Archive for snowdrop bulbs

Curating a Plant Collection: Snowdrops or Otherwise

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, my garden, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus reginae-olgaeGalanthus reginae-olgae is the earliest snowdrop to bloom in my garden, around the third week of October.

My garden is not a collection of plants, especially those that require any sort of extra maintenance.  If you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, you will see that most plantings are quite natural looking with a focus on natives.  However, there are a few exceptions, and most of you know by now that I am an unapologetic collector of snowdrops.  I also sell snowdrops, click here for the 2017 catalogue, and some of them are quite pricey, so I thought it would be helpful if I explained how I keep track of mine.  This system can be used for any plant collection.

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 'Potter's Prelude' elwesii‘Potter’s Prelude’ always flowers by mid-November and, weather permitting, continues into January.

My system involves written records on my computer and physical markings in the garden.  There may be a fancy computerized plant database available, but I use a simple table with columns in a Word document.  The first column is alphabetical and lists the complete botanical name of the snowdrop, including the species and cultivar names if applicable, e.g., Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  The remaining columns describe the pertinent information about the snowdrop for each location in the garden: date planted, exact location, number of plants, and source.

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Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle'This is the ‘Brenda Troyle’ planting that corresponds to the first location entry below. 

For example, ‘Brenda Troyle’ is listed in column one as Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’ as it is a hybrid with no species name like elwesii or nivalis.  Column two describes location one: “2012, front walk next to Dbl Rose hellebore, 2 Cresson.”  Column three describes location two: “2014, carriage house 2nd bed on left, moved 1 Cresson.”  It is very important that the location description is as detailed as possible so that if all your outdoor markings disappear, you still know where your snowdrop is located.

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Galanthus elwesii ex Montrose GardensAnother snowdrop blooming right now is Nancy Goodwin’s fall-blooming G. elwesii var. monostictus, which she shared with me in 2013.  At the back of the clump is the metal tag and peeking out in front is the plastic stake.

Out in the garden, each snowdrop gets two markers.  The first is a 10″ zinc plant marker produced by Bosmere, item H185, in sets of 10.  Included is a carbon pencil, but I don’t use that to write on the markers.  All labels in my garden are inscribed with an opaque paint marker made by Uchida, Decolor 200-S Black, and available at art supply stores.   All other writing materials, including pencils and “permanent markers” wear off.  I place the metal plant marker directly behind the snowdrop and record the full name, date acquired, and source.

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dscn7338Bosmere zinc plant markers

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dscn8464opaque paint marker

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dscn7336A paint marker is used to record the name, date acquired and source.

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Each snowdrop is also marked with a second tag directly in front of the plant.  For this, I use a 6″ Rapiclip plant label made by Luster Leaf in packages of 50.  These plastic stakes are long and sturdy but flexible, not brittle.  They can be pushed almost all the way into the ground and bend instead of breaking if you step on them.  I write the same information on them with a paint marker.

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dscn7337Rapiclip plant labels

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Galanthus 'Foxgrove Magnet'‘Foxgrove Magnet’ with its metal marker behind and plastic tag in front.
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dscn8458There are variations on my marking scheme.  For example, this bed has random, unnamed, fall-blooming G. elwesii.  Each clump has a plastic tag behind it describing its special characteristics, if any.
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dscn8459I am superstitious so if I plant dormant snowdrops in the fall, they get a reused plastic tag and part of a bamboo garden stake until they come up in the spring.
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dscn8460I also use bamboo poles, hammered solidly into the ground, if the snowdrops are planted in an area where a lot of leaves fall and obscure the metal and plastic stakes.  The photo below shows what I found under the leaves.
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dscn8452I may not have remembered that this snowdrop grouping was there if it hadn’t been marked with the bamboo stake.

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I realize that not everyone is obsessed with snowdrops, but this system can be used for any plant collection that has grown to the point where its size exceeds the mental capacity of the collector  :-).  I grow about 30 varieties of epimediums and keep a chronological handwritten record plus metal and plastic markers outside.  European wood anemones get metal tags and a handwritten list.  Mini hostas are marked with plastic tags and recorded haphazardly.  The rest of the plants have to rely on invoices and various notations in garden journals.  Every winter I consider making a complete database of all the plants at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens but the prospect is daunting.

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 carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  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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Garden Conservancy Tour in Litchfield County Connecticut

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Stonecrop Gardens conservatoryThe conservatory at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York—a stop on the way home to Pennsylvania.

My readers were inspired by my last post on the beautiful, flower-filled garden of Charles Cresson, which I visited in May of 2014.  To see the lovely photos, click here.  It was fun to revisit a sunny garden during what seems like a winter that will never end.  We have now had three warm days so spring is on its way.  But snow still covers the ground, and I thought everyone could use another dose of sun and flowers.

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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Hidden Valley B&BOur headquarters for our Connecticut trip was the beautiful Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast in Washington Depot, CT.

In the third week of June, a friend and I traveled to the northwestern corner of Connecticut to attend The Garden Conservancy’s Litchfield County Open Day.  The Litchfield area is a gorgeous part of the U.S. with historic New England towns, classic farms surrounded by stone walls, and wooded hills and valleys running through sparsely populated countryside.  Just driving around the area is a pleasure.

The Garden Conservancy sponsored a tour to seven area gardens to finance their “mission to save and share outstanding American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public.”  Here are a few of the hundreds of photos I took during the tour.  Enjoy!

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-40-19 AMLink Garden: A pool with a sophisticated, screened pool house perches on the side of the Connecticut hills.

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ligularia, hosta, and ferns in ConnecticutLink Garden: ligularia, hosta, and ferns in a shady corner.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-53-49 AMLink Garden: Aiming for ease of maintenance as the owners age, the perennial garden was replaced by this stylized rill.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 10-49-48 AM Link Garden: another shady nook behind the house.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 3-16-13 PMBrush Hill Gardens: In addition to this large and beautiful English cottage garden, there was an extensively planted woodland with several ponds, but the lighting wasn’t good for photos.

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DSCN4525Brush Hill Gardens

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-39-16 AMWilliams Garden: A Greek Revival pool house is not for everyone, but it was interesting to see it.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-42-34 AMWilliams Garden: The pool edged with 18th century French coping was quite elegant.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-51-49 AMWilliams Garden: an extensive kitchen garden and elaborate “garden shed”.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 11-55-57 AMWilliams Garden: stone trough filled to overflowing with succulents.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 12-32-13 PMTrapp Garden: a little bit of Italy in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 12-39-09 PMTrapp Garden:  A very secluded pool on the side of a terrace with a grotto-like pool house sunk in the side of a hill.  I usually think pools detract from the landscape but changed my mind on this tour.

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Garden ConservancyTrapp Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 3-54-36 PMHighmeadows: Beautiful use of our native goatsbeard, I am not sure why more gardeners don’t grow this.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-16-30 PMHighmeadows

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DSCN4534Highmeadows

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-20-37 PMHighmeadows: The roses growing on the soft-colored walls were breath-taking.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-01-09 PMHollister House Garden: This was my favorite.  The garden is a Garden Conservancy preservation project and surrounds an historic Connecticut farmhouse.  It is divided into a series of rooms and vistas by tall hedges and walls.  The plant choices are enchanting, and the color combinations are gorgeous.  The garden is open to the public every Saturday from June through September.  For more information, click here.

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-01-59 PMHollister House Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 5-03-01 PMHollister House Garden

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DSCN4559Hollister House Garden

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DSCN4551Hollister House Garden

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Garden Conservancy Litchfield County June 2014 6-21-2014 4-59-44 PMHollister House Garden

The sun is shining and it’s going to be 60 degrees F today so all the snow and ice is bound to melt shortly.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Due to rescheduling, spaces have opened up in Charles Cresson’s seminar The Winter Garden in Bloom.  For details, click here.  Our first event is the Hellebore Extravaganza on Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm.  However, you can stop by anytime by appointment to purchase hellebores.  To access the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, please click here.  

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.

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.

The Cresson Garden at Hedgleigh Spring

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-48-45 AMCharles Cresson’s home in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, US.

As I contemplated three more winter “weather events” in the next three days, culminating in 3 to 5 more inches of snow, I thought what we all need is some photos of a beautiful, warm, flower-filled garden.  I had visited Charles Cresson’s garden Hedgleigh Spring in May of 2014 but never posted the photos.  Now seems like a perfect time.  Enjoy

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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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-50-35 AMCharles has hosted hundreds of tours at Hedgleigh Spring, a garden begun by his grandfather a century ago.
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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 10-54-03 AMEvery inch of the garden is packed with plants, and many are rare and unusual.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-00-39 AMRoses and honeysuckle climb the wall.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-02-23 AMroses and honeysuckle

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-26-29 AMA striking combination of bletilla and azaleas.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-39-23 AM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-37-59 AMcoralbells and bearded iris

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-40-44 AMheirloom coralbells and nepeta

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-45-49 AM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-48-48 AMA tree peony, what a gorgeous color.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-52-40 AMajuga and hardy geranium

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-53-34 AMThe pond garden was breath-taking.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 11-59-02 AMPrimroses along the wall in the pond area.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-09-04 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-10-08 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-18-08 PManother gorgeous tree peony

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-22-17 PM.

Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-19-53 PMMy favorite combination, Japanese iris and ‘Caramel’ coralbells.

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Cresson Garden May 2014 5-22-2014 12-43-47 PMEvery nook and cranny has a plant!

It doesn’t seem like it, but our gardens will be flower-filled sometime soon.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 7, details hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. 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.

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.

Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here 2015

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn's Shade Gardens birdhouse viewThankfully, there’s a snowy landscape at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens today.

Before I get to current events at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I want to encourage you to come to this year’s Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur on Saturday, March 7.  The featured speaker is Andrew Turvey, Head Gardener at Myddelton House Gardens in the U.K. 

Myddelton is the former home and garden of the very famous English plantsman E.A. Bowles whose plant expertise was wide ranging but included a particular focus on snowdrops.  He is said to have originated the term galanthophile to describe snowdrop enthusiasts.  Turvey worked previously at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley and is frequently a featured speaker in England.  The official details are below.

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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Winterthur badge 2015

 Celebrate Spring at Winterthur!

March 7
Bank to Bend Garden Lecture, Plant Sale, Tour and Snowdrop Event

Featuring:

A lecture by Andrew Turvey of Myddelton House Gardens, 11:00 am – noon, Copeland Lecture Hall

Andrew Turvey, head gardener at Myddelton House Gardens, is the caretaker of the garden of EA Bowles. A famous plantsman, Bowles had a keen interest in bulbs, is credited with coining the term ‘galanthophile’ for passionate snowdrop collectors, and introduced hundreds of plants to cultivation.

$10 members, $20 non-members, all other garden activities included with admission.

• An Introduction to Snowdrops Workshop, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Brown Center, no registration required

• Sale of Rare and Unusual Plants by Carolyn’s Shade Garden, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Visitor Center

• Guided Tours of the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm

• Self-guided ‘White Arrow’ Tour through the March Bank, Starting at the Visitor Center, All Day

• Special Spring Tour Experience through the House and Conservatory, Museum, All Day

For more information and to register, visit www.winterthur.org or call 800.448.3883.
WINTERTHUR MUSEUM, GARDEN & LIBRARY
WINTERTHUR, DE 19735
.Crocus tommasianusSnow crocus at Winterthur 

As noted, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens intends to sell a nice selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and other spring flowers, although what we actually bring is weather dependent at this point.  Flowering hardy cyclamen and a wide-ranging and beautiful selection of mature, blooming hellebores are a definite though.  I am very excited that Winterthur has added an “Introduction to Snowdrops” workshop taught by Linda Eirhart, their very knowledgeable Curator of Plants.  This is an opportunity not to be missed by anyone wanting to increase their understanding of this wonderful genus.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisCommon snowdrops and winter aconite at Winterthur

You may be wondering what is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens especially if you ordered snowdrops.  Usually at this time, snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and lots of other plants are up and thinking of blooming in my garden.  Last year, which I thought was an aberration and best forgotten about, we had freezing weather and snow into March.  I didn’t think it could get any worse, but this year we have had subzero lows with no snow to protect the plants—even worse than 2013-2014.  Fortunately last night we finally had a significant snowfall.

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winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensMy snowdrop propagation beds look like ancient burial mounds.  For extra protection during the subzero, snowless period, we covered them with an insulated tarp.

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winter at Carolyn's Shade GardensToday, after it finally snowed, we removed the tarp and left the snow behind for insulation.  We couldn’t have done this in a “normal” year when the snowdrops were up, but nothing was going on due to the extended cold weather.

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Galanthus elwesii 'Xmas'My snowdrop from the U.S. Botanic Garden, which I have now named ‘Xmas’ to reflect its distinct X mark and bloom time at Christmas, glows in its plastic box before the snow.  It is perfectly hardy and does not need to be covered, but I am trying to preserve the blooms for the customers who have purchased it.

That is about all that is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens right now.  If you have ordered snowdrops, I am hoping to start shipping in about two weeks.  However, last year we started March 17 to the Pacific North West and the South and finished April 2 to the coldest parts of New England and the Midwest.  Eventually, the snow will melt, the ground will unfreeze, and the plants will “catch up”.  Meanwhile, the long range forecast is for continued cold through next week and then a jump to the high 50s on February 28.  I hope this is not the new “normal”.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details above.  We are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2015 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. 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.

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.

Do You Need A New Plant?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

img001Click on the image to enlarge.  Drawing by Joseph Tychonievich at Arrowhead Alpines.

I have been down with the flu for a few weeks so the blog and everything else has suffered.  I have been saving the illustration above for just such an occasion.  I received it as a postcard in February 2013 from Arrowhead Alpines, a wonderful retail and mail order nursery in Fowlerville, Michigan, specializing in rare and unusual plants.  They have a huge selection of uncommon perennials, woodland wildflowers, ferns, rare alpines, dwarf conifers, and out-of-the-ordinary trees and shrubs.  They are also very nice people.  If you can’t find what you are looking for at your local nursery, Arrowhead is the place to go.  Click here for their website/catalogue. 

The print is kind of small, so click on the image to enlarge it.  I especially like the part about ripping out the lawn and the recommendation of miniature hostas :-).  No matter how many times I follow the arrows through the options, it makes me laugh.  How could the answer to “Do you need a new plant?” be anything but yes!

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.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. 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.

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.

New Snowdrop Book

Posted in bulbs for shade, containers for shade, landscape design, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2017 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.

Cover of SnowdropsThe cover of the exciting new snowdrop book recently published in The Plant Lover’s Guide Series by Kew Gardens in London.

I don’t think I have ever done a book review on this blog, but I want to share my excitement about the new snowdrop book published by Timber Press in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.  It is called The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops and was written by Naomi Slade, a prize-winning British journalist.   I highly recommend it as an invaluable resource for gardeners at all levels in their love of snowdrops, from novice to expert.

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 nivalis in Welford Park, BerkshireCommon snowdrops, G. nivalis, at Welford Park in Berkshire, England—just one of the locations identified in the book as a place to see snowdrops (photo by Naomi Slade appears on page 16) .

The best part of the book for me is the photographs, both those accompanying the individually profiled snowdrops, which are both enticing and accurate, and also the many pictures of snowdrops in gardens mostly in the US and UK, which are quite beautiful.  Whether you are a thoroughly obsessed galanthophile or just thinking of branching out with snowdrops for the first time, you will love reading this book, not once but over and over.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-14 PMThe title page for the chapter on Growing and Propagating snowdrops.

The book is divided into five main chapters followed by further information on where to see snowdrops and where to buy them.  Slade begins with an explanation of “Why I Love Snowdrops” that sets the tone for the whole book, which is approachable, informative, and refreshing.  Although the author points out that a lack of detailed knowledge is not a barrier to appreciating this universally loved plant, her enthusiasm makes you want to acquire or revisit that knowledge.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-35-43 PMPhotos illustrating the discussion of good companion plants for snowdrops.

The next section of the book considers “Designing with the Milk Flower”.  Slade discusses garden design and placement, easy snowdrops for beginners, naturalizing, rock gardens, and container planting.  There are many inspired ideas for companion plantings covering other bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. 

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-40-18 PMCreative uses of snowdrops in containers

In “Understanding Snowdrops”, the book explains in a user-friendly way snowdrop morphology or structure, concepts that are important to understanding the differences between snowdrops and deciphering written descriptions of them.  Slade covers snowdrop species and their origins, conservation and trade, and even snowdrop theft.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-14-20 PMAlthough originally mostly single-flowered and green and white, Slade explains that the Greatorex doubles led to many more double forms and that yellow and even orange snowdrops can be found.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-56 PMProfiles of ‘Grumpy’ and G. elwesii var. monostictus

The “Spotter’s Guide” section highlights 60 snowdrops chosen with great care to represent the range available and includes many of the most-loved and best-performing cultivars.   The photographs are excellent and the individual descriptions are fresh and informative.

. Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-36 PMEach snowdrop profiled gets plenty of space for photos and descriptions.

The final main section is on “Growing and Propagating” and covers planting, dividing, fertilizing, propagating, and pests and diseases.  This is followed by a very comprehensive guide to where to see snowdrops worldwide, including the US, and where to buy them, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 5-53-33 PMCambo Estate in Scotland is a great place to see snowdrops, while the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum on galanthus, click here, is a great place to learn about snowdrops.

One of Naomi Slade’s missions in writing this book was to appeal to an American audience, and she has succeeded.  While the UK is definitely the eye of the current snowdrop tornado, Slade ferrets out a lot of information useful to US readers.  Of the eight snowdrop professionals whose interviews she spreads through out the book, three of them are American, including me on page 76.  The book identifies and also anticipates the snowdrop collecting frenzy that is coming to America.  I can’t wait.

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snowdropsAnother photo of Welford Park by Naomi Slade.

If you would like to order a copy of this book, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has it available for $24.95 plus $5.95 for priority shipping.  Send an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

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.

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.

Companion Plants for Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2017 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.

Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Snowdrops, G. nivalis, with Italian arum and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, in the background.

The main attraction of snowdrops is that they bloom at a time of year when flowers are rare in the garden.  There is nothing like a solitary group of beautiful white flowers to light up a dismal, cold day in February.   Although companion plants are not necessary to achieve this effect, snowdrops are even more lovely when paired with other flowering plants or evergreen leaves.  This post will give you some ideas of what plants combine well with snowdrops to create winter interest in your garden.

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 nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, are the perfect combination for early in the snowdrop season.  Both naturalize well in woodland conditions.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite and ‘S. Arnott’, the most popular of all snowdrops with UK gardeners.

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Galanthus elwesiiEvergreen (technically winter green) ferns are a great backdrop for snowdrops, here giant snowdrops, G. elwesii, and Japanese holly fern.

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Galanthus elwesii var. monostichtus Hiemalis Group CSG -01The evergreen leaves of hellebores also set off snowdrops well.

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Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'When the hellbores bloom it is even better, here a hybrid hellebore and ‘Brenda Troyle’.

. Galanthus 'Standing Tall'‘Standing Tall’ picks up the silver markings on the evergreen leaves of Chinese ginger.

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Galanthus nivalis and Cyclamen coum at Carolyn's Shade GardensSnowdrops with winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum.  They also pair well with the much larger, silver-marked, evergreen leaves of fall-blooming cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'‘Shell Pink’ lamium blooms in my garden into December so it is a great companion for fall-blooming snowdrops like the G. reginae-olgae above.  Once the flowers are gone, the silver stripes on the evergreen leaves continue to combine well with later-blooming snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum itlalicumI think snowdrops and Italian arum are my favorite combination, here under the reddish branches of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' & Arum italicum 'Pictum'A beautifully marked arum and ‘Atkinsii’.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' Many native heucheras hold their color all winter and look great with snowdrops, especially ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Frosted Violet’, ‘Autumn Bride’, and ‘Blackout’.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'Favorite ‘S. Arnott’ with the very early-blooming daffodil ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusSnowdrops naturalized with ‘Ruby Giant’ snow crocus.

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Galanthus nivalis CressonOf course, there is something to be said for naturalizing large quantities of common snowdrops to enjoy en masse.

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galanthus in French woods from AlanSomeday your woods may look like this French forest photographed by Alan Street.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. 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.

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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