Archive for Galanthus elwesii

Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops

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

 The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

The cover of the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

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

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website here.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

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

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

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

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‘Viridapice’ and ‘Flore Pleno’

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Diggory’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’

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

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Galanthus elwesii, the giant snowdrop

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

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‘Diggory’

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

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‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

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

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‘Magnet’

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

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‘Wendy’s Gold’

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

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

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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

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

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Winterthur Snowdrop Event

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

Crocus tommasianus

Snow crocus in the courtyard behind the house at Winterthur.

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

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

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Hellebore Collage 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Bank to Bend Features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winterthur Fall 2013-025

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

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Winterthur Fall 2013-024

Another view of the house.

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Galanthus and Eranthis at Winterthur photo Winterthur

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Chionodoxa on the March Bank photo Winterthur

Glory-of-the-snow follows the snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis and Eranthis

Snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur.

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Adonis amurensis

Adonis is abundant

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Leucojum vernum

Snowflakes at Winterthur

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Winterthur

Snowflakes (leucojum)

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Crocus tomasinianus

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

Carolyn

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

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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

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

My Snowdrop Article in Fine Gardening

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Fine Gardening cover Fine Gardening February 2016

You will all want to rush to your nearest purveyor of elegant magazines—Barnes and Noble in our area—and pick up the current issue (February 2016) of Fine Gardening.  I wrote the cover article, “Snowdrops: Start spring with these easy care varieties.”  It features a lot of useful information about snowdrops especially for gardeners wanting to expand beyond the common snowdrop.  Four of the photos are also mine, and there are two lovely shots of my hands :-).

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 elwesiiMy photo of the giant snowdrop illustrates one of their greatest charms: their early bloom time. Shown here boring holes through the ice on Valentine’s Day 2011.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'My photo of ‘Magnet’ illustrates how quickly the more vigorous varieties can multiply to form eye-catching masses in your garden.

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My other photos are of ‘Lady Elphinstone’ and ‘Blewbury Tart’, but you will have to read the article to see those.  Please let me know what you think and ask me any questions that the article raises by typing a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the very end of this post.

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To access the 2016 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here.  You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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

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

Winterthur Part 1: Late Winter 2013

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 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.

Crocus tomasinianus In early March, the courtyard behind the house at Winterthur is completely filled with snow crocus, C. tomasinianus. It is worth visiting in late winter just to see this sight.

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Each year I choose an outstanding Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, US) area garden to profile through out the seasons. There are so many amazing gardens in the Delaware Valley that I will never run out of choices. It is more a case of which wonderful garden to choose. In 2011 to 2012, I visited the enchanting pleasure gardens at Chanticleer. To see those posts, click here. In 2012 to 2013, I focused on the diverse and magnificent gardens and conservatories at Longwood. To see those posts, click here. For 2013 to 2014, I have chosen the elegant former estate of collector and horticulturalist Henry Francis du Pont located in Delaware just over the Pennsylvania line and called Winterthur.

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WinterthurThe Winterthur house holds the premier collection of American decorative art. For scale, look at the two people on the right side of the photo just beyond the path.

Henry Francis du Pont (1880 to 1969) was a voracious collector of American decorative art for his home and of plants from all over the world for his garden. He had a lot of space to work with as the house has 175 rooms and the garden is 1,000 acres, 60 of which he landscaped with naturalistic plantings. About 60 years ago du Pont opened the house and gardens to the public, fulfilling his wish that:

the Museum will be a continuing source of inspiration and education for all time, and that the gardens and grounds will of themselves be a country place museum where visitors may enjoy as I have, not only the flowers, trees and shrubs, but also the sunlit meadows, shady wood paths, and the peace and great calm of a country place which has been loved and taken care of for three generations.

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WinterthurThe paths leading from the visitor’s center to the house and gardens meander through the magnificent trees.

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The “peace and great calm of a country place” is what draws me to Winterthur again and again for the garden is not a botanical collection or a display garden in the usual sense. But rather, as the website states, “an artistic composition that captures a significant period in the history of American horticulture.” It is carefully maintained and preserved to allow visitor’s to enjoy the landscaped gardens as Henry du Pont designed them as well as the peaceful vistas that he carefully incorporated into his designs. Yet it does so with none of the rigidity and dated feeling of many historic gardens. The experience is as fresh and enjoyable as if du Pont himself were giving you a tour of his own backyard, albeit a very large one!

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DSCN9477Another view of the house in winter.

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This post shows photos from my visit to Winterthur for their annual snowdrop event, this year on March 9 (for more information on that event, click here). I apologize for the delay, but I have been so busy with my nursery that I just found time to sort through these images. I also thought that pictures of snowdrops and other winter bulbs might really stand out right now when other blogs aren’t posting them anymore. Most of the plants shown are in the area of the March Bank at Winterthur, which contains the premier collection of naturalized snowdrops and other winter interest bulbs in the U.S.

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Galanthus at Winterthurnaturalized snowdrops

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It is very difficult to give readers an idea of the massive amounts of snowdrops, aconite, crocus, glory-of-the-snow, snowflakes, adonis, and other winter bulbs at Winterthur. The plants are so small that once you back up to show a large area, they disappear into the leaf litter (at least using my camera, which is much better for macro shots). You will just have to take my word for it that in person the sweeps of bulbs are breath-taking and unparalleled.

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Eranthis hyemalisWinter aconite with snowdrops in the background.

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Winterthuraconites, snowdrops, and crocus

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Adonis amurensisAmur adonis

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Leucojum vernumspring snowdflake

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Winterthuraconite, snowdrops, and snowflakes

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Galanthus and Eranthissnowdrops and aconite

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Winterthursnowflakes and aconite

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WinterthurMarch Bank

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Galanthus elwesiiMost of the naturalized snowdrops are the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii.

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Galanthus elwesiiA particularly lovely clump of giant snowdrops with many more (plus a photographer) on the March Bank.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Vidirapice'green-tipped snowdrops

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Crocus tommasinianusSnow crocus growing in the grass courtyard behind the house.

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Crocus tommasianusIt is much easier to photograph the snow crocus set off by the grass. However, all the bulbs in this post appear through out Winterthur in the same massive quantities and are just as awe-inspiring as the crocus portrayed here.

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I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my year of Winterthur posts, out-of-season though it may be. If you are local, mark your calendars for March 1, 2014, so you can see this wondrous display for yourself. In the meantime, it is finally summer and my nursery is closed. I will be posting on the blog but less frequently. On Thursday I am off to San Francisco for the 2013 Garden Blogger’s Fling. Enjoy your summer.

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: The nursery is closed and will reopen in the fall around September 15. Have a great summer.

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 2013

Posted in New Plants, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 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.

Snowdrops O through Z-001Some of the snowdrops available from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in 2013.

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The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

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This post includes photographs and colorful descriptions of the 4 new snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue.  There were three more new cultivars offered, but they sold out within two days of the catalogue being posted on my website.  For entertaining descriptions of most of the remaining 13 varieties offered, click here.

Galanthus 'Hippolyta' photo Paddy TobinThe Greatorex double snowdrop ‘Hippolyta’ was new in 2012.  For background on the Greatorex doubles, a discussion of snowdrop provenance,  and information about ‘Hippolyta’, click here.  Photo by Paddy Tobin.  We are also offering the early flowering Greatorex double ‘Ophelia’.

In Snowdrops or The Confessions of a Galanthophile, I described my transition from someone who grows snowdrops to someone who is obsessed with them.  In Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile, I explained that most snowdrop cultivars can be appreciated as much for their colorful history as for their ornamental characteristics.  That history is contained in Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), commonly called the “snowdrop bible”.

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude'Potter’s Prelude’ is a vigorous and beautiful snowdrop that blooms in the fall.  This year it started in mid-November and still has some fresh flowers today (1/6/13).  For more information on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

Whenever I obtain a new snowdrop or offer one in my catalogue, I always research it thoroughly both for fun and to make sure that what I am offering is the genuine article.  The first place that I go is to the “snowdrop bible” to review the detailed description and history of the species or cultivar in question.  This year I was also able to consult a new snowdrop book, Snowdrops by Gunter Waldorf (Frances Lincoln Limited 2012).  What it lacks in detail, it makes up for with 300 photographs accompanied by short descriptions highlighting the salient characteristics of the snowdrops profiled.  It also contains no nonsense advice about growing and collecting snowdrops.

Although the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, pictured above with Italian arum and snow crocus, is the most prevalent snowdrop in gardens, it is by no means common in the ordinary sense of the word.  In fact, it is the best choice for gardeners who want to naturalize snowdrops in masses.

After hitting the books, I search the internet and read everything that has been written about the new snowdrop.  The available material is mostly the catalogues of all the big UK snowdrop sellers like Avon Bulbs, Harveys Garden Plants, and Monksilver Nursery, among others, but sometimes I come across fun historical or informational articles.  I also consult the Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum Galanthus thread where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess.  After that, I look at photo galleries of snowdrops, particularly the Galanthus Gallery  and the new snowdrop photos on the Dryad Nursery website.

Galanthus elwesiiThe giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, is also a vigorous spreader.  This is the species massed at Winterthur.

Finally, as much as possible, I research the provenance of the snowdrop I am adding to my catalogue or collection.  Provenance is the history of a snowdrop’s ownership, documenting the authenticity of the actual bulbs being sold.  It is important that snowdrops come from a reputable source and be carefully tracked by subsequent owners.  With over 500, and some say 1,000, snowdrop cultivars circulating among collectors, it is easy to make mistakes.  For more information on provenance, click here.  With that background, on to the new snowdrops.

Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold' The very rare yellow snowdrop ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

I am thrilled to offer a yellow snowdrop for the first time, and not just any yellow, but ‘Wendy’s Gold’, the cream of the crop. Not only is this snowdrop much sought after even in England, but it easily refutes the oft made claim that all snowdrops look alike.  It was discovered in 1974 by Bill Clark, the Warden of the UK National Trust property Wandlebury Ring near Cambridge.  Ten years later, with some prodding, he realized how rare it was and decided to name it after his wife Wendy.  All the bulbs except three were then sold to a Dutch bulb company where they subsequently died,  Luckily, the remaining bulbs proved robust, and we have ‘Wendy’s Gold’ today.

Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold'


‘Wendy’s Gold’ is a superb and vigorous snowdrop with a yellow ovary (the “cap” above the petal-like segments) and a large and vivid yellow mark on the inner segments.  Its G. plicatus parentage gives it beautiful wide pleated leaves with folded margins, serving as a gorgeous backdrop for the striking flowers.  These plants come from galanthophile Barbara Tiffany, who recently traveled to the Republic of Georgia to view wild snowdrops.  Barbara got her stock from Gwen Black, an avid UK collector.  Gwen confirmed their provenance to me and stated that her ‘Wendy’s Gold’ came from the famous plantswoman Kath Dryden, former president of the UK Alpine Garden Society.  A little bit of history in each bulb!

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Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall' Cresson photo-001‘Standing Tall’ is a very impressive snowdrop.

In 1988, regional horticulturist Charles Cresson began evaluating a G. elwesii snowdrop known until this year as 88-1.  Over the years of testing it in various conditions in his garden, he discovered that 88-1 is a remarkable snowdrop.  Its 12″ height, about as tall as snowdrops get, and very upright habit give it a commanding presence in the garden.  However, as it turns out, 88-1 doesn’t have much competition from other snowdrops because it starts blooming right before Christmas and continues through the month of January, a time period when few other snowdrops bloom.

Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall' Cresson photo-005A close up of ‘Standing Tall’s’ flower.

Luckily, I was able to convince Charles that 25 years was long enough to evaluate a snowdrop, and he should introduce this absolutely outstanding new selection.  Charles decided to name it ‘Standing Tall’ to reflect its height, very upright habit, and ability to stand up to whatever the season brings, lying down in very cold weather and popping right back up as if nothing had happened.  Charles is in the process of registering it with the KAVB, the international registration authority for bulb cultivars in the Netherlands.  In the meantime, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is thrilled to be chosen to introduce it for sale.

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Galanthus 'Mighty Atom' Cresson GardenThe large and elegant flowers of ‘Mighty Atom’.

‘Mighty Atom’ is a beautiful snowdrop with very large, rounded, bright white flowers—the biggest flowers in the catalogue—with a bold, deep green mark on the inner segments.  Its habit is short, compact, and even making an exceptional overall presentation.  I have admired it for years and urged Charles to offer it, but he was reluctant due to its somewhat confused history. 

British snowdrop legend EB Anderson inherited the original ‘Mighty Atom’ from John Gray in 1952 and subsequently named it.  However, in later years, Snowdrops states that Anderson distributed a group of distinct but excellent clones, now known as the ‘Mighty Atom’ complex, under this name.  Charles’s stock came from plantsman Don Hackenberry who can trace its lineage directly back to EB Anderson, although it is not an offset of what is believed to be Gray’s “original” clone.  This member of the ‘Mighty Atom’ complex has proven to be reliable, vigorous, and trouble-free.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Scharlockii' Cresson‘Scharlockii’ is characterized by the “rabbit ear’s” formed by its spathe (flower covering).

The final member of the four new snowdrops in my 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is ‘Scharlockii’, a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalisIt is a charming and distinctive snowdrop with boldly marked green tips on its outer segments but most notable for the rabbit ears (see photo) formed when its spathe splits into two prominently upright, leaf-like halves.  It was discovered in 1818 by Herr Julius Scharlock of Grandenz, Germany, and named in 1868.  Charles got his stock from Winterthur, known for its amazing snowdrop display, when he worked there in the early 1990s.

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Obviously, I find everything about snowdrops fascinating and hope I have communicated some of my infatuation to you.  If you are in the U.S. and want to order from the catalogue, just follow the directions for mail order.

Carolyn

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US.  The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas 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.

 

November GBBD: What’s Peaking Now

Posted in evergreen, Fall, Fall Color, hellebores, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 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.

This Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, of unknown origin broke off in the ice and snow in January 2011.  For a photo of it then, click here.  It has recovered beautifully with an even more interesting habit.

I have said before that no matter how much I try to enjoy it, November is not my favorite month.  As I wander around, all I see are plants dying back, work to be done, and time running out.  Last year wasn’t too bad because we had a long warm fall with beautiful weather and plenty going on through the middle of November.  I even called my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post “Prime Time” (click here to see the show).  This year most gardeners in the mid-Atlantic US agree that fall colors on many plants have been muted and gardens have gone by early.  Even September and October contained few of the clear, crisp, and sunny days we look forward to, and then along came Sandy.

A seedling Japanese maple along my front walk.

Despite the bad fall, there are plants in my garden right now that make a stroll outside worthwhile.  What is it about them that so attracts me?  It is that these plants are reaching their ornamental height right now.  They are not just re-blooming or showing a few flowers on a plant that really peaked earlier like asters or phlox, and they are not producing lovely fall color on a woody that I grow just as much for its flowers like hydrangea or viburnum.  November is the month when they reach the top.

The Japanese maples that seeded around this London plane tree produce a variety of fall colors from yellow to orange to red.

In this post I re-introduce you to some of the plants that show their best side in November and December.  I have written about many of them before, and I will provide links to those posts.  However, I wanted to gather these plants together here to provide a complete reference of fall stars to use during your spring shopping  trips.

‘Shishigashira’ is a gorgeous Japanese maple that just starts to turn in mid-November.  It will eventually become a solid orangey red.

When all the other trees have shown their colors and lost their leaves, Japanese maples are just starting to turn.  Every time I go outside I grab my camera to take one more shot of their eye-catching color.  I think it is their prime ornamental characteristic, especially because of its timing, even though I also appreciate their fine branching structure, delicate leaves, and variety of habits.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

The white and pink flowers of hardy cyclamen.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen is dormant in the summer and re-emerges in the fall.  To get all the details, click here to read my recent post on this unusual but easy to grow plant.  For the purposes of this post, what makes it so desirable is that November is its peak when its leaves are fully emerged and provide a stunning backdrop for the flowers.

The basic Italian arum, A. italicum, sometimes called ‘Pictum’.


‘Gold Dust’ Italian arum has much more distinct markings with gold veins.


The leaves of ‘Tiny Tot’ Italian arum are about one-third the size (or less) of the species and very finely marked.


Italian arum’s life cycle is very similar to hardy cyclamen: it goes dormant in the summer and comes up fresh and beautiful to peak in the fall and through the winter.  It makes a great groundcover, and you can read more about it by clicking here.


Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii.

A giant snowdrop with unusually long outer segments (petals).

‘Potter’s Prelude’ giant snowdrop, G. elwesii var. monostichus, is just starting to open in mid-November.

I couldn’t write a post this time of year without mentioning fall-blooming snowdrops.  Although we think of snowdrops as blooming in March, there are several species that bloom in the fall, including G. reginae-olgae, which blooms in October and is done now.  Also the giant snowdrop, whose flowers are quite variable, blooms for a long period from November to February so I have included some photos above.  But the king of fall is ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a very robust and vigorous snowdrop that blooms reliably in November.  For more information, click here to read my post on fall-blooming snowdrops.

Christmas rose ‘Josef Lemper’, Helleborus niger

This photo was taken today—as you can see ‘Josef’ Lemper’s’ October flowers have gone by, but a whole new crop of buds are preparing for November.

 

The Christmas rose ‘Jacob’ begins a month later that ‘Josef Lemper’.  Its buds are just beginning to reach up beyond the leaves.

‘Josef Lemper’ and ‘Jacob’ Christmas roses are also stars in my November garden, producing pure white 3 to 4″ wide flowers set off by smooth evergreen leaves.  Fall is their season, and they produce copious amounts of flowers to cheer up dreary November days.  For more information on fall-blooming hellebores, click here.

Fall-blooming camellia ‘Winter’s Joy’ produces its first two flowers but look at all the buds to come.

The last photo is a teaser because of course fall-blooming camellias play a huge part in my November garden.  As with the other plants profiled, they are not just hanging on into November but instead come into their own then.  Look for an upcoming post featuring my camellias and my recent visit to the garden of a customer who also loves camellias.

All these plants (except the single flower of ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose) are pictured blooming in my garden right now so I am linking to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (“GBBD”) hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.

Carolyn

 

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

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.

 

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Goes International

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 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.

The BBC News Magazine was hours away from publication when they emailed to request a photo of me with snowdrops.  My husband and I had a quick photo shoot and this is what we came up with.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled flow of posts on this blog with breaking news.  The owner of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is prominently featured in the BBC News Magazine lead article for February 2 entitled “Snowdrop Fanciers and Their Mania”. 

All kidding aside, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I am in the company of Matt Bishop and John Grimshaw, two of the authors of the “snowdrop bible” Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, and Chris Ireland-Jones, the owner of the famous English snowdrop nursery Avon Bulbs.  You know what a snowdrop fanatic I am so this is the ultimate compliment.  To read the article (I am in the second half), click here.

Second Annual Snowdrops & Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars

Charles Cresson pointing out some of his very unusual snowdrop cultivars to last year’s seminar attendees.

I am very excited that winter interest plant expert and gardener extraordinaire Charles Cresson has agreed once again to give seminars on Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants just for my customers.  The seminars will be limited to 20 people each and will take place in his amazing Swarthmore garden, Hedgleigh Spring.  The brochure telling you the details and how to sign up is here.  If you are a local gardener and interested in attending, I encourage you to email immediately because I expect these seminars to sell out.  For a complete description of the 2011 seminars with many photos, click here.


Since this post is about all things snowdrop, I thought I would show you the first snowdrops to bloom in my garden in 2012:

The very first snowdrop cultivar to open in my garden in 2012: ‘Kite’.  Notice the very long outer segments (petals).


Second to open was Galanthus plicatus ‘Augustus’ with its striking puffy rounded and quilted outer segments.

‘Magnet’ is open and swaying in the breeze on its unusually long and thin flower stems (pedicels).

The double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’ is blooming even though it is usually one of the last snowdrops to open in the middle to end of March.

The aristocratic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, said to resemble the pearl drop earrings of Elizabeth I, is also flowering.

The common snowdrop, G. nivalis, is blooming a few weeks early.  I shot this picture to document the date they opened and had a funny feeling that something wasn’t right.  When I uploaded the photos to the computer I realized the plants in the front have four outer segments instead of three—very interesting.

The giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, has been flowering on and off since November, but this patch just opened this week.

I avidly read the Galanthus threads on the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops.  I highly recommend this forum if you are interested in snowdrops and want to learn more.  The forumists are some of the most knowledgeable galanthophiles around but very welcoming and eager to share their passion.  Several of them commented on the varied markings on the giant snowdrops pictured above which got me outside with my camera to record the marks.  Here is what I found:

Every flower in this collage is the same species, G. elwesii, and yet the green marks on the inner segments are all different, from the small single green mark on the middle  right flower to the mark that looks like a mustache and eyes in the middle of the bottom row.  Although I realize this will not excite most gardeners, at least everyone can see the amazing variety.  And variety is the spice of life.



I have recently been honored with the Versatile Blogger Award by four different blogs, and I want to thank them for the accolade.  I try to make my blog posts varied and yes versatile (able or meant to be used in many different ways), and I am glad that my efforts are appreciated.  I am not following the award rules, but instead letting you know who gave me the award in hopes that you will visit their blogs.  Here are the links and some information to entice you to visit them:

Graphicality–UK:  Helene is a very accomplished author.  You might want to check out her recent post on the book she published with her lovely photos of Kew Gardens.  Her current post talks about US grey squirrels invading Britain.

Green Place:  Sheila is in Chapel Hill, NC, and reflects on spirituality, nature and gardening.  She and I also share a love of Maine islands.

The Amateur Weeder:  For a very different perspective, Lyn gardens in Australia and her blog produces “seedlings from the mind of an inconstant gardener.”  I particularly liked her recent post called Designed by Nature.

Women and the Garden:  Patty writes about “the history of the garden and the various roles women played in that history,” and it is  all absolutely fascinating.  She doesn’t post often, but when she does you don’t want to miss it.  Her latest post is on Pomona, the roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards.

Carolyn

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

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 2/5/12.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.  The Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars are also available for registration here.  The Friday seminar has one space left, and there are three spaces on Monday.  Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. 

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.

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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