like this one when it is magnificent.

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Yulan magnolia flower

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Buttercup winter hazel, Corylopsis pauciflora, is an early-blooming, fine-textured shrub with elegant, butter yellow flowers.

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‘Texas Scarlet’ dwarf flowering quince gives an eye-catching punch of color in what can still be a dreary winter landscape.  It stays quite small and doesn’t have thorns like regular quinces.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter trees and shrubs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

Carolyn

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.

Classic Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The classic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ glowing on a sunny day in February at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Highlighted in this post are five classic snowdrops that will be available in our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue. These snowdrops are still treasured by snowdrop enthusiasts everywhere even though they are more than 100 years old, and they all embody what attracts me to snowdrops.

People often ask me why I love snowdrops.  There are many reasons.  Originally, it was their bloom time: who can resist a flower looking like ‘Atkinsii’ in the above photograph in early February, my least favorite time of year?

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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Snowdrops are also quite beautiful and elegant, especially when they are tall and stately with large flowers like ‘Atkinsii’ and several of the other classic snowdrops shown below.

. Snowdrops describes ‘Atkinsii’ as having “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I”—a true English classic.  The reference is to Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), which contains a lot of the information in this post.

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This photo illustrates the size difference between ‘Atkinsii’ in the back and the double common snowdrop in the front.

Third, snowdrops are also the most reliable winter-blooming plants in my garden and are very easy to grow.  And, among the many forms I grow, the tried-and-true classics multiply the fastest to form eye-catching swathes of blooms, which is what I am after.  I am not a collector who wants to have one of everything!  It would be impossible now anyway as experts estimate that there are over 2,500 snowdrop cultivars in existence.

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‘Atkinsii’ is a great multiplier.  Here it fills a hillside at Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire, England.  For more on ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick, read my blog post here.  It has received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (“RHS AGM) as one of the most suitable snowdrops for the garden.  ‘Atkinsii’ was selected in the 1860s by a prominent 19th century plantsman, James Atkins, who retired to the village of Painswick.  It was named after him in 1889 by James Allen, one of the most important snowdrop experts of all time.

Fourth, snowdrops are plants with colorful histories, which I find fascinating.  The stories of the horticulturists who selected the earliest snowdrop cultivars like ‘Atkinsii’ are well-documented in The Galanthophiles: 100 Years of Snowdrop Devotees by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer (Orphans Publishing 2018) from which I extracted many of the historical facts in this post.  Snowdrops are also found in historic places like Colesbourne Park, (in the photo below) the estate of the famous Victorian plant explorer and snowdrop lover Henry John Elwes (1846-1922), who received his original stock of ‘S. Arnott’ from Samuel Arnott.

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Thousands of another classic snowdrop ‘S. Arnott’ bloom every year at Colesbourne Park, the premier snowdrop destination in England.  Snowdrops describes ‘S. Arnott’ as “a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone….[a] classic snowdrop.”   This is the snowdrop that collectors repeatedly state that they would choose if they were limited to one—the so-called “desert island snowdrop”.  It is named for an early galanthophile, Samuel Arnott (1852-1930).  ‘S. Arnott’ has also received an RHS AGM, one of only 28 snowdrops to receive this honor.

 And, finally, I have met some of my favorite people while visiting snowdrops.

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Our friends Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes maintain Colesbourne Park as a spectacular snowdrop destination.  Here, Sir Henry Elwes talks about snowdrops at Colesbourne Park, standing in a patch of ‘S. Arnott’.

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Alan Street in a border of ‘S. Arnott’ during our walk around Avon Bulbs.  He is the only person I know who gets more excited about snowdrops than I do.

.‘S. Arnott’ in the lovely private garden “Welshway” of Hilary and Hugh Purkess in Gloucestershire, where we received a wonderful garden tour and some hot tea with delicious cake on a freezing day in February.

Despite the fact that all these snowdrops have been around for over a hundred years, they are still treasured by galanthophiles and grown in every serious enthusiast’s garden because they are such good plants.

.Although there are a plethora of new snowdrop cultivars, Avon Bulbs still chose to feature ‘S. Arnott’ in its award-winning display at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show.

Here are three more classic snowdrops I think you will love:

.‘Merlin’ is a another beautiful classic snowdrop discovered in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

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‘Merlin’s’ almost solid green inner segments are quite striking shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It has been awarded an RHS AGM as an excellent snowdrop for the garden.

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‘Hill Poë’ is a beautiful and vigorous classic snowdrop, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It was discovered by James Hill Poë in his garden at Riverston, County Tipperary, Ireland, in a patch of Galanthus plicatus, sometimes called the Crimean snowdrop.  In March of 1917, he wrote to an RHS publication that the G. plicatus came to him from a family who received them from an officer serving in the Crimean War (1853-1856).  Many soldiers sent or brought home snowdrops from the Crimea, a testament to the irresistible attraction of snowdrops.
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‘Hill Poë’ is double and has five outer segments.

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‘Hill Poë’s’ inner segments are very regular and full.

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‘Hill Poë’ at Evenley Wood Garden in Northamptonshire, England.

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‘Scharlockii’ is another classic snowdrop, which, though not as tall, is even more vigorous than the others profiled in this post, shown here growing at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It is identified by the lovely green markings on its outer segments and even more so by the “rabbit ears” overarching each flower.  They appear when the spathe (flower covering) splits to drop the flower bud and then elongates into two leafy ears.

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‘Scharlockii’ is a selection from Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, made by Julius Scharlock in 1868 near Frankfurt, Germany.

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‘Scharlockii’ in the copse at Avon Bulbs in Somerset, England.

It is difficult to imagine now with the multitude of named snowdrops available, that at a seminal RHS snowdrop conference in 1891, there were only 42 cultivars in existence.  All five of the snowdrops in this post existed then and have persisted as desirable plants to this day despite the competition.  In 2001, when Matt Bishop’s book (referenced above) was published as an exhaustive reference, there were approximately 500 snowdrops included.  Earlier in 2019, A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops: Second Edition by Freda Cox (Crowood Press) was published and provides beautiful drawings, descriptions, and brief histories for 2,400 cultivars.  It takes a lot to stand out in that crowd.

Carolyn

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Note: 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-Blooming Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The species snowdrop Galanthus reginae-olgae blooming in our garden in October with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

Around this time every year, I start to get emails from customers and blog readers asking which early-blooming snowdrops will be available for purchase in our catalogue.  When you see the photo above, you can understand why gardeners who appreciate snowdrops are trying to extend their season into early fall.   Early snowdrops are beautiful in their own right but especially appreciated when not surrounded by the many other snowdrop cultivars that flower in the heart of the snowdrop season.  And  this beautiful clump of fresh white flowers is in full bloom when everything around it is going by for the year.

Highlighted in this post are five, early-blooming snowdrops that will be available in the 2020 catalogue.  Keep in mind that exact bloom time is affected by how quickly the soil cools off in the fall and the amount of moisture available to the bulbs—warmer and drier falls seem to equate with later-blooming.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  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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Galanthus reginae-olgae looks a lot like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, but it blooms reliably by mid-October in our garden, and it has a more rigidly upright habit.

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G. reginae-olgae also lasts a long time—here it is looking a little worse for wear on December 3.

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The G. reginae-olgae that we sell comes from bulb expert Charles Cresson who selected it as a form that thrives in our climate as opposed to the other forms of this species he has trialed.  I too have tried G. reginae-olgae from other sources without success.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Potter’s Prelude’ begins to bloom in mid-November in our garden and can often last into January.  It is a rare American snowdrop selected in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s.

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fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Potter’s Prelude’s’ flowers are big and beautiful.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ is a great companion plant for fall-blooming camellias—here with the petals of ‘Winter’s Joy’.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ has beautiful foliage.  The leaves of early-blooming snowdrops come out with or immediately after the flowers, which means that, if we have a hard winter, they can look somewhat battered when it is snowdrop shipping time in late February or early March.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Barnes’ is a November-blooming snowdrop so highly regarded in England that it has earned the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, one of only 28 snowdrops to do so.

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‘Barnes’ in our garden

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‘Barnes’ also remains ornamental for a long period of time.  It still looks great here at the very end of December.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Standing Tall’ is a very large and beautiful December-blooming snowdrop selected by bulb expert Charles Cresson in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, after many years of evaluation.

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The big flowers have beautiful dark green markings.

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It is a bold plant that can hold its own among evergreen groundcovers like the Chinese wild ginger in the photo.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Xmas’, a December-blooming snowdrop, originated at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.  I introduced it and named it ‘Xmas’ because it blooms around Christmas and has a distinct X on its inner segments.

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‘Xmas’ is quite vigorous in my mid-Atlantic garden.

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Each plant quickly produces two or three flowers.

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‘Xmas’ is gorgeous on a sunny December day.

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When you look through our catalogue in December, think about adding some of these beautiful, early snowdrops.

Carolyn

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Note: 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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