Archive for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

New Snowdrops for 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Snowdrops and cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Last February, my husband and I traveled to England to visit famous snowdrop venues, meet prominent collectors, and scout out snowdrops to offer to my customers in the 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.   We toured Welford Park, Rodmarton Manor, Painswick Rococo Garden, East Lambrook Manor Gardens, and Avon Bulbs, among others.  We spent time with snowdrop luminaries Alan Street, Chris Ireland-Jones, Phil Cornish, John Morely, and Simon Biddulph.

But best of all, we were graciously hosted during our stay by Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes and were free to roam their amazing property Colesbourne Park, considered the preeminent snowdrop destination in the UK and well worth a trip to England!

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

.‘Ailwyn’ at Colesbourne Park

During our time in England, I was able to view in garden settings and compare hundreds of snowdrop cultivars.  This gave me a much better feeling for their ornamental characteristics and how they actually perform in gardens.  I have used this first hand knowledge as I have selected cultivars to offer in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, which will be posted on line in mid-December.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Meanwhile, here is a sneak preview of some of the new additions:

Note: Much of the information in the descriptions below comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006) (referred to as Snowdrops below).

.‘Ailwyn’: The Royal Horticultural Society recognized the perfection of  this early flowering, very regular double snowdrop with its coveted Award of Garden Merit in 2016, one of only 19 snowdrops honored out of the over 2000 in cultivation.   As the photos show, the outer segments spread out to reveal the lovely inner mark, which can be variable—compare the photo immediately above taken at the RHS 2017 Spring Show with the preceding photo at Colesbourne.  ‘Ailwyn’ was selected in 1994 at Anglesey Abbey by snowdrop expert Richard Nutt and named for its owner Ailwyn Broughton, Lord Fairhaven. 

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‘Angelique’: This is a rare poculiform snowdrop, meaning that all six petals or segments are nearly uniform in length.  Or, as I sometimes see it explained, all the segments are outer segments.  Its near albino white coloring also makes ‘Angelique’ a very distinct and elegant snowdrop.  If you look closely, you will see two tiny, pale green dots on the inner segments.  A cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, it is a vigorous grower.  It was found in a French garden and introduced by French horticulturist Mark Brown in 1999.

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‘Bertram Anderson’: A classic single snowdrop, ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured, well-rounded flowers on tall stems also earned it a coveted RHS Award of Garden Merit along with only 18 other snowdrops.  The book Snowdrops calls it “one of the most impressive large snowdrops”.  It was selected in 1971 from the garden of famous British horticulturist E.B. Anderson as a snowdrop special enough to bear his name.

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A close up of ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured outer segments.

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‘Greenish’: The delicate green shading on the outer segments means that ‘Greenish’ is classified as a rare virescent snowdrop.  The shading plus the dark green mark fading to pale green on the inner segments make for an unusual and elegant snowdrop.  The very upright flowers displayed beautifully by the nearly horizontal leaves adds to the allure.  It is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and unlike many other virescent snowdrops, it is vigorous and easy to grow.  It was found in 1963 by a German collector in a village near Vienna, Austria.

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‘Fly Fishing’: I can’t think of a snowdrop I enjoy more or one that is more aptly named.  The upright scape (flower stem) casts the large and elegant flower out into the breeze on its extra long pedicel, attracting wandering galanthophiles like trout.  ‘Fly Fishing’ is early flowering, sometimes by Christmas, but always in the first half of January. I took this photo in my garden on December 27, 2015.  The flowers on my ‘Fly Fishing’ and those of other American gardeners often have green tips—must be the climate.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it is easy to establish and multiplies rapidly.  ‘Fly Fishing’ was discovered only ten years ago at Avon Bulbs by snowdrop expert Alan Street, known for his clever and creative snowdrop names, among other talents!

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‘Fly Fishing’ in my garden on January 24, 2017

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‘Colossus’: This classic single snowdrop is planted for its large flowers, tall stature, ornamental leaves, and robust growth.  Just as important to me is its early bloom time, sometimes by Christmas—the photo above was taken on December 23, 2015, in my garden.  It is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, and has the beautiful, pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  ‘Colossus’ appears as number 14 on the list of British galanthophiles’ 25 favorite snowdrops.  It was selected in 1992 by Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Colossus’ at Colesbourne Park where it was selected by Lady Carolyn Elwes.
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‘Colossus’ multiplies rapidly—pictured here at Colesbourne Park.
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My next post will feature an additional six snowdrops that will be newly offered in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  In fairness to all customers, we do not accept pre-orders before the catalogue comes out.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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Gardens in Sconset on Nantucket Island

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Just north of the village of Sconset, Sankaty Head Light is an iconic Nantucket sight.

In mid-September, we traveled to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, US, to attend the wedding of my godson.  Like the coast of Maine, Nantucket has absolutely gorgeous gardens everywhere you look.  However, the most beautiful gardens we found were in the town of Sconset (formally Siasconset) on the east coast of the island.

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

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Sconset beach is empty in mid-September, and there was plenty of parking.  It is so beautiful that we went there twice during our long weekend on Nantucket and spent hours walking the shore.

Sconset was settled in the 17th century as a fishing village with many of the cottages dating from the 18th and 19th century when there was a whaling station located there.   In the late 1800s it started to become a destination for summer visitors, but homes were built in the style of the original fishing shacks.  Today, although the historic architecture has been preserved, the “fishing shacks” sell for between $1.5 and 3 million.

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A view of the village of Sconset from the beach.

The little village of Sconset is overrun with tourists in the summer, but in mid-September it was empty.  Here are some of the lovely gardens we found there:

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a path through the village “paved” with oyster shells

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A typical Sconset cottage featuring Nantucket style gray shingles with white trim.

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Roses on trellises adorned many roofs, and plants like the hydrangea in the photo were chosen to complement architectural features like this pink doorway.

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This garden was particularly beautiful, especially the lichen on the fence.

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Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Little Diamond Island Maine Home and Garden Tour

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

A row of historic summer cottages on Little Diamond Island, Maine.

My husband Michael and I are members of a wonderful nonprofit called Oceanside Conservation Trust of Casco Bay (OCT).  OCT’s mission is to facilitate the preservation of open space on the islands of Casco Bay off Portland, Maine.  It has been incredibly successful with many acres of land preserved on most of the bigger islands in the bay. 

A major benefit of membership, which only costs $20 a year, is the annual tour of one of these islands followed by a lovely reception.  This year the OCT outing was to Little Diamond Island.

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

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The Casco Bay Lines ferry docking at the Little Diamond Island wharf.

Little Diamond is a short ride from the Casco Bay Lines terminal in Portland, Maine.  It is the first stop on the ferry route, which continues on to Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague, and Cliff Islands.  Unlike the other islands, Little Diamond is a summer community only and has no year round residents. 

Most of the houses on the island were built from the 1880s to the early 1900s and are typical Maine cottage style architecture.  The houses and the “casino”, a social gathering spot at the top of the ferry wharf, have been well-preserved.  Little Diamond is a small island, and we walked around the whole island and toured four of the lovely historic homes in an afternoon.  I want to share with you some of the photos of this lovely place, which seems lost in time:

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View of a Little Diamond beach from the ferry wharf

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Little Diamond casino at the top of the wharf

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Looking from the porch of the casino across Portland Harbor towards the city skyline shows how close Little Diamond is to Portland.   Fort Gorges, built in the harbor during the Civil War, is in the foreground.

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A typically well-preserved summer cottage on Little Diamond.

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Rich architectural details and unique decorative features like this row of colorful garden rakes make these houses even more interesting.

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The Eastern Prom of Portland is in the background.

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fabulous color combination

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.It was fun to see the interior of the homes.

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The last house we toured had striking antique stained glass windows.

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If you live or vacation in the Portland area, I hope you will consider joining Oceanside Conservation Trust and attending next year’s special island tour.  For information on joining OCT, click here.

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I hope to feature mid-September scenes from Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, in my next post.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Touring Gardens in Cape Elizabeth Maine

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Perennials grow better in Maine than anywhere I have visited, and they look great with classic Maine summer “cottages”.

Every summer my husband Michael and I attend a garden tour while we are visiting Maine.  I have written many posts on Maine gardens on Mount Desert, around Camden, in the Brunswick area, and around Casco Bay, among others.  If you would like to see the beautiful photos in those articles, just type “Maine gardens” into the search bar under “Search My Website” on the right sidebar of this website (if the sidebar isn’t visible, click the snowdrop banner at the top of this post).

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

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Maine summer “cottages” can be quite large!

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This year we attended the Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour presented by the Fort Williams Park Foundation.  Cape Elizabeth is a beautiful, ocean-side suburb of Portland with many interesting gardens and homes.  Here are just a few scenes from the tour:

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Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 11-33-46 AM

The house in the first two photos featured lovely perennial gardens and this incredible view of Portland Harbor.  The lighthouse at the entrance to the harbor, fondly known as Bug Light, is just visible in the upper left corner of the photo.

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Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 11-36-45 AM

a close up of the pool plantings

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great color combinations

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A compact annual cleome or spider flower was sprinkled through out this garden.  Garden tours are a great way to get ideas for your garden and find out about newly introduced plants.

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.Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 9-47-39 AM

If only we could grow white birches like this in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Ninebark and nepeta look lovely together.

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Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 10-07-30 AM

scenic garden shed with climbing roses

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Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 10-35-07 AM

Almost every house on the tour had spectacular ocean views.

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Lavender thrives on a sunny, seashore but can’t live in the sunniest spot at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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fabulous color combination

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.Fort Williams Garden Tour 2017 7-15-2017 11-11-07 AM

 

The next post will feature a house and garden tour on Little Diamond Island in Casco Bay off Portland, Maine, and after that it’s back to Mount Desert.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Garden Tour on Mount Desert Island Maine Part 2

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

More gorgeous views of the Maine coast awaited us around every turn as we visited the final two houses on the Mount Desert garden tour.

Last year my husband Michael and I spent a few days visiting Acadia National Park for its 100th anniversary and touring gardens on Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA.  To see the beautiful photos in my previous Mount Desert posts, click on the title: Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National ParkAsticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden Part 1, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2

A major purpose of our visit was to attend The Garden Club of Mount Desert’s 2016 garden tour, which we did.  To view the photos in Part 1 of my garden tour post, click Garden Tour on Mount Desert Island MaineHere is Part 2:

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

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A classic Maine summer “cottage”

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Notice the elegant granite container on the wall.

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succulents in a crack in a boulder

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view across the lawn from the back patio

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The view extends all the way down to the water’s edge.

.There were extensive perennial gardens around the patio, but the sun was so bright it washed out all my photos.

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Our favorite part of this garden was the picture perfect vegetable garden loaded with produce in raised beds edged with granite.

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As we climbed the steep drive to the last house on the tour, we admired the mountain view.

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Even the garage was scenic.

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Notice the bay and the islands on the horizon.

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The gardens on the ocean side of the house were terraced with several levels of stone walls.

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There was even a castle-like stone look out!

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Upcoming posts will feature a garden tour in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and a house and garden tour on Little Diamond Island in Casco Bay off Portland, Maine.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Garden Tour on Mount Desert Island Maine

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

One of the gorgeous houses on the Mount Desert garden tour.

Last year my husband Michael and I spent a few days visiting Acadia National Park and touring gardens on Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA.  To see the beautiful photos in my previous Mt. Desert posts, click on the title: Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National ParkAsticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden Part 1, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2.  

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A fun sculpture of gardening gloves

A major purpose of our visit was to attend The Garden Club of Mount Desert’s 2016 garden tour, which we did.  Although a year late, this post is timely as the 2017 Mount Desert garden tour, this year hosted by the Bar Harbor Garden Club, is this Saturday, July 22, from 10 am to 4 pm.  For more information, click here.  I encourage you to go if you are in the area, otherwise enjoy the beautiful photos of Maine in my post!

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

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Loved this wall.

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Everywhere we went we saw beautiful views of the Maine coast.

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This secret gate through a tall arborvitae hedge led to the prettiest house on the tour.

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A view through the perennials to a wonderful added feature of our tour of this garden….

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….A regulation sized croquet course with an official game in progress.

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I coveted this large container full of herbs for my own deck and have copied it this year on a smaller scale.  Having the herbs easily accessible right outside my kitchen encourages me to use them more often and keeps the slugs off .

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Maine gardens seem to feature a lot of picturesque potting sheds.

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This classic Maine summer house had gorgeous flower beds.

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My next post will contain photos of the rest of the tour.

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

Fun with Mini Hostas in Containers

Posted in container gardening, containers for shade, hosta, How to, miniature hosta, my garden, New Plants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

You can use all sorts of fun containers to house your mini hostas.  Here ‘Lakeside Cupcake’ and ‘Teaspoon’ (back row) and ‘Sun Mouse’ and ‘Munchkin Fire’ (front row) join mini hosta companion plants dwarf Solomon’s seal, European ginger, and dwarf lady fern in an old toolbox.

In May 2011, I wrote my fourth most popular post called Miniature (& Small) Hostas.  In it I introduced a number of mini hostas and showed how to use them in the ground and in containers.  To read it, click here.  In this post, I continue the container theme with some new pots and some new plants in the old pots.

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

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‘Twist of Lime’ in a flea market metal milk pitcher.

Whether you use a smaller container with a single plant like ‘Twist of Lime’ above or a collection of plants like those featured in the toolbox at the top, there are some important rules to follow.  First you must provide adequate drainage.  We drill holes in the bottom of our containers and then cover them with pieces of broken terra cotta pots so they don’t get clogged.  A layer of broken terra cotta in the bottom is even better.

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‘Curly Fries’ continues to live in its re-purposed oil can.  It would be bigger and fuller in the ground, but I think it is perfect for this container.

Second, if you intend to leave the containers outside for the winter, which is what I do, they must be made of a material that can withstand freezing like stone, metal, concrete, plastic, or high quality glazed ceramic.  The plants in the container must also be able to withstand freezing, which hostas and all the companion plants I use are able to do.  I store the large containers in place and move the small ones to a protected area and cover them with pine needles.

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Two small hostas with contrasting habits make good container companions, here ‘Stiletto’ and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.

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Dwarf Solomon’s seal thrives in containers with hostas, filling in nicely.  This container has been going strong for six years.

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A small trough with a selection of rock garden plants and featuring ‘Pandora’s Box’ hosta (lower left corner) wintered over perfectly on the wall by my front steps.

Third, the container must be filled with a potting medium that drains well.  Thanks to Janet Novak (who created this container) of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (DVC-NARGS), I use a mix of one third ProMix, one third vermiculite, and one third small gravel like coarse builders sand or turkey grit.  The DVC-NARGS is a great organization with wonderful speakers and events.  If you are local you should consider joining, click here

Those are the basics: now it is up to you to fill the pots.  Here are some ideas from my containers:

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A close up view of my toolbox, showing the contrasting textures, colors, and habits of the hostas, ginger, Solomon’s seal, and fern.

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This is a view of the top of my glazed strawberry pot filled with 17 different mini hostas.

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I have had this dish garden in full shade along my front steps for years.  It features the bright gold of ‘Appletini’ and ‘Cracker Crumbs’ mini hostas, among others, and ‘Purple Form’ and ‘Tricolor’ sedum along with European ginger, which adds great shiny, round texture.

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This antique stone trough filled with Mouse Ears hostas, my personal favorites, has been going for years too.  This end holds ‘Holy Mouse Ears’, ‘Green Mouse Ears’, and ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, among others.

A view of the other end of the Mouse Ears trough, featuring clockwise from upper left: dwarf Solomon’s seal, ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, dwarf lady fern, ‘Sunny Mouse Ears’, ‘Mighty Mouse’, ‘Voodoo’ purple sedum, and ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’.

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There will be hand-carved, antique, solid stone troughs for sale on Saturday at the open house for you to use to create you own containers filled with a colorful collection of minis and companions.  Four are available, first come, first served!

I hope you can stop by on Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm and see all my mini hostas containers in my garden. They are a lot of fun!

Carolyn

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

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

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

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

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