Archive for fall-blooming hardy camellias

Fall 2013 Snowdrops and Camellias

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Shade Shrubs, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery Happenings: 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.

Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'‘Long Island Pink’ fall-blooming hardy camellia

As my garden begins to quiet down in the second half of fall, two of my favorite plants come into their full glory.  One is fall-blooming hardy camellias, and the other is fall-blooming snowdrops.  Both are quite rare, at least in the U.S., but both are quite easy to grow and look wonderful together.  And the key to my appreciation of them is that late fall, November and December, is their main season.  When other plants are succumbing to frost, camellias and snowdrops begin their show with a fresh and pristine look.

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Galanthus elwesii Hiemalis GroupThis fall-blooming form of the giant snowdrop selected at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens began flowering on November 1 this year and will be offered in the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue.  Technically it is called Galanthus elwesii var. monstictus Hiemalis Group CSG-01, what a mouthful.

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Galanthus elwesii Novemnber bloomingAnother shot of my fall-blooming snowdrops showing how they are nestled in among evergreen hellebores and Japanese holly ferns to highlight the pure white flowers.

I readily admit that I am a snowdrop addict—a galanthophile.  And I can even understand how some gardeners fail to get excited about these little white flowers in the spring.  However, in November and December when even the hardy cylcamen are done, snowdrops are so bright and cheerful that the winter doldrums disappear the minute I see them.  You can even have flowers beginning in mid-October by planting the earliest blooming species Galanthus reginae-olgae.  For more on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

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Galanthus elwesii green-tippedAnother fall-blooming giant snowdrop selected here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for it’s early November bloom time and green-tipped outer segments.  It received high praise recently when I posted photos on the Scottish Rock Garden Club Galanthus Forum, even the UK galanthophiles with access to hundreds of cultivars were impressed.  Hopefully it will multiply quickly and someday I can offer it for sale.

I am working on the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue right now and will have it posted on the website before January 1.  There are a lot of exciting cultivars available for 2014, but unfortunately they are in very short supply so if you are interested, order early.  I have written quite a few blog posts and articles about snowdrops.  You can find them all compiled in the post New Feature Article on Snowdrops by clicking here.

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Camellia Winter's Snowman‘Winter’s Snowman’ fall-blooming camellia has gorgeous, shiny, dark evergreen leaves.

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Camellia Winter's Snowman‘Winter’s Snowman’ produces two types of flowers on the same plant: the anemone-form flowers on the right and the more open semi-double flowers on the left.

Like the snowdrops above, fall-blooming camellias are outstanding in November and December when their large and colorful flowers are shown off to perfection by their shiny evergreen leaves.  However, they bring even more to the garden because unlike the ephemeral snowdrops, camellias are shrubs that provide the beauty of their evergreen leaves and lovely habit year round.

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Camellia sasanqua Nokoriko‘Nokoriko’ is new to my garden this year, and I love its unusual flower color.  Although it is said to be hardy in zone 6, it is a selection from the species Camellia sasanqua, which is not always hardy in our area.  Only time will tell.

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I have written a lot about fall-blooming camellias and featured photos of dozens of plants that are hardy in zones 6 and 7.  All my articles are compiled in the blog post New York Times Photos where I provided a link to my camellia photos that appeared in that newspaper.   To see those photos and read more about camellias, click here. If you are looking for information about or photos of a particular hardy camellia cultivar, type the name into the Search My Website area on the sidebar of my home page (if the sidebar is not on the right, click here).

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Camellia Arctic SnowThis photo of  ‘Arctic Snow’ gives an idea of how many buds each camellia can produce.

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Camellia Arctic Snow‘Arctic Snow’ flower

The one drawback to fall-blooming camellias is that if we have unseasonably cold weather, below 25 degrees F (-3.8 C) or so, any open flowers can be frozen and ruined.  This happened this year during the last week of November when the temperature dropped to an official 21 degrees F (-6 C) but was actually 18 degrees in my garden and as low as 12 degrees elsewhere.  However, the unopened buds on my plants didn’t freeze, and the flowers continued to open.  We are now experiencing another bout of colder than normal weather, and I am not sure the buds will make it through unscathed this time.

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Camellia Long Island Pink ‘Long Island Pink’

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'A close up of ‘Long Island Pink’ and its beautiful leaves.

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Usually I visit other gardens to show you camellias.  However, this year I am highlighting the cultivars that I grow myself.  Enjoy the photos and keep warm during the extra chilly weather we are experiencing.

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Camellia olifera Lu Shan SnowThe oldest camellia in my garden is ‘Lu Shan Snow’, a Camellia oleifera cultivar and the hardy camellia used by Dr. Ackerman at the US National Arboretum to develop many modern hardy camellia cultivars.

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Camellia olifera Lu Shan Snow‘Lu Shan Snow’

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Camellia Winter's Joy‘Winter’s Joy’ is one of my favorites because it produces so many buds and flowers.

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Camellia Winter's Joy‘Winter’s Joy’

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Camellia Winter's Star White‘Winter’s Star White’

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Camellia x 'Winter's Darling'‘Winter’s Darling’

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Camellia x 'Elaine Lee'‘Elaine Lee’

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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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Woody Plants for Shade Part 9

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Magnolia asheiAshe magnolia is a rare native bigleaf magnolia in a size suitable for almost any garden.

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Because shade gardens are not composed solely of perennials, three times a year I offer woody plants—shrubs, trees, and vines—to my customers.  I want them to have a reliable source for large and healthy specimens, but I also want to make available woody plants for shade that are wonderful but hard-to-find.  I am in the middle of an offer right now, and customers need to let me know if they want to order by Sunday, September 29.  To see the 2013 Fall Shrub Offer, click here.

When I do these offers, I also do a post describing the plants in more detail.  These posts are some of the most popular I have ever written.  In fact, Woody Plants for Shade Part 2 is number four for all time views and Woody Plants for Shade Part 1 is number eight.  If you want to read about all the plants I have recommended, you can find the remaining six by using the Search My Website feature on the right hand side of the home page.  So let’s get to the plants that I am recommending this time, starting with the trees.

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Magnolia asheiThis is my own Ashe magnolia, which I planted in an open, north-facing bed.  It bloomed after its first full year and was spectacular as promised.

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I have been coveting the native bigleaf magnolia, also known as the large-leaved cucumber tree, M. macrophylla, for a long time.  It has gorgeous, gigantic fragrant flowers and the most amazing leaves and did I say it was native?  There is even one in my neighborhood for me to lust after.  However, it’s huge, the sources say 40 feet tall by 40 feet wide, but I have seen larger specimens.  Plantsman Michael Dirr calls it a “cumbersome giant”, and it takes forever to bloom.  Imagine how excited I was when I discovered a small version of this tree tucked into a courtyard at Chanticleer.

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Magnolia asheiThe flower bud on the Ashe magnolia.

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Ashe magnolia, M. macrophylla ssp. ashei, is a subspecies of the bigleaf magnolia, or maybe it is its own species, but the important thing is that it only grows to 15 to 20 feet tall with a similar width.  The specimen at the Scott Arboretum is 10 feet tall after 20 years.  It has the same spectacular, tropical-looking 24″ leaves.  The huge 10″, highly fragrant flowers are pure white with a purple center spot and bloom in early summer.  Unlike its big relative, it blooms at a very young age in sun to part shade.  It originates in the Florida panhandle and its hardiness range is unclear.  However, it does fine in the Delaware Valley.

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Stewartia koreanaKorean stewartia has attractive exfoliating bark that is especially ornamental in winter.

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Stewartia koreanaStewartias are known for their striking fall color.

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Stewartia koreanaKorean stewartia blooms in the summer with white, camellia-like flowers.

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Korean stewartia, S. koreana,  is another small tree that is easily integrated into home gardens.  It reaches 25 feet in height and has an upright, pyramidal shape.  Its large, white, camellia-like flowers appear over a long period of time in June and July.  Its cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark is visually interesting in winter.  The refined dark green leaves turn a beautiful orange-red color in fall.  Korean stewartia has received the coveted Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant award.  For details, click here.  This is an elegant tree for the smaller landscape with a solid 365 days of ornamental interest.

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Camellia x 'Long Island Pink'Fall-blooming hardy camellia ‘Long Island Pink’

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Fall-blooming camellias hardy in zone 6, the zone for most of southeastern Pennsylvania, are hard to find for sale especially in a decent size.  Even though hardy camellias suitable for our more northern climate were developed over 20 years ago, they are not well known to most gardeners and even to the horticultural trade.  That is why I always include a nice selection in my offering.  For more information on them generally, you can read my posts by clicking here, which will take you to Part 4 in the series and provide links to the first three parts.  To summarize, they bloom in part to full shade in the fall, generally from October through December, with large showy flowers and have glossy evergreen leaves and a lovely habit.

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Camellia Northern Exposure Monrovia‘Northern Exposure’ fall-blooming camellia

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I am offering three camellias this time.  ‘Long Island Pink’ has a compact and upright habit reaching 5 feet tall and three feet wide.  It produces lovely single pink flowers in mid-fall and has glossy dark evergreen leaves.  ‘Northern Exposure’ grows to 6 feet tall and five feet wide.  Its pale pink buds open to very large, single white flowers with bright yellow stamens over a long period of time in fall.  The flowers look gorgeous against the glossy dark evergreen leaves

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Camellia 'Winter's Dream'‘Winter’s Dream’ fall-blooming camellia

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‘Winter’s Dream’  also has a compact and upright habit, reaching 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide.  It produces very showy semi-double pink flowers in early fall.  ‘Winter’s Dream’ was developed by famous camellia breeder Dr. William Ackerman at the U.S. National Arboretum.  All three of these camellias are fully cold hardy in our area but benefit from siting to protect them from winter sun and wind, which generally comes from the northwest.

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Callicarpa americanaThe berries of our native American beautyberry are eye-catching to say the least.

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I always try to plant native trees and shrubs when I can for many reasons ranging from their durability and beauty to the ultimate survival of the human species (for more on this read My Thanksgiving Oak Forest).  So you can imagine how happy I was to find a source for native American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.  I immediately planted three of them on the shady open hillside above my nursery and have been very impressed with the spectacular berries they produced this fall.

American beautyberry grows 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in sun to part shade.  Its pink flowers in early summer are nice, but, like all beautyberries, it takes center stage in fall.  Right now large clusters of spectacular, long-lasting, magenta-purple berries march up and down the branches wherever the leaves join the stem.  The color is so unusual it stops people in their tracks.  This striking native plant is also deer resistant and attractive to birds.  I am thrilled to be able to offer this wonderful native to my customers.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaRight now edgeworthia is just forming its gorgeous silver buds, which remain ornamental all winter.

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Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Snow Cream' Cresson gardenThe whole bush is loaded with these buds all fall and early winter before the flowers open.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia’s fragrant and unusual yellow flowers are very long-blooming.

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I have profiled Edgeworthia chrysantha (supposedly called paper bush but everyone calls it edgeworthia) before in my woody plants for shade series and written a post on what is one of my top five favorite shrubs.  For all the details, see Edgeworthia, A Shrub for All Seasons.  I continue to offer it again and again because it is very hard to find for sale.  I am not sure why because it is ornamental 365 days a year with an elegant habit, reddish bark, large tropically-textured leaves, gorgeous silver buds from fall to late winter, and fragrant flowers from January to March.  For all the details, including a discussion of edgeworthia’s cultural requirements, you will have to read my post.

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball' & 'Invincible Spirit'‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea in my garden.

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' photo MOBOTThe flowers of ‘Incrediball’ are gorgeous in both their white and green stages.  They last forever in a vase.

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Another native, ‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens,  grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide in part shade and is full shade tolerant.  Its very showy pure white, 12″ and larger globular flowers are set off beautifully by smooth bright green leaves from June through August.  Unlike some other hydrangeas whose flowers turn brown, these flowers age to a lovely green and are wonderful in dried arrangements.  ‘Incrediball’ is a vast improvement on ‘Annabelle’ because it has very sturdy upright stems and its flowers do not flop even in the torrential rains we had early this summer.  My one-year-old plants shown above were loaded with upright flowers all summer.  Smooth hydrangea is said to be deer resistant and mine, which are exposed to deer, have not been touched.

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Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever Pink'The leaves and flowers of ‘Forever Pink’ are both beautiful.
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I chose ‘Forever Pink’ bigleaf hydrangea, H. macrophylla,  for the offer because its leaves still look beautiful in the fall and it has striking flowers.  It grows to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide in sun to full shade.  The vibrant, large, dark pink flowers cover the plant for an extended period in summer.  It has a compact, globe-shaped form with thick stems that resist falling over.  ‘Forever Pink’ is very tolerant of cold temperatures and salt and can take more sun than other bigleaf hydrangeas due to its thick leaves.

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Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Pee Wee’ oakleaf hydrangea is small enough to fit almost anywhere in the garden.

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Hydrangea quercifoliaAll oakleaf hydrangeas have lovely red to burgundy fall color.

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Hydrangea quercifoliaOakleaf hydrangea’s large flowers

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Everyone should have a native oakleaf hydrangea in their garden for four-season interest.  They get quite large, but  ‘Pee Wee’ dwarf oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia,  is the perfect cultivar for  smaller gardens and smaller spaces.  It grows to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide in full sun to full shade.  The large, long-lasting, upright pyramids of white flowers in June and July change to pink as they age and even look good brown.  The bold-textured leaves with burgundy-red fall color and cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark move the season of interest through fall and winter.  Oakleaf hydrangeas are walnut tolerant and native to the southeastern US.

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Symphoricarpos 'Amethyst'The berries of ‘Amethyst’ coral berry cover the shrub.

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I was looking through my supplier’s availability list when I came across native  ‘Amethyst’ coral berry, Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii, a shrub unknown to me.  I was very excited when I discovered that it is a hybrid of two Pennsylvania natives and thrives in the shade.  ‘Amethyst’ grows to 3 to 5 feet tall with a similar width in part shade, but is full shade tolerant.  Small pink flowers appear in June.  In the fall, abundant and unusually striking pink fruit are set off beautifully by fine-textured blue-green leaves and then remain after the leaves drop.  Coral berry is deer resistant and attractive to birds.

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I hope I have introduced you to some new trees and shrubs that excite you.  Remember orders must be received by September 29.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. 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.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will hold a full-fledged open house sale on Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Shrub and tree orders are due by September 29.  For details, click here.  We are currently offering double hellebores, both by pre-order and at the nursery.  For details, click here.   Now that it’s cool, we are also shipping miniature hostas again.  For details, click here.  Low maintenance seminars are in the works.

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 York Times Photos

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, Shade Shrubs, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Camellia x 'Autumn Spirit'‘Autumn Spirit’ (fall blooming), the lead photo in the NYT article.

Readers will soon tire of me featuring myself in my posts, especially since the recent snowdrop post did just that.  However, I am bursting with excitement and will explode if I can’t do it one more time.  I was recently hired by the New York Times as a free lance photographer to provide the photos for a camellia article interviewing camellia expert Charles Cresson.  The print article “Camellias Ready for a Cold Snap” appeared on January 17, 2013.  One photo is on the cover of the Home section with the full article on page D4.  If you read the small print you will see my name.  You can find the on line version here.  Be sure and click through the slide show.

Camellia "Wax Lips"Unnamed Korean Camellia japonica seedling (spring blooming)

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Camellia japonica 'Berenice Boddy' Cresson Garden‘Berenice Boddy’ (spring blooming)

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While letting you know about the New York Times article, I thought this post would be a good place to list helpful articles on cold hardy camellias for easy reference.  I did this in the snowdrop post, and it has already proved invaluable to me.  I have interspersed the article names and links with some of my favorite camellia photos to keep the attention of those of you who don’t want to read up on camellias.  I am also going to list the camellias covered in each article in case a reader is interested in a particular cultivar.

Camellia 'April Tryst'‘April Tryst’ (spring blooming)

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Camellia x (Ackerman seedling)Unnamed Ackerman Seedling (fall blooming)

December 8, 2010

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 1”

Camellia oleifera, Elaine Lee, Winter’s Darling

click here to read

Camellia x 'Moon Festival'‘Moon Festival’ (fall blooming), not hardy in zone 6.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Interlude'‘Winter’s Interlude’ (fall blooming)

December 17, 2010

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 2”

Snow Flurry, Winter’s Dream, Autumn Spirit, Winter’s Snowman, Winter’s Charm, Scented Snow, Winter’s Beauty

click here to read

Camellia x 'April Rose'‘April Rose’ (spring blooming)

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Camellia x 'Winter's Snowman'‘Winter’s Snowman’ (fall blooming)

November 10, 2011

“Fall-blooming Camellias Part 3”

Snow Flurry, Winter’s Snowman, Winter’s Star, Winter’s Interlude, Moon Festival, Carolina Moonmist

click here to read

Camellia x 'Elaine Lee'‘Elaine Lee’ (fall blooming)

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Camellia x 'Pink Icicle'‘Pink Icicle’ (spring blooming)

December 2, 2012

“2012 Fall-blooming Camellias”

Winter’s Joy, Winter’s Snowman, Snow Flurry, Autumn Spirit, Survivor, Long Island Pink, Polar Ice, Ashton’s Ballet, Winter’s Rose, Winter’s Fire

click here to read

Camellia x 'April Blush'‘April Blush’ (spring blooming)

January 2006

“Camellias for Cold Climates” by William L. Ackerman

details Dr. Ackerman’s cold hardy camellia breeding at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC, and describes each cultivar’s ornamental attributes and hardiness

click here to read

Camellia x 'Winter's Beauty'‘Winter’s Beauty’ (fall blooming)

January 17, 2013

The New York Times

‘Camellias Ready for a Cold Snap” by Anne Raver

excellent article profiling cold hardy camellias for the mid-Atlantic and discussing many additional cultivars not mentioned in my articles

click here to read

 

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I hope that this post will act as a central reference point where I can collect information on cold hardy camellias for the mid-Atlantic.  I intend to add titles and links as I discover more information about one of my favorite topics.  I can see already that I have neglected spring-blooming camellias in favor of the fall-blooming varieties.

Enjoy, Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, zone 6b.  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.

Nursery Happenings:  The 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar of the website and orders are being accepted.  To view the catalogue, click here.  There are a few spaces left in both sessions of Charles Cresson’s 2013 Winter Interest Plants Seminar.  To view the brochure and register, click here.

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.

Woody Plants for Shade Part 6

Posted in Camellias, evergreen, Shade Gardening, Shade Shrubs, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma, is available in the current offer but was profiled in a previous woody plant post so I am not describing it here.  However, it is a favorite for fall interest and I wanted to include a photo.  For a full write up of this plant,  go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 3.

My nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, specializes in perennials for shade with an emphasis on hellebores, unusual bulbs especially snowdrops, hostas particularly miniature hostas, native plants, and ferns.  However, a satisfying shade garden does not consist of just perennials but includes trees, shrubs, and vines.

‘Winter’s Joy’ fall-blooming hardy camellia is another repeat, see this post for details.  I planted one myself last fall, and I would like to add to my previous write up that this camellia has more buds and flowers than any other camellia in my garden.  In 2011, it produced the beautiful flowers pictured above through out the entire winter.  Right now my plant is poised to do it again with hundreds of buds waiting to open.

Despite the need, woody plants for shade are difficult to find in local nurseries.  To fill this gap for my customers, three times a year, I offer woody plants for pre-order.  The plants chosen for the offer are the result of hours of painstaking selection in the shade houses of wholesale nurseries to find the healthiest, most desirable woodies available.


‘Winter’s Snowman’ fall-blooming hardy camellia is another favorite offered previously, see this post for details.  I have written three articles about fall-blooming hardy camellias in general.  If you are interested in finding out more about them, start here Fall-blooming Hardy Camellias Part 3, and you will find links to the first two installments.

 It is now time for my fall 2012 woody offer.  If you are a customer, you should already have gotten an email with all the details.  Blog readers can look at the catalogue on line by clicking here.  My nursery is on site retail sales only.  The only plants I ship are snowdrops in February and miniature hostas later in the season.  However, I hope out-of-town readers will get some good ideas for woody shade plants to look for at their local independent nursery.

The previous three photos are of another repeat: paper bush, Edgeworthia chrysantha, for details click here.  My plants have thrived through the last two hot and dry summers with pristine tropical looking leaves, gorgeous fall-forming buds, and highly fragrant late winter-blooming flowers.  This is truly a shrub with 365 days of interest.

So much for the preliminaries and repeat offerings, let’s get to the new plants.  There are six: three from my favorite group of shrubs, hydrangeas, and three evergreens for winter interest (the camellias are evergreen too).  Here are the details.

Native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia

The fall color of oakleaf hydrangea.

Our native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, is the best all round shrub for shade—everyone should have at least one!  Huge, long-lasting, upright pyramids of white flowers bloom from May through July. It has bold-textured leaves with heart-stopping burgundy-red fall color, and cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark—a true four season plant. 

The white flowers of ‘Amethyst’ oakleaf hydrangea age to a striking red that does not fade when dried.  Great for flower arranging.

I am offering ‘Amethyst’ native oakleaf hydrangea, a new cultivar selected because  its initially white flowers turn to a striking red color and stay that way.  It grows to 5 to 6’ tall and 5 to 6’ wide in sun to full shade.  It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, walnut and drought tolerant, and native to the southeastern US.

 

‘Blue Bird’ sawtooth hydrangea, H. serrata


‘Blue Bird’ sawtooth hydrangea produces lovely blue lacecap flowers starting in June for an extended period.  Acid soil results in the best blue tint.  I also grow it for its beautiful clean bright green leaves through out the season, which are enhanced by red highlights in the fall.  It is very tolerant of cold temperatures avoiding bud and twig dieback in harder winters.  ‘Blue Bird’ reaches 4′ tall and 4′ wide in part to dappled shade and grows in zones 5 to 9.  Sawtooth hydrangea is native to Korea and Japan.

This photo shows ‘Endless Summer’ bigleaf hydrangea, H. macrophylla, right now.  Yes, it is loaded with fresh flowers and buds and has been blooming since late spring.

‘Endless Summer’ bigleaf hydrangea sports very large pink or blue mophead flowers from late spring through summer and well into fall—it’s in full bloom right now as you can see from the photo above.  It represents a recent breakthrough in hydrangeas because it blooms on old and new wood giving it an extended bloom season.  This also means that if the buds formed on old wood the previous season are frozen over the winter, buds will form on new wood as the season progresses.  ‘Endless Summer’s’ large, medium green leaves provide a pleasing backdrop for the flowers.  It grows in zones 4 to 9 and reaches 4′ tall and 4′ wide in part shade.  It is recommended for full sun only with supplemental watering.  Bigleaf hydrangea is native to Japan.

‘Gold Dust’ Japanese aucuba, A. japonica, is an elegant specimen for deep shade.

A close up of the unusual leaves of ‘Gold Dust’ Japanese aucuba—glorious in winter.

‘Gold Dust’ Japanese aucuba’s very shiny, broadleaf evergreen leaves sprinkled with yellow spots make it one of the most vibrant and colorful plants to thrive in dense shade.  I have grown it successfully for many years in several areas of my garden that receive no direct sunlight.  It is very vigorous, disease free, and easy to grow as long as you don’t plant it in the sun.  ‘Gold Dust’ grows to 6 to 8′ tall and 4 to 6′ wide in part to dense full shade and is hardy in zones 7 to 9.  Aucuba is native to Japan, and the variegated form was introduced to the west in 1783.

The fall flowers of ‘Rose Creek’ glossy abelia, A. x grandiflora.

‘Rose Creek’ is a compact form of glossy abelia, great for smaller spaces and smaller gardens.

‘Rose Creek’ is a dense and compact glossy abelia that covers itself in a multitude of wonderfully fragrant, showy white flowers continuously from May through September.   When the flower petals drop off, the rosy pink sepals (bud enclosures) remain and are very eye-catching.  The beautiful, glossy evergreen foliage has pink highlights and turns purple in the fall, providing excellent winter interest.  The stems are  crimson red.  ‘Rose Creek’ grows to 2 to 3′ tall and 3 to 4′ wide in part shade or full sun and is hardy in zones 5 to 9.  It is deer resistant and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Glossy abelia is a cross between two Chinese abelia species.

The incredibly shiny leaves of Prague viburnum, V. x pragense, sparkle in the winter.

This photo of the flower of Prague viburnum was kindly lent to me by Monrovia, for their full plant profile, click here.

Prague viburnum’s pink buds open into large, bouquet-like, creamy white flowers in May followed by glossy, persistent black fruit.  Just as ornamental are its very showy, lustrous, dark evergreen leaves.  Prague viburnum reaches 8′ tall and 6′ wide in full sun to part shade and is hardy in zones 5 to 8.  You can grow it in full shade and the leaves will be gorgeous, but it won’t flower very well.  It is fast growing and deer resistant.  It is a cross between leatherleaf and service viburnums, which are both from China.

I hope you have a space in your garden for at least one of these wonderful shrubs for shade.  For more ideas, check out Woody Plants for Shade Parts 1 to 5 using the links provided below:

Part 1,   Part 2,   Part 3,   Part 4,   Part 5

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  Shrub orders are due by noon on Wednesday, October 3.  For the catalogue, click here.  We are offering two sessions of a seminar on low maintenance gardening for fall on Wednesday, October 3, and Friday, October 5, from 10 to 11:30 am.  For the details, click here.  Look for a special offer of double hellebores next week.

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