Archive for collecting snowdrops

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

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

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:  If you wish to order snowdrops, click here for the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue. 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.

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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

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘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 2019 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

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

 ‘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 2019 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

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

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

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

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.

Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden essay, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

The cover of the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

In 2015, I was asked by Fine Gardening magazine to write an article on snowdrops, which appeared as the cover article of the February 2016 issue.   For readers who don’t subscribe to this excellent gardening magazine, I am going to reprint the text of the article here, accompanied by images of the magazine layout and some additional photos of the featured snowdrops.  Look for my article on spring ephemerals, scheduled for inclusion in the April 2018 issue.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website here.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

.  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

“Passions are born in strange ways, and serendipity often plays a part.  In December of 1983, my husband and I purchased our home, not knowing that a treasure trove of snowdrops lay beneath the snowy landscape.  Our house was the gardener’s cottage for a large estate, and the gardener who lived there had planted thousands of common snowdrops, (Galanthus nivalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8), which greeted us that February with their delightful honey-scented fragrance.  Those snowdrops were to become an important part of my personal and professional life.

For me, the original and greatest appeal of snowdrops is their bloom time.  I live on the side of a south-facing hill, where the soil heats up early, and common snowdrops begin to bloom in early February, just when I need some relief from the winter doldrums.  I have since planted snowdrop varieties that bloom from October through March, but it is the bursting into bloom of thousands of snowdrops in early February that thrills me the most.

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As I gained experience as a gardener, I was exposed to less common varieties and realized that their ornamental characteristics were as interesting as their bloom time was uplifting.  Yes, they are small, and you do have to look at individual plants close up; but there are varieties that stand out when viewed from farther away if massed, and many that are worth a closer look.  Besides, most snowdrops are easy to grow in deciduous shade and multiply quickly to form striking swathes.

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‘Viridapice’ and ‘Flore Pleno’

If you don’t currently have snowdrops, then start with the common snowdrop, cultivated in England since the 16th century.  The flowers have pure white outer segments (the correct term for a snowdrop petal), and the inner segments have bright green tips.  The linear leaves are gray-green, and the plant is only about 4” tall.  It is very easy to grow in almost all soil conditions, multiplies rapidly to form satisfying clumps, and is readily available both “in the green” (see sidebar below) and as a dried bulb.  With a very small investment of time and money, you can enjoy masses of honey-scented white flowers in late winter.

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‘Blewbury Tart’, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, and a photo showing how I ship my snowdrops.

If you are already growing the common snowdrop, you may want to expand your palette to include several other easy-to-grow and easy-to-find cultivars.  Of the many cultivars selected from G. nivalis, my favorite is ‘Viridapice’, a vigorous, bold plant with green marks on the outer and inner segments.  It multiplies for me almost as fast as the species and, at 5 to 6” tall, has a distinct presence in the garden.  The double form of G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, is also lovely, if a bit disheveled.  It is the earliest recorded snowdrop cultivar, with references to its existence in the early 1700s.

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Galanthus elwesii, ‘Magnet’, and a photo showing how I divide snowdrops.

For an even more distinctive look, plant G. nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’ or ‘Lady Elphinstone’, both double-flowered, vigorous growers.  ‘Blewbury Tart’ points its mostly green, frilly, double segments upward and definitely stands out in a crowd.  It was discovered in a churchyard in Blewbury, England, in 1975 by snowdrop expert Alan Street.  Although a prominent British journalist told him it looked like a squashed fly on a windscreen, Alan introduced it, and it has become a favorite here and abroad.  ‘Lady Elphinstone’ is another venerable snowdrop, dating from 1890, and is one of a kind: its inner segments are a lovely egg yolk yellow.  Sometimes the yellow takes a year or so to settle in, but it is worth the wait.

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‘Diggory’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’

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There are 19 species of snowdrops in addition to G.nivalis, and many of them have produced cultivars and hybrids, resulting in over 1,000 named varieties.  Most are not available in the US due to treaty restrictions; however, a diligent search yields a nice collection.  Here are five more I recommend for beauty and vigor.

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Galanthus elwesii, the giant snowdrop

Not only is the giant snowdrop (G. elwesii, Zones 3–9) larger than the common snowdrop, but also it blooms earlier, starting in midwinter. This species tolerates hotter and drier conditions, making it great for Southern gardens. Its broad, upright, blue-gray leaves surround large, well-formed flowers with two bold green marks on the inner segments. Lots of natural variation in this species produces powder blue leaves, a variety of marks, and bloom times anywhere from November to February.

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‘Diggory’

‘Diggory’ (G. plicatus ‘Diggory’) is a cultivar whose heavily quilted, pear-shaped, squared-off flowers make it recognizable anywhere. The wide, elegantly pleated leaves are characteristic of G. plicatus. Found in 1993, ‘Diggory’ became an instant, much-sought-after classic.

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‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

A hybrid snowdrop with dignified double flowers, ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ (G. ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’) features a tightly packed inner rosette edged in green and a distinctive mark split into two elegant dots. It is easy to grow and multiplies well.

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‘Magnet’

‘Magnet’ (G. ‘Magnet’) was selected in the 1880s and is still loved by collectors for its classic beauty and vigorous growth. It is instantly identifiable by its long flower stalk that allows the large blooms to sway in the slightest breeze.

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‘Wendy’s Gold’

‘Wendy’s Gold’ (G. plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’) offers beautiful, large yellow markings on the inner segments and the ovary (the little cap above the segments), and wide, elegantly pleated leaves. It is much sought after for its beauty and vigorous growth. Other nice yellows available in the U.S. include ‘Primrose Warburg’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.”

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I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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.

New Snowdrops for 2018 Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here

‘South Hayes’ in the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society 2017 Spring Show.

In the previous post, I profiled six of the new snowdrops that will be offered in our 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read it, click here.  This post will describe six more new additions.  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.

Note: Much of the historical 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).

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.

.  ‘Jonathan’: With its extra large, globular flowers and broad blue leaves, ‘Jonathan’ captured the attention of visitors to the Avon Bulbs display at the 2017 RHS Spring Show where this photo was taken.  When I first saw it, its huge size set it apart from hundreds of other blooming snowdrops—see photo below.  It has faint green tips on the outer segments and a handsome two-part mark on the inner segments, similar to ‘Grumpy’.  However, I find ‘Jonathan’ much more attractive overall.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it was discovered in 2000 in a North Yorkshire garden by snowdrop author Michael Myers.

.‘Jonathan’ has a huge flower and very wide blue-green leaves.

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‘Madelaine’: ‘Madelaine’ is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, with the lovely pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  In my garden, it reproduces nicely and is similar in looks to ‘Wendy’s Gold’.   However, the color on the inner segments is an especially ethereal yellow that glows in the late winter sunlight.  It was introduced in 2002 by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery in Cambridge and named for his niece.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’: An early-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, combining all the fine characteristics of a classic single snowdrop: large, well-proportioned flowers on tall, upright stems, and a vigorous growth habit.  Snowdrops calls it “a plant of great quality….a cultivar without fault.”    It is frequently mentioned as a favorite and is a prominent part of every important collection in England—the photo above was taken at Rodmarton Manor.  It was collected by Dylan Thomas’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Macnamara.  It is number six on the Avon Bulbs rating of the top 25 snowdrops of all time.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’ at the RHS 2017 Spring Show Avon Bulbs display.

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‘Welshway’: A neat and rounded double flower, the narrow and gracefully curved outer segments give a clear view of the lovely inner mark visible in the photo above.  The inner segments are ruffled, distinguishing it from the very similar double ‘Heffalump’.  ‘Welshway’ is grown for its elegant flower and late bloom time.  It was discovered in 1995 in a Gloucestershire garden called Welshway after the ancient route to Wales.

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‘South Hayes’: For many years, ‘South Hayes’ appeared at the top of my snowdrop acquisition list, and, having had it for a while now, it was well worth the wait.  One of the most beautiful and sought after snowdrops for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings, both inside and out.  It was first seen in 1992 in famous galanthophile Primrose Warburg’s garden of the same name and is probably a seedling of ‘Trym’.  It is number 11 on the Avon snowdrop popularity list.

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‘South Hayes’ is very special.

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‘Titania’:  ‘Titania’ is a lesser known and rarely available member of the series of double snowdrops hybridized by Heyrick Greatorex prior to his death in 1954.  Like all Greatorex doubles, it is a cross between the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, and the double common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’, and is named for a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The neat and regular double flowers have a prominent horseshoe mark at the base of the inner segments.  It is pictured in the photo above at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Titania’ at Colesbourne Park
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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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