Archive for Magnolia kobus ‘Wada’s Memory’

What’s Pretty Today?

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Native ‘Multiplex’ double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is my favorite flower of all time.  There is a big patch in our woodland on a very well-drained slope.  ‘Multiplex’ stays in bloom a lot longer than single-flowered bloodroot, which blooms and shatters in a day or two.

This post focuses on some of the more unusual and striking plants that have been flowering over the last few weeks but haven’t fit into my previous posts.  Please excuse any ads that appear in the email from WordPress (the email doesn’t come from me!) announcing this post.

I am dedicating this post to Danny, Maria, Terry, Joe, and their coworkers at the Rosemont Pharmacy and all the pharmacy workers across the country who continue to work despite risk of infection so that we can get our prescriptions when we need them.  In the face of their dedication, any sacrifice that we are asked to make seems minor.  Please stay home to save lives.

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.We have about 20 different magnolias in our garden, and this magnolia, ‘Black Tulip’, is one of our favorites for its beautiful habit and amazing flower color.


‘Black Tulip’ magnolia


Another much-loved magnolia is ‘Wada’s Memory’.  The triangular shape is very striking.  At dawn and dusk, the white flowers glow like a ghostly Christmas tree.


‘Blue Ensign’ pulmonaria has the best blue flowers of any pulmonaria.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.


I have finally found a place in our gardens where native hepatica or liverwort thrives.  It’s a south-facing open slope under a Kousa dogwood.  This is sharp-lobed hepatica, H. acutiloba.


Not only do the flowers on double hellebores last much longer than singles, but the plants also continue to throw out additional blooms long after the singles are done.  This is ‘Harlequin Gem’ in the Winter Jewels Series with a fresh stem of flowers at the top.

.Both of my Winter Jewels ‘Peppermint Ice’ plants have new blooms right now.

.The so-called “Tennessee form” of native bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, has additional petals and also lasts longer than the fully single form.  After many years, all forms of bloodroot are starting to seed around our garden.

.Japanese cobra lilies or jack-in-the-pulpits look beautiful when they flower, but I love what they look like as they first emerge.  Here, Arisaema urashima.


A favorite every year, the dwarf tulip ‘Little Princess’ emerges from the gravel between stepping stones.


Growing around the base of epimediums, ‘Leeds Variety’ European wood anemone, A. nemorosa, has large and showy flowers, making it the most asked about wood anemone in our gardens.


The delicate, green flowers of ‘Viridiflora’ European wood anemone reappeared among the branches of a creeping juniper last year after disappearing from our garden over 15 years ago.  It’s a mystery!


What we call our “river” of native ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox, P. stolonifera, is quite a sight when it blooms.


Native shooting star, Dodecatheon media, also thrives in the open, south-facing bed under a Kousa dogwood.


Biennial, purple-leafed money plant ‘Chedglow’, Lunaria annua, is very rare in the US.


Japanese woodland primroses, Primula sieboldii, thrive in the full, dry shade under our American hornbeam.


There are over 500 flower forms of Japanese woodland primroses.  I especially like this one, but it didn’t come with a cultivar name.


‘Spotty Dotty’ Asian mayapple, Podophyllum, attracts a lot of attention in our garden.  For customers who were here last year, this is the plant that we had in a pot in the nursery.  It did quite well in the pot, and then we planted it in the garden last fall.  We have another even bigger plant that is at least five years old.


Considered the king of all shade plants by some, Japanese wood poppy, Glaucidium palmatum, takes many years to reach this size and bloom.

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!


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.

April GBBD: How to Choose

Posted in bulbs for shade, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hellebores, native plants, Shade Perennials, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 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  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Time is just flying by, and we have reached the middle of the month when I encourage each of you to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make early spring an exciting time in your landscape.  Do you need more early flowering trees like magnolias and cherries to give you a reason to stroll in your garden?  Could your garden benefit from flowers that bloom in early April like native spring ephemerals, bulbs, pulmonarias, and hellebores?

Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping this spring you know what you need and where it should go.  It’s beautiful outside, and you never know what you might find hiding in your garden like this ethereal double-flowered hellebore (pictured above), which I discovered during my own  inventory.  Usually I recommend a local garden to visit for inspiration, but I have to say Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is pretty inspiring right now!

Flowering quince, Chaenomeles x superba ‘Texas Scarlet’, with ‘White Lady’ hybrid hellebore

Today is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for April when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  Here are  some more highlights from my mid-April stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, but to see it all you will have to visit as Jean from Jean’s Garden and Jan from Thanks for Today are doing this Sunday.

My early magnolias are in full bloom.  Magnolias are my favorite flowering trees, and I want to share these early-blooming varieties with you:

Northern Japanese Magnolia, Magnolia kobus ‘Wada’s Memory’, has the most beautiful form of any magnolia.  The branches curve upwards to form an elongated pyramid, which is maintained even on mature plants.

‘Wada’s Memory’ flower

Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, blooms so early that it often gets damaged by frost, but amazingly the flowers are magnificent this year.

Star magnolia flowers

I have waited over 15 years for my Yulan magnolia, Magnolia denudata, to bloom, but once I saw mature trees at Longwood Gardens, I had to have one!  It was worth the wait.

My ingenious 13-year-old son used a grappling hook to pull a branch down and clip a Yulan magnolia flower for me to photograph.

There are so many beautiful hellebores in bloom that I made collages of my favorite flowers so that this whole post wasn’t dedicated to hellebores:

Clockwise from upper left: seedling double hybrid hellebore, ‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’, ‘Velvet Lips’ (don’t you love that name?), ‘Painted Bunting’

Clockwise from upper left: seedling petaloid hybrid hellebore, ‘Blue Lady’, Helleborus x nigercors ‘Green Corsican’ (cross between Corsican hellebore and Christmas rose), seedling in ‘Double Melody’ strain

Clockwise from upper left: double from ‘Golden Lotus’ seed strain, ‘Raspberry Mousse’, ‘Goldfinch’, seedling petaloid hybrid hellebore

I could dedicate the whole post to epimediums too so here are more collages:

Clockwise from upper left: ‘Yubae’, Epimedium x rubra, ‘Cherry Tart’, ‘Sweetheart’

Clockwise from upper left: ‘Shrimp Girl’, ‘Orange Queen’, Epimedium x warleyense, ‘Cupreum’

I have a collection of about 15 varieties of European wood anemones, and April is their time to shine.  They are very easy to grow in shaded woodland conditions:

Left to right from upper left: Anemone nemorosa pink form; Anemone x seemanii; ‘Alba Plena’; ‘Leed’s Variety’; ‘Bractiata’; ‘Allenii’; ‘Vestal’; Anemone ranunculoides; ‘Wyatt’s Pink’

European wood anemones spread to form a sizable and eye-catching patch even in dry shade, photo above of the yellow flowers of Anemone ranunculoides.

I want to share so many exciting blooming plants with you that I don’t know how to choose the photographs to include, hence the title of this post.  Here are other plants that made the cut:

Red lungwort, Pulmonaria rubra ‘Redstart’, is a very unusual pulmonaria with green fuzzy leaves.

Winterhazel, Corylopsis species, unfortunately for the first time ever our late freezes damaged most of the flowers.

Obviously not a bloom, but I wanted to show you the early color of native variegated dwarf Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

Native rue anemone, Anemonella thalictroides double pink form

I planted a mixture of daffodils in the middle of my raised beds, and this lovely seedling appeared in the path.

Native cinnamon fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, is gorgeous as it unfurls.

A seedling Helleborus multifidus underplanted with the spring ephemeral  Cardamine quinquefolia.

The many colors of Corydalis solida when allowed to seed.  I am planning an article on this plant in the future.

Who could have planned this combination?  Native coral bells, Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’, with a seedling glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii.

The new leaves and flowers of Japanese coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, are breathtaking in early spring.  For the full story on this four season tree, read my article Coral Bark Maple.

My latest spring-blooming camellia addition, Camellia x ‘April Rose’, a formal double.

For breath-taking beauty in early spring you can’t beat cherry trees:

A very mature Yoshino cherry, Prunus x yedoensis, that came with our property.  I love the fleeting nature of the flowers and look forward to the day every spring when it rains petals in my nursery.  Its orange fall color is spectacular.

My favorite cherry (at least for today), Prunus x incam ‘Okame’, dominates my courtyard garden in early spring.

I will end with a heart full of cherry blossoms because I love early spring!

Please let me know in a comment/reply what flowers are blooming in your early spring garden.  If you participated in GBBD, please provide a link so my nursery customers can read your post.


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.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: My second open house sale is this Saturday, April 16, from 10 am to 3 pm, featuring early spring-blooming plants for shade.

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