Archive for Colesbourne Park

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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Drifts of Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

colesbourne-lake-2-10-2017-5-16-18-amA drift of snowdrops covers the hill above the extraordinarily colored lake at Colesbourne Park.  The amazing blue is caused by light reflecting off naturally deposited clay in the water.  It is worth visiting just to see it.

Michael and I just returned from a two week snowdrop trip to England.  For six days we were the guests of Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.   Colesbourne has been called England’s greatest snowdrop garden, and wandering through the grounds for six days I can see why.  First, the 2,500 acre setting is absolutely magnificent, including the lake pictured above, a church dating back to 1067, and a charming village with a delightful pub, the Colesbourne Inn, serving delicious food.

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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Galanthus 'Margaret Owen'This lovely, very large snowdrop ‘Margaret Owen’ is a fitting tribute to its namesake, a renowned galanthophile.

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Galanthus 'Rodmarton'The double snowdrop ‘Rodmarton’ originated at the nearby Rodmarton Manor, an arts and crafts house featuring its own wonderful snowdrop collection.

Second, you can see many rare and unusual snowdrops, like ‘Margaret Owen’ and ‘Rodmarton’ above, in large clumps instead of singly or in small groups.  Colesbourne Park has over 250 varieties in its collection, and they work hard to develop each into a large stand. 

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Sir Henry Elwes stands in a field of  ‘S. Arnott’ as he entertains a guided tour with tales of Colesbourne and its snowdrops.

Third, if you are lucky enough to go on a tour, you will be taken around by Sir Henry Elwes who grew up at Colesbourne and knows all 2,500 acres intimately.  His great-grandfather was Henry John Elwes, the famous Victorian plant explorer who discovered his namesake snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey in 1874.  During the tour, Sir Henry will tell you about snowdrops, but he will also regale you with fascinating stories about Colesbourne itself.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'A close up of ‘S. Arnott’, called the desert island snowdrop because if galanthophiles could have just one, this would be it!

But for me, the most amazing thing about Colesbourne is the huge drifts of some of the more well known cultivars of snowdrops.  As I have said before, I am not interested in having a collection of hundreds of little groups of rare snowdrops.  I want plants with interesting leaves and habits as well as flowers, that are vigorous and will multiply into large clumps fairly quickly.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’, a Greatorex double snowdrop, which has been intentionally divided and spread out at Colesbourne.

When Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes took over Colesbourne Park, intervening generations had not tended John Henry Elwes’s collections and many had been sold.  However, some snowdrops remained, and Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn developed the current Colesbourne snowdrop display in the last 25 years.  Colesbourne showed me what you could do with a snowdrop collection and why snowdrops like ‘S. Arnott’ and the others pictured below are so widely grown.  It was a revelation.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’ en masse

Here are some more snowdrops that have been systematically divided to form huge stands at Colesbourne:

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’, a large and vigorous single snowdrop, called “one of the foundation stones of many collections” by Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ quickly turns into a good sized patch.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ drifts

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ is my favorite of the many Greatorex doubles and also the most widely grown.

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ as far as the eye can see.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'Early-blooming ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, another much admired classic called a “plant of great quality” by the Bishop book.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'A stand of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’, also a Greatorex double

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’ spread far and wide.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusGalanthus plicatus ‘Colossus’, an early vigorous snowdrop with a beautiful habit and elegant leaves.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusStands of ‘Colossus’

I visited some other snowdrop venues that had sweeping drifts but none with the variety found at Colesbourne.  Painswick Rococo Garden is the place where the famous snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ was first selected in the 1860s.  There are amazing drifts of ‘Atkinsii’, Galanthus nivalis, and ‘Flore Pleno’ there:

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' with Galanthus 'Flore PlenoThe very tall and stately ‘Atkinsii’ in the back with ‘Flore Pleno’ in the front at Painswick.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A hillside of ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick.
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Welford Park is awe-inspiring for sheer numbers of snowdrops, which grow in sheets through out their woods.  All of the plants are Galanthus nivalis:
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-7-26-017Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with winter aconite.
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-50-02-amCommon snowdrops at Welford Park
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-40-38-amIt looks like it just snowed in the woods at Welford Park.

Thank you so much to Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes for opening their world, both snowdrop and otherwise, to two very grateful visitors from across the pond.

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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