Archive for Okame cherry

Trees and Shrubs for Early Color

Posted in my garden, Shade Shrubs, Shade trees, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2020 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The fragrant, rose-pink double flowers of ‘Peggy Clarke’ flowering apricot, Prunus mume, have been a sensation at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens since early March.

Blogging is a lot of work, and 2020 marks my tenth year of providing quality content to my readers all over the globe.  It requires so much computer time that I have been taking a break since last October to dedicate more hours to my plant nursery and my own garden.  However, with coronavirus spreading quickly through the US and my own state of Pennsylvania, I have been wracking my brain for a way that I could contribute without leaving my home.  I hope that reviving my blog will give readers, and especially my wonderful customers in the beleaguered mid-Atlantic area, a brief moment of pleasure in the terrifying world we have entered. 

The photos below are of trees and shrubs that provide late winter and very early spring color.  They are electrifying in my garden when everything else is still winter brown.

I am dedicating this post to my high school friend Adrienne’s sister who is currently struggling to beat corona in New York and to all the healthcare workers and other personnel on the front lines, who are risking their own lives to keep us healthy.  Sty 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.

.‘Peggy Clarke’ is a gorgeous small tree with a vased-shaped habit, sited here in a west-facing location near our front door for optimal late-winter viewing.


Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, cascades off the corner of our terrace, but I have also seen it grown as a groundcover.  It normally opens a few flowers during warm days in January and February; however, we have had such a mild winter that it has been flowering for about five months.  The photo shows the last few blooms as the leaves start to open.



Our star magnolia, M. stellata, is often damaged by frost, but I wouldn’t be without its glorious masses of early, pure white flowers.


We have planted a field of blue glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa forbesii, under the star magnolia, and the combination is beautiful.  I couldn’t get a satisfactory shot of the two together, but you can see the magnolia trunk in the background.


Another shrub that has been blooming off and on since late fall is evergreen Japanese mahonia, M. japonica.  This mahonia is the best species for garden use as its leaves remain pristine and its flowers are a lovely shade of yellow in large sprays.


If Cornelian cherry dogwood, Cornus mas, bloomed later in the season, it would be overshadowed by many other small flowering trees.  However, its fresh, yellow-green flowers stand out in the stark late winter landscape.

.‘Okame’ cherry, Prunus x incam ‘Okame’, viewed here from an upstairs window, provides shade for our deck and is the earliest blooming cherry with very long-lasting flowers.

.Under the ‘Okame’ cherry, by the edge of the deck is a dwarf Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Yatsubusa Kiyohime’.  Its leaves come out very early and are a striking combination of red and bronze.

.Our edgeworthia opens its fragrant yellow and white flowers in late winter.  This shrub has four seasons of ornamental interest with beautiful flowers, cinnamon-colored bark, tropical leaves, and, my favorite, copious silver buds like tassels on Victorian cushions starting in November.


Edgeworthia flower


Yulan magnolia, M. denudata, is a relatively rare, early-blooming magnolia with large, goblet-like white flowers.  Again, it can get damaged by late frosts but is well worth having in the years like this one when it is magnificent.


Yulan magnolia flower


Buttercup winter hazel, Corylopsis pauciflora, is an early-blooming, fine-textured shrub with elegant, butter yellow flowers.


‘Texas Scarlet’ dwarf flowering quince gives an eye-catching punch of color in what can still be a dreary winter landscape.  It stays quite small and doesn’t have thorns like regular quinces.

My intent is to post on the blog more than once a week.  You can provide inspiration to me and other readers by posting comments about your own experience with these plants or other late winter trees and shrubs.  Blogs are a lot more fun for everyone, especially the writer, when they are interactive.  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.

%d bloggers like this: