Archive for the winter Category

Snowflakes (Leucojum) Continue the Snowdrop Season

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllum

Summer snowflake with Celandine poppy in the woodland at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

When snowdrops are finishing, their close relatives, snowflakes (Leucojum),  are ready to take over the display.  They are quite beautiful, but haven’t been subjected to the intense selection process that has resulted in over 1,500 snowdrop cultivars.  They are very easy to grow, and I think they deserve more attention.

Nursery News:  Our first open house sale, featuring hellebores and other winter-blooming plants, will be held on Saturday, March 26, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list will get a detailed email.   For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  To access the catalogue, click here.

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllum 4-26-2015 6-43-58 PMLeucojum aestivum in my woodland in April.

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There are two main species of snowflakes: Leucojum aestivum or summer snowflake and Leucojum vernum or spring snowflake.  Summer snowflake blooms in April in our area so the common name is very confusing.  It is a large and vigorous plant reaching 12 to 18 inches with multiple green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem. 

It likes moist soil but grows quite well in my dry woodland as you can see from the photos.  It grows in dappled woodland conditions but also quite sunny spots and seeds aggressively in my garden.  Summer snowflake is native to Central and Eastern Europe.  The cultivar ‘Gravetye Giant’ has bigger flowers, but I have not grown it.

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 Spring snowflake

Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, blooms in March in our area so it could easily be called winter snowflake. On its own, it is a diminutive plant reaching 6 to 9 inches with single, green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem.  The leaves are strap-shaped and a very pretty glossy, bright green.  It likes moist soil but grows quite well in average moisture conditions in deciduous shade to part shade locations.  Spring snowflake is native to Central and Southern Europe. 

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-21-07 PM
A very upright and dark green Leucojum vernum—it stood out from the hundreds around it.
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Although unassuming as a single plant, spring snowflake is breath-taking when massed as the following photos show:

Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM

A clump of spring snowflake.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-49-41 PM

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-31 PM

A hillside of spring snowflake in mid-March at Winterthur.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-46-20 PM

Spring snowflake combined with Amur adonis and glory-of-the-snow in mid-March at Winterthur.

There are some named forms of Leucojum vernum, which are quite interesting:

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-19 PM

Leucojum vernum var. wagneri (or vagneri) produces two flowers on each stem, although none of mine did that this year.  I have read that it is no longer a valid variety.  If you visit naturalized populations of Leucojum vernum, a certain percentage will have twin flowers. This photo shows a wagneri with standard-shaped flowers and green spots.

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Leucojum vernum var. wagneri

This wagneri has the yellower spots typical of var. carpaticum pictured below.

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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum

Leucojum vernum var. carpaticum has yellow spots on each petal instead of the normal green spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Null Punkte'

‘Null Punkte’ from Germany is pure white with no spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister' Cresson garden

‘Gertrude Wister’ is a semi-double spring snowflake with 12 or more petals instead of the normal 6.  It was discovered by noted bulb expert Gertrude Wister in her garden on the Swarthmore College campus in Pennsylvania, US.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister'

A group of ‘Gertrude Wister’.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is honored to be the only source for this cultivar.

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The surface has barely been scratched though—there are many beautiful forms under evaluation:

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Leucojum vernum Cresson garden

A form with 8 petals found in Charles Cresson’s garden.  This is the one I want.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-08 PM

This lovely flower appeared in the midst of a group of var. wagneri.  It has the spots, but then the very pointy tips are dipped in green paint.

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A similar paint-dipped flower, but this one is outward facing, even more pointy, and has more color.

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A very large flower with much more prominent spots.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-18-044

A very large-flowered wagneri.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-24-032

A wagneri with more separated petals.

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Leucojum Johan Germany 2

A very large flower with alternating spotted petals and pure white petals.

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Leucojum vernum 2016

Two flowers fused on the same stem: we will have to see if this repeats itself.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

A true double flower under evaluation by a friend in Belgium.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

Very beautiful!

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Winterthur Snowdrop Event

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Crocus tommasianus

Snow crocus in the courtyard behind the house at Winterthur.

If you are crazy about snowdrops and other winter-blooming plants like snowflakes (leucojum), snow crocus, winter aconite, adonis, and glory-of-the-snow (chionodoxa), then a visit to the March Bank at Winterthur should be on your lifetime bucket list.  The display is as magnificent as anything found at the great British snowdrop estates.  The best time to see it is at the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Lecture and snowdrop event, being held this year on Saturday, March 12, details below.

Nursery News:  We will be selling snowdrops, hellebores, aconite, and cyclamen at the Winterthur Bank to Bend Event, Saturday March 12.  Our first open house sale, featuring hellebores and other winter-blooming plants, will be held on Saturday, March 26, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list will get a detailed email.   All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Hellebore Collage 2016

Some of the hellebores I am bringing to Winterthur, clockwise from upper left: Mango Magic, Apricot Blush, Blue Diamond, Rio Carnival, Sparkling Diamond, Painted, and True Love.

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The speaker for Bank to Bend is Lady Carolyn Elwes, who, with her husband, owns Colesbourne Park, considered the premier snowdrop venue in England.  She even has a beautiful yellow snowdrop named after her.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling snowdrops, including a limited selection of some rarer cultivars, hellebores, cyclamen, and winter aconite.  There will be guided and self-guided tours of the March Bank.  It is worth the trip even if you are not local.  Here are the details and more photos to entice you:

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 Giant snowdrops and winter aconite on the March Bank at Winterthur.

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March 12
Winterthur’s Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event

Enjoy the spectacle of the March Bank clothed in snowdrops, winter aconite, adonis, and early snowflake in flower.

Bank to Bend Features:

• A lecture by Lady Carolyn Elwes, who will share the story of how a garden of private obsession grew into one of international importance in her 11:00 am talk, “Snowdrops at Colesbourne, Gloucestershire.”

• Sales of rare and unusual plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden (www.carolynsshadegardens.com), 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

• Guided tours of the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm.

• A self-guided “White Arrow” tour through the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center and available all day.

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory available all day.

Lecture: $10 per member. $20 per nonmember. Free for Garden and Landscape Society and Garden Associate Members. All other activities (tours and plant sales) are included with admission.

For more information and to register, visit http://www.winterthur.org/spring or call 800.448.3883..

Winterthur Fall 2013-025

The Winterthur house is considered the premier museum of American decorative arts and is worth a visit in and of itself.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-024

Another view of the house.

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Galanthus and Eranthis at Winterthur photo Winterthur

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Chionodoxa on the March Bank photo Winterthur

Glory-of-the-snow follows the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and Eranthis

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Adonis amurensis

Adonis is abundant

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Leucojum vernum

Snowflakes at Winterthur

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Winterthur

Snowflakes (leucojum)

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Crocus tomasinianus

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I hope you can make it on Saturday—it is well worth the trip no matter where you are coming from.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Visiting a Snowdrop Collection

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Bertram Anderson'

‘Bertram Anderson’ is a classic snowdrop with very large and elegant flowers, earning it a coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

You have probably figured out that I am absolutely crazy about snowdrops, a confirmed galanthophile.  This passion is hard to understand or explain even to myself.  One of the frustrations of being a galanthophile in the US is that most of the more than 1,500 varieties of snowdrops are not available for viewing here.  So while we see lots of photos, and read about all the British snowdrop events, what we really want to do is see the plants in person.

Nursery News:  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  Winter interest plants for pick up at the nursery remain available, just scroll to the end of the catalogue.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Galanthus 'Art Noveau'

This is one of the best examples of ‘Art Nouveau’ that I have seen.  Notice the way the spathe (encloses the bud before flowering) curves elegantly over the flower.

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You can imagine my excitement when I was recently invited to visit and photograph the wide-ranging snowdrop holdings of a local collector.  Although there were hundreds of snowdrop cultivars in bloom, certain plants really stood out, and I want to share them with you.  Here they are in alphabetical order.

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Galanthus 'Bill Bishop'

‘Bill Bishop’ is similar to ‘Bertram Anderson’—they are both in the ‘Mighty Atom’ group—but its flowers are longer and wider.

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Galanthus woronowiii 'Cider with Rosie'

‘Cider with Rosie’ has the glossy, bright green leaves characteristic of its species Galanthus woronowii.

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Galanthus gracilis TCM 15-220

My eye is always drawn to Galanthus gracilis because of its dark blue-green leaves and markings and the graceful flare of the tips of the inner segments.

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Galanthus 'Gravity'

‘Gravity’ is another giant flower, this time with quilted outer segments and an endearing little face.

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Galanthus 'Green Tear'

Virescent (all green) snowdrops like ‘Green Tear’ are the current rage and fetch astounding prices on eBay in the UK.

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Galanthus 'Hoverfly'

‘Hoverfly’ has a definite insect look to it when swaying in the breeze on its long crooked pedicel (flower stem).

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Galanthus trojanus 'The Iliad'

‘The Iliad’, a cultivar of Galanthus trojanus, has the dark markings and large, cupped outer segments that I prefer.

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Galanthus 'Jessica'

‘Jessica’ sports some beautiful stripes.

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Galanthus 'Madelaine' plicatus

‘Madelaine’ is a very desirable yellow snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'Mother Goose'

‘Mother Goose’ has the darkest gold marking to date and made the UK papers last year with a very high price.

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Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

‘Natalie Garton’ is a lovely cultivar that produces extra, oversized inner segments.  You can see them hanging down below the green mark.

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Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

The underside of ‘Natalie Garton’.

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Galanthus 'South Hayes'

The green stripes on the outside of ‘South Hayes’ make it very unique and desirable.

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Galanthus 'The Whopper'

‘The Whopper’ is coveted for its large size and bold markings.

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Galanthus 'Savnik B.' nivalis

This seedling of the common snowdrop, so new it has no name, is anything but common with its bold green-shaded outer segments, delicately white-edged inner segments, and ghostly teardrop marking.

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As you can tell, all snowdrops most definitely do not look alike, although I am the first to admit that they usually require up close viewing.  I was thrilled to see some of the rarer forms in person and share them with you.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Snowdrops in Snow Caves

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, Uncategorized, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

‘Spindlestone Surprise’, a rare yellow snowdrop peaks out from its cave.

In my last post, I talked about our unseasonably warm weather, and we are back to that today.  But in between we had the blizzard of 2016, which dumped 30″ (76.2 cm) of snow on Carolyn’s Shade Gardens accompanied by high winds.  Even with several days of 50 degree F (10 C) weather, the ground is covered and piles of drifted snow are everywhere not to mention the sticks and debris.

Nursery News:  All snowdrops in the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue are sold out.  Winter interest plants for pick up at the nursery remain available, just scroll to the end of the catalogue.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks gorgeous in the snow.

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Luckily, I covered many of my blooming clumps with plastic boxes before the snow began.  The uncovered flowering plants were damaged by the snow, but the covered groups look pristine.    When I pulled off the boxes, the snowdrops underneath were left in a roofless snow cave.  They looked so beautiful, I wanted to share them with you.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

I can’t get enough of ‘Godfrey Owen’.

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Galanthus 'Daphne's Scissors' elwesii

‘Daphne’s Scissors’ with uncharacteristic green tips this year.

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Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold' plicatus

Another beautiful yellow, ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

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Gaalnthus 'Magnet'

‘Magnet’ has been blooming for so long it is starting to go by.

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Galanthus 'Richard Ayres'

A vigorous double, ‘Richard Ayres’ .

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ today, eleven days after the storm, with the snow melted down quite a bit.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ with very long outer segments and an X-shaped inner mark.

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Galanthus 'Trumps'

‘Trumps’, one of the most sought after snowdrops.

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Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

I couldn’t resist another shot of ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.

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It seems fitting that the beauty of snowdrops is increased by snow.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Just Relax and Enjoy the Flowers

Posted in bulbs for shade, Camellias, hellebores, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Helleborus niger 'Praecox'Even though praecox means developing early, ‘Praecox’ Christmas rose hellebore is one of the main season varieties that bloom later in January or February.  Here it is in mid-December.

Like much of the country, southeastern Pennsylvania, US, zone 6 to 7, has had unseasonably warm weather for weeks.  There has been no snow, the ground has not frozen, we have only had 2 or 3 real frosts, not enough to set back the acanthus, and it was 70 degrees F on Christmas Day.  It has also been raining for most of two weeks.  Quite a change from the last two falls when it got cold in October and stayed that way.  In 2013 to 2014, we experienced record snowfalls.  In 2014 to 2015, there was not much snow but record low temperatures.

Nursery News: The 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on our website, and we are taking orders now.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of additional spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'‘Winter’s Joy’ fall-blooming camellia is not blooming early but instead continuing to bloom beyond when its flowers and buds would usually be frozen and done.  It started in October and is about to enter its fourth month.

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Should we be worried?  As Mark Rylance, playing a Soviet espionage agent accused of treason, says in “Bridge of Spies”, would it help?  Lots of attention needs to be paid to the very serious issue of climate change and what the US in particular can or should do in the face of the incontrovertible evidence of evolutionary temperature changes occurring at faster than evolutionary speeds.  But worrying about the plants in our gardens and neighborhoods won’t accomplish much.  We can’t control the weather so just relax and enjoy the early flowers.  My friend John Lonsdale who is originally from England tells me that if we lived there, this would all be completely normal—the weather and the bloom times.  Here is what is early in my garden:

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Jasminum nudiflorumWinter jasmine usually sends out a few flowers through out the winter whenever it gets warm.  The whole shrub is in bloom now with not many buds left for later.

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Galanthus 'Xmas' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Xmas’ does open flowers by Christmas, but right now the whole patch is in bloom and starting to go by.  Last year I had flowers through March.

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Galanthus 'Standing Tall' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Standing Tall’ also opens its buds around Christmas.  It was so early this year that its flowers are now completely done.

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Pulmonaria rubra 'Redstart'February-blooming ‘Redstart’ pulmonaria or lungwort is in full flower all through my gardens.

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Mahonia japonicaThe lovely, evergreen Japanese mahonia is a late winter bloomer but all my shrubs are in flower.

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‘Winter’s Song’, whose name has been inexplicably changed to ‘Joker’, is a Christmas rose cross that normally waits until late January or February.

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DSCN7294Double hybrid hellebores are generally a little later in my garden but this one looks gorgeous today.

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Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'How about this for a surprise?  On Christmas Day, ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ opened two flowers.  It is the earliest daffodil that I know of but that’s usually February.

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DSCN7296Highly fragrant winter-flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is blooming.  It usually flowers slightly before forsythia.

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DSCN7292‘Blue Lady’ hybrid hellebore decided to put on an early show.

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DSCN7268My favorite hellebore form with the little ruffles inside (petaloid) didn’t disappoint me.

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Geum 'Cooky'Geum ‘Cooky’ has been flowering all fall.

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Galanthus 'Fly Fishing'One of my favorite snowdrops ‘Fly Fishing’ has been whipping around in all the rain and wind on its extra long, fishing line pedicel (flower stem).

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaNo open flowers yet, but the edgeworthia flower buds are swelling to form elegant silver tassels.

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Many people have asked me what will happen in the spring?  Most of the plants that are flowering now are using buds that they formed after they were done flowering last spring.  If every bud opens, they will not form new buds and will not bloom again.  My advice is to enjoy them now!

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

My Snowdrop Article in Fine Gardening

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Fine Gardening cover Fine Gardening February 2016

You will all want to rush to your nearest purveyor of elegant magazines—Barnes and Noble in our area—and pick up the current issue (February 2016) of Fine Gardening.  I wrote the cover article, “Snowdrops: Start spring with these easy care varieties.”  It features a lot of useful information about snowdrops especially for gardeners wanting to expand beyond the common snowdrop.  Four of the photos are also mine, and there are two lovely shots of my hands🙂.

Nursery News: The 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on our website, and we are taking orders now.  To access the catalogue, click here.  For announcements of additional spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on our special advance notice lists.

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Galanthus elwesiiMy photo of the giant snowdrop illustrates one of their greatest charms: their early bloom time. Shown here boring holes through the ice on Valentine’s Day 2011.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'My photo of ‘Magnet’ illustrates how quickly the more vigorous varieties can multiply to form eye-catching masses in your garden.

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My other photos are of ‘Lady Elphinstone’ and ‘Blewbury Tart’, but you will have to read the article to see those.  Please let me know what you think and ask me any questions that the article raises by typing a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the very end of this post.

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To access the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

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

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

Late Fall Interest at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Posted in Camellias, Fall, Fall Color, How to, landscape design, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Magnolia virginianaThe sunrise lights up the heavy frost outlining the semi-evergreen leaves of native sweetbay magnolia.

At Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in southeastern Pennsylvania, US, colorful fall foliage is mostly gone and deciduous trees and shrubs are no longer the focus of garden interest.  We must rely on other plants to take over where fall color left off and help us satisfy our goal of providing ornamental interest 365 days a year.  At this point, every plant still thriving assumes greater value in the garden, and we look to the understory to draw us outside for a stroll.  Here are some of my favorites for December:

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed until the spring.  For announcements of spring 2016 events starting with snowdrop sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on our special advance notice list.   For the 2015 snowdrop catalogue, click here.

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Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'The berries of native winterberry hollies stand out in the landscape after their leaves have dropped.  In my garden, robins strip the berries fairly early in the season, but I have noticed that in most locations they persist well into the winter.

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Cyclamen hederifoliumFall-blooming hardy cyclamen is done blooming, but the leaves are gorgeous all winter.  If you look closely, they all have a different pattern like a snowflake.  Although I plant them where I want them, they move and thrive in sites of their own choosing.  Here they were planted at the front of the bed and moved to the back directly at the base of a stone wall, one of their favorite sites.

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Here ants moved the cyclamen seeds about 30 to 40 feet up hill all around the base of a gigantic London plane tree where they have filled in and thrived.  This is not an area of the garden that I visit often so you can imagine my surprise when I found this display.  An Italian arum made the trek too.

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Sasa veitchiiKuma bamboo grass, Sasa veitchii, has plain green leaves during the season but acquires this elegant white edge for the winter.  I planted my sasa over 10 years ago, and this is the first time that it has spread to a decent patch.  Generally it is considered quite aggressive.

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Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata'Variegated East Indian holly fern, Arachnoides simplicior ‘Variegata’, is a beautiful evergreen fern.  Before you go looking for it though, I think it is borderline hardy here and it doesn’t thrive.

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Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude' elwesiiFall-blooming snowdrops like ‘Potter’s Prelude’ pictured here are a highlight of the fall season starting around October 15 and continuing until early main season snowdrops take over in January.

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Epimedium stellulatum "Long Leaf Form"This photo could show any number of my evergreen epimediums, but this is E. stellulatum “Long Leaf Form”.  They all have very interesting and attractive leaves which persist until spring when I cut them back.

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Pennisetum 'Moudry'Black fountain grass, Pennisetum ‘Moudry’, remains my favorite grass.  After a few hard frosts, it turns a lovely tan.  It does move around quite a bit but has never gone anywhere that I didn’t want it in 20 years.  It is downright invasive for others though, so beware.

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Arum italicum 'Gold Rush'Italian arum stays fresh and beautiful all winter—it goes dormant in the summer instead.  This cultivar is ‘Gold Rush’.

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Arum itlaicum selected seedlingAnother Italian arum with much more white on the leaves—for comparison a typical arum leaf is on the left of the photo.  It is possible to get a variety of leaf forms from specialized nurseries.

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Chionanthus retusus 'China Snow'Chinese fringe trees, Chionanthus retusus, produce lovely dark blue berries in the fall which persist after the leaves drop.  This plant is the superior form ‘China Snow’.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia is beautiful all year round but especially during late fall and winter when the large silver buds start to swell.  The leaves turn bright yellow and drop, leaving the bare branches covered with delicate silver ornaments.

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Camelia x 'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ camellia blooms in November and December with large, semi-double white flowers.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'-001‘Winter’s Joy’ camellia

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Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'-003‘Winter’s Joy’ produces hundreds of buds.  When a hard frost turns the open flowers brown, new buds open and flowers cover the plant again as soon as it gets warmer.  Although this is usually the case, it didn’t happen during the last two winters when the buds froze early.

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Camellia oleifera 'Lu Shan Snow'The tea camellia ‘Lu Shan Snow’, C. oleifera, is particularly cold tolerant and has thrived in my garden for almost 20 years.  Camellias planted from 2013 on have been very hard to establish in the garden due to our unseasonably cold temperatures during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 winters.  The camellias that I planted prior to 2013 have all thrived.

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Carolyn

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

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

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