Archive for galanthophile

New Snowdrops for 2021: Part 2

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Sarah Dumont’ is a rare and exquisite yellow snowdrop.  Thanks to photographer Jason Ingram for permission to use this photo, to purchase this print or view others available, click here.

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Thank you to my readers for the enthusiastic response to my first post on the new snowdrops that Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will offer in its 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read that post, click here.  The catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December, but here you can get an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at more of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!

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Nursery News:  Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your full mailing address to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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.Thanks to my friend Julian Wormald in Wales for this photo of ‘Sarah Dumont’.  Check out his blog, The Garden Impressionists, here, and visit his amazing garden in person if you are in Wales during snowdrop season.

‘Sarah Dumont’  is a gorgeous snowdrop with a golden yellow pedicel (flower stem), ovary (little cap above the flower), and inner segment mark and a beautiful rounded shape.  It has been described as a superb form, both vigorous and prolific.  On his blog, John Grimshaw calls it “a fabulous yellow”.  All yellows can be greenish without sun, and I have seen many olive-colored yellow snowdrops in England, but I never find this to be true in the sunny mid-Atlantic!  Believed to have been found in a Scottish woodland among a naturalized population of G. plicatus, it was named by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery for a longtime employee.

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Poculiform snowdrops add an ethereal presence to any snowdrop collection.

A snowdrop is poculiform when all six of its segments are outer segments and are roughly the same length.  They are often but not always pure white—a stunning effect.  The snowdrop in our catalogue, G. nivalis subsp. poculiformis, which is pictured above and below, is both poculiform and also pure white. Many forms of this elegant configuration have been found and named over the years.  However, the original was discovered by Head Gardener David Melville at Dunrobin Castle in Scotland and named in 1880 by Reverend Henry Harpur Crewe, an early snowdrop expert.

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Galanthus nivalis subsp. poculiformis

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‘Green Arrow’ is upright and pointy, hence the name.  Shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

When touring our snowdrops last spring, a sophisticated galanthophile with many snowdrops in her collection pointed to ‘Green Arrow’ and said “I want that one”—that’s how unique this snowdrop is.  ‘Green Arrow’ is a late-blooming, tall and upright snowdrop with striking, bright green-tipped outer segments and delicate dark emerald green shading on the inner segments, gradually lightening towards the base.  It is distinct and vigorous in our garden with a habit and coloration that makes it stand out from the pack.  Found before 2000 by Sally Pasmore in her garden at Honeysuckle Cottage, Limington, Somerset.

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“Moortown Mighty’ is big!

I am most attracted by extra large snowdrops, so ‘Moortown Mighty’ went to the top of my “must have” list after I saw it displayed at the 2017 RHS show in London.  It has done quite well in my garden.  The huge, very showy flowers with curved and thickly textured outer segments open widely to display the green stained inner segments.  It is said to produce two flower scapes per bulb when fully established.  Its beautiful, ridged and pleated, blue-green leaves show its G. plicatus heritage.  It was discovered in 2007 by French horticulturist Mark Brown in David Bromley’s  garden in Moortown, Shropshire.

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‘Moortown Mighty’ fully open at the RHS show in London.

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The pleated and ridged leaves of ‘Moortown Mighty’.

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‘Wonston Double’

‘Wonston Double’ is a very neat and fully double snowdrop with five outer segments.  The tightly packed inner segments have an inverted green u-shaped mark.  It is late-blooming and very vigorous, increasing rapidly with regular division.  It came from the garden of Hon. Lewis Palmer in the village of Wonston, Hampshire.

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‘Trympostor’ has a unique form.

‘Trympostor’ is an inverse poculiform snowdrop, meaning that all six segments resemble inner segments, creating its instantly recognizable pagoda-like shape.  It is a classic member of the ever-increasing ‘Trym’ family, but with a difference: ‘Trympostor’ is much more vigorous and has performed the best of any of the ‘Trym’ progeny in my garden.  It was selected by snowdrop connoisseur Alan Street at Avon Bulbs and introduced in 2011 at the RHS show at Vincent Square in London where it received a Preliminary Commendation.

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‘Trympostor’: beautiful, distinct, and vigorous.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

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, in which case, please include your full mailing address.

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.

New Snowdrops for 2021

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Beth Chatto’ is an extremely rare snowdrop.  Many thanks to Charles Cresson for making it available to our customers.

Snowdrops always lift my spirits as we sink into winter, and this year I need that boost more than ever.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very loyal following of snowdrop lovers and, thankfully, we will be able to satisfy their quest for snowdrops whether we are open or closed this spring as we are mailing all snowdrops this year no matter where the customer is located.  The catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December, but here you can get an advance look (sorry, no advance orders) at some of the special, new snowdrops that will be available.  Enjoy!

Nursery News:  Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue will be posted on our website in the first half of December.  If you would like to get email notification of the 2021 catalogue, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your mailing address to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We sell plants from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.‘Beth Chatto’s’ large, globe-shaped flowers are beautifully displayed by its elegantly pleated, prostrate leaves.  Shown here in the Cresson garden.

‘Beth Chatto’ was discovered in the 1960s at Beth Chatto Gardens, the nursery and gardens of famous English plantswoman Beth Chatto.  It was named for her at the suggestion of Graham Stuart Thomas. It is considered a superior example of Galanthus plicatus subsp. byzantinus. This lovely, late-flowering cultivar has large, rounded, arching outer segments and a bold inner marking with a basal blotch narrowly joined to an apical round-armed V.  It bulks up to an outstanding display of big, globular flowers over the almost prostrate leaves with the elegant pleats characteristic of G. plicatus.

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‘Beth Chatto’s inner markings are very important in distinguishing it from incorrect plants that are circulating under that name.

There is concern in England that the true ‘Beth Chatto’ snowdrop is lost, and some photos are clearly not the right plant—that’s why the inner markings are so important.  However, not only do the plants we are offering match the official description in Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book, but Beth Chatto Gardens has also confirmed to us that this is the right snowdrop.  The provenance of our stock is as follows:  Charles Cresson acquired ‘Beth Chatto’ from John Elsley, former horticulturist for Wayside Gardens, who got it directly from Beth Chatto herself.

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‘Bill Clark’, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

‘Bill Clark’ is the brightest yellow snowdrop in my collection with the color extending into the spathe and flower stem.  This superb and vigorous snowdrop with large and vivid yellow markings is one of the most sought after yellow cultivars of Galanthus plicatus.  The beautiful wide pleated leaves with folded margins make a lovely backdrop for the striking flowers.

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‘Bill Clark’

‘Bill Clark’ was found at Wandlebury Ring, an Iron Age fort and UK National Trust Property near Cambridge, and the birthplace of ‘Wendy’s Gold’.  It was introduced by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery and named after Bill Clark, Warden of Wandlebury Ring.

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‘Bagpuize Virginia’ has large double flowers.

‘Bagpuize Virginia’ has lovely and well-formed double flowers.  International snowdrop expert Alan Street describes it as vigorous with very large flowers for a G. nivalis.  It was found in the garden of Kingston Bagpuize House in Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, and named in 2000 for the owner Virginia Grant. The Judy’s Snowdrops site has some lovely photos of its inner ruffles, click here and scroll down.

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‘Bagpuize Virginia’ shown here at the famous snowdrop destination Colesbourne Park in England

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‘Fieldgate Prelude’ shown here in the Avon Bulbs display at the 2017 RHS spring show.

‘Fieldgate Prelude’ is a standout when it blooms early in the snowdrop season.  It has slender, well-formed flowers and a large, dark green ovary, but its striking pale green and dark green inner mark make it a desirable addition to any collection.  It is vigorous and easy-to-grow.  Snowdrop expert Colin Mason, whose many snowdrop introductions bear the name of his house Fieldgate, in Warwickshire, selected it around 1990 from seedlings of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’.

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‘Pom Pom’ has very neat rows of inner segments.

‘Pom Pom’ is a wonderful, neat double snowdrop with multiple rows of perfect inner segments resembling a tiny double green camellia.  It was found in a remote churchyard in Berkshire, England, by renowned snowdrop expert Alan Street.

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‘Pom Pom’ in the garden.

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‘Natalie Garton’ in the Avon Bulbs display at Vincent Square in London.

‘Natalie Garton’ is a strong grower in our garden with large, round, and substantial flowers with thick petals and a prominent, heart-shaped inner marking.  Its extra inner segments make it a semi-double snowdrop and add to the excitement when the many blooms appear in late winter.  It was named for the Oxfordshire gardener who discovered it prior to 1996.

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‘Natalie Garton’s’ extra inner segments make it a semi-double snowdrop.

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‘Natalie Garton’, shown here in the Warwickshire garden of Olive Mason, is a Galanthus elwesii and multiplies rapidly to form a substantial clump.

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‘One Drop or Two?’ is a rare twin-flowered snowdrop.

When choosing snowdrops for my own garden, I seek out unique and eye-catching cultivars, e.g., extra large flowers, bright yellow color, poculiform configuration, among others.  Of the many traits a snowdrop can have, twin flowers, two flowers and pedicels on the end of each scape, are very rare.  This charming snowdrop with its whimsical name, ‘One Drop or Two?’, does just that once it has settled in.  It was discovered around 2005 in a remote corner of Berkshire by expert snowdrop hunter Alan Street who also bestowed the clever name.

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This photo clearly shows the twin flowers emerging from one stem.

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Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when readers leave comments.  Scroll down to the end of the page to the box where it says “Leave a Reply” and start typing—-it’s easy!

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, in which case, please include your full mailing address.

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.

New Snowdrop Book

Posted in bulbs for shade, containers for shade, landscape design, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Cover of SnowdropsThe cover of the exciting new snowdrop book recently published in The Plant Lover’s Guide Series by Kew Gardens in London.

I don’t think I have ever done a book review on this blog, but I want to share my excitement about the new snowdrop book published by Timber Press in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.  It is called The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops and was written by Naomi Slade, a prize-winning British journalist.   I highly recommend it as an invaluable resource for gardeners at all levels in their love of snowdrops, from novice to expert.

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

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Galanthus nivalis in Welford Park, BerkshireCommon snowdrops, G. nivalis, at Welford Park in Berkshire, England—just one of the locations identified in the book as a place to see snowdrops (photo by Naomi Slade appears on page 16) .

The best part of the book for me is the photographs, both those accompanying the individually profiled snowdrops, which are both enticing and accurate, and also the many pictures of snowdrops in gardens mostly in the US and UK, which are quite beautiful.  Whether you are a thoroughly obsessed galanthophile or just thinking of branching out with snowdrops for the first time, you will love reading this book, not once but over and over.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-14 PMThe title page for the chapter on Growing and Propagating snowdrops.

The book is divided into five main chapters followed by further information on where to see snowdrops and where to buy them.  Slade begins with an explanation of “Why I Love Snowdrops” that sets the tone for the whole book, which is approachable, informative, and refreshing.  Although the author points out that a lack of detailed knowledge is not a barrier to appreciating this universally loved plant, her enthusiasm makes you want to acquire or revisit that knowledge.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-35-43 PMPhotos illustrating the discussion of good companion plants for snowdrops.

The next section of the book considers “Designing with the Milk Flower”.  Slade discusses garden design and placement, easy snowdrops for beginners, naturalizing, rock gardens, and container planting.  There are many inspired ideas for companion plantings covering other bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. 

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-40-18 PMCreative uses of snowdrops in containers

In “Understanding Snowdrops”, the book explains in a user-friendly way snowdrop morphology or structure, concepts that are important to understanding the differences between snowdrops and deciphering written descriptions of them.  Slade covers snowdrop species and their origins, conservation and trade, and even snowdrop theft.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-14-20 PMAlthough originally mostly single-flowered and green and white, Slade explains that the Greatorex doubles led to many more double forms and that yellow and even orange snowdrops can be found.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-56 PMProfiles of ‘Grumpy’ and G. elwesii var. monostictus

The “Spotter’s Guide” section highlights 60 snowdrops chosen with great care to represent the range available and includes many of the most-loved and best-performing cultivars.   The photographs are excellent and the individual descriptions are fresh and informative.

. Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-36 PMEach snowdrop profiled gets plenty of space for photos and descriptions.

The final main section is on “Growing and Propagating” and covers planting, dividing, fertilizing, propagating, and pests and diseases.  This is followed by a very comprehensive guide to where to see snowdrops worldwide, including the US, and where to buy them, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 5-53-33 PMCambo Estate in Scotland is a great place to see snowdrops, while the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum on galanthus, click here, is a great place to learn about snowdrops.

One of Naomi Slade’s missions in writing this book was to appeal to an American audience, and she has succeeded.  While the UK is definitely the eye of the current snowdrop tornado, Slade ferrets out a lot of information useful to US readers.  Of the eight snowdrop professionals whose interviews she spreads through out the book, three of them are American, including me on page 76.  The book identifies and also anticipates the snowdrop collecting frenzy that is coming to America.  I can’t wait.

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snowdropsAnother photo of Welford Park by Naomi Slade.

If you would like to order a copy of this book, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has it available for $24.95 plus $5.95 for priority shipping.  Send an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: 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 or are interested in mail order, 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.

Companion Plants for Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Snowdrops, G. nivalis, with Italian arum and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, in the background.

The main attraction of snowdrops is that they bloom at a time of year when flowers are rare in the garden.  There is nothing like a solitary group of beautiful white flowers to light up a dismal, cold day in February.   Although companion plants are not necessary to achieve this effect, snowdrops are even more lovely when paired with other flowering plants or evergreen leaves.  This post will give you some ideas of what plants combine well with snowdrops to create winter interest in your 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 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.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, are the perfect combination for early in the snowdrop season.  Both naturalize well in woodland conditions.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite and ‘S. Arnott’, the most popular of all snowdrops with UK gardeners.

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Galanthus elwesiiEvergreen (technically winter green) ferns are a great backdrop for snowdrops, here giant snowdrops, G. elwesii, and Japanese holly fern.

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Galanthus elwesii var. monostichtus Hiemalis Group CSG -01The evergreen leaves of hellebores also set off snowdrops well.

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Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'When the hellbores bloom it is even better, here a hybrid hellebore and ‘Brenda Troyle’.

. Galanthus 'Standing Tall'‘Standing Tall’ picks up the silver markings on the evergreen leaves of Chinese ginger.

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Galanthus nivalis and Cyclamen coum at Carolyn's Shade GardensSnowdrops with winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum.  They also pair well with the much larger, silver-marked, evergreen leaves of fall-blooming cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'‘Shell Pink’ lamium blooms in my garden into December so it is a great companion for fall-blooming snowdrops like the G. reginae-olgae above.  Once the flowers are gone, the silver stripes on the evergreen leaves continue to combine well with later-blooming snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum itlalicumI think snowdrops and Italian arum are my favorite combination, here under the reddish branches of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' & Arum italicum 'Pictum'A beautifully marked arum and ‘Atkinsii’.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' Many native heucheras hold their color all winter and look great with snowdrops, especially ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Frosted Violet’, ‘Autumn Bride’, and ‘Blackout’.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'Favorite ‘S. Arnott’ with the very early-blooming daffodil ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusSnowdrops naturalized with ‘Ruby Giant’ snow crocus.

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Galanthus nivalis CressonOf course, there is something to be said for naturalizing large quantities of common snowdrops to enjoy en masse.

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galanthus in French woods from AlanSomeday your woods may look like this French forest photographed by Alan Street.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: 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 or are interested in mail order, please send your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

New Snowdrops for 2015

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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

Galanthus 'Wasp' with Galanthus 'Diggory'There couldn’t be more different looking snowdrops than ‘Wasp’ in the foreground above and ‘Diggory’ in the background.

This post includes additional photographs and more detailed descriptions of four of the new snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue. The catalogue will be emailed to all my customers in early January, but you can view it now by clicking here.  There are four more new snowdrop cultivars offered in the catalogue plus two snowflakes (leucojums), but they are either sold or about to sell out so I decided not to include them.  I recommend ordering right away to secure the snowdrops you want.  For entertaining descriptions of many of the remaining varieties offered, click here.

Most of the information about the snowdrops profiled below comes from the indispensable  Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (2006 Griffin Press)( called 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 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.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Diggory'Galanthus plicatus ‘Diggory’

There is no other snowdrop that looks like ‘Diggory’ so if you think all snowdrops look alike this is the one for you.  The squared-off pear-shaped flowers with seersucker outers and the large green inner mark visible even when the flower is closed, make ‘Diggory’ recognizable  anywhere.  The blooms resemble miniature hot air balloons hanging on tiny shepherd’s crooks, absolutely charming.  The unique look is further enhanced by the pleated leaves visible in the photo below and characteristic of a Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus.

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Galanthus  plicatus 'Diggory'‘Diggory’s’ leaves with their elegant side pleats are also very attractive.

‘Diggory’ is a relatively new snowdrop.  It was found in a naturalized stand of G. plicatus in 1993 by two well known British galanthophiles and first exhibited in 1998 when it received a commendation.  The name was chosen to memorialize the son of one of the discoverers.  When Avon Bulbs in England asked its customers to name their favorite snowdrops, ‘Diggory’ ranked number 4  out of the 1,000 or more snowdrops in cultivation.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is a very desirable yellow-marked snowdrop.

‘Blonde Inge’ is unusual because the  lovely yellow markings on its inner segments are combined with a green ovary (the little cap above the flower).  It is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and as such tolerates a wide variety of garden conditions.  It builds up quickly and is very striking in a clump as you can see in the photo below.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ grows rapidly to form an impressive clump.

‘Blonde Inge’ was discovered in 1977 in a cemetery near Cologne, Germany, and introduced by Nicholas Top to the UK in 1993.  The name came from the lyrics of a German foxtrot, which you can hear by clicking here.

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Galanthus 'Wasp'‘Wasp’ has long, elegant outer segments.

Matt Bishop calls ‘Wasp’ an aptly named snowdrop, and I have to agree.  The very long and narrow outer segments stick out at an angle like wings and the tubular inner segments are striped to resemble a thorax.  ‘Wasp’ flies around on its long pedicel in the slightest breeze completing the insect-like effect.  This charming and unique snowdrop caused a sensation among UK galanthophiles when it was first introduced in the late 1990s.  It was discovered in 1995 by British snowdrop enthusiast Veronica Cross at Sutton Court.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' Cadwalader‘Walrus’ is a very uniform double snowdrop considering how unusual it looks.

Snowdrops calls ‘Walrus’ “one of the greatest eccentrics of the snowdrop world”, but despite this it is not wild looking like ‘Blewbury Tart’ but instead a very regularly formed double. As you can see in the photo above, its ‘tusks’ are the three very long, linear, mostly green outer segments.  They surround a lovely rosette whose segments curve outward to look like a green rose. 

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Galanthus nivalis 'Walrus'  Alan StreetMaybe my expanding clump of ‘Walrus’ will one day look like this photo taken by Alan Street of Avon Bulbs.

‘Walrus’ is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and tolerates a wide variety of conditions.  It is vigorous and multiplies well in the garden.  It was selected in the 1960s by noted galanthophile Oliver Wyatt at Maidwell Hall in Northamptonshire, England.  ‘Walrus’ ranked number 12 on the list of favorite snowdrops of UK gardeners.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to 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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

Do All Snowdrops Look Alike?

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Wasp'‘Wasp’ certainly has all the elements of a typical snowdrop, but its long petals and unusual markings make it look just like the flying insect when the wind blows.

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

People often try to tell me that all snowdrops look alike: white with three longer outer petals and three shorter inner petals with a green mark.  They should know better.  I would never admit that as I am a galanthophile who revels in observing the smallest differences.  I can go on at length about bloom time, leaf color and shape, and the intricacies of the inner mark, but I won’t.  Here I want to show you snowdrops that even the skeptical will recognize as different.

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.

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Galanthus 'Ballerina'The elegant and graceful double snowdrop ‘Ballerina’ certainly stands out from the pack.

Most gardeners are all about the flowers, and it is the blooms that I will focus on here.  The flower variations just within the three inner segments (petals)-three outer segments-single green inner mark theme are amazing, and I will show you a few of those like ‘Wasp’ above.  But then there are yellow snowdrops, regular doubles like ‘Ballerina’ above, virescent (green) snowdrops, crazy doubles, flowers with extra petals, all white snowdrops, the variety is endless.  There is even ‘The Alburgh Claw’.  Let’s start the show.

Galanthus 'Melanie Broughton'Although still single-flowered and green and white, ‘Melanie Broughton’ has a very large solid green inner mark and bright white, puffy and quilted outer segments.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Daphne's Scissors'‘Daphne’s Scissors’ has a very unusual inner mark shaped like scissors.  Thanks to Mark Smyth at the Galanthus Gallery for supplying this excellent photo.

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Galanthus 'Viridapice'‘Viridapice’ has green markings on the outside of the flower.

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Galanthus 'Diggory' ‘Diggory’ is the only snowdrop flower with pear-shaped, squared off outer segments.

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At the top of my personal wish list right now, ‘Rosemary Burnham’ is a virescent snowdrop with a solid green inner mark and elegant green stripes completely covering the outer segments.  For a photo, please click here for a trip to the Galanthus Gallery with hundreds of beautiful snowdrop photos.

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Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'‘Spindlestone Surprise’ is one of a growing number of snowdrops that have a yellow mark and a yellow ovary (the cap on top of the flower).  Others include ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Primrose Warburg’.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is one of the few galanthus that combine a yellow mark with a green ovary.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' Cadwalader‘Lady Elphinstone’ is the only double yellow.

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Galanthus elewesii 'Godfrey Owen'‘Godfrey Owen’ doubles the number of inner and outer petals to six each and holds its flowers open in a beautiful whorl.

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Galanthus 'Hill Poe'‘Hill Poe’ is a late blooming double with lots of white inside.  Thanks to Mark Smyth of the Galanthus Gallery for supplying this photo too.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'‘Blewbury Tart’ is a vigorous double snowdrop with outward-facing, mostly green flowers.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Anglesey Abbey'‘Anglesey Abbey’ can be solid white and poculiform, meaning that its inner segments are replaced by outer segments.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' Cadwalader‘Walrus’ has mostly green inner segments and long green outer “tusks”.

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And you were wondering about ‘The Alburgh Claw’, well click here for a photo of one of the weirdest snowdrop forms, the spikey double.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.net.

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.

Top 25 Snowdrops Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 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 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.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' CadwaladerNumber 12: ‘Walrus’, a very striking double common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) with narrow green outer segments arching like the tusks of a walrus and very green and regular inner segments forming a rosette, selected in the 1960s.

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

In Part One of this post, I explained that although the basic ornamental characteristics making up snowdrop plants may seem limited, over 1,000 cultivars (some say as many as 1,500) have been selected.  For gardeners who are just starting to add snowdrops to their collection, the choices can seem daunting.  However, a recent survey conducted by Avon Bulbs, the well-respected British snowdrop nursery, can help with the process.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Walrus'‘Walrus’ looks very pretty from the top, and it is easy to see the ‘tusks’ that give it its name.

During the 2012 and 2013 snowdrop season, Avon Bulbs asked its customers from all over the European Union to choose their three favorite snowdrops.  Avon then produced a ranking of its customers’ 25 favorite snowdrop plants.   In Part One of this post, which you can read here, I profiled Numbers 13 through 25 and provided a photo or  link to a photo for each plant.  In this post, I will show you the top 12 snowdrops.

Note: When I don’t have my own photo, I have linked to photos provided on the wonderful website Judy’s Snowdrops, which I highly recommend as a source for snowdrop information.

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Number 11:  ‘South Hayes’, first seen in 1992 in Primrose Warburg’s garden and probably a seedling of ‘Trym’ (number 3), one of the most sought after snowdrop bulbs for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Number 10:  ‘John Gray’, a beautifully marked, full and perfect flower hung on a graceful, long arching pedicel (flower stem), first offered for sale in 1967.   It is interesting to note that the snowdrop “bible”, Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al., first published in 2001, says the following about ‘John Gray’:

There can be no doubt that a survey of galanthophiles’ favourite snowdrops would place ‘John Gray’ in the top ten, a position it would maintain among the current wide range of cultivars despite its age.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'Number 9: ‘Atkinsii’, an early-blooming and quite vigorous hybrid with large, robust flowers sporting a heart-shaped marking on the inner segment, originated in the 1860s.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A close up of ‘Atkinsii’, which Snowdrops says has “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I.”

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Number 8: ‘Three Ships’, an early flowering Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus) with lovely rounded, well-proportioned flowers displaying a wonderful puckered texture on the outer segments, found in 1984.

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Galanthus 'Augustus' CadwaladerNumber 7:  ‘Augustus’, the plump, well-rounded flowers with great texture are set off perfectly by the lovely pleated leaves of a Crimean snowdrop for an overall great presentation, named prior to 1976. 

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Galanthus plicatus 'Augustus'A close up of ‘Augustus’ showing its elegant textured petals and large inner mark.

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Number 6: ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, an early-flowering giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) combining all the fine characteristics of a classic snowdrop, frequently mentioned as a favorite on garden blogs.

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Galanhtus 'Wendy's Gold' 1 entranceNumber 5: ‘Wendy’s Gold’, a Crimean snowdrop (G. plicatus) cultivar with beautiful yellow markings on the ovary and inner segments.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold'Alan Street from Avon Bulbs sent me this photo of a clump of ‘Wendy’s Gold’, saying that mine would look like this some day!

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Galanthus 'Diggory' Number 4: ‘Diggory’, a snowdrop I would recognize anywhere for its squared-off pear-shaped flowers, heavily quilted texture, and large green inner mark.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Diggory'This clump of ‘Diggory’ shows its unique look and the pleated leaves characteristic of a Crimean snowdrop.

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Galanthus Trym

Number 3: ‘Trym’, the first snowdrop selected for the combination of its unique pagoda-like shape and large marks on the outer segments, it is obviously still very popular even though other snowdrops like its descendant ‘South Hayes’ now exhibit this form.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'Number 2:  ‘Magnet’, a very vigorous classic snowdrop selected in the 1880s with a long and slender pedicel allowing the flower to sway in the slightest breeze.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'A close up of ‘Magnet’ showing its arching pedicel.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Number 1:  ‘S. Arnott’, large rounded, sweetly scented flowers with a heart-shaped green marking on the inner segment.  The book Snowdrops has this to say about ‘S. Arnott’:

In fifty years time it will be interesting to see which of the newer snowdrops described in these pages will still be going strong, having established a reputation as a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone.  Such is this classic snowdrop.

Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'‘S. Arnott’ displays its “unquestionable constitution”.

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It is interesting to note that six of the twelve top ranked snowdrops are descended from the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus.  And seven of the top twelve display what I would call a traditional snowdrop look with nothing “newfangled” about them.  As with numbers 13 through 25, the top twelve ranked snowdrop bulbs show that, in the long run, classic and vigorous garden plants are more highly valued by knowledgeable collectors than the latest hot snowdrop off eBay.  I find this refreshing in a horticultural world that often seems to discount the tried and true in favor of the latest fad.

Carolyn

If you are looking for more information on snowdrops, I highly recommend the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum galanthus thread where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops, click here.

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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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

Top 25 Snowdrops Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 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.

Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'Number 25: ‘Blewbury Tart’, for a profile of this wonderful double snowdrop selected by Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, click here.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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

Snowdrops plants generally feature a little white flower with green marks on the inner segments (petals).  Sometimes the marks are yellow or nonexistent or on the outside and inside, sometimes the flower is mostly green, and sometimes the flower is double or spiky or otherwise aberrant.  The leaves can be gray-green or bright green or pleated.  Although that is definitely an oversimplification, from those few characteristics, sharp eyed galanthophiles have selected and named over 1,000 cultivars of snowdrop plants, some say as many as 1,500.

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Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle' Cresson gardenNumber 24: ‘Brenda Troyle’, a vigorous older variety from the 1930s grown for its cupped outer segments and strong honey fragrance, profiled here.

Many people believe, myself included, that there are way too many named snowdrop cultivars, and a lot of them are virtually indistinguishable.  But ‘it is what it is’ as the saying goes, and collectors just have to deal with the plethora of choices.  However, making choices just became a whole lot easier for me when I discovered that the well-respected British snowdrop nursery Avon Bulbs conducted a survey among its customers to rank their 25 favorite snowdrops.  Alan Street from Avon has graciously allowed me to use the survey.  I want to thank Julian Wormald at the Welsh blog thegardenimpressionists for giving me the idea for this post.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Thompson'Number 23:  ‘Mrs. Thompson’, selected in the 1950s, produces desirable mutations often with 5 outer segments.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Number 22:  Galanthus nivalis, a straight species, the common snowdrop is a great naturalizer, profiled here.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

Snowdrop plants are covered by CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.  CITES prevents shipment of snowdrop bulbs over international borders without expensive and time-consuming permitting.  CITES has curtailed the availability of a wide range of snowdrop plants in the U.S.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is working to increase the choices, and I have added “available CSG” to indicate which plants from the Avon ranking we sell or have sold (although many are sold out).  Unlike U.S. galanthophiles, Avon’s customers throughout the European Union have access to the full range of snowdrop bulbs available, both through purchase from bulb companies and by trading with fellow enthusiasts.

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Galanthus 'Straffan' by Jonathan ShawNumber 21: ‘Straffan’, an indestructible Irish snowdrop selected in the late 1800s and the third oldest snowdrop still being sold, photo Jonathan Shaw.

Avon asked all their customers ordering in 2012 and 2013 to pick their top three snowdrops.  From their answers, Avon compiled a weighted ranking of the top 25 choices.  The snowdrop plants that made the list all have beautiful and sometimes unusual flowers.  However, it is clear from the list that Avon’s customers valued vigorous garden plants, no matter how long they have been around, over the newest and most sought after cultivars.  In this post I will profile Numbers 13 through 25, providing a short description and a photo (or a link to a photo on the wonderful website Judy’s Snowdrops).  In the next post, I will cover 1 through 12.

.Galanthus 'Hippolyta' photo Paddy TobinNumber 20: ‘Hippolyta’, a lovely Greatorex double snowdrop selected in the first half of the 20th century.

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Galanthus 'Anglesey Abbey'Number 19:  ‘Anglesey Abbey’, a highly variable form, sometimes almost pure white with the inner and outer segments the same length (poculiform).

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Robin HoodNumber 18: ‘Robin Hood’, first mentioned in 1891, large flowers with an X-shaped mark.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus gracilisNumber 17: Galanthus gracilis, a species snowdrop with unusual twisted leaves and elegant markings on the flower.

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Galanthus 'Merlin' in Cresson gardenNumber 16: ‘Merlin’, an old variety from the 1890s with a solid green inner mark.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus 'Cowhouse Green'Number 15: ‘Cowhouse Green’, lovely virescent (greenish) snowdrop with a pale green wash on the outer segments.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusNumber 14: ‘Colossus’, a very early flowering form of the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus, with large flowers and beautiful dark green, pleated, glaucous leaves.

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Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'Number 13:  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, an elegant double snowdrop that multiplies quickly, named in the 1980s but distributed since the 1950s.  Available in 2019 CSG catalogue.

Although it is entertaining to read about single snowdrop bulbs selling for almost $1,200 on eBay, it is nice to know that when it comes right down to it, gardeners value the tried and true plants that have withstood the test of time.

Carolyn

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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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

The Sochi Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 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 cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Galanthus woronowii Cresson GardenGalanthus woronowii

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

The over 1,000 types of cultivated snowdrops all originated from just 20 snowdrop species found in the wild and making up the genus Galanthus. This post is the second in a series of posts profiling the important  snowdrop species, which are all great garden plants in their own right. 

In the first post I discussed the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, and you can read that post by clicking here.  I have written a lot of other articles about snowdrops, covering among other topics their ornamental characteristics, fascinating history, the importance of provenance, and profiling many cultivars.  For links to all my previous snowdrop posts, click here.  In this post, I will discuss G. woronowii.

Much of the information in this post comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al. (Griffin Press 2006) which is absolutely indispensable if you are researching or collecting snowdrops.  I have also used documents produced by Kew Gardens and the Tbilisi Botanical Garden in the Country of Georgia.

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Galanthus woronowii Cresson GardenGalanthus woronowii

Although a few sources have randomly assigned the common names green snowdrop, Russian snowdrop, and Woronow’s snowdrop to G. woronowii, it really has no regularly used common name.  So why am I calling it the Sochi snowdrop?  Because in the early 20th century, Russian botanist A.S. Losina-Losinskaya collected a new species of snowdrop in southern Russia around Sochi on the eastern shore of the Black Sea.  In 1935, he named these snowdrops Galanthus woronowii in honor of Georg Jurii Nikolaewitch Woronow (1874-1931).  Several sources confirm that G. woronowii is still abundant in the mountains and forests above Sochi, the resort town on the Black Sea where Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics beginning February 7.

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G. woronowii CressonG. woronwii‘s glossy, bright green leaves sparkle in the rain.

G. woronowii is found in northeastern Turkey, Georgia, and southern Russia mainly around the eastern part of the Black Sea.  For a map of its range, click here for a report by Georgia’s Tbilisi Botanical Garden.  It grows in an extraordinary variety of habitats from deciduous and even evergreen woods to rocky slopes, cliff ledges, and river banks.  It thrives in both shallow rocky soil and deep organic loam in areas with cold winters and abundant precipitation.  According to Kew Gardens, Georgia harvests 15 million G. woronowii bulbs every year for export to the western European horticultural trade.  Kew along with Tbilisi and the CITES* authorities have been monitoring this harvest from wild populations and cultivated sites, click here.

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which covers snowdrops.

.Galanthus woronowiiG. woronowii flower showing the small mark on the inner segment

G. woronowii is grown for its beautiful, glossy green leaves and lovely white flowers.  It is the only commonly available snowdrop to have bright green leaves as opposed to the blue-gray leaves of the other common species.  The leaves persist longer than other snowdrop foliage and form a lovely but temporary, thick and attractive groundcover.  The flowers, which have a small green mark covering one third or less of the inner segments, are the last snowdrops to bloom in my garden in late March and early April.  I really appreciate the way they extend the end of the snowdrop season. 

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Galanthus woronowiiThe fold in the center of the leaf is clearly visible in this photo.

The identification of G. woronowii is confused in the horticultural trade where it is often called G. ikariae, a much less common snowdrop from the Aegean Islands of Greece.  However, while G. woronowii has light, glossy green leaves folded in the center and a small green mark on the flower, G. ikariae has dark, matt green leaves and a mark covering more than half the inner segment.  I have been told that all the G. ikariae sold in the U.S. is actually G. woronowii.

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Galanthus woronowiiClose up of G. woronowii flower.  I always recognize G. woronowii by the pollen glowing through the top half of the translucent white inner segments, although I don’t know if this is unique.

Unlike the other three more common snowdrop species, G. nivalis, G. elwesii, and G. plicatus, not many cultivated plants have been selected from G. woronowii, possibly because it only became available in large numbers in the 1990s.  Snowdrops lists only ‘Green Flash’ selected for its green marks on its outer as well as its inner segments.  Other sources add ‘Cider with Rosie’, ‘Green Woodpecker’, and ‘Boschhoeve’, all with green marks on their outers. 

Nevertheless, a cultivar of G. woronowii has caused more excitement than any other snowdrop when, on February 16, 2012, one bulb sold for 725 pounds ($1,185) on eBay, surpassing the previous record of around 360 pounds ($508).  G. woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ appeared as a seedling in a Scottish garden and is named after the owner.  It is considered so special because instead of the usual green ovary (the “cap” to which the petals are attached) and segment marks, ‘Elizabeth Harrison’s’ are an intense yellow, looking beautiful with the bright green leaves.  For the U.K. Telegraph story on ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ and a photo, click here; for today’s story in the Telegraph about another snowdrop, ‘Humpty Dumpty’, reaching 195 pounds, click here

I won’t be adding ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ to my collection anytime soon, but I do treasure the patch of G. woronowii in my garden.

Carolyn

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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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

The Un-Common Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 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 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.

Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'All snowdrops are great companions for hellebores.

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

I have written a lot of articles about snowdrops, covering among other topics their ornamental characteristics, fascinating history, the importance of provenance, and profiling many cultivars.  For links to all my previous snowdrop posts, click here.  I have never, however, talked in detail about any of the snowdrop species from which cultivated snowdrops, now numbering over 1,000, have been selected.  I hope this post will be the first in a series discussing each of the more important snowdrop species.

Much of the information in this post comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al. (Griffin Press 2006) which is absolutely indispensable if you are researching or collecting snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Common snowdrops pair well with snow crocus (just visible in the background) and really bring out the silver patterning on the leaves of Italian arum, which look fresh all winter.

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G. nivalis and C. coum 'Rose'Common snowdrops are a wonderful companion for the leaves and flowers of winter-blooming hardy cyclamen.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee'Common snowdrops look great paired with native coral bells, many of which keep their bright leaf colors all winter.

Brian Capon in his very handy book Botany for Gardeners defines a species as a “group of individuals sharing many characteristics and interbreeding freely.”  Generally these individuals are growing in the wild and have a defined native range.  There are 20 types of snowdrops that meet this definition and constitute the genus Galanthus, but only three of them have given rise to most of the named snowdrops: G. nivalis, G. elwesii, and G. plicatus

Here I want to discuss Galanthus nivalis otherwise known as the common snowdrop although it is by no means common in any sense of the word and would be one of the first snowdrops I would add to my collection if I had to start over.  In fact, it has received a coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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G. nivalis CressonCommon snowdrops naturalize quickly in the mid-Atlantic U.S. generally by producing bulb offsets.

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The common snowdrop has the largest native range of any snowdrop species and is the species most widely grown by gardeners.  It is native to western, central, and southern Europe from France to the part of Turkey in Europe.  It was first mentioned in print in the 16th century when it was already being grown as an ornamental plant. 

Linnaeus named it Galanthus nivalis in 1753.  According to another fascinating book, Plant Names Explained (Horticulture 2005), gala means milk, -anthus means -flowered, and nivalis means snowy or snow-like.  Common snowdrops fill our gardens here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, which is part of an old estate called Wayside dating back to the 1600s (we live in Wayside Cottage which formerly housed the gardener).

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Galanthus nivalis/Common SnowdropGalanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop

Common snowdrops are generally 4 to 6 inches tall.  The narrow, straplike leaves are green with a glaucous center stripe giving an overall gray-blue appearance.  The flowers have three outer petal-like segments and three smaller inner segments.  They are pure white with a bright green v-shaped mark around the notch (called a sinus) on the apex of the inner segments. 

Common snowdrops flower here in February and March no matter what the weather and prefer moist deciduous woods with deep organic soil.  However, they are not picky about cultural conditions and will naturalize freely in a wide range of garden settings, including the dry woods of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  They pair beautifully with native coral bells, snow crocus, Italian arum, hardy cyclamen, and hellebores.

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Galanthus nivalisA natural mutation at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, if you look closely these flowers have four outer segments (petals).

Because common snowdrops generally spread through bulb offsets rather than seed, the flowers in colonies are theoretically identical.  However, natural variations occur as you can see from the photo above where the flowers have four outer segments.  Often these mutations are not stable and do not persist as was the case with the flowers pictured.  However, sometimes ornamentally interesting and stable changes occur, and, if they are noticed by a sharp-eyed galanthophile, they enter cultivated gardens and even become a named cultivar available for sale.

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G. 'Flore Pleno'A clump of double common snowdrops

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Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'double common snowdrop

I want to highlight three cultivars of the common snowdrop to give you an idea of the range available.  The double common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ (or sometimes G. n. f. pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’), is the oldest known snowdrop cultivar, first illustrated in 1703 and described in a prominent gardener’s dictionary in 1731.  Although it is sterile, it spreads vigorously from bulb offsets and is tolerant of a wide range of cultural conditions.  I have been told that in England it is often more abundant than the straight species. 

‘Flore Pleno’ has a lovely flower and has the advantage of being less expensive than the rest of the double snowdrops available so it is great for naturalizing.  It is the parent with G. plicatus of the Greatorex double series of snowdrops to which ‘Dionysus’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Ophelia’, and several other double snowdrops belong.  ‘Flore Pleno’ was also given an Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.

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G. 'Viridapice'the green-tipped snowdrop ‘Viridapice

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G. 'Viridiapice'‘Viridiapice’

One of my favorite snowdrops is the green-tipped common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’.  It was originally found near an old farmhouse in northern Holland by a member of the Hoog family, owners of the venerable but now defunct Dutch bulb nursery Van Tubergen.  It is a vigorous and large-flowered snowdrop characterized by a beautiful and strikingly prominent green marking on the apex of the outer segments and a large single mark on the inner segments. 

Unfortunately,  the name ‘Viridapice’ was applied over the years to a number of different green-tipped common snowdrops, some of which are quite inferior.  I acquired my strain from the old Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, Washington, and I am happy to report that it is a superior strain and one of the best naturalizers in my garden.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'the double common snowdrop ‘Blewbury Tart’

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Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'‘Blewbury Tart’

Finally, I want to highlight a newer cultivar of the common snowdrop, because I love it and because it was discovered by the only person I know who is more excited about snowdrops than me, Alan Street of Avon Bulbs in England.  In 1975, Alan noticed ‘Blewbury Tart’ in a churchyard in the village of Blewbury in Oxfordshire, England, where he grew up, and collected it with the permission of  Vicar Hugh Pickles. The famous galanthophile Primrose Warburg helped to name it because she called it Blewbury Muffin when Alan gave it to her, thus inspiring the name ‘Blewbury Tart’.  

I asked Alan if there was a special anecdote that I could relate here.  He told me that when he first exhibited it in 1985, a prominent British journalist said it looked like a “squashed fly on a windscreen”.   Nevertheless Avon offered it for sale in 1992.  It is an unruly double with an outward-facing dark green inner rosette encircled by three narrow outer segments.  It looks like it is having a bad hair day and always makes me smile when I see it.  Alan relates that another prominent British galanthophile, Ruby Baker, considers it a favorite.

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Although I don’t expect most gardeners to share my obsession, whenever I write about snowdrops I hope to communicate some of the enthusiasm that snowdrops arouse.  Maybe you will add them to your garden this year!  All four snowdrops profiled are available from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Carolyn

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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.

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