Archive for ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ smooth hydrangea

Maine in Early Fall

Posted in Fall, Maine, native plants, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 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.

DSCN2774These photos look so much more beautiful on my iPad than on my lower resolution laptop that I hope you can all view them on a device with high screen resolution.

This blog post is dedicated to the 139 people who have voted for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens so far.  Thank you so much.

Before I get to the rest of the photos, I am asking for your help.  My husband and I are making long range plans to ensure the sustainability of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens into its third decade.  As we get older and are less able to do hard physical labor, we need employees to help us with the core business and we need to expand into less labor intensive operations.  To enable this to happen, we have applied for a Mission Main Street Grant.  The application process requires that we get 250 votes from our customers.  We need you to vote for us as described below.

Votes are being authenticated through Facebook Connect so to vote you must be a Facebook user and you must log into your Facebook account.  You will receive an automatic message generated by Facebook stating that the grantor will receive your public profile and friends list.  This is for the purpose of vote authentication only, they will not store or share your information as it says below the Vote Now button.  To vote for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, click here and click the Vote Now button.  Whether you are a local customer, someone who has ordered snowdrops or miniature hostas mail order, a Facebook follower, or one of my far flung blog readers, I hope that you will think that it is worthwhile supporting our sustainability efforts and vote now.

[As of Sunday, October 27, at 4:30 pm, we have 139 votes and really need 111 more!]

Now for more photos of the beautiful coast of Maine:

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I have gotten so much positive feedback from my customers saying that they loved my blog posts from Maine.  However, looking back I realized that all my Maine posts this summer were about cultivated plants and gardens.  Although the gardens are gorgeous, the most beautiful parts of Maine, and the reason you should visit Maine, are the wild areas.  This post contains photos of the Maine coast taken in mid-September, the nicest time to visit the state (I should work for the tourist bureau!).  If readers want more, I can do a subsequent post with photos from mid-October.

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I thought I would also use this post to show the results, one year later, of the changes that I made to my family’s garden in Maine as described in my July 2012 post Landscape Problem Solved.  In that post, I explained how I removed an unwanted perennial garden and replaced it with native smooth hydrangeas, H. arborescens, in pink and white.  Here are the results one year later:

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball' & 'Invincible Spirit'The white-flowered cultivar is ‘Incrediball’ and the pink one is ‘Invincible Spirit’.

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DSCN2767Although both cultivars are beautiful, ‘Invincible Spirit’ flopped every time it rained and eventually didn’t recover, while ‘Incrediball’ stood straight on its extra sturdy stems through torrential rains.  Its flowers remain upright as of today, and it has continued to produce new pure white blooms.

You constantly tell me how much you enjoy my blog, and the positive feedback is very much appreciated because the blog is a lot of work.  Now I need you to help me by voting for Carolyn’s Shade Gardens today.  Just clickhere and vote now.

Thanks, Carolyn

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

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

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the winter.  Look for the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue in early January.

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.

Landscape Problem Solved

Posted in How to, landscape design, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , on July 25, 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.

20120724-154006.jpg‘Invincibelle Spirit’ and ‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangeas massed at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Three things came together recently to help me solve a landscaping problem that had bothered me for years. First, I was reading one of my favorite blogs called Conrad Art & Glass Gardens authored by Larry Conrad. In a recent post he talked about his favorite combinations including one achieved by massing white and pink smooth hydrangeas. I have been interested in smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens, because it is very shade tolerant. I also like it because it is a native plant found through out much of the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. The well known cultivar ‘Annabelle’ with very large white mophead flowers was discovered in the wild in the 1960s. It grows well in Maine and has proven to be quite deer resistant on the island where my family vacations.

20120724-185734.jpgWhite and pink smooth hydrangeas massed in Larry Conrad’s Wisconsin garden.

The second thing that brought me to this post was a landscaping dilemma at my family’s house in Maine. There is a perennial garden planted by the previous owners next to the front door. However, no one who uses the house wants to garden there. The native landscape is so beautiful we don’t need any added ornamentals. I had been wondering where to try Larry’s beautiful combination, and this neglected garden seemed the perfect place. I bought three pink and two white smooth hydrangea with the intention of emptying the bed and letting them fill it in.

20120724-195423.jpgSmooth hydrangeas at the entrance to the children’s garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

The third contributor to this post was a visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk came to visit me in Maine, and I had to show her this gorgeous garden (among other Maine delights). In the fall of 2010 I wrote about my first visit to CMBG, and I will write a longer post about my recent visit later but right now we are discussing hydrangeas. Imagine my delight when we approached the CMBG children’s garden and found the hydrangea combination I intended to use lining the entrance. My project now had a professional seal of approval, and I couldn’t wait to get home and start digging.

20120725-113605.jpgInvincibelle Spirit’ smooth hydrangea at CMBG

There was a choice of which smooth hydrangea cultivars to use. The biggest determining factor was which plants looked the healthiest at the nursery where I bought them. Although smooth hydrangeas are extremely tough, taking both dry and wet soils, clay, drought, heat, shade, rocky soil, and almost anything else you can throw at them, I have found them difficult to establish if you don’t start with vigorous specimens. There are two pink-flowered cultivars: ‘Bella Anna’ and ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, which has been on the market longer. I have been told that ‘Belle Anna’ is an improvement on ‘Invicibelle Spirtit’, but the plants looked weaker and I don’t think you can improve on the ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ specimens at CMBG in the photo above.

20120725-113851.jpg‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea at CMBG

For the white smooth hydrangeas, I had a choice of tried-and-true ‘Annabelle’ and an improved version called ‘Incrediball’, which has even larger, to 12″, globular flowers. Although I wasn’t after larger flowers, I chose ‘Incrediball’ because the flowers are whiter than ‘Annabelle’, which has some lime in it, and because ‘Incrediball’s’ stems have been selected for thickness to avoid flopping when it rains.

20120725-120518.jpg‘Invincibelle Spirit’ and ‘Incrediball’ at CMBG

All the smooth hydrangea cultivars grow to around 3 to 5′ wide and 3 to 5′ tall in zones 3 to 9. They flower from June to September, but the dried flowers heads are quite beautiful through fall. They perform best in part shade, but will grow in full sun with consistent moisture. The straight species grows in full shade. They bloom on new wood so pruning in late winter is recommended to encourage vigorous new stem growth.

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20120725-122305.jpgMy newly planted smooth hydrangeas

As you can see from the two photos above, my new hydrangeas have been planted. I anticipate that they will fill in the whole bed and crowd out weeds. I am still working on the wall but am quite happy with it so far. I hope the trench along the front will allow us to keep the nasty, tenacious grass out of the bed. If I get really ambitious, I am going to fill the trench with mussel shells from the beach.

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This post is my second experiment with publishing a post directly from my recently acquired “new” iPad. Although it was a little easier this time and I mastered bold captions and links, I still had to call Donna in Niagara Falls to help me. I also took the final two photos with the iPad, and I think they turned out quite well. I am very impressed with the camera function on the new iPad, but you can’t truly appreciate the incredible resolution unless you have a very good screen on your computer, which I don’t. I think I would recommend an iPad just for looking at photos, that is if you can afford it. We don’t have internet access at the house in Maine so portability was a big factor for me. But the major reason I got it, 3G/4G capability is a huge disappointment, which I will explain at a later date.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

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.

Woody Plants for Shade Part 5

Posted in Fall Color, landscape design, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Shrubs, shade vines, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 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 bright rose flowers of ‘Wine & Roses’ old-fashioned weigela.

Shade gardens are not composed solely of perennials so two years ago I branched out to offer high quality shrubs, vines, and trees to my customers.  In my second Spring 2012 Woody Plant Offer, details here,  I have focused on plants that are late spring or summer blooming and native to our area.  I thought my blog readers who are not customers might be interested in learning about the plants that I would recommend they add to their shade gardens.  And doing an article allows me to add more information and explain why I chose the plants I included so customers might be interested also.

When it blooms in late spring, our native fringe tree is covered with elegant, fragrant flowers.

Fringe tree is a lovely small flowering tree or a large shrub.

I saw native fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, in full bloom in the shady woods of Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia recently, and it reminded me of how gorgeous this native tree is.   It is loaded with generous amounts of creamy white, fragrant flowers in May and June.  Its medium green leaves turn a good yellow in the fall.  It may produce showy grape-like fruit attractive to birds.  Fringe tree grows to 12 to 20’ tall and 12 to 20’ wide in sun to part shade, although the tree in Bartram’s Garden was in a very shady site.  It is wet site tolerant, hardy to zone 4, and native to the eastern US, including PA.  It is a  Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit (photos courtesy of MOBOT).

 

 Our native dwarf summersweet is loaded with fragrant white flowers in summer.

I have seen stands of summersweet growing wild in New England, and it is a beautiful sight.  However, the species gets quite large and suckers into colonies so the native dwarf summersweet ‘Hummingbird’Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’, is better for most home gardens.  It has very fragrant, bottlebrush, white flowers in June and July that attract butterflies.  Its  lustrous bright green leaves turn a clear yellow in the fall.  It has an excellent compact habit and produces more flowers than the species.

Dwarf summersweet’s habit is much more compact and attractive than the species, and it produces more flowers.

Dwarf summersweet grows to 2 to 4’ tall and 3’ wide in sun to full shade.  It is hardy to zone 4, deer resistant, wet site and salt tolerant, and native to the eastern US, including PA.  It is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant,  click here for details (photos courtesy of the MOBOT Plant Finder, for more information click here).


 ‘Nikko’ dwarf slender deutzia is loaded with white flowers in late spring.

‘Nikko’ lining my rock garden path in full shade.

I have offered ‘Nikko’ dwarf slender deutzia, D. gracilis ‘Nikko’, before, but it is such a useful plant that I couldn’t help including it again.  It is covered with delicate white flowers in April and May.  Its fine-textured and neat green leaves turn an attractive burgundy in the fall.  It is an excellent specimen or flowering groundcover for shade.  I grow it in full shade as a groundcover to edge the path at the base of my winterberry hollies.  ‘Nikko’ grows to 1 to 2’ tall and 2 to 5’ wide in full sun to full shade.  It is hardy to zone 4 and deer resistant.  It is a PHS Gold Medal Plant (for more information click here).


 ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ is a color breakthrough for our native smooth hydrangea.

Native ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, is  a pink-flowered version of the wonderful ‘Annabelle’.  It has very showy large pink snowball flowers that continue to bloom from June into the fall.  ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ grows to 3 to 4’ tall by 3 to 4’ wide in part to full shade.  It is hardy to zone 4, tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, deer resistant, and native to the eastern US, including PA.  It should be gently pruned in late spring for optimum growth (photo courtesy of the MOBOT Plant Finder, for more information click here).                    

A close up of the large and beautiful flowers and leaves of oakleaf hydrangea.

   Native oakleaf hydrangea in my woodland garden at the base of a black walnut.

The fall color of oakleaf hydrangea.

Our native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, is the best all round shrub for shade—everyone should have at least one!  Huge, long-lasting, upright pyramids of white flowers bloom from May through July and change to pink for even longer interest.  It has bold-textured leaves with heart-stopping burgundy-red fall color, and cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark—a true four season plant.  I am offering ‘Alice’ native oakleaf hydrangea, a superior form that has larger flowers, better fall color, and very disease resistant leaves.  It grows to 5 to 8’ tall and 5 to 8’ wide in sun to full shade.  It is hardy to zone 5, walnut and drought tolerant, and native to the southeastern US.  For more information, click here.


The pink mophead flowers of ‘Preziosa’ age to a dark maroon.

‘Preziosa’s’ leaves are gorgeous, here they are starting to turn burgundy in the fall.

‘Preziosa’ sawtooth hydrangea, H. serrata ‘Preziosa’, is now my favorite “fancy” hydrangea for full shade so I am offering it again.  I planted mine in the shade of a white pine under a cherry laurel behind a Japanese maple, and it is thriving and loaded with buds right now.  This wonderful hydrangea produces lovely pink mophead flowers from June to August, which darken with age to a gorgeous maroon.  But I may like the elegant leaves more, especially their beautiful burgundy fall color.   The leaves, deep red stems, flowers, and habit of ‘Preziosa’ are all superior to most other hydrangeas.  ‘Preziosa’ grows to 3 to 4’ tall and 3 to 4’ wide in part to full shade.  It is very tolerant of cold temperatures and hardy to zone 5.  For more information, click here.



 The elegant leaves and flowers of native ‘Blue Muffin’ arrowwood viburnum.

Native ‘Blue Muffin’ arrowwood viburnum, V. dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’,  has lovely flat-topped white flowers in May and June that attract butterflies.  Lots of pea-sized very blue berries appear in late summer and attract birds.  The shiny dark green leaves are beautiful all season and turn attractive shades of orange to burgundy in the fall.  ‘Blue Muffin’ has an excellent and useful narrow, upright habit.  The branches are so straight that the Native Americans used them for arrows. 

‘Blue Muffin’s’ blueberry-like fruit.

‘Blue Muffin’ grows to 5 to 8’ tall and 3 to 4’ wide in sun to part shade.  It is deer resistant and grows in a wide range of soils.  It tolerates salt, drought, and walnuts.  ‘Blue Muffin’ is hardy to zone 3 and native to the eastern US, including PA (fruit photo courtesy of MOBOT, for more information click here).

 The flowers of ‘Wine & Roses’ weigela.

‘Wine & Roses’ old-fashioned weigela, W. florida ‘Wine & Roses’, has copious amounts of eye-catching rose-red flowers in May and June that attract hummingbirds.   The flowers are set off to perfection by the glossy deep burgundy leaves whose color intensifies in the fall.  ‘Wine & Roses’ has an excellent habit—you can prune it immediately after flowering to fit any location.  It grows to 4 to 5’ tall and 4 to 5’ wide in sun to part shade.  Although I recommend some direct sun for better flowers, I have seen weigela blooming in full shade.  It is hardy to zone 4, deer resistant, and tolerant of a wide range of soils.  ‘Wine & Roses’ is a PHS Gold Medal Plant, for details click here.


The silver leaves of ‘Moonlight’ Japanese climbing hydrangea.

The flowers of Japanese climbing hydrangea—here the straight species.

‘Moonlight’ Japanese hydrangea vine, Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’, has very showy 8 to 10” wide white lacecap flowers  in midsummer.  But I really grow it for its elegant silver-painted dark green leaves, which turn yellow in the fall.  ‘Moonlight’ is a self-attaching vine that covers the surface it grows on with silvery leaves.  It reaches 20 to 30’ at maturity in part to full shade—mine is in deep shade.  It is a PHS Gold Medal Plant, for details click here (photo of flowers courtesy of the MOBOT Plant Finder click here).

I hope I have inspired you to order some of these wonderful plants in my offer or search them out at your local independent nursery.  To read the previous posts on woody plants for shade, click one, two, three, and four.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Customers can pre-order woody plants through noon on May 22.  Click here for details.  We have added a third session of our seminar, The Secrets of a Low Maintenance Garden, on Sunday, May 20.  Click here for details. If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.

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

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

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

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