Archive for Eranthis hyemalis

The Garden Tourist

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, hosta, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The cover of The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker features the teacup garden at Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which is 10 minutes from our nursery.  Many of our out-of-state visitors tour Chanticleer and shop at our nursery on the same day.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selected as one of the 120 must visit destination gardens and nurseries in the Northeast United States in the wonderful guidebook The Garden Tourist by Jana Milbocker.  This book is a great resource for those of us who love to visit gardens as it covers Maine through Pennsylvania with detailed information on each entry, including photos, suggested daily itineraries, and nearby restaurants.  You can purchase The Garden Tourist on Amazon here, or at Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Pennsylvania, if you are local. 

I have visited, photographed, and written about many of the destinations included in the book, so, from personal experience, I can say that they are well-chosen.  As a sample, here are the featured Pennsylvania gardens and nurseries:  Ambler Arboretum, Bartram’s Garden, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, Chanticleer, Highlands Mansion & Garden, Hortulus Farm Garden & Nursery, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm, Shofuso Japanese Garden, Scott Arboretum, Terrain, and Wyck Garden.

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 to US customers only.  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 Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page from The Garden Tourist.

We are so honored to be included in this wonderful garden resource.  Many of our customers have already purchased it and are looking forward to putting it to use.  One longtime customer even brought his copy over so I could autograph the Carolyn’s Shade Gardens page!  I thought it would be fun to give my readers, especially my international followers, a more in depth photographic tour of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  The photographs used in this post were taken from 2010 to 2019.  Enjoy!

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Stone stairs lead from the nursery area, past the original entrance to the two-room gardener’s cottage that is now our home, to the Main Terrace.  All the areas of our garden have names, which I will capitalize.  That way my husband Michael and I can communicate about garden maintenance.  During our last open house, visitors were overheard referring to “the team of workers who [must] take care of the gardens.”  We are still laughing and wondering when our team will arrive!  Michael does most of the maintenance, and I help when I can.  5/7/2012

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On the way down the stairs, you pass the entrance to the Main Rock Garden.  It is mostly a winter garden filled with snowdrops, snowflakes, hardy cyclamen, winter aconite, and other early bulbs.  4/25/2016

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The Main Terrace outside the front door in early spring.  4/15/2012

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The Main Terrace a month later.  5/15/2015

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Michael’s pride and joy and a major feature of the Main Terrace is our gorgeous wisteria.  Plein Air painters come to capture it on canvas every year.  4/29/2011

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One of my favorite color combinations on the Main Terrace: ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea, ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding-heart, and Spanish bluebells emerging from a silver-variegated ornamental grass.  4/15/2012

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We call the lowest of our three terraces the Orange and Purple Garden.  Here ‘Paliban’ lilac blooms over a collection of small hostas with orange geum in the foreground.  5/10/2015

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The Orange and Purple Garden features a grass oval surrounded by stepping stones inter-planted with sedums, geums, thyme, moss phlox and other low plants.  5/8/2011

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The Orange and Purple Garden in fall when our coral bark maple ‘Sango-kaku’ is the star of the show.  11/2/2013

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in front of the terraces in the lawn area is a very old American hornbeam with lots of surface roots and a dense canopy requiring plants that can handle full dry shade.  The Hornbeam Garden features Japanese woodland primroses (in flower above), Athyrium-type ferns (Japanese painted, lady, and ‘Ghost’ ferns), hellebores, cardamine, golden groundsel, and pulmonarias, among other plants.  4/15/2012

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The Chain Link Strip Garden (don’t ask) along the right boundary of our property is a great place to grow hostas because all the water from the driveway drains through here—hostas love water.  Blue-leafed ‘Neptune’ is on the left, and 2007 Hosta of the Year ‘Paradigm’ is on the right behind a native Carolina allspice.  ‘Paradigm’ measures 60″ wide.  6/7/2019

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Native ‘Golden Shadows’ pagoda dogwood is dwarfed by this ‘Great Expectations’ hosta in the Chain Link Strip Garden.  Hosta experts tell me it is the biggest specimen they have ever seen at 52″ wide.  6/7/2019

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All the way at the bottom of the yard where it is actually consistently moist are our Production Beds where we grow shade plants to sell at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Pictured are ‘Old Brick Reds’ primroses, two types of pulmonaria, and golden groundsel.  5/10/2015

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Walking back uphill towards the woodland, you pass our River of Phlox ‘Sherwood Purple’.  Native, evergreen creeping phlox makes an excellent groundcover with gorgeous purple, blue, pink or white flowers, depending on which cultivar you plant.  In the River, we have planted a large part of our snowdrop collection, which blooms December through March before the phlox flowers extend.  4/24/2019

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In late winter, snowdrops and winter aconite begin to emerge along the woodland path.  3/2/2019

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The snowdrops have been multiplying here for over 100 years and fill the Woodland with white when they open.  3/26/2015

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When the snowdrops and aconite are done, the Woodland bursts into bloom with mostly native wildflowers—the native, white redbud trees play a starring role.  4/15/2019

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Plants native to Pennsylvania fill the Woodland, here mayapples, golden groundsel, and Virginia bluebells.  4/25/2017

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Epimediums, daffodils, cinnamon ferns, and Celandine poppies replace the February-blooming aconite whose leaves are still visible at their base.  4/26/2015

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Natives dwarf Jacob’s ladder, black cohosh, and foamflower line the path.  5/10/2015

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The Lower Deck Garden provides early color from hellebores, ‘Mohawk’ viburnum, pink old-fashioned bleeding-hearts, and the rose-colored new leaves of ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple.  4/26/2015

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The Upper Deck Garden comes into its own later in May with Hosta nigrescens, pulmonaria, Spanish bluebells, and variegated Solomon’s seal, all echoing the blue and silver garden under the Kentucky coffee tree across the path.  ‘Butterfly’ has assumed its main season color of green and white but will turn pink again in the fall.  5/6/2011

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The Kentucky Coffee Tree Garden across from the deck is filled with silver and blue plants, including ‘Ghost’ fern, ‘Bunny Blue’ sedge, ‘El Nino’ hosta, white bigroot geranium, variegated Japanese kerria, and ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Dawson’s White’ brunnera.  5/27/2012

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Sugar maples, behind the Kentucky coffee tree on the left and the two giant black walnuts center and right, light up the woodland in fall.  For scale the ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is on the far right.  10/27/2010

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Moving up the hill, ‘Eye Declare’ hosta steals the show when it emerges in the Sycamore Garden in mid-spring (for orientation, you can see the Blue and Silver Garden in the top right of the photo).  The trees are actually London plane trees but the garden’s name stuck.  5/8/2011

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In early summer, native Indian pinks (spigelia) fill the Sycamore Garden and hummingbirds vsit from miles around.  6/7/2019

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Above the Sycamore Garden, behind the carriage house, is Hosta Hill, filled with hostas of all sizes plus epimediums, ferns, and hellebores.  5/26/2019

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I have a special place in my heart for our Mini Hosta Rock Garden, featuring mini hostas in a multitude of colors and sizes plus a wide assortment of dwarf plants, including ferns, irises, epimediums, conifers, lady’s mantles, and sedums, among others.  6/9/2015

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The garden is never without flowers unless deep snow covers the snowdrops, which start blooming in mid-October and finish in late March.  12/10/2013

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Michael and I rest in deep winter waiting for the cycle to begin again as soon as the snow melts.  2/21/2014

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Although it may seem like winter-, spring-, and early summer-blooming plants predominate, our garden is beautiful in late summer and fall too—I just don’t photograph it then.  I enjoyed writing this post and seeing our garden develop and change over the 10 years that these photographs were taken.  I hope you enjoyed the tour too.

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.

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What’s Up at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens?

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Just a few days ago our woodland was empty, but now it is filled with flowers.

We think that the winter garden at our nursery is gorgeous.  But it is still sparse with lots of empty patches of brown leaves even though it is filled with blooming hellebores, snowdrops, cyclamen, winter aconite, and other late winter bulbs.  It’s not until early spring that our woodland explodes with color, mostly from native plants taking advantage of all the sunlight before the trees leaf out.  I thought you might like to see what that looks like, especially if you visited more than a week ago.  Our many epimediums are also in full bloom!

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 to US customers only.  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.

 

a small field of native Virginia blue bells

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Epimediums and European wood anemones play a starring role.

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Native cinnamon ferns erupt through the winter aconite.

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Even with all the color below, the three native white-flowered redbuds steal the show.

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Pine needle paths draw visitors through the woods.

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Yellow and blue are my favorite spring colors: here Virginia bluebells with native Celandine poppy and yellow wood anemone.

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Yellow and white is pretty stunning too: here Celandine poppy and white wood anemone.

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‘New York Night’ hellebore and native yellow violets

And now for the epimediums:

Red epimedium, E. x rubrum, is a great spreader.

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Sulphur yellow epimediums, E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum, look great with the blue of pulmonarias.

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‘Purple Prince’ epimedium with ‘Pagoda’ dogtooth violets in the background.

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‘Cherry Tart’ epimedium

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The leaves and flowers of ‘Domino’ epimedium are especially lovely, and it flowers twice.

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‘Yubae’ epimedium

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I love orange flowers, and Epimedium x warleyense produces a lot.  It’s also a great groundcover.

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‘Bandit’ epimdium is the perfect size for my miniature hosta rock garden, and its white flowers really stand out against its black-bordered leaves.

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I love this combination: ‘Tama No Gempi’ epimedium and ‘Little Wonder’ mini hosta.

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I had to leave so much out—maybe there will be a part two.

Carolyn

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 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 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.

Winterthur Bank to Bend 2019

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The opening photo for John Anderson’s lecture on Saturday at Winterthur was quite arresting, and the remaining slides were equally as beautiful.

On Saturday, Michael and I attended the annual Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur Gardens in Delaware, U.S.  The event honors Henry Francis du Pont’s walk from bank to bend to celebrate the gorgeous bulb display on the March Bank.  That walk was beautiful on Saturday as you will see below. 

The lecture was delivered by John Anderson, the Keeper of the Queen’s Gardens of Windsor Great Park, a very big job as the gardens host 6 million visitors a year.  His lecture showed us some arresting views of the Savill and Valley Gardens, totaling over 900 acres, and how they have changed over time as well as his reasoning behind those decisions.   The Queen is Anderson’s boss and there has been a garden here for a thousand years, so any changes must be well thought out.

Anderson is also in charge of the gardens at Frogmore House, which is HM the Queen’s private residence and garden at Windsor.  After the lecture, we had a delicious lunch and walked around Winterthur for three hours.  It was heavenly.

I hope you will enjoy our journey through photos:

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 Savill Garden hosts an outstanding magnolia collection.

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The rose garden at Savill has recently been renovated to make it more attractive to visitors and visually interesting.

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Frogmore House and Gardens, HM the Queen’s private residence and garden at Windsor.

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Frogmore was also the location of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception. Anderson described the incredibly tight security arrangements this entailed.

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Our intrepid group left to right: Carol Long, Curator of the Winterthur Garden; Charles Cresson, local horticultural authority and educator; John Anderson, Keeper of the Queen’s Gardens at Windsor Great Park; Linda Eirhart, Director of Horticulture at Winterthur; and Michael Drennan, co-owner of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  They are posed in front of Winterthur’s dawn redwood, Metasequoia glytostroboides, part of the original collection of these trees in the 1940s.

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The dawn redwood was a sight to behold against the beautiful blue sky on Saturday.

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We spent most a lot of our three-hour walk admiring Winterthur’s incredible trees, many of which are champions.  John wanted his photo taken with this massive Sargent’s cherry, Prunus sargentii.

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He also wanted to record his visit to the champion tulip tree or tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, by the Winterthur mansion.

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The Winterthur March Bank was glorious, covered with winter aconite, snowdrops, adonis, and leucojum.

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Nothing like a blue sky to show off winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, to perfection.

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The Amur adonis, A. amurensis, was also peaking.

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There were massive drifts of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii.  I have never seen G. elwesii growing as well as it does at Winterthur.

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And then you come across something even more special: this little clump of three giant snowdrops that have solid green inner segments and are at least three times the size of a normal giant snowdrops.  Normal size on the right with the giants on the left and behind.  A form well worth naming!

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Charles Cresson spotted this three-headed spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum.  I have seen twin heads but never three.  Let’s hope it’s stable.

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Isn’t it gorgeous!

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This was one of the best “horticultural” days that I have ever spent.  Thank you to Winterthur, John Anderson, my mentor Charles Cresson, and my wonderful husband Michael for making it happen.

Carolyn

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 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.

Winterthur Snowdrop Event

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Crocus tommasianus

Snow crocus in the courtyard behind the house at Winterthur.

If you are crazy about snowdrops and other winter-blooming plants like snowflakes (leucojum), snow crocus, winter aconite, adonis, and glory-of-the-snow (chionodoxa), then a visit to the March Bank at Winterthur should be on your lifetime bucket list.  The display is as magnificent as anything found at the great British snowdrop estates.  The best time to see it is at the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Lecture and snowdrop event, being held this year on Saturday, March 12, details 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.

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Hellebore Collage 2016

Some of the hellebores I am bringing to Winterthur, clockwise from upper left: Mango Magic, Apricot Blush, Blue Diamond, Rio Carnival, Sparkling Diamond, Painted, and True Love.

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The speaker for Bank to Bend is Lady Carolyn Elwes, who, with her husband, owns Colesbourne Park, considered the premier snowdrop venue in England.  She even has a beautiful yellow snowdrop named after her.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling snowdrops, including a limited selection of some rarer cultivars, hellebores, cyclamen, and winter aconite.  There will be guided and self-guided tours of the March Bank.  It is worth the trip even if you are not local.  Here are the details and more photos to entice you:

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 Giant snowdrops and winter aconite on the March Bank at Winterthur.

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March 12
Winterthur’s Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event

Enjoy the spectacle of the March Bank clothed in snowdrops, winter aconite, adonis, and early snowflake in flower.

Bank to Bend Features:

• A lecture by Lady Carolyn Elwes, who will share the story of how a garden of private obsession grew into one of international importance in her 11:00 am talk, “Snowdrops at Colesbourne, Gloucestershire.”

• Sales of rare and unusual plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden (www.carolynsshadegardens.com), 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

• Guided tours of the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm.

• A self-guided “White Arrow” tour through the March Bank, starting at the Visitor Center and available all day.

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory available all day.

Lecture: $10 per member. $20 per nonmember. Free for Garden and Landscape Society and Garden Associate Members. All other activities (tours and plant sales) are included with admission.

For more information and to register, visit http://www.winterthur.org/spring or call 800.448.3883..

Winterthur Fall 2013-025

The Winterthur house is considered the premier museum of American decorative arts and is worth a visit in and of itself.

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Winterthur Fall 2013-024

Another view of the house.

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Galanthus and Eranthis at Winterthur photo Winterthur

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Chionodoxa on the March Bank photo Winterthur

Glory-of-the-snow follows the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and Eranthis

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Adonis amurensis

Adonis is abundant

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Leucojum vernum

Snowflakes at Winterthur

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Winterthur

Snowflakes (leucojum)

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Crocus tomasinianus

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I hope you can make it on Saturday—it is well worth the trip no matter where you are coming from.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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.

Pleasurable Pairings for Spring Part 2

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, landscape design, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mertensia virginica, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and native Celandine poppies, Stylophorum diphyllum, are two of my favorite plants for spring and are wonderful combined with almost anything.  Very easy to grow in part to full shade and woodland conditions.

In April 2011, I wrote a post about beautiful spring pairings.  To read it, click here.  I always meant to continue the topic and have finally taken the time to photograph the garden.  Some of the combinations are the same but that’s because I love them!

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

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Mertensia virginica, Polystichum polyblepharumVirginia bluebells with emerging tassel ferns, Polystichum polyblepharum.

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Mertensia virginica, Brunnera macrophylaOr how about blue on blue with Virginia bluebells and Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla?

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllumNative Celandine poppies are just as versatile, here with summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.

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Epimedium versicolor 'Sulphureum', Stylophorum diphyllum, Osmunda cinnamomeaNative Celandine poppies with ‘Sulphureum’ epimedium, daffodils, native cinnamon fern, and the leaves of winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis.

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Hosta 'Paradise Island', Vinca minor 'Bowles Purple'Gold hostas look so beautiful when they are emerging.  Here ‘Paradise Island’ hosta with ‘Bowles Purple’ vinca.  Although I don’t recommend planting vinca because it is so invasive, I couldn’t resist adding this purple variety to a contained space.

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Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet', Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'One of my all time favorite combinations, the peach-colored spring leaves of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea with the similarly colored stems of ‘Goldheart’ old-fashioned bleeding-heart.

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Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty', SedumNative ‘Purple Beauty’ moss phlox, P. subulata, with a sedum showing its winter colors.

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Fritillaria meleagrisCheckered-lily in its white, Fritillaria meleagris ‘Alba’, and purple forms seed through out my dry, full shade woodland.

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Epimedium x warleyense, Hosta montana 'Aureo-marginata' Orange epimedium, E. x warleyense, with the emerging leaves of Hosta montana ‘Aureo-marginata’.

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That’s all for now but look for Part 3 soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our third open house, featuring ferns, hostas, and hardy geraniums is Saturday, May 16, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, don’t’ wait until then—you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase these wonderful plants.  Just send me an email at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with some suggested dates and times that you would like to visit.

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.

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

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

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

Early Spring Ephemerals Light Up the Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, hellebores, landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Corydalis solida seedling 4-3-2011 7-36-54 PMCorydalis solida comes in many colors: in the right corner is ‘Purple Bird’, in the middle is pink ‘Beth Evans’, and in the left corner is brick red ‘George P. Baker’.

As the hellebores bloom in my garden, they do not stand alone but are surrounded by large swathes of spring ephemerals.  These are plants that come up in the spring to take advantage of the available sun before the leaves come out and then go dormant for the year as it gets hot.  I especially appreciate their vibrant colors at a time of year when spring is here, but the weather is not necessarily warm and sunny.

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

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Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker'‘George P. Baker’

All the plants shown here are in bloom now or just about to bloom.  They are very easy to plant and grow.  And best of all they spread by themselves to form large patches in the years after you plant them.  Spring ephemerals don’t take up any room as they can be interplanted with hostas, ferns, and other perennials that come up later and fill in the space.  They are also great for the backs of beds that are empty and visible before other plants emerge.

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Corydalis solida, helleborusThis riot of color is going on in my woods right now as various shades of Corydalis solida bloom with hellebores.

Here are some more suggestions for plants that will achieve this early spring bounty in your garden—all available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this weekend:

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Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'Snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, bloom with the snowdrops, and you can’t beat the color of ‘Ruby Giant’.

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Crocus tommasinianus, Helleborus x hybridus‘Ruby Giant’ with white hellebores, a match made in heaven.

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Scilla mischtschenkoana, Dicentra cucullariaPale blue squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana, is the earliest blooming of the group, here with Dutchman’s breeches.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, blooms with the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite are the most beautiful sight in my late winter garden.

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Eranthis hyemalis, Corydalis solidaAfter it blooms, winter aconite’s elegant foliage makes a great backdrop for hellebores and Corydalis solida.

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Puschkinia scilloides As the pale blue squill fades, striped-squill, Puschkinia scilloides, takes over.

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Puschkinia scilloidesStriped-squill has naturalized to form a large patch under my winter hazel.

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Scilla sibericaAlso coming into bloom now are the fluorescent blue flowers of Siberian squill,  Scilla siberica.

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Scilla sibericaSiberian squill has moved all over my garden and has never appeared anywhere that I didn’t want it.  The color is just gorgeous.

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Fritallaria meleagrisCheckered lily, Fritillaria meleagris,  is just getting started.  It too seeds to spread through out my woods.

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Heuchera 'Caramel', Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, has lovely upturned blue flowers with an ethereal white center.  Here it peeks through the winter leaves of native ‘Caramel’ heuchera.

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Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow spreads quickly to form large patches.  It looks especially beautiful under my star magnolia right now.

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Erythronium 'Pagoda'The lovely leaves of U.S. native dogtooth violets, Erythronium, are appearing now and the earliest varieties are blooming.  Although they look delicate, they are as tough as nails and come back in my woodland year after year.

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Stylophorum diphyllum & Mertensia virginicaI can see the dark purple leaves of native Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, emerging from the mulch.  I can’t get enough of its porcelain blue flowers, here with native Celandine poppy.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Mertensia virginicaEuropean wood anemones are also getting ready to pop.  The earliest is yellow-flowered Anemone ranunculoides, but they also come in pink and white.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Wyatt's Pink'‘Wyatt’s Pink’ European wood anemone is quite rare and beautiful.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Bractiata'The elegant flower of ‘Bractiata’ European wood anemone.

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All these flowers keep me going through the cold wet days of early spring.  Add them to your own garden to beat the winter doldrums and signal that the end is in sight.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza this Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores and other plants.

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.

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

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

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

Letting Go Part 2: Naturalizing Bulbs

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, landscape design, my garden, Shade Perennials, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Corydalis solidaWhen I stopped trying to keep all my Corydalis solida separate and let the colors hybridize, this is what I got.

In May of 2011, I wrote a post titled Letting Go Part 1: The Lawn.  It is a well-documented discussion of why gardeners should get rid of their lawns and let what lawn remains go “natural”.  At the time I intended to write another article about letting go of garden beds, but time got away from me.  

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusCommon snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, naturalized in Charles Cresson’s meadow—a wonderful combination for late winter.

I was inspired to get back to the topic by reading a gorgeous book on bulbs given to me by one of my customers.  Not to digress, but I have the nicest customers who constantly send me articles, bring homemade food, send beautiful cards and letters sometimes hand drawn (one customer is a professional calligrapher), and write complimentary and encouraging emails.  Thanks to you all.

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Buried Treasures.

This book was no ordinary gift but a 400 page hardcover book with over 300 color plates.  It is called Buried Treasures and was written by Janis Ruksans.  Ruksans is an internationally famous nurseryman and plant explorer with a mail order nursery specializing in unusual bulbs and located in Latvia.  He has introduced hundreds of bulbs and one of his focuses is Corydalis solida (first photo), which happens to be one of my favorite plants.

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Eranthis hyemalis, Corydalis solidaWinter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, naturalized with corydalis and hybrid hellebores.

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Eranthis hyemalisWinter aconite in bloom in February.

As I read his book, I was struck by what he said about naturalizing bulbs:

“There are two different kinds of naturalization.  The first kind occurs when you plant your bulbs so they will look as natural as possible.  The second kind is the real thing, which will happen only if your bulbs start to reproduce by self-sowing.… Some of the most beautiful displays happen in spots where bulbs … have been left to develop naturally.”

As simple as this statement appears, many gardeners have trouble applying this concept to their gardens because it requires letting go.  You are no longer in control of where plants appear and how they combine with each other.  I know because it took me years to embrace it myself.

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Scilla mischtschenkoana, Dicentra cucullariaTubergen squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana, on the left and Dutchman’s breeches, Dicentra cucullaria, spread randomly at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

However, once I let go of deciding where bulbs (and many perennials) could grow, I believe that my garden reached a whole new level of interest and beauty.  Ruksans’s book inspired me to write this post about the bulbs, including tubers, corms, and other bulb allies, that spread well in my garden.  If you feel inclined to let go, here are some of the bulbs that work the best.

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Scilla sibericaSiberian squill, Scilla siberica, provides a splash of early brilliant blue and moves all over the garden, even into the lawn.

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Puschkinia scilloidesStriped-squill, Puschkinia scilloides, is pale blue and spreads beneath my winterhazel.
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Puschkinia scilloidesA close up shot better shows off striped-squill’s elegance. 

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Mertensia virginicaThere are hardly any beds in my garden that do not sport Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, in early spring.  All I planted was the original clump given to me by a good friend many years ago.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Mertensia virginicaWood anemones, including Anemone ranunculoides pictured above with Virginia bluebells, have been allowed to form gigantic patches in my woodland.

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Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'European wood anemones, A. nemorosa, are a favorite, including ‘Alba Plena’.

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Anemone ranunculoides, Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal'My woodland with wood anemones and bluebells.

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Chionodoxa forbesiiGlory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, is everywhere even the formal beds by the front door.  It doesn’t take up any “room” because it goes dormant and perennials can be planted right in it.

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Chionodoxa forbesii 'Pink Giant'‘Pink Giant’ is the pink cultivar of glory-of-the-snow, and it too plants itself wherever it wants.

The most wonderful result of my new relaxed approach came from Corydalis solida, a plant with no real common name.  It is a bulbous corydalis, which comes up very early in spring and dies back shortly after flowering.  Unlike the colorful herbaceous corydalis that never come back due to our hot summers, this corydalis returns year after year without fuss and even self-sows.  Here are a few of its cultivars:

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Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker'‘George P. Baker’

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Corydalis solida subsp. incisaC. solida subsp. incisa

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Corydalis solida 'Blushing Girl'‘Blushing Girl’ selected by Jans Ruksans.

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Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans'‘Beth Evans’

All four cultivars are very beautiful in their own right, and at first I kept them separate so they would stay pure.  However, when I let go and nature took its course, the results were amazing.  Now I have a rainbow of corydalis.

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Corydalis solida seedling 4-3-2011 7-36-54 PMCordalis solida left to its own devices.

Although I have a large garden, this is not a technique limited to big spaces.  Any garden bed full of perennials or any area beneath trees and shrubs is perfect for naturalizing bulbs.  Just give them a free hand after you get them started.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Our third sale is Saurday, April 26, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on our list will get an email with all the details.  You can sign up to receive emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Coming soon is a shrub offer.  If you have any shrubs you want, please email me at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net

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

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

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

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

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