Archive for 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.

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Groundcovers, Thinking Outside the Box

Posted in garden to visit, groundcover, How to, landscape design, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 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.

Part of the Idea Garden at Longwood Gardens

I recently visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  I have no hesitancy in saying that Longwood is one of the premier gardens in the world and should be on everyone’s life list.  However, there is so much there that it is difficult to post about it.  Also, “familiarity breeds contempt.”  I hold two Certificates in Ornamental Horticulture from Longwood and have taken a total of 18 courses to earn them.  Each course involved a minimum of 8 visits to the gardens so you can see that I have spent a lot of time there.  If you are local, these courses are the absolute best plant education available.

Italian Water Garden, viewed while resting in the shade.

Because I have spent so much time at Longwood, I didn’t photograph the usual sights or even visit the fabulous four acre indoor conservatory (with one exception mentioned below).  As a shade gardener I headed straight for Peirce’s Woods, which is seven acres devoted to shady plants native to the eastern U.S. deciduous forest.  I hoped to augment my library of photographs and get some ideas of plants to sell at the nursery and add to my own gardens.  I wasn’t disappointed.

The straight species of smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens, lined the very shady paths by the lake.  I think it is more appropriate to a woodland garden than the cultivated forms like ‘Annabelle’.

Smooth hydrangea has a lovely flower whose size is in keeping with other native woodland plants.

While walking through Peirce’s Woods, I returned to the thoughts I have been having lately about groundcovers.  This time of year, with the weeds running rampant, my customers are more interested in groundcovers.  But it is clear from their questions that they mean plants that form runners to creep and cover the ground.  The classic examples are vinca, ivy, and pachysandra.  However, my definition of groundcover is much broader than this and includes any plant massed to effectively choke out weeds.

Native maidenhair fern, Adiantum pedatum


When you look at the masses of native maidenhair fern above, you are probably thinking that’s all very nice that Longwood uses masses of these fairly pricey, non-creeping plants as groundcover, but I could never afford that quantity of plants.  However, think of the alternative: weeds and the hours if not days it takes to remove them, not to mention how their presence detracts from the look of your garden as well as your satisfaction with it.  Your time is valuable, and you wouldn’t be reading my blog if the look of your garden wasn’t important to you.

Native semi-evergreen coralbells, Heuchera villosa, often sold as the cultivar ‘Autumn Bride’, has gorgeous white flowers in the fall.

Yes, you can use mulch to keep down the weeds.  However, commercial shredded hardwood mulch is not attractive, is generally not produced sustainably, and requires a significant time investment to apply it.  Most importantly, it requires a monetary outlay every year because it must be re-applied every spring.  Perennial plants are initially more expensive to buy and plant but once they are there, you never have to do anything again.  It is kind of like buying a compact fluorescent light bulb versus the bulbs we grew up with.

Here are some more plants that Longwood uses in masses to make effective groundcovers:

Mexican feather grass, Nassella tenuissima


Native evergreen Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides

Native semi-evergreen coralbells, Heuchera villosa purple form.

Shredded umbrella-plant, Syneilesis aconitifolia: I can only dream of achieving this in my garden, and, yes, it is very expensive.

Native hay-scented fern, Dennstaedtia punctiloba, creeps to fill in large areas.

This bellflower, Campanula takesimana, was growing and apparently self-sowing in dense shade on the hillside near the Chimes Tower.

Fall-blooming yellow waxbells, Kirengoshoma palmata, is more like a shrub than a perennial but it dies to the ground ever year.

Native coralbells, Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’, is my favorite heuchera and retains its lovely color 365 days a year.

Giant butterbur, Petasites japonicus, grows in dense shade and covers a lot of ground.

Lavender mist meadow-rue, Thalictrum rochebrunianum

Native sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, does creep.

Shrubs can be used as groundcover also, two examples from Longwood:

The straight species of oakleaf hydrangea, H. quecifolia, gets quite large and spreading.

Native southern bush honeysuckle, Diervilla sessifolia, suckers to form a colony.

Lastly, I want to show you why I briefly visited the conservatories:  groundcover for walls, the new fern wall at Longwood.  It is worth a visit just to see it:

This is a beautiful hallway containing individual restrooms, and the walls are totally covered in ferns.

Some of the ferns are quite large, and all are healthy and beautiful.

I hope I have convinced you to think outside the box and mass all kinds of unusual plants as groundcovers.  You will have more time to enjoy a better looking garden and save money in the long run.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  This coming weekend we will have our final open hours at the nursery on Saturday, June 16, from 9 am to 2 pm, and Sunday, June 17, from 11 am to 1 pm.  We close on June 17 until September.  Customers on my email list will receive an email with details.

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 2

Posted in landscape design, native plants, New Plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 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 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 very showy flowers of redvein enkianthus, Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Princeton Red Bells’.

My nursery specializes in herbaceous flowering plants for shade.   However, although no shade garden is complete without trees, shrubs, and vines, our local nurseries seem to ignore woody plants for shade.  To fill this gap, I offer shade-loving woodies from a wholesale grower whose quality meets my exacting standards.  To view the catalogue, click here.   As in Woody Plants for Shade Part One, I thought my blog readers who are not customers might be interested in learning about the woody plants that I would recommend they add to their shade gardens.  And doing an article in addition to the catalogue allows me to add more information so customers might be interested also.

Included in my offering are six shrubs and two vines.  Of the eight plants I have chosen, five are native.  Please read my article My Thanksgiving Oak Forest to see why I think planting native plants is crucial to our environment.  My article New Native Shade Perennials for 2011 explains why I think native cultivars are valuable native plants.  With that introduction, here are the plants I am highlighting:

Native bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora

Native bottlebrush buckeye is a wonderful shrub for making a majestic stand in full shade.  I grow it deep in my woods, and it performs beautifully.   It grows to 10’ tall in  full sun to full shade in any location and soil type.  It is also deer resistant.  The  creamy white flowers on long upright brush-like panicles in early summer and the bold textured leaves give it a dramatic tropical look.  It has excellent yellow fall color and attracts hummingbirds.

The lovely yellow fall color of bottlebrush buckeye.

Bottlebrush buckeye is native to parts of the eastern US, including Pennsylvania.  It is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant, click here for details.  It is also a Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit, click here  for details (photos courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder).

   

 Dwarf slender deutzia, Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’

‘Nikko’ dwarf slender deutzia is another shrub that can grow anywhere from  full sun to full shade and is deer resistant.  In April and May, it is covered with delicate white flowers, and the fine-textured and neat green leaves turn purple in the fall.  This deutzia makes an excellent specimen, growing 2’ tall by 5’ wide, or a superior flowering groundcover for shade.  I grow it in full shade at the base of my winterberry hollies.  It is native to Japan and is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant, click here for details.

I use ‘Nikko’ dwarf slender deutzia as a groundcover in full shade under winterberry hollies.


Redvein enkianthus, Enkianthus campaulatus ‘Princeton Red Bells’

In May ‘Princeton Red Bells’ redvein enkianthus is covered with a multitude of spectacular deep red, pendant bell-like flowers.  Its elegantly arranged blue-green leaves turn an excellent dark red in the fall.  It has a very unique and graceful habit (see photo of species below) and grows to 8’ tall by 4’ wide in full sun to full shade.  It is deer resistant and likes average to moist soil, although I grow it in my dry woodland.  It is native to Japan.  For more information about the species, click here.

This photo of the straight species of redvein enkianthus growing in my woodland shows its elegant habit and abundance of flowers.  The flowers of ‘Princeton Red Bells’ are much more eye-catching.


The amazing flowers of native smooth hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’.

Native ‘Annabelle’ smooth hydrangea has won numerous awards for its very showy, huge (up to 1’) snowball flowers, which appear from June into September.  It grows 5’ tall by 5’ wide in part to full shade (full sun is not recommended).  It is supposed to be deer resistant for a hydrangea.  A gentle pruning in late spring produces optimum growth.

‘Annabelle’ produces copious, long lasting flowers.

Smooth hydrangea is native to the eastern U.S., including Pennsylvania.  It is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant, click here for details.  It is also a Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit, click here for details (photos courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder).


 

The gorgeous and delicious fruit of native northern highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Jersey’.

Gardeners might not think of northern highbush blueberry as an ornamental, but it has everything you could want in a shrub.   Its pretty bell-shaped white flowers appear in May and are followed by delicious and beautiful powder blue fruit in summer.  It has excellent scarlet fall color and is native and wet site tolerant.  What more could you ask for?  It grows to 6’ tall in full sun to part shade.

The flowers of northern highbush blueberry

Northern highbush blueberry is native to all of eastern North America, including Pennsylvania.  I am offering two cultivars: ‘Jersey’ is an early midseason producer, and ‘Berkley’ is late midseason.  Planting two different cultivars produces better fruit.  For more information, click here  (photos of berries and fall color courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder).

The fall color of northern highbush blueberry.


Doublefile viburnum, Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum

My doublefile viburnum, pictured above, is one of the showiest and most talked about plants in my display gardens.  ‘Mariesii’ is a superior cultivar of doublefile viburnum.  Its large, white lacecap flowers in May and June and elegant, pleated medium green leaves are an unbeatable combination.  It grows quickly up to 12’ tall and 10’ wide in part to full shade and is deer resistant.   It is native to China and Japan.  For more information, click here.

The flowers of doublefile viburnum.


Native trumpet honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens ‘Crimson Cascade’

Native ‘Crimson Cascade’ trumpet honeysuckle produces bright coral red tubular flowers that invite hummingbirds from miles around in late spring and reblooms through fall.  Its shiny dark green leaves with red stems remain attractive through the season.  It is native to all of eastern North America, including Pennsylvania.  I grow mine mixed with my wisteria on my front porch and in an even shadier location along my front stairs.

Trumpet honeysuckle climbs my Chinese wisteria and blooms before, during, and after the wisteria is done.


Native American wisteria, Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’

The copious fragrant, lavender-blue flower clusters of  Amethyst Falls’ American wisteria are almost as beautiful in bud as in bloom from June to August.  This wisteria has fine-textured attractive foliage and is less rampant than Asian wisteria.  It grows to 20′ at maturity in full sun to part sun (it is technically not a shade plant).  It is native to the eastern U.S., including Pennsylvania.  ‘Amethyst Falls’ is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant,  click here for details.

The flowers and foliage of American wisteria.


I grow every one of these shrubs and vines in my gardens so I know you can’t go wrong by adding them to yours!  If you are a customer, you have until May 25 to place an order by clicking here.  If not, now you have some plants to ask for at your local independent nursery.

Carolyn


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: Orders for woody shade plants will be accepted until  noon on Wednesday, May 25.  We will have our traditional open hours over Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday from 9 am to noon and Sunday from noon to 3pm.  You don’t need an appointment, just show up.  But remember you can make an appointment to shop 24/7 by sending me an email at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  There is  still a great selection of hostas, ferns, and hardy geraniums.

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