Archive for Ackerman hybrid camellias

Fall 2013 Snowdrops and Camellias

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'‘Long Island Pink’ fall-blooming hardy camellia

As my garden begins to quiet down in the second half of fall, two of my favorite plants come into their full glory.  One is fall-blooming hardy camellias, and the other is fall-blooming snowdrops.  Both are quite rare, at least in the U.S., but both are quite easy to grow and look wonderful together.  And the key to my appreciation of them is that late fall, November and December, is their main season.  When other plants are succumbing to frost, camellias and snowdrops begin their show with a fresh and pristine look.

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Galanthus elwesii Hiemalis GroupThis fall-blooming form of the giant snowdrop selected at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens began flowering on November 1 this year and will be offered in the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue.  Technically it is called Galanthus elwesii var. monstictus Hiemalis Group CSG-01, what a mouthful.

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Galanthus elwesii Novemnber bloomingAnother shot of my fall-blooming snowdrops showing how they are nestled in among evergreen hellebores and Japanese holly ferns to highlight the pure white flowers.

I readily admit that I am a snowdrop addict—a galanthophile.  And I can even understand how some gardeners fail to get excited about these little white flowers in the spring.  However, in November and December when even the hardy cylcamen are done, snowdrops are so bright and cheerful that the winter doldrums disappear the minute I see them.  You can even have flowers beginning in mid-October by planting the earliest blooming species Galanthus reginae-olgae.  For more on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

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Galanthus elwesii green-tippedAnother fall-blooming giant snowdrop selected here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for it’s early November bloom time and green-tipped outer segments.  It received high praise recently when I posted photos on the Scottish Rock Garden Club Galanthus Forum, even the UK galanthophiles with access to hundreds of cultivars were impressed.  Hopefully it will multiply quickly and someday I can offer it for sale.

I am working on the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue right now and will have it posted on the website before January 1.  There are a lot of exciting cultivars available for 2014, but unfortunately they are in very short supply so if you are interested, order early.  I have written quite a few blog posts and articles about snowdrops.  You can find them all compiled in the post New Feature Article on Snowdrops by clicking here.

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Camellia Winter's Snowman‘Winter’s Snowman’ fall-blooming camellia has gorgeous, shiny, dark evergreen leaves.

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Camellia Winter's Snowman‘Winter’s Snowman’ produces two types of flowers on the same plant: the anemone-form flowers on the right and the more open semi-double flowers on the left.

Like the snowdrops above, fall-blooming camellias are outstanding in November and December when their large and colorful flowers are shown off to perfection by their shiny evergreen leaves.  However, they bring even more to the garden because unlike the ephemeral snowdrops, camellias are shrubs that provide the beauty of their evergreen leaves and lovely habit year round.

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Camellia sasanqua Nokoriko‘Nokoriko’ is new to my garden this year, and I love its unusual flower color.  Although it is said to be hardy in zone 6, it is a selection from the species Camellia sasanqua, which is not always hardy in our area.  Only time will tell.

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I have written a lot about fall-blooming camellias and featured photos of dozens of plants that are hardy in zones 6 and 7.  All my articles are compiled in the blog post New York Times Photos where I provided a link to my camellia photos that appeared in that newspaper.   To see those photos and read more about camellias, click here. If you are looking for information about or photos of a particular hardy camellia cultivar, type the name into the Search My Website area on the sidebar of my home page (if the sidebar is not on the right, click here).

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Camellia Arctic SnowThis photo of  ‘Arctic Snow’ gives an idea of how many buds each camellia can produce.

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Camellia Arctic Snow‘Arctic Snow’ flower

The one drawback to fall-blooming camellias is that if we have unseasonably cold weather, below 25 degrees F (-3.8 C) or so, any open flowers can be frozen and ruined.  This happened this year during the last week of November when the temperature dropped to an official 21 degrees F (-6 C) but was actually 18 degrees in my garden and as low as 12 degrees elsewhere.  However, the unopened buds on my plants didn’t freeze, and the flowers continued to open.  We are now experiencing another bout of colder than normal weather, and I am not sure the buds will make it through unscathed this time.

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Camellia Long Island Pink ‘Long Island Pink’

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'A close up of ‘Long Island Pink’ and its beautiful leaves.

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Usually I visit other gardens to show you camellias.  However, this year I am highlighting the cultivars that I grow myself.  Enjoy the photos and keep warm during the extra chilly weather we are experiencing.

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Camellia olifera Lu Shan SnowThe oldest camellia in my garden is ‘Lu Shan Snow’, a Camellia oleifera cultivar and the hardy camellia used by Dr. Ackerman at the US National Arboretum to develop many modern hardy camellia cultivars.

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Camellia olifera Lu Shan Snow‘Lu Shan Snow’

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Camellia Winter's Joy‘Winter’s Joy’ is one of my favorites because it produces so many buds and flowers.

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Camellia Winter's Joy‘Winter’s Joy’

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Camellia Winter's Star White‘Winter’s Star White’

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Camellia x 'Winter's Darling'‘Winter’s Darling’

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Camellia x 'Elaine Lee'‘Elaine Lee’

Carolyn

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

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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

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

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2012 Fall-blooming Camellias

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'The fall-blooming camellias are flowering in my garden, pictured above is ‘Winter’s Joy’.  I planted this camellia last fall, and it bloomed all through our mild winter.  This year it is once again loaded with buds and began blooming in October.

For the past two falls, I have written posts on fall-blooming camellias, shrubs that have quickly become favorites in my garden.  Who can resist their tough nature, glossy, evergreen leaves, tidy habit, and, best of all, large, elegant flowers from September through December?  To read my posts, click Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ was planted in spring 2011 in dense shade and bloomed sparsely last fall.  This year it is well established and has been covered with flowers since October.

I only have four fall-blooming camellias in my garden: the two pictured above plus ‘Elaine Lee’ and ‘Winter’s Darling’.  My desire to showcase some new varieties on my blog gave me a great excuse to venture forth and visit the camellia collections of two great gardeners, both located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.  I spent two glorious afternoons obsessing on camellias with Charles Cresson, whose garden you have visited many times on my blog, and with Keith Robertshaw, a diehard camellia collector and one of my nursery customers.

Camellia x 'Snow Flurry'‘Snow Flurry’, which I have shown you before in the Cresson garden, is having a banner year this year.

The weird weather patterns we have been experiencing have had one good result, camellias are blooming early this year with an abundance of flowers.  I usually find it very difficult to photograph a full camellia shrub.  When I step back far enough to get the whole bush in the photo, the flowers lose their impact even though they look great in person. That was not a problem on my recent trip when cultivars like ‘Snow Flurry’ were bursting with flowers as you can see in the above photo.

Camellia x 'Snow Flurry'‘Snow Flurry’ is the earliest to flower of the cold hardy fall-blooming camellias selected by William Ackerman at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC.  It is at the top of the list for additions to my garden.

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Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ is another cold hardy camellia that blooms early and has produced a plethora of flowers this year.  Early bloomers are desirable because they are guaranteed to bloom even if we have an early winter that freezes the buds on the late bloomers.

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Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ was selected by the North Carolina nursery Camellia Forest for its intense color, early bloom, and cold hardiness.

I have featured all four of the camellias shown above in my previous posts.  However, my visits to the Robertshaw and Cresson gardens did yield seven new cold hardy camellias that I haven’t seen before.  If you combine these with the approximately 20 cultivars profiled in my 2010 and 2011 posts, you will have a pretty comprehensive reference library of camellias suitable for the mid-Atlantic area of the US.  Here are the new candidates:

Camellia x 'Survivor'‘Survivor’ is another Camellia Forest introduction producing an abundance of single white flowers in early fall.  If you are in an area north of the mid-Atlantic, you might want to try this very cold hardy camellia which survived -9° F (-22.8° C) in the Camellia Forest Nursery garden.

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'Another camellia in addition to ‘Survivor’ for gardeners who prefer single flowers, ‘Long Island Pink’ is also valued for its large highly polished leaves.  Although it is a cultivar of  C. sasanqua, which is generally considered tender, ‘Long Island Pink’ was selected for cold hardiness from a Long Island, NY, garden.

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Camellia x 'Polar Ice'‘Polar Ice’ is a cold hardy Ackerman hybrid with anemone form flowers blooming in November and December.

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Camellia x 'Ashton's Ballet' ‘Ashton’s Ballet’ is an Ackerman hybrid with rose form double flowers blooming in November and December.  It has a compact form and makes a beautiful garden specimen.

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Camellia x (Ackerman seedling)I am cheating by putting this camellia in the post because you can’t buy it.  It was an Ackerman seedling given to Charles Cresson but never introduced to the trade.  The flowers are huge, gorgeous, and pure white.  I think we need to lobby to have it named! 

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose'The Ackerman hybrid ‘Winter’s Rose’ is unusual.  It is a semi-dwarf that grows very slowly and densely with small leaves and flowers, making a great patio plant.  If you don’t have much room, this is the camellia for you.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose'‘Winter Rose’ has an abundance of small delicate shell pink flowers from mid-October to early December.  Charles Cresson pointed out that although the plant is exceedingly hardy, the flowers freeze easily.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Rose' ‘Winter’s Rose’ seems to be the favorite among commenters so I thought I would add another photo.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Fire'‘Winter’s Fire’ was present in both gardens and is the most intriguing camellia that I saw during my visits.  The flower color is very unusual, a beautiful mix of red, pink, and coral with contrasting white splotches.  While Keith and Charles both stated that the white was caused by a non-harmful virus and both plants displayed this coloring, I could find no mention of this on the internet.

[Thanks to reader Alisa Brown for answering my question about ‘Winter’s Fire’.   Variegation in camellias caused by a virus is not considered part of the official description of the flower.  You can read more about this by clicking here.]


Camellia x 'Winter's Fire'William Ackerman, who selected ‘Winter’s Fire’, characterizes it as having “spreading growth with a weeping habit.”  In the Robertshaw garden, it was growing like a groundcover.  This photo is taken from above.  I would love to try it cascading over a wall.

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Camellias in Cresson gardenThis is one corner of the Cresson garden showing ‘Snow Flurry’ on the left and the unnamed white Ackerman plant on the top right intermingled with several other large camellias.  Though it may be hard at first to get used to such big gorgeous flowers in November, as you can see they make for a beautiful fall landscape.

 

My annual fall camellia hunt is over with seven new specimens bagged.  Now I have a year to determine where I will continue my search next fall.  If you know of any local public or private gardens showcasing camellias please let me know.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

 

January GBBD: Hellebores on Parade

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, garden to visit, hellebores, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

I have had this gorgeous double purple hellebore in my garden for several years but it has never bloomed this early.  Photo 1/7/12

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on December 15) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  This month I hope that my nursery customers and blog readers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season through winter.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.


‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’ is usually one of my first hybrid hellebores to bloom but this is early even for her.

Last January, the whole garden was under snow, and I didn’t even participate in GBBD.  This year couldn’t be more different with 7 days in the 50s (10C) and 6 days at 60 degrees (16C) or above since December 15.  Frankly, I find it extremely worrisome, but it means that I didn’t have to go searching for plants peaking between December 15 and January 15.  There are a few other plants worth featuring, but my hellebores are all blooming early so I call this post Hellebores on Parade.  For the benefit of my customers, I will note which hellebores will be for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (CSG) this spring.


‘Pink Tea Cup’ has the best pink color of any hybrid hellebore and was the first to come into bloom this season ( for sale at CSG this spring).  Photo 1/9/12


‘Jacob’ Christmas rose just keeps going and going with new white flowers appearing and mixing with the older pink flowers for a gorgeous effect, see below (for sale at CSG).  Photo 12/31/11


‘Jacob’ Christmas rose with Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’.  Photo 1/2/12

Flowers are emerging on the hellebore species cross ‘HGC Pink Frost’ (for sale at CSG).  Notice the dark red to burgundy highlights on the leaves and stems and the amazing color of the buds.  As noted in Cutting Back Hellebores, I leave the foliage on to make a nice backdrop for the flowers.  Photo 12/31/11


‘Praecox’ Christmas rose is also blooming at least a month earlier than usual.  Photo 12/31/11


The hellebore species cross ‘HGC Winter’s Song’ is now fully in bloom.  Photo 1/10/12

The rare species Helleborus dumetorum (no common name) continues to bloom (for sale at CSG).  It is deciduous so all the “leaves” in the photo are actually flower bracts.  The leaves will come up later.  Photo 12/31/11

This beautiful, pure white, outward-facing hellebore called ‘Snow White’ (aka ‘Snow Bunting’) is an extremely rare cross between hybrid hellebore and Christmas rose—something that was thought to be impossible (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/9/12


The lighter chartreuse buds of bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, are becoming more prominent and will remain ornamental through May (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/10/12


Helleborus x "Double Purple"Another look at the hybrid hellebore “Double Purple” (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/7/12

My new favorite this year, hellebore species cross ‘HGC Cinnamon Snow’ (for sale at CSG).  I like it so much that I decided to put it in a basket by my front door.  Photo 1/9/12

There are some other plants looking great in my garden besides hellebores.  Most of the fall-blooming camellias still have viable buds but no flowers open to show you.  They will continue to bloom if the weather cooperates.  Here are the non-hellebore stars:

My un-named Korean Camellia japonica, which blooms in the spring and fall, continues to produce flowers.  Photo 1/9/12

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’ also has buds, and look at those shiny leaves.  Photo 1/10/12

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’ has been flowering since October and is still covered with buds but none are open right now.

The buds on my variegated winter daphne, D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’, are coloring up early.  It is the sole survivor of five shrubs I put in this spring.  Although I gave them excellent drainage, they just couldn’t tolerate all the rain we had in August and September.  One by one they wilted from too much water and died, while this one remained healthy.  Photo 1/9/12

If we have cold weather, winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, blooms in February, but right now it is opening flowers continuously.  Photo 1/10/12

Galanthus elwesiiThe only snowdrop in bloom right now is the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/9/12

My fall-flowering snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has finished blooming, but I wanted to show you its beautiful leaves (for sale at CSG).  Photo 1/1/12

On New Year’s Day, my husband and I went walking in the Pinetum at the Haverford College Arboretum, a wonderful local treasure.  We saw two unusual conifers with great texture that I wanted to share:


Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, is native from Virginia to Texas but is not usually found around here.


I love firs, and the texture of this Algerian fir, Abies numidica, really stood out.

I dedicate this post to Bob Stewart, my friend and horticulturalist extraordinaire, who died on December 16, 2011.  Bob and his wife Brigitta started the amazing nursery Arrowhead Alpines in Fowlersville, MI.  If you haven’t visited their site, you should by clicking here.  Bob will be greatly missed.

Carolyn

If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 1/20/12.  For details, click 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.


Nursery Happenings: To view the
2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.

Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

December GBBD: Past Prime

Posted in Camellias, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Every year I make a Christmas wreath using all natural materials from my property.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  I also hope that my customers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season well into late fall.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.


I used berries from this native winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, to make the wreath.  On December 7, the robins came and cleaned off all the berries.

Last month was still prime time in my gardens, but now with hard frosts and generally colder weather, my gardens are past their prime.  The show goes on though with the focus shifted from the garden as a whole to individual plants peaking between November 15 and December 15 (I do not take all my photos on December 15).  This means that they bloom now (or are still blooming), have ornamental fruit, or feature exceptional foliage or fall color during this period.

Let’s start with flowers:

The large and vigorous fall-blooming snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’ is in full bloom through this entire period.  Mine is surrounded by the marbled purple foliage of ‘Frosted Violet’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa ‘Frosted Violet’.  For more on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

Over the years, I have planted hundreds of giant snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii, and in the process have acquired plants that bloom in the fall instead of January when this species normally blooms.

I am always raving about the long bloom time of  ‘Shell Pink’ lamium so I thought you might like to see a photo of it in full bloom in December.  For more on lamium as a wintergreen groundcover, click here.

The buds on my paperbush, Edgeworthia chrysantha, have gotten large enough to show their beautiful silvery color and will remain ornamental until they start to open in March.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, does not seem to be bothered by hard frosts.

Hellebores are one of the primary contributors to flowers during the winter months:

The spent flower heads of ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Josef Lemper’, which has been blooming since early October, seem more ornamental when everything else has gone by.  Buds are forming at the base for the next wave of bloom.

Since November 15, another Helleborus dumetorum (no common name) has put out fresh foliage and covered itself in flowers.

The lighter chartreuse buds are forming on bearsfoot hellebore, H. foetidus, which will remain ornamental through May.

‘Jacob’ Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’, is covered with buds just starting to open.

This photo might not look very exciting, but I am thrilled to see buds on my rare double Christmas rose, Helleborus niger ‘Double Fantasy’.  In all my years of collecting hellebores, I have only seen a double Christmas rose once in a garden.  Now I will be offering blooming plants to my customers in my 2012 snowdrop catalogue.

This is what ‘Double Fantasy’ will look like when it’s open.

My fall-blooming camellias are a mainstay of my garden right now.  The first three pictured below are Ackerman hybrids, which I profiled in Fall-Blooming Camellias Part 1:

This is the last flower on Camellia x ‘Winter’s Darling’.

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’ still has a few buds left .

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’ has been flowering since October and is still covered with buds.

Fall-blooming Camellia oleifera is no longer covered with flowers but still continues to produce blooms when the weather warms up.

I was very lucky to receive as a gift this fully hardy, red-flowered Camellia japonica from Korea.  It has not yet been introduced for sale.  For more information on and photos of camellias, including this one, click here and here.

If you are just in it for flowers, then you can stop here because the last few plants rely on leaves to make their contribution.  However, foliage is very important for filling out the late fall garden, and I wanted to give you a few ideas:

Although they have dropped now, dwarf fothergilla, F. gardenii, holds its gorgeous fall leaves way beyond November 15.  For more information on this outstanding native shrub, click here.

Another woody with late fall color is ‘Shishigashira’ Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’.

‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, S. japonica ‘Magic Carpet’, is still displaying some of its gorgeous fall color right now.

‘Albury Purple’ St. John’s wort, Hypericum androsaemum ‘Albury Purple’, remains fully clothed in plum-colored foliage.

This is the first year that I have grown ‘Cool Splash’ southern bush honeysuckle, Lonicera sessifolia ‘Cool Splash’, but I am amazed to find that it looks like this right now.  For more information on this great native shrub, click here.

I have over 20 kinds of pulmonaria or lungwort in my garden providing me with beautiful flowers from February to April, but I appreciate them almost as much for their pristine foliage through early winter.

‘Diana Clare’ lungwort, Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’

Both native ‘Bronze Wave’ coralbells, Heuchera villosa ‘Bronze Wave’, and fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. herifolium, will look like this all winter.

My post, More Flowering Wintergreen Ground Covers of Shade, included several photos of Italian arum cultivars, which are great winter interest plants.  I won’t repeat those plants here but show you a seedling that appeared among my arum.  The leaves are more pointy and narrow than the species and the markings go beyond veining to cover the leaf.

If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, and free ground shipping with the proper code.  For details, click here.

Enjoy the last few days of fall,  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.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

November GBBD: Prime Time

Posted in Camellias, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

I think Disanthus cercidifolius (no common name) has the best fall color of any plant in my garden.  It is also in full bloom right now (photo below).

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  I also hope that my customers will get some ideas for plants to add to their own gardens to extend their season well into fall.  I am also joining my friend Donna’s Word for Wednesday theme of texture and pattern at her blog Garden Walk Garden Talk.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.


The re-blooming tall bearded iris ‘Clarence’ is a star performer in my fall garden.  It got knocked over by our unseasonable snow storm so it doesn’t look like this now, but it continues to bloom.

In colder months there is a tendency to include GBBD photos of anything with a flower, and I may do that in January.  But fall is still prime time in my gardens (no hard frost yet) so I am showing here only plants that are at their peak between October 15 and November 15 (I do not take all my photos on November 15).  This means that they bloom now (or are still blooming), have ornamental fruit, or feature exceptional fall color during this period.  For more ornamental ideas for fall, see A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers and A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit.

Let’s start with perennials:

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium, continues to flower through November.

Yes, the snowdrop season has started with Galanthus reginae-olgae, which has been blooming since mid-October.  Fall-blooming ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has just produced its first flowers as has the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, but they will be featured next month .

When I was touring Chanticleer this spring one of the gardeners gave me a clump of this very late-blooming monkshood, Aconitum sp.  I am not sure what species it is, but I am loving it’s dark violet-blue flowers.

‘Immortality’ is another re-blooming tall bearded iris that puts on a fall show.  I appreciate these flowers much more now when most other showy blooms are gone.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, shows up in the most unlikely places in my garden, here my terrace stairs, and produces generous quantities of blooms through fall.

Gorgeous ‘Moudry’ black fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, is one of the most asked about perennials in my fall garden and is well behaved here, but it can spread aggressively in some sites.

Hellebore season has started too with this little gem that was sold to me as Helleborus dumetorum (no common name), probably mislabeled.  Christmas rose ‘Josef Lemper’ has been blooming for quite a while but has no fresh flowers now.  I will include it next month.

Here are some trees and shrubs that I would grow for their ornamental contribution to the fall garden from flowers or berries:

The award winning hydrangea ‘Limelight’, H. paniculata ‘Limelight’, continues to produce fresh flowers late into fall.

Pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens, is ornamental almost all the time, but I would grow it even if all it did was produce these gorgeous cones.

Native green hawthorn ‘Winter King’, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’, has produced a bumper crop of berries this year, which the robins are just starting to enjoy.

The flowers on my evergreen ‘Sasaba’ holly osmanthus, O. heterophyllus ‘Sasaba’, are small but they make up for their size with their heavenly fragrance which perfumes the whole garden.

The berries of evergreen Japanese skimmia, S. japonica, persist well into spring.

Disanthus cercidifolius is in full bloom right now.

The scarlet flowers are interesting and beautiful, but you have to get quite close to see them.

All my fall-blooming camellias are covered with flowers.  The first four pictured below are Ackerman hybrids, which are hardy in zone 6 see Fall-Blooming Camellias Part 1, and the final plant is one of their parents:

Camellia x ‘Elaine Lee’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Joy’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Darling’

Fall-blooming Camellia oleifera was introduced to the U.S. from China in 1948.  In 1980, Dr. Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum noticed that it alone survived the U.S. mid-Atlantic’s cold winters and began crossing it with non-hardy fall-blooming species to produce what are now known as the Ackerman hybrids.  My camellia in the photo above is a seedling from the original C. oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’ at the National Arboretum.

There are dozens of plants that are vying to be included on GBBD because of their beautiful fall color.  However, I have decided to showcase only the seven that I think are exceptional, including disanthus pictured above and at the very beginning of the post:

Our Pennsylvania native vine Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is underused in gardens especially when you consider its fall look.

Many magnolias, including star magnolia, turn a lovely yellow in the fall, but native hybrid Magnolia x ‘Yellow Bird’ (named for its yellow flowers) is the most beautiful.

Redvein enkianthus, E. campanulatus

Pennsylvania native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, is ornamental 365 days a year, but it definitely reaches one of its peaks in the fall.

Another woody with 365 days of interest, coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, has stunning and long-lasting fall color.  For more information on this lovely tree, read Coral Bark Maple.

Pennsylvania native sugar maple, Acer saccharum, has gorgeous orange fall color.  Pictured above is a sugar maple tree in my garden that turns red instead of orange.  Sadly, when the iconic Princeton Nursery closed its doors, they had been evaluating it for seven years for possible introduction.

Enjoy your fall,  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.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Fall-blooming Camellias Part 3

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall Color, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Unnamed camellia developed by William Ackerman who has hybridized many wonderful fall-blooming camellias for the U.S. National Arboretum.  For an article about his camellia introductions, click here.

Last December I wrote two popular articles about fall-blooming camellias.  Fall-blooming Camellias Part 1 explains that these camellias are fully hardy and easy to grow in the mid-Atlantic U.S. and shows photos of my plants.  It also has links to more information.  Part 2 covered my visit to the gardens of camellia expert Charles Cresson in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, whose camellia collection includes over 60 specimens.  This week I visited Charles’s gardens again, about a month earlier than last time, to view and photograph more camellias (I am an addict now).  In this article, I want to share that visit with you.  On Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, I will show photos of my own plants in bloom.


Camellia x ‘Snow Flurry’ is one of the earliest flowering fall-bloomers of the Ackerman hybrids with an arching habit and anemone to peony form flowers.

During my time in Charles’s garden, I revisited some of my favorite camellias pictured in my post last December, including ‘Snow Flurry’ above and the cranberry-flowered camellia and ‘Winter’s Snowman’ pictured below.

Cranberry-flowered camellia (not introduced for sale): fall-blooming camellias are loaded with buds right now and will continue to bloom over the next two months, depending on the weather.  Even if the open flowers are frozen during a cold spell, the remaining buds will open when the weather warms.

A close up of the cranberry-flowered camellia pictured above (not introduced)

The large, semi-double flowers of the Ackerman hybrid Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’ really stand out in November and December.  ‘Winter’s Snowman’ has an upright, narrow habit.

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’:  If you look at my post from last December, you will see that ‘Winter’s Snowman’ can have both the semi-double flower pictured there and the anemone form flower above.  Both  are gorgeous.

Because I visited earlier in the season this year, I was able to photograph seven additional camellias:

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Star’ is an October and November blooming Ackerman hybrid with single flowers and an upright form.

This is a lovely semi-double white camellia hybridized by Charles but not introduced for sale or named.

Camellia x ‘Winter’s Interlude’ is a November and December blooming Ackerman hybrid with anemone form flowers and an upright spreading habit.

This camellia, which Charles grew from cuttings given to him by North Carolina State University, is very beautiful, but has not been introduced for sale.

A close up of the lovely pale pink flower on the North Carolina State camellia pictured above.

Camellia x ‘Moon Festival’ has unusually large flowers with a crepe paper texture, but is hardy only to zone 7.

Charles and I both love this unnamed Ackerman hybrid pictured above and at the top of the post.  We were thinking of potential names like “Winter’s Halo” or “Inner Glow”.  Do you think it should be introduced?

Camellia x ‘Carolina Moonmist’ was developed by the J.C. Raulston Arboretum of NCSU with single pink flowers.

Camellia x ‘Carolina Moonmist’: Charles feels that this camellia is too late-blooming for our area because many of the buds won’t open before it is too cold.  ‘Winter’s Star’ is a much better alternative.

I tried to remain focused on camellias for the whole visit, but the garden is so beautiful that some other plants snuck in, and I have to share them:

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen seedling, C. hederifolium, growing at the base of a massive tree trunk.

Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta

Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Ornatum’

The fall color of star magnolia, M. stellata.

The fall color of bald cypress, Taxodium distichum.

We are so lucky in this part of the world to have such massive trees with gorgeous fall color.

Enjoy,  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.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year.  Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Fall-blooming Camellias Part 2

Posted in Fall Color, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Red-flowered Camellia japonica (introduction in process)

In my previous article, Fall-blooming Camellias Part 1, I showed you my camellias and provided some background on the development of these remarkable plants.   Here I want to convey the astonishing variety of cultivars available for your fall  garden.

On December 2 (before the freeze), I was privileged to visit the camellia collection of Swarthmore, PA, horticulturalist Charles Cresson who grows over 60 varieties.  Charles not only showed me around his gardens, but helped me stage the photographs—thanks Charles.  Here are some of the incredible specimens I saw.

fall-blooming camellia 'Snow Flurry'Camellia x ‘Snow Flurry’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Dream'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Dream’ (Ackerman Hybrid)


fall-blooming camellia 'Autumn Spirit'Camellia x ‘Autumn Spirit’ (Camellia Forest Introduction)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Snowman'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’ (Ackerman Hybrid)


fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Charm'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Charm’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Scented Snow'Camellia x ‘Scented Snow’ (Camellia Forest Introduction)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Beauty'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Beauty’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Cranberry Ice'Cranberry-flowered Camellia (not introduced)

fall-blooming camellia Ackerman seedlingWhite-flowered Camellia (not introduced)

The two photos above are of  cold hardy camellias that have never been offered  for sale.

fall-blooming camellia "Wax Lips"

fall-blooming camellia "Wax Lips"

Red-flowered Camellia japonica (introduction in process)

Of all the camellias I saw during my visit, and there were many more than appear here, you can probably tell that the red-flowered camellia in the photographs above and at the top was my favorite.  From its plentiful plump buds to its robust red flowers with bright yellow stamens to its dazzling dark evergreen leaves to its lush and  luxurious habit, it is outstanding.  It is a straight C. japonica  species collected by the Morris Arboretum in 1984 on an island in Korea.   The island is the most northern range of this species. Although technically a spring bloomer, it also flowers in fall.  Charles hopes to introduce it for sale soon.

For more information on Ackerman  hybrid camellias, read William Ackerman’s article “Camellias for Cold Climates”.  For a wonderful selection of camellias from a nursery that hybridizes them, visit the Camellia Forest Nursery website.  Camellia Forest is located in Chapel Hill, NC.

Carolyn

Note: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.

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