Archive for Sir Henry Elwes

Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens, England February 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, flower show, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The best place to see snowdrops in England is Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.

Michael and I traveled to England during snowdrop season again this year.  We stayed with Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, called the greatest snowdrop destination in England.  From there we visited Evenley Wood Garden, Ronald Mackenzie at Barn Cottage, Olive Mason at Dial Park, John Massey at Ashwood Nurseries, Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, Simon Biddulph at Rodmarton Manor, and Hilary and Hugh Purkess at Welshway Cottage. 

We also helped set up the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in London.  Each of these visits will eventually be a blog post, but I wanted to give you a few highlights now.

Nursery News:  We will be selling winter interest plants at Winterthur this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, details below.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.

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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Glory-of-the-snow on the March Bank at Winterthur.

Before I get to England though, this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, is the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Event.  It promises to be a great time with a lecture, garden tours, and interesting vendors, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Here are the details:

Celebrate the first flowers of the year at Winterthur on Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm. At 11 am, Dr. Peter Zale, Curator of Plants at Longwood Gardens,  will explore Intrinsic Beauty: Snowdrops, Choice Bulbs, and How They Enrich Gardens. From 1 to 2 pm, enjoy guided or self-guided garden tours.  Shop at the specialty sale of rare and unusual plants from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, RareFind Nursery, and Edgewood Gardens. Garden tours and plant sale are included with admission.  To purchase tickets please call 800.448.3883.

And now for snowdrop highlights from England:

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Leucojum vernum, spring snowflake, on a stream bank at Evenley Wood Garden.  Although snowdrops generally prefer well-drained sites, leucojum thrives in wet areas.

.One of the rarer Greatorex double snowdrops, ‘Desdemona’, at Evenley Wood.

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One of my favorite snowdrops of the whole trip, ‘Don Armstrong’ in Ronald Mackenzie’s garden.

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This snowdrop, also at Ronald Mackenzie’s, has been at the top of my wish list for a while, although it is supposed to be hard-to-grow, ‘Daglingworth’.

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Michael thinks Olive Mason’s long-pediceled snowdrop, apparently a relation of ‘Fly Fishing’, should be introduced as “Deep Sea Fishing”.

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As we walked around Dial Park, I pointed out snowdrop after snowdrop with very interesting marks and asked what it was.  Olive Mason’s response: “Oh, it’s just another ‘Trym’ seedling.”  ‘Trym’ seedlings were even growing out of the hedges and between paving stones.

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A beautiful use of snowdrops in a stumpery in John Massey’s private garden at Ashwood Nurseries.

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The beautiful and eBay record-setting, yellow Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ in John Massey’s garden.  One plant sold for £725 in 2012.

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A very pale virescent snowdrop from Andy Byfield, ‘Northern Lights’, seen at Avon Bulbs.

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A lovely and rare new snowdrop with yellow on the outer segments to be introduced soon by Avon Bulbs as ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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Again this year, we were privileged to be escorted around Rodmarton Manor and gardens by owner Simon Biddulph.  Rodmarton is one of the best surviving examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement with 8 acres of gardens.

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Introduced by Simon Biddulph, ‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ is one of the most impressive snowdrops I have ever seen.

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Another rare and beautiful snowdrop seen at Rodmarton, ‘Celia’s Double’.

.An enchanting scene from Hilary and Hugh Purkess’s garden, Welshway Cottage.

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The best display of ‘Augustus’ I have ever seen, at Welshway Cottage.

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Another wonderful snowdrop at Welshway where every scape produces a twin-headed flower, ‘Harewood Twin’.

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Drifts of ‘S. Arnott’ at Colesbourne Park, the place to go to see massive quantities of snowdrops!

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Snowdrops cover the hillside above a huge, moss-covered English oak on the shore of the naturally, bright blue Colesbourne lake.

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‘Under Cherry Plum’ in the Avon Bulbs Royal Horticultural Society Exhibit.

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ in Avon’s exhibit.

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Such a gorgeous snowdrop and so well-named, ‘Puffin’ from Avon Bulbs.

Each of these venues deserves a post of its own, but for now, all I have time for is a sampler!

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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Drifts of Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

colesbourne-lake-2-10-2017-5-16-18-amA drift of snowdrops covers the hill above the extraordinarily colored lake at Colesbourne Park.  The amazing blue is caused by light reflecting off naturally deposited clay in the water.  It is worth visiting just to see it.

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.

Michael and I just returned from a two week snowdrop trip to England.  For six days we were the guests of Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.   Colesbourne has been called England’s greatest snowdrop garden, and wandering through the grounds for six days I can see why.  First, the 2,500 acre setting is absolutely magnificent, including the lake pictured above, a church dating back to 1067, and a charming village with a delightful pub, the Colesbourne Inn, serving delicious food.

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 'Margaret Owen'This lovely, very large snowdrop ‘Margaret Owen’ is a fitting tribute to its namesake, a renowned galanthophile.

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Galanthus 'Rodmarton'The double snowdrop ‘Rodmarton’ originated at the nearby Rodmarton Manor, an arts and crafts house featuring its own wonderful snowdrop collection.

Second, you can see many rare and unusual snowdrops, like ‘Margaret Owen’ and ‘Rodmarton’ above, in large clumps instead of singly or in small groups.  Colesbourne Park has over 250 varieties in its collection, and they work hard to develop each into a large stand. 

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Sir Henry Elwes stands in a field of  ‘S. Arnott’ as he entertains a guided tour with tales of Colesbourne and its snowdrops.

Third, if you are lucky enough to go on a tour, you will be taken around by Sir Henry Elwes who grew up at Colesbourne and knows all 2,500 acres intimately.  His great-grandfather was Henry John Elwes, the famous Victorian plant explorer who discovered his namesake snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey in 1874.  During the tour, Sir Henry will tell you about snowdrops, but he will also regale you with fascinating stories about Colesbourne itself.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'A close up of ‘S. Arnott’, called the desert island snowdrop because if galanthophiles could have just one, this would be it!

But for me, the most amazing thing about Colesbourne is the huge drifts of some of the more well known cultivars of snowdrops.  As I have said before, I am not interested in having a collection of hundreds of little groups of rare snowdrops.  I want plants with interesting leaves and habits as well as flowers, that are vigorous and will multiply into large clumps fairly quickly.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’, a Greatorex double snowdrop, which has been intentionally divided and spread out at Colesbourne.

When Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes took over Colesbourne Park, intervening generations had not tended John Henry Elwes’s collections and many had been sold.  However, some snowdrops remained, and Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn developed the current Colesbourne snowdrop display in the last 25 years.  Colesbourne showed me what you could do with a snowdrop collection and why snowdrops like ‘S. Arnott’ and the others pictured below are so widely grown.  It was a revelation.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’ en masse

Here are some more snowdrops that have been systematically divided to form huge stands at Colesbourne:

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’, a large and vigorous single snowdrop, called “one of the foundation stones of many collections” by Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ quickly turns into a good sized patch.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ drifts

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ is my favorite of the many Greatorex doubles and also the most widely grown.

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ as far as the eye can see.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'Early-blooming ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, another much admired classic called a “plant of great quality” by the Bishop book.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'A stand of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’, also a Greatorex double

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’ spread far and wide.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusGalanthus plicatus ‘Colossus’, an early vigorous snowdrop with a beautiful habit and elegant leaves.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusStands of ‘Colossus’

I visited some other snowdrop venues that had sweeping drifts but none with the variety found at Colesbourne.  Painswick Rococo Garden is the place where the famous snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ was first selected in the 1860s.  There are amazing drifts of ‘Atkinsii’, Galanthus nivalis, and ‘Flore Pleno’ there:

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' with Galanthus 'Flore PlenoThe very tall and stately ‘Atkinsii’ in the back with ‘Flore Pleno’ in the front at Painswick.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A hillside of ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick.
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Welford Park is awe-inspiring for sheer numbers of snowdrops, which grow in sheets through out their woods.  All of the plants are Galanthus nivalis:
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-7-26-017Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with winter aconite.
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-50-02-amCommon snowdrops at Welford Park
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-40-38-amIt looks like it just snowed in the woods at Welford Park.

Thank you so much to Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes for opening their world, both snowdrop and otherwise, to two very grateful visitors from across the pond.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events or mail order information 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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