Archive for collecting snowdrops

Classic Snowdrops

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

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

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

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

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.  If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell 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.

Snowdrops are also quite beautiful and elegant, especially when they are tall and stately with large flowers like ‘Atkinsii’ and several of the other classic snowdrops shown below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Early-Blooming Snowdrops

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

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

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

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

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders. If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell 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.

 

Galanthus reginae-olgae looks a lot like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, but it blooms reliably by mid-October in our garden, and it has a more rigidly upright habit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Barnes’ in our garden

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

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

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The big flowers have beautiful dark green markings.

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

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

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

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Each plant quickly produces two or three flowers.

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‘Xmas’ is gorgeous on a sunny December day.

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

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Your February 2019 Snowdrop Trip to England

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

Expect fields of snowdrops and hardy cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens had been selling snowdrops for 25 years when we decided it was time to visit England during snowdrop season.  This was the trip of a lifetime for me, and my husband Michael was a very good sport about spending a vacation outside in winter looking at my favorite flower.  We both had so much fun that we returned in February 2018.  Now it’s time for you to plan your trip.  All the gardens described below are within driving distance of the Colesbourne Inn where I recommend that you stay.

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 cell 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.

 

This 11th century church on the grounds of Colesbourne Park is open for visitors on snowdrop weekends.

Although England is a popular vacation destination, most people don’t travel there in February.  That means you still have plenty of time to make airline reservations, and hotels are very inexpensive and practically empty.  However, once you arrive, you will find plenty of fellow gardeners from all over Europe and even Asia touring snowdrop venues and the winter gardens that surround them.

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‘S. Arnott’ is the signature snowdrop at Colesbourne, but you will also see breath-taking sweeps of ‘Ophelia’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Colossus’, ‘Galatea’, and many more.

Your first stop should be Colesbourne Park, which is considered England’s greatest snowdrop garden.  It is located in the beautiful Churn Valley in the heart of unspoiled Gloucestershire, which is in the Cotswolds. Colesbourne’s ten-acre snowdrop garden is filled with sweeps of what must be millions of snowdrops and thousands of cyclamen plus a collection of more than 350 snowdrop cultivars, including many rare varieties, artfully displayed around the stone buildings. 

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Colesbourne’s ethereal blue lake

Colesbourne has been owned by the Elwes family since 1789, and the snowdrop collection was started in 1874 when Henry John Elwes discovered the snowdrop that bears his name, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey.  The current owners, Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes, are always present on snowdrop days to greet visitors and answer questions.  There is plenty to see in addition to snowdrops, including the 11th century church pictured above, the trails through the woods and around the surrounding 2,500 acre park, the scenic “blue” lake shown above, and the very impressive Colesbourne Arboretum of trees.

Colesbourne Park is open every Saturday and Sunday from February 2 to March 3, 2019, between 1 and 4:30 pm.  Local charities raise money by serving tea, coffee, and delicious cakes.  To view the Colesbourne website, click here.  For more photos of Colesbourne and its garden, read my blog post here.

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Michael poses in front of a sequoia in the Colesbourne Arboretum, which contains 13 National and 37 Gloucestershire Champion Trees.

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Rodmarton Manor

Rodmarton Manor was built in the 1920s in what is now called the Arts and Crafts style, and everything was made on site using local craftsmen.  The grandmother of the current owner and her head gardener designed the eight acres of gardens that surround the house, creating what is considered a premier example of the Arts and Crafts gardening movement.  The snowdrop collection is extensive with the base of trees in the orchard surrounded by many rare cultivars and snowdrops planted through out the dozens of garden “rooms”, a feature of Arts and Crafts style.

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A planting of the very rare snowdrop ‘Rodmarton Regulus’ surrounds a tree in the orchard.

Rodmarton is near Colesbourne in a very scenic part of the Cotswolds close to Cirencester.  Snowdrop open days are generally on Sundays in February starting at 1:30 pm, but the 2019 schedule is not on the website yet.  If you get a chance to tour the inside of the house, don’t miss it.  View the Rodmarton website by clicking here.  For more photos of Rodmarton and its garden, read my blog post here.

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Even without snowdrops, the Rodmarton Garden is well worth visiting especially if you are accompanied on your trip by a non-galanthophile.

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Welford Park

Welford Park has an illustrious history, starting as the site of a monastery dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536 when it became the king’s deer hunting lodge.  The house, which was built around 1652, served as a convalescent home for soldiers wounded in World War I.  The gardens, woods, meadows, and river banks are awe inspiring because of the sheer number of winter aconites and snowdrops, all of which are Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop.  It is located in Welford, Berkshire, about an hour from Colesbourne.

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Winter aconites and common snowdrops at Welford Park

Welford Park is open for snowdrops from January 30 to March 3, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11 am to 4 pm.  A tearoom serves homemade cakes and homegrown sausages among other mouth-watering delicacies.  View the Welford website by clicking here.

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A walk through Welford’s snowdrop woods is an unforgettable experience.

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Painswick House through the trees on the right with two of the garden’s famous Rococo “follies” in the middle surrounded by the hillside covered in ‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops.  The orchard is in the foreground.

Also in Gloucestershire near Colesbourne, Painswick Rococo Garden is a marvel, not only for its glorious snowdrops, but also because it is the only surviving Rococo garden currently open to the public.  Painswick has the sweeping vistas, framed views, serpentine paths, and extravagant architectural features characteristic of the most lavish gardens of its style.  The garden plus the beautiful Snowdrop Grove and hillside covered in the tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick, make it a must see.

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This curving Gothic screen called the Exedra is Painswick’s most famous folly.  Beyond it, you can see its formal garden, kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

During February, Painswick is open every day from from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.  There is a very good cafe on site with hot and cold lunches and homemade cake.  View the Painswick website by clicking here.  For more photos of Painswick and its garden, read my blog post here.

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the Snowdrop Grove at Painswick

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the private garden of John Massey, the owner of Ashwood Nurseries

Ashwood Nurseries is a world renowned nursery in Kingswinford in the West Midlands about 1 1/4 hours from Colesbourne.  It is famous for its winter and early spring-blooming plants like hellebores, cyclamen, snowdrops, hepaticas, and primroses but carries a wide-ranging selection of other plants at its canal side location in the lovely English countryside.  Last February, Michael and I attended a Snowdrop Lecture there, which included a private tour of John Massey’s personal garden. 

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Snowdrops, hellebores, and cyclamen by the canal

Ashwood Nurseries is worth visiting just to see the nursery.  However, I highly recommend attending an event, especially one that includes a tour of the Massey garden, which is not open to the public.  In 2019, there is a Snowdrop Lecture on Tuesday, February 5, which includes a garden tour.  The morning session is already sold out.  John’s garden is open to raise money for charity on Saturday, February 9, from 10 am to 4 pm, no reservation necessary.  Through out February there are “behind the scenes” pre-booked Hellebore Tours.  There is a tearoom on site with hot and cold food, an open fire, and garden views.  For the Ashwood website, click here.

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Just one of the hundreds of beautiful Ashwood hellebores

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The historic Colesbourne Inn, located right outside the entrance to Colesbourne Park (sorry, not a great photo)

During your exploration of snowdrops and winter gardens, you can’t go wrong staying at the Colesbourne Inn.  A charming inn with very comfortable en suite rooms is combined with a traditional English pub and a gourmet dining room using fresh, local ingredients, including eggs raised by Lady Carolyn Elwes.  Have a cappuccino or beer by the cozy fire or enjoy a delicious meal in the high quality restaurant.

If you do go to England to see snowdrop gardens, please let me know about your trip.

Carolyn

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.

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

 ‘Richard Ayres’ is one of the largest-flowered double snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December (2018) and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. Part One of the preview, can be viewed by clicking here.

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2020 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us whether you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

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 cell 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.

 

The fat flowers of ‘Richard Ayres’ in my garden on 2/1/17

‘Richard Ayres’ has an eye-catching, very large and full double flower on a tall, vigorous, and easy-to-grow plant.   The outer segments vary in number from four to six, and the inner markings are also variable but quite pretty.  It was discovered in 1987 by celebrated plantsman Richard Nutt in the gardens of Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge and named by the UK National Trust, which owns Anglesey Abbey, for the head gardener.

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‘Green Brush’ has a gorgeous outer mark.

Galanthus elwesiiGreen Brush‘ is a one of the best green-tipped snowdrops with big, bold, substantial flowers on a tall plant—very striking and distinct.  The fat outer segments are thick and waxy with strong markings at the apex as though dipped in paint.  The inner segments are solid green.  Selected in the Netherlands by fifth generation bulb breeder Gerald Oud.

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‘Faringdon Double’ is one of my earliest blooming snowdrops, pictured here on 1/6/13.

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‘Faringdon Double’

Early-blooming snowdrops really make a statement, and ‘Faringdon Double‘ is one of the earliest in my garden and definitely the earliest double.  It has large, well-formed flowers on vigorous and easy-to-grow plants.  The outer segments are large and rounded, and the inner segments are very regular with a broad heart-shaped mark.  It was discovered growing in a churchyard in 1988 in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, by British snowdrop collectors David and Ruby Baker.

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This photo shows ‘Faringdon Double’s’ characteristic inflated spathe, which encases the flower bud before it drops and opens.

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‘Merlin’ is a striking classic snowdrop.

Merlin‘ is another snowdrop so special that it earned an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012, one of only 28 out of more then 2,500 snowdrops to get this recognition.  It is a beautiful, vigorous, highly-prized classic snowdrop, possibly a hybrid between G. elwesii and G. plicatus.  It is the best known and most widely grown snowdrop with completely dark green inner segments.  Discovered in his garden in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

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‘Trym’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus plicatus ‘Trym’ caused a sensation when it first appeared in the snowdrop world due to its unique flower structure where the three outer segments have been replaced by three more inner segments.  This iconic, pagoda-like look has since been coined inverse poculiform and applied to ‘Trym’s’ many descendants, most with ‘Trym’ in their name.  The outer segments have a large heart-shaped, green mark and are broad, reflexed, and sport the notch in the tip of the segments typical of an inner segment.  The result is a distinctive, striking, and lovely snowdrop.  It was discovered by Jane Gibbs, a gardener in Westbury on Trym, Bristol.

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‘Trym’ is a great snowdrop to have in your garden if you want to produce some interesting seedlings, here growing out from under a hedge.

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‘Starling’ is a beautiful double snowdrop.  For a better photo on the Scottish Rock Garden Club Galanthus Forum, click here and then click the photo to enlarge.

‘Starling’s’ short flower stem causes the flower to face outward giving a direct view of its cluster of star-like, dark green inner segments, hence star-ling, meaning young star. Its outer segments are long, pointed, and boat-shaped, and the overall effect is lovely.  It was found in the famous copse at Avon Bulbs and may be a cross between G. elwesii and ‘Hill Poe’, one of my favorite doubles.  Be sure and click on the link in the caption above for a better photo.

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Snowdrop season is upon us with fall-bloomers in full flower, and the tips of many other snowdrops rising from the mulch.  While heavy frosts and freezing temperatures end the gardening year, the emerging snowdrops give me hope and the promise of flowers to come in the dead of winter.

Carolyn

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.

New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

 ‘Godfrey Owen’, one of my all time favorite snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. 

If you would like to receive email notification of the 2020 snowdrop catalogue, please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and include your full name, cell number for back up use only, and tell us if you are local or mail order.  We do not take orders for snowdrops until the catalogue comes out.

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 cell 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.

 

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks beautiful in snow.

It is no surprise to me that ‘Godfrey Owen’ has recently been added to the very small group of snowdrops, 28 out of the over 2,500 named varieties, to receive the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  It is an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without looking at the label.

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Looking at ‘Godfrey Owen’ is a pleasure from any angle, but here you can see the distinctive six outer segments.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Godfrey Owen’ has six pointed and concave, longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments.  The inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base.  The flowers in my garden all originate from one bulb but have a mixture of markings.   ‘Godfrey Owen’ was discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii, the giant snowdrop, by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband.

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‘Barnes’ blooms in the fall.

When snowdrops bloom in October or November, they really make a statement.  Galanthus elwesii (Hiemalis Group) ‘Barnes’ is a lovely, fall-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop with well-formed outer segments and a heart-shaped mark on the inners.  Considered by many to be the earliest blooming, sometimes in October, and best of the Hiemalis Group, it recently received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its superiority.

The name ‘Barnes’ originates from E.P. Barnes, a surgeon in Northampton, who selected an early-flowering form of G. elwesii and sent it to Oliver Wyatt, possibly in 1928.  After 1973, a group of snowdrops labeled ‘Barnes’ was discovered at Wyatt’s home in Suffolk.

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‘Art Noveau’ is striking.

Confronted recently with hundreds of varieties of snowdrops, all in bloom, I gravitated immediately to the captivating elegance of Galanthus nivalis ‘Art Noveau’.  An artistically curved spathe, like a shepherd’s crook, tops the long, slender flower with bold markings inside and out.  The outer segments are pointed and splashed with pale green, while the inners are almost as long as the outers and sport a darker green, heart-shaped mark.  Given to Avon Bulbs by a famous garden in Normandy, France.

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‘Armine’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus ‘Armine’ is a tall, easy-to-grow, hybrid snowdrop with large, well-proportioned flowers.  It has a beautiful mark on the inner segment, which is clearly visible even when the flowers are not fully open.  It was named in the late 1950s for the daughter of Brigadier and Mrs. Matthias, the owners of the famous (at least among galanthophiles) Giant Snowdrop Company in Gloucestershire.  Lady Carolyn Elwes tells me that a Catholic nun came to visit Colesbourne Park a number of years ago and explained that she was the daughter for whom the snowdrop was named—how fun.

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‘Armine’s’ inner mark is almost always visible.

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‘Puck’ is a fun semi-double snowdrop.

‘Puck’ is a charming and quirky form of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with three extra segments haphazardly arranged over the top of the normal three inner segments and three outer segments.  The result is a fat, semi-double flower.  Named for the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, who seems to have cast his spell on this snowdrop, and found in a woods in Devon.

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‘Sprite’ has a unique look.

I am always looking for snowdrops that stand out from the crowd to add to my collection.  When I toured snowdrop gardens in England, I realized that Galanthus ‘Sprite’ was not only beautiful but could also be easily identified without a label.  The broad, round, bluntly pointed outer segments are painted with five or six distinct green lines with slight shading in between.  A wide, green band covers 2/3 of the inner segments.  Introduced about 10 years ago by the discerning horticulturist Alan Street at Avon Bulbs.

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‘Sprite’ proudly displayed in the Avon Bulbs exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in February 2018.

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Look for another blog post soon profiling an additional seven new offerings for 2019.

Carolyn

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.

North Green Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

John Morley welcomes us to his elegant home and the gardens at North Green Snowdrops.

Last February, my husband Michael and I traveled to England to visit gardens and meet famous galanthophiles.  One of the most famous is John Morley of the legendary nursery North Green Snowdrops.  North Green has named snowdrops that are iconic in the galanthus world, including ‘Trumps’, ‘Comet’, ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, ‘Three Ships’, and ‘Remember, Remember’.   John recently introduced the golden yellow ‘Mother Goose’, which immediately topped my acquisition list.

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 cell 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.

The lovely Morley home

.  As the snow falls, John Morley gamely points out snowdrops in the garden at North Green.

On a trip where we never saw the sun and it rained or snowed every day, our visit to North Green stood out as the coldest day of the two weeks we were in England.  North Green is located in Beccles on the east coast of England where the land juts out to receive icy blasts from the North Sea. As we toured the garden, Arctic wind blew the snow sideways, and at least half my photos were out-of-focus as the snowdrops swayed.  However, we persevered and saw many snowdrops I had only read about before, which I want to share with you.

.‘Walter Fish’

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‘Yaffle’

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‘Trumps’ found in the North Green garden by Matt Bishop.

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‘Golden Fleece’, the first yellow ‘Trym’, introduced by Joe Sharman at Monksilver Nursery, and an eBay record setter at £1,390 for one plant.  Yellow snowdrops often look olive in England, to me anyway, rather than the bright yellow they display in the US due to our sunny weather.

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‘Green Comet’ originated in the garden at North Green and was named for its large flowers, resembling ‘Comet’, and its lettuce green leaves, usually in threes as you can see in the photo.

.‘Fieldgate Prelude’

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‘Green of Hearts’ originated at North Green and distinguished from ‘Trumps’ by its darker green and more heart-shaped markings.

.A curiosity that has not been introduced, “747 Short Leaf” has, of course, very short leaves.  This photo also shows the icy snow that was falling during our visit!

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‘Jubilee Green’ with its bright green leaves was named to commemorate North Green’s 25th year in business.

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‘Ray Cobb’, another yellow looking quite olive.

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‘Fenstead End’

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Matt Bishop named this snowdrop ‘Neckless Wonder’ because it has no pedicel attaching it to the scape.

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I thought this was one of the prettiest snowdrops I saw, maybe because after 10 tries it stood still for its photo.  Not introduced yet and called “NGZZZ-R-OVXVXP” for now.

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Halfway through the tour, when I was the coldest I had ever been, John invited us into his warm and cheery home for some very welcome tea.  He rated us very keen galanthophiles indeed when we were eager to continue the tour after tea.

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.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

Known as the Exedra, this curving Gothic screen is the most famous of the many follies found at Painswick Rococo Garden.

When we traveled to England last year, we visited Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire.  We went there to see the snowdrops and found tens of thousands of them blooming in one of the most quirky and extravagant gardens I have visited.

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 cell 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.

.  Gate leading to Painswick House, which is next to but not part of the garden.

Rococo is a style of art and architecture that originated in France and Italy in the early 1700s.  Rococo gardens were designed as theatrical sets for lavish parties rather than horticultural undertakings.  Garden historians describe them as flamboyant, frivolous, and capricious.  Rococo gardens were laid out with sweeping vistas, framed views, and serpentine paths designed to lead the visitor to explore extravagant water features, staircases, statuary, and especially follies, costly ornamental buildings in diverse architectural styles with no practical purpose.

.Painswick House

Painswick House was purchased and expanded by the Hyett family in the 1730s.  In the 1740s, Benjamin Hyett, the son of the original owner, built the fanciful garden nestled in the hidden valley behind the house.  The garden was created to entertain guests in flamboyant outdoor rooms and to intrigue them into exploring extravagant follies. 

In 1748, Hyett commissioned a painting of the garden, which was used by Lord and Lady Dickinson, direct Hyett descendants, to restore it beginning in the 1970s.  In 1988, the garden was turned over to the Painswick Rococo Garden Trust.  It is the only surviving rococo garden currently open to the public.

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Painswick House has a beautiful view of this folly, the two story Pigeon House.

.Visitors entering the garden find themselves on a hillside with a sweeping view of the garden in the valley below.  Here you see the orchard and kitchen garden.  The Exedra is visible on the middle right.

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The other half of the view looks towards the bowling green, fish pond, and Snowdrop Grove.

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In February, the hillside is packed with the very tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick in the 1800s by James Atkins, an estate worker.

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Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’

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‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops and bearsfoot hellebore along the path to another folly, the Eagle House.

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Looking across the orchard at the Eagle House, you can see its lower vaulted chambers built into the hillside.

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The Snowdrop Grove is a large woodland area carpeted in white in February.

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Many of the snowdrops in the woodland are the double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’.  I have never seen it growing so beautifully.

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The garden nestles up to Painswick House on the right in the photo.

.The garden features a gigantic maze.  For scale, find the visitor inside the maze on the outermost path on the right.

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Although the garden is only six acres, views like this one from the maze make it seem much larger.

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The largest folly known as the Red House.

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the orchard

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Standing behind the Exedra, you can see its formal garden and beyond that the kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

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We really enjoyed visiting this unusual garden.  I only wish that the weather had cooperated in helping me produce better photos.  During our 12 days in England, the sun never came out, and it rained or snowed, sometimes both, every day.  However, that has not deterred us from contemplating another trip this February.

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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