Archive for Galanthus ‘Potter’s Prelude’

Keeping the Shade Garden Going in Late Fall

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 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.

main terrace at Carolyn's Shade Gardens in late fall

Articles on landscape design advocate creating beds that flower through out the gardening season.  This is a lofty goal, and one that is not always worth achieving.  Beds that are designed to accomplish it often look spotty and unfocused because there is no theory behind the design besides bloom time, and the bed never truly peaks.  My woodland gardens, which contain mostly spring ephemerals and are done by June, provide immense satisfaction to me and are thoroughly enjoyed by my customers, even though their ornamental season is limited.  Most of my other gardens also have their season of splendor and then step aside to let other areas shine.

On the other hand, it is important to me that I have at least one prominent garden that is ornamentally interesting all year.  And I realize that most gardeners don’t have the space that I have to indulge in the luxury of letting a garden go by in June.  So, the question is, how do you keep a garden going in late fall before the winter-blooming plants get started?  What plants can you use to create the sense of a garden still growing: a feeling of plant combinations not individual plants?

I want to tell you about the area where I have done this most successfully: the shady end of the terrace outside my front door.  Through silver, purple, pink, and dark green groundcovers, leaves, and flowers, this terrace still has the feeling of a garden in its prime right now in early December.

'Shell Pink' lamium at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Shell Pink’ Lamium in early December

I think the most important element of a late season border is a flowering evergreen groundcover.  In this bed, I use ‘Shell Pink’ lamium (photo above) because it blooms from April to December (at some times more prolifically than others) and remains evergreen all year.  I have also planted the fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium (photo below).  Its pink flowers appear from September into November.  Although dormant for a short time in summer, once its leaves come back in late August, it maintains a fresh pristine appearance through the following June.  It spreads to form a very attractive groundcover and is not picky about the site like the spring-blooming cyclamen.

fall-blooming cyclamen at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Hardy Cyclamen

'Diana Clare' pulmonaria at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Diana Clare’ Pulmonaria

Foliage is important this time of year.  I chose pulmonarias to fill a big space because their leaves remain ornamental almost until new leaves appear in February.  The solid silver foliage of  ‘Diana Clare’ (photo above) is one of my favorites in my pulmonaria collection.  Equally as important are the dark evergreen leaves of several hellebores: Christmas roses, hybrid hellebores, the H. x ericsmithii cultivars ‘Silvermoon’ and ‘Ivory Prince’ with their silver marbling, and the golden-veined leaves of H. x nigercors ‘Green Corsican’.  Finally, I treasure the almost year round interest of the new cultivars of our native coralbell, Heuchera villosa.  Here I used ‘Frosted Violet’ (photo below), which is deep burgundy-purple with lighter highlights.

'Frosted Violet' native coralbells at Carolyn's Shade GardensNative Coralbell ‘Frosted Violet’

Christmas Rose 'Jacob' at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Christmas rose ‘Jacob’

For the final element of flowers, in addition to the pink blooms of the lamium, I added the fall-blooming Christmas roses, Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’ (photo above) and ‘Josef Lemper’.  ‘Jacob’, the shorter and more compact of the two, is sending up buds now.  ‘Josef’ will begin flowering in a few weeks.  Both cultivars continue to produce new blossoms into May.  I have also added lots of the fall-blooming snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’ (photo below).  This exceedingly robust snowdrop will produce its lovely white flowers for the next month.

fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’

Main terrace at Carolyn's Shade GardensTerrace in late November

So that’s it: groundcover, foliage, and flowers through mid-January when the winter-blooming perennials and bulbs take over.  Not the abundance of late spring, but certainly ornamental.

Carolyn

Notes:  All photos in this post were taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in late November. Flowering evergreen shrubs are an important part of any late fall garden.  For all of you who have been to Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, you may wonder why I didn’t mention the semi-circle of large fragrant daphnes (Daphne odora) that lined this bed.  Unfortunately, they were killed last winter by falling white pine branches.  I hope to replace them.

fragrant daphne odora at Carolyn's Shade GardensFragrant Daphne, gone but not forgotten!

Snowdrops or the Confessions of a Galanthophile

Posted in bulbs for shade, Fall Color, Shade Gardening, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 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 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.

Common Snowdrop at Carolyn's Shade GardensCommon Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis

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

I have always loved snowdrops. I loved them so much that I set my seasonal clock by them.  When they bloomed, it was spring no matter what the calendar said. When we purchased our property in 1983, it came with thousands of common snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis. Many of my original snowdrops are on an open south-facing hill and often start to bloom at the beginning of February.  That’s when spring began for me.  When they bloomed, I would put on my warmest set of work clothes, head out to the garden, and leave the winter doldrums behind.

'Viridi-apice' snowdrops at Carolyn's Shade GardensGreen-tipped Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice’

That was before I became a galanthophile, a British word describing gardeners obsessed with snowdrops.  In my pre-galanthophile days, I thought (and I shudder to put this in writing) that once you had the double ‘Flore Pleno’, and the giant G.  elwesii, and the green-tipped ‘Viridi-apice’, and the glossy green-leafed G. woronowii, you pretty much had the snowdrop field covered.  The rest all looked the same, didn’t they?  What were all those collectors getting so excited about?

But one day, I realized the error of my ways and was seized by the galanthophile obsession to collect every snowdrop cultivar I could get my hands on.  Actually, it didn’t really happen in a day—more like years.  It started with reading the snowdrop sections in the (old) Heronswood catalogues.  Dan Hinkley was a master at plant descriptions, and I ordered a few new cultivars each year.  However, my fate as a galanthophile was sealed when I visited the garden of  famous regional plantsman Charles Cresson during snowdrop season.  Charles can make you see and appreciate the finest distinctions in plants, and he is so generous with his treasures.

Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart' at Carolyn's Shade GardensGalanthus ‘Blewbury Tart’

Now I had the wild up-facing double ‘Blewbury Tart’, and ‘Magnet’ with the fishing line stem, and the drop-pearl earring shaped ‘Atkinsii’, and  the classic ‘S. Arnott’, and the rabbit-eared ‘Sharlockii’, and …. they all looked different to me.  I only have 25 varieties though, hardly qualifying me to join the International Galanthophile Society if there is one.  Luckily (or unluckily) unusual snowdrops are rarely offered for sale in the U.S. saving me from creating a system to keep track of hundreds of snowdrop cultivars in my garden.  The British snowdrop “bible”, Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, et al., describes 500 cultivars and is sadly out-of-date number-wise.

snowdrop 'Magnet' at Carolyn's Shade GardensGalanthus ‘Magnet’

But why am I talking about snowdrops in fall?  Because two of the unusual varieties I have been able to collect bloom in fall.  This wreaked havoc with my “start of spring” clock, which I had to reset to recognize the wonderful fragrance of sweet box as the beginning of spring.  But this inconvenience has been more than outweighed by allowing me to start my snowdrop season in early October with the blooming of Galanthus reginae-olgae.

October blooming Galanthus reginae-olgae, photo Charles Cresson

Galanthus reginae-olgae, a species snowdrop which has no handy common name, starts blooming in my garden in early to mid-October and continues for about four weeks.  It looks very much like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, with a single green spot on its inner petals.  Its most significant identifying feature is its bloom time as it is the first species to flower in the garden.   It is not particularly robust in my garden, but I love it in October.

fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade GardensNovember blooming Galanthus ‘Potter’s Prelude’

Just as G. reginae-olgae is winding down, the first blooms of Galanthus elwesii var. monostichus ‘Potter’s Prelude’ are opening in early November.  It continues to flower, sometimes into January, when the straight species, G. elwesii, takes over.  ‘Potter’s Prelude’ is a free-flowering and vigorous snowdrop in my garden with wide recurving blue-green leaves.  It has large blossoms equal in size to the best cultivars of the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii.

fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade GardensNovember blooming Galanthus ‘Potter’s Prelude’

‘Potter’s Prelude’ was selected by Jack Potter, former curator of the Scott Arboretum, and named and registered by Charles Cresson.  Charles has generously allowed me to include ‘Potter’s Prelude’ for sale in my February snowdrop catalogue and given me enough plants to enjoy good-sized clumps in late fall in my own garden.

Carolyn

November GBBD: Make a Spring Shopping List Now

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, How to with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 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.

'Warsaw Nike' clematis at Carolyn's Shade GardensThis Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ decided to produce one final flower in mid-November

Now is the time to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make late fall a peak time in your landscape.  Do you need more trees and shrubs with brilliant fall color?  Could your garden benefit from more plants that bloom later in fall?  Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping next spring you know what you need and where it should go.  As an added benefit, you can enjoy each miraculous discovery like the Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ pictured above, which I found during my own fall inventory.

If you need ideas, visit local arboretums and gardens.  I always find a trip to the Morris Arboretum near Chestnut Hill, PA, highly inspirational and informative.  I have added a permanent category to my sidebar for places to visit and get ideas.

Today is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for November (follow the link to see fall  photographs from other garden bloggers).  Here are a few more highlights from my mid-November stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens:

'Potter's Prelude' snowdrops at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Snowdrops ‘Potter’s Prelude’

Disanthus at Carolyn's Shade GardensDisanthus cercidifolius

fall-blooming hardy cyclamen at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Hardy Cyclamen

fall-blooming camellia 'Elaine Lee' at Carolyn's Shade GardensFall-blooming Camellia ‘Elaine Lee’

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Darling' at Carolyn's Shade GardensAckerman Hybrid Fall-blooming Camellia

'Rozanne' hardy geranium at Carolyn's Shade GardensHardy Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Kousa dogwood at Carolyn's Shade GardensKousa Dogwood

holly osmanthus at Carolyn's Shade GardensHolly Osmanthus ‘Sasaba’

black fountain grass at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Moudry’ Black Fountain Grass

'Magic Carpet' spiraea at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Magic Carpet’ Spiraea

toad-lily 'Sinonome' at Carolyn's Shade GardensToad-lily ‘Sinonome’

'Gold Rush' Italian arum at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Gold Rush’ Italian Arum

Carolyn

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