Archive for snowdrops

Classic Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The classic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ glowing on a sunny day in February at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Highlighted in this post are five classic snowdrops that will be available in our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue. These snowdrops are still treasured by snowdrop enthusiasts everywhere even though they are more than 100 years old, and they all embody what attracts me to snowdrops.

People often ask me why I love snowdrops.  There are many reasons.  Originally, it was their bloom time: who can resist a flower looking like ‘Atkinsii’ in the above photograph in early February, my least favorite time of year?

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue will be posted sometime in December.  If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell 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.

Snowdrops are also quite beautiful and elegant, especially when they are tall and stately with large flowers like ‘Atkinsii’ and several of the other classic snowdrops shown below.

. Snowdrops describes ‘Atkinsii’ as having “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I”—a true English classic.  The reference is to Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), which contains a lot of the information in this post.

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This photo illustrates the size difference between ‘Atkinsii’ in the back and the double common snowdrop in the front.

Third, snowdrops are also the most reliable winter-blooming plants in my garden and are very easy to grow.  And, among the many forms I grow, the tried-and-true classics multiply the fastest to form eye-catching swathes of blooms, which is what I am after.  I am not a collector who wants to have one of everything!  It would be impossible now anyway as experts estimate that there are over 2,500 snowdrop cultivars in existence.

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‘Atkinsii’ is a great multiplier.  Here it fills a hillside at Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire, England.  For more on ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick, read my blog post here.  It has received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (“RHS AGM) as one of the most suitable snowdrops for the garden.  ‘Atkinsii’ was selected in the 1860s by a prominent 19th century plantsman, James Atkins, who retired to the village of Painswick.  It was named after him in 1889 by James Allen, one of the most important snowdrop experts of all time.

Fourth, snowdrops are plants with colorful histories, which I find fascinating.  The stories of the horticulturists who selected the earliest snowdrop cultivars like ‘Atkinsii’ are well-documented in The Galanthophiles: 100 Years of Snowdrop Devotees by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer (Orphans Publishing 2018) from which I extracted many of the historical facts in this post.  Snowdrops are also found in historic places like Colesbourne Park, (in the photo below) the estate of the famous Victorian plant explorer and snowdrop lover Henry John Elwes (1846-1922), who received his original stock of ‘S. Arnott’ from Samuel Arnott.

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Thousands of another classic snowdrop ‘S. Arnott’ bloom every year at Colesbourne Park, the premier snowdrop destination in England.  Snowdrops describes ‘S. Arnott’ as “a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone….[a] classic snowdrop.”   This is the snowdrop that collectors repeatedly state that they would choose if they were limited to one—the so-called “desert island snowdrop”.  It is named for an early galanthophile, Samuel Arnott (1852-1930).  ‘S. Arnott’ has also received an RHS AGM, one of only 28 snowdrops to receive this honor.

 And, finally, I have met some of my favorite people while visiting snowdrops.

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Our friends Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes maintain Colesbourne Park as a spectacular snowdrop destination.  Here, Sir Henry Elwes talks about snowdrops at Colesbourne Park, standing in a patch of ‘S. Arnott’.

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Alan Street in a border of ‘S. Arnott’ during our walk around Avon Bulbs.  He is the only person I know who gets more excited about snowdrops than I do.

.‘S. Arnott’ in the lovely private garden “Welshway” of Hilary and Hugh Purkess in Gloucestershire, where we received a wonderful garden tour and some hot tea with delicious cake on a freezing day in February.

Despite the fact that all these snowdrops have been around for over a hundred years, they are still treasured by galanthophiles and grown in every serious enthusiast’s garden because they are such good plants.

.Although there are a plethora of new snowdrop cultivars, Avon Bulbs still chose to feature ‘S. Arnott’ in its award-winning display at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show.

Here are three more classic snowdrops I think you will love:

.‘Merlin’ is a another beautiful classic snowdrop discovered in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

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‘Merlin’s’ almost solid green inner segments are quite striking shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It has been awarded an RHS AGM as an excellent snowdrop for the garden.

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‘Hill Poë’ is a beautiful and vigorous classic snowdrop, shown here at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It was discovered by James Hill Poë in his garden at Riverston, County Tipperary, Ireland, in a patch of Galanthus plicatus, sometimes called the Crimean snowdrop.  In March of 1917, he wrote to an RHS publication that the G. plicatus came to him from a family who received them from an officer serving in the Crimean War (1853-1856).  Many soldiers sent or brought home snowdrops from the Crimea, a testament to the irresistible attraction of snowdrops.
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‘Hill Poë’ is double and has five outer segments.

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‘Hill Poë’s’ inner segments are very regular and full.

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‘Hill Poë’ at Evenley Wood Garden in Northamptonshire, England.

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‘Scharlockii’ is another classic snowdrop, which, though not as tall, is even more vigorous than the others profiled in this post, shown here growing at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  It is identified by the lovely green markings on its outer segments and even more so by the “rabbit ears” overarching each flower.  They appear when the spathe (flower covering) splits to drop the flower bud and then elongates into two leafy ears.

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‘Scharlockii’ is a selection from Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, made by Julius Scharlock in 1868 near Frankfurt, Germany.

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‘Scharlockii’ in the copse at Avon Bulbs in Somerset, England.

It is difficult to imagine now with the multitude of named snowdrops available, that at a seminal RHS snowdrop conference in 1891, there were only 42 cultivars in existence.  All five of the snowdrops in this post existed then and have persisted as desirable plants to this day despite the competition.  In 2001, when Matt Bishop’s book (referenced above) was published as an exhaustive reference, there were approximately 500 snowdrops included.  Earlier in 2019, A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops: Second Edition by Freda Cox (Crowood Press) was published and provides beautiful drawings, descriptions, and brief histories for 2,400 cultivars.  It takes a lot to stand out in that crowd.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

Early-Blooming Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The species snowdrop Galanthus reginae-olgae blooming in our garden in October with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium.

Around this time every year, I start to get emails from customers and blog readers asking which early-blooming snowdrops will be available for purchase in our catalogue.  When you see the photo above, you can understand why gardeners who appreciate snowdrops are trying to extend their season into early fall.   Early snowdrops are beautiful in their own right but especially appreciated when not surrounded by the many other snowdrop cultivars that flower in the heart of the snowdrop season.  And  this beautiful clump of fresh white flowers is in full bloom when everything around it is going by for the year.

Highlighted in this post are five, early-blooming snowdrops that will be available in the 2020 catalogue.  Keep in mind that exact bloom time is affected by how quickly the soil cools off in the fall and the amount of moisture available to the bulbs—warmer and drier falls seem to equate with later-blooming.

Nursery News:  Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue will be posted sometime in December.  If you would like to get email notification, please send your full name, cell number (for back up contact use only), and your address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  We do not take advance orders for snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  We are open from approximately December 15 to June 15. The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to US customers only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, location, and cell 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.

 

Galanthus reginae-olgae looks a lot like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, but it blooms reliably by mid-October in our garden, and it has a more rigidly upright habit.

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G. reginae-olgae also lasts a long time—here it is looking a little worse for wear on December 3.

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The G. reginae-olgae that we sell comes from bulb expert Charles Cresson who selected it as a form that thrives in our climate as opposed to the other forms of this species he has trialed.  I too have tried G. reginae-olgae from other sources without success.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Potter’s Prelude’ begins to bloom in mid-November in our garden and can often last into January.  It is a rare American snowdrop selected in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s.

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fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens‘Potter’s Prelude’s’ flowers are big and beautiful.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ is a great companion plant for fall-blooming camellias—here with the petals of ‘Winter’s Joy’.

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‘Potter’s Prelude’ has beautiful foliage.  The leaves of early-blooming snowdrops come out with or immediately after the flowers, which means that, if we have a hard winter, they can look somewhat battered when it is snowdrop shipping time in late February or early March.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Barnes’ is a November-blooming snowdrop so highly regarded in England that it has earned the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, one of only 28 snowdrops to do so.

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‘Barnes’ in our garden

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‘Barnes’ also remains ornamental for a long period of time.  It still looks great here at the very end of December.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Standing Tall’ is a very large and beautiful December-blooming snowdrop selected by bulb expert Charles Cresson in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, after many years of evaluation.

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The big flowers have beautiful dark green markings.

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It is a bold plant that can hold its own among evergreen groundcovers like the Chinese wild ginger in the photo.

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Galanthus elwesii ‘Xmas’, a December-blooming snowdrop, originated at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.  I introduced it and named it ‘Xmas’ because it blooms around Christmas and has a distinct X on its inner segments.

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‘Xmas’ is quite vigorous in my mid-Atlantic garden.

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Each plant quickly produces two or three flowers.

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‘Xmas’ is gorgeous on a sunny December day.

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When you look through our catalogue in December, think about adding some of these beautiful, early snowdrops.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) 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 interested in mail order snowdrops 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 only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a very active 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.

North Green Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

John Morley welcomes us to his elegant home and the gardens at North Green Snowdrops.

Last February, my husband Michael and I traveled to England to visit gardens and meet famous galanthophiles.  One of the most famous is John Morley of the legendary nursery North Green Snowdrops.  North Green has named snowdrops that are iconic in the galanthus world, including ‘Trumps’, ‘Comet’, ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, ‘Three Ships’, and ‘Remember, Remember’.   John recently introduced the golden yellow ‘Mother Goose’, which immediately topped my acquisition list.

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 cell 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 lovely Morley home

.  As the snow falls, John Morley gamely points out snowdrops in the garden at North Green.

On a trip where we never saw the sun and it rained or snowed every day, our visit to North Green stood out as the coldest day of the two weeks we were in England.  North Green is located in Beccles on the east coast of England where the land juts out to receive icy blasts from the North Sea. As we toured the garden, Arctic wind blew the snow sideways, and at least half my photos were out-of-focus as the snowdrops swayed.  However, we persevered and saw many snowdrops I had only read about before, which I want to share with you.

.‘Walter Fish’

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‘Yaffle’

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‘Trumps’ found in the North Green garden by Matt Bishop.

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‘Golden Fleece’, the first yellow ‘Trym’, introduced by Joe Sharman at Monksilver Nursery, and an eBay record setter at £1,390 for one plant.  Yellow snowdrops often look olive in England, to me anyway, rather than the bright yellow they display in the US due to our sunny weather.

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‘Green Comet’ originated in the garden at North Green and was named for its large flowers, resembling ‘Comet’, and its lettuce green leaves, usually in threes as you can see in the photo.

.‘Fieldgate Prelude’

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‘Green of Hearts’ originated at North Green and distinguished from ‘Trumps’ by its darker green and more heart-shaped markings.

.A curiosity that has not been introduced, “747 Short Leaf” has, of course, very short leaves.  This photo also shows the icy snow that was falling during our visit!

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‘Jubilee Green’ with its bright green leaves was named to commemorate North Green’s 25th year in business.

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‘Ray Cobb’, another yellow looking quite olive.

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‘Fenstead End’

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Matt Bishop named this snowdrop ‘Neckless Wonder’ because it has no pedicel attaching it to the scape.

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I thought this was one of the prettiest snowdrops I saw, maybe because after 10 tries it stood still for its photo.  Not introduced yet and called “NGZZZ-R-OVXVXP” for now.

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Halfway through the tour, when I was the coldest I had ever been, John invited us into his warm and cheery home for some very welcome tea.  He rated us very keen galanthophiles indeed when we were eager to continue the tour after tea.

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.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

Known as the Exedra, this curving Gothic screen is the most famous of the many follies found at Painswick Rococo Garden.

When we traveled to England last year, we visited Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire.  We went there to see the snowdrops and found tens of thousands of them blooming in one of the most quirky and extravagant gardens I have visited.

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 cell 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.

.  Gate leading to Painswick House, which is next to but not part of the garden.

Rococo is a style of art and architecture that originated in France and Italy in the early 1700s.  Rococo gardens were designed as theatrical sets for lavish parties rather than horticultural undertakings.  Garden historians describe them as flamboyant, frivolous, and capricious.  Rococo gardens were laid out with sweeping vistas, framed views, and serpentine paths designed to lead the visitor to explore extravagant water features, staircases, statuary, and especially follies, costly ornamental buildings in diverse architectural styles with no practical purpose.

.Painswick House

Painswick House was purchased and expanded by the Hyett family in the 1730s.  In the 1740s, Benjamin Hyett, the son of the original owner, built the fanciful garden nestled in the hidden valley behind the house.  The garden was created to entertain guests in flamboyant outdoor rooms and to intrigue them into exploring extravagant follies. 

In 1748, Hyett commissioned a painting of the garden, which was used by Lord and Lady Dickinson, direct Hyett descendants, to restore it beginning in the 1970s.  In 1988, the garden was turned over to the Painswick Rococo Garden Trust.  It is the only surviving rococo garden currently open to the public.

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Painswick House has a beautiful view of this folly, the two story Pigeon House.

.Visitors entering the garden find themselves on a hillside with a sweeping view of the garden in the valley below.  Here you see the orchard and kitchen garden.  The Exedra is visible on the middle right.

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The other half of the view looks towards the bowling green, fish pond, and Snowdrop Grove.

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In February, the hillside is packed with the very tall and iconic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, which was discovered at Painswick in the 1800s by James Atkins, an estate worker.

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Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’

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‘Atkinsii’ snowdrops and bearsfoot hellebore along the path to another folly, the Eagle House.

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Looking across the orchard at the Eagle House, you can see its lower vaulted chambers built into the hillside.

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The Snowdrop Grove is a large woodland area carpeted in white in February.

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Many of the snowdrops in the woodland are the double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’.  I have never seen it growing so beautifully.

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The garden nestles up to Painswick House on the right in the photo.

.The garden features a gigantic maze.  For scale, find the visitor inside the maze on the outermost path on the right.

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Although the garden is only six acres, views like this one from the maze make it seem much larger.

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The largest folly known as the Red House.

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the orchard

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Standing behind the Exedra, you can see its formal garden and beyond that the kitchen garden, bowling green, fish pond, and snowdrop woodland.

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We really enjoyed visiting this unusual garden.  I only wish that the weather had cooperated in helping me produce better photos.  During our 12 days in England, the sun never came out, and it rained or snowed, sometimes both, every day.  However, that has not deterred us from contemplating another trip this February.

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.

Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden essay, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

The cover of the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

In 2015, I was asked by Fine Gardening magazine to write an article on snowdrops, which appeared as the cover article of the February 2016 issue.   For readers who don’t subscribe to this excellent gardening magazine, I am going to reprint the text of the article here, accompanied by images of the magazine layout and some additional photos of the featured snowdrops.  Look for my article on spring ephemerals, scheduled for inclusion in the April 2018 issue.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website here.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

.  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

“Passions are born in strange ways, and serendipity often plays a part.  In December of 1983, my husband and I purchased our home, not knowing that a treasure trove of snowdrops lay beneath the snowy landscape.  Our house was the gardener’s cottage for a large estate, and the gardener who lived there had planted thousands of common snowdrops, (Galanthus nivalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8), which greeted us that February with their delightful honey-scented fragrance.  Those snowdrops were to become an important part of my personal and professional life.

For me, the original and greatest appeal of snowdrops is their bloom time.  I live on the side of a south-facing hill, where the soil heats up early, and common snowdrops begin to bloom in early February, just when I need some relief from the winter doldrums.  I have since planted snowdrop varieties that bloom from October through March, but it is the bursting into bloom of thousands of snowdrops in early February that thrills me the most.

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As I gained experience as a gardener, I was exposed to less common varieties and realized that their ornamental characteristics were as interesting as their bloom time was uplifting.  Yes, they are small, and you do have to look at individual plants close up; but there are varieties that stand out when viewed from farther away if massed, and many that are worth a closer look.  Besides, most snowdrops are easy to grow in deciduous shade and multiply quickly to form striking swathes.

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‘Viridapice’ and ‘Flore Pleno’

If you don’t currently have snowdrops, then start with the common snowdrop, cultivated in England since the 16th century.  The flowers have pure white outer segments (the correct term for a snowdrop petal), and the inner segments have bright green tips.  The linear leaves are gray-green, and the plant is only about 4” tall.  It is very easy to grow in almost all soil conditions, multiplies rapidly to form satisfying clumps, and is readily available both “in the green” (see sidebar below) and as a dried bulb.  With a very small investment of time and money, you can enjoy masses of honey-scented white flowers in late winter.

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‘Blewbury Tart’, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, and a photo showing how I ship my snowdrops.

If you are already growing the common snowdrop, you may want to expand your palette to include several other easy-to-grow and easy-to-find cultivars.  Of the many cultivars selected from G. nivalis, my favorite is ‘Viridapice’, a vigorous, bold plant with green marks on the outer and inner segments.  It multiplies for me almost as fast as the species and, at 5 to 6” tall, has a distinct presence in the garden.  The double form of G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, is also lovely, if a bit disheveled.  It is the earliest recorded snowdrop cultivar, with references to its existence in the early 1700s.

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Galanthus elwesii, ‘Magnet’, and a photo showing how I divide snowdrops.

For an even more distinctive look, plant G. nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’ or ‘Lady Elphinstone’, both double-flowered, vigorous growers.  ‘Blewbury Tart’ points its mostly green, frilly, double segments upward and definitely stands out in a crowd.  It was discovered in a churchyard in Blewbury, England, in 1975 by snowdrop expert Alan Street.  Although a prominent British journalist told him it looked like a squashed fly on a windscreen, Alan introduced it, and it has become a favorite here and abroad.  ‘Lady Elphinstone’ is another venerable snowdrop, dating from 1890, and is one of a kind: its inner segments are a lovely egg yolk yellow.  Sometimes the yellow takes a year or so to settle in, but it is worth the wait.

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‘Diggory’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’

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There are 19 species of snowdrops in addition to G.nivalis, and many of them have produced cultivars and hybrids, resulting in over 1,000 named varieties.  Most are not available in the US due to treaty restrictions; however, a diligent search yields a nice collection.  Here are five more I recommend for beauty and vigor.

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Galanthus elwesii, the giant snowdrop

Not only is the giant snowdrop (G. elwesii, Zones 3–9) larger than the common snowdrop, but also it blooms earlier, starting in midwinter. This species tolerates hotter and drier conditions, making it great for Southern gardens. Its broad, upright, blue-gray leaves surround large, well-formed flowers with two bold green marks on the inner segments. Lots of natural variation in this species produces powder blue leaves, a variety of marks, and bloom times anywhere from November to February.

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‘Diggory’

‘Diggory’ (G. plicatus ‘Diggory’) is a cultivar whose heavily quilted, pear-shaped, squared-off flowers make it recognizable anywhere. The wide, elegantly pleated leaves are characteristic of G. plicatus. Found in 1993, ‘Diggory’ became an instant, much-sought-after classic.

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‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

A hybrid snowdrop with dignified double flowers, ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ (G. ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’) features a tightly packed inner rosette edged in green and a distinctive mark split into two elegant dots. It is easy to grow and multiplies well.

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‘Magnet’

‘Magnet’ (G. ‘Magnet’) was selected in the 1880s and is still loved by collectors for its classic beauty and vigorous growth. It is instantly identifiable by its long flower stalk that allows the large blooms to sway in the slightest breeze.

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‘Wendy’s Gold’

‘Wendy’s Gold’ (G. plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’) offers beautiful, large yellow markings on the inner segments and the ovary (the little cap above the segments), and wide, elegantly pleated leaves. It is much sought after for its beauty and vigorous growth. Other nice yellows available in the U.S. include ‘Primrose Warburg’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.”

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I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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.

New Snowdrops for 2018 Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here

‘South Hayes’ in the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society 2017 Spring Show.

In the previous post, I profiled six of the new snowdrops that will be offered in our 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read it, click here.  This post will describe six more new additions.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Note: Much of the historical information in the descriptions below comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006) (referred to as Snowdrops 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.

.  ‘Jonathan’: With its extra large, globular flowers and broad blue leaves, ‘Jonathan’ captured the attention of visitors to the Avon Bulbs display at the 2017 RHS Spring Show where this photo was taken.  When I first saw it, its huge size set it apart from hundreds of other blooming snowdrops—see photo below.  It has faint green tips on the outer segments and a handsome two-part mark on the inner segments, similar to ‘Grumpy’.  However, I find ‘Jonathan’ much more attractive overall.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it was discovered in 2000 in a North Yorkshire garden by snowdrop author Michael Myers.

.‘Jonathan’ has a huge flower and very wide blue-green leaves.

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‘Madelaine’: ‘Madelaine’ is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, with the lovely pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  In my garden, it reproduces nicely and is similar in looks to ‘Wendy’s Gold’.   However, the color on the inner segments is an especially ethereal yellow that glows in the late winter sunlight.  It was introduced in 2002 by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery in Cambridge and named for his niece.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’: An early-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, combining all the fine characteristics of a classic single snowdrop: large, well-proportioned flowers on tall, upright stems, and a vigorous growth habit.  Snowdrops calls it “a plant of great quality….a cultivar without fault.”    It is frequently mentioned as a favorite and is a prominent part of every important collection in England—the photo above was taken at Rodmarton Manor.  It was collected by Dylan Thomas’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Macnamara.  It is number six on the Avon Bulbs rating of the top 25 snowdrops of all time.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’ at the RHS 2017 Spring Show Avon Bulbs display.

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‘Welshway’: A neat and rounded double flower, the narrow and gracefully curved outer segments give a clear view of the lovely inner mark visible in the photo above.  The inner segments are ruffled, distinguishing it from the very similar double ‘Heffalump’.  ‘Welshway’ is grown for its elegant flower and late bloom time.  It was discovered in 1995 in a Gloucestershire garden called Welshway after the ancient route to Wales.

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‘South Hayes’: For many years, ‘South Hayes’ appeared at the top of my snowdrop acquisition list, and, having had it for a while now, it was well worth the wait.  One of the most beautiful and sought after snowdrops for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings, both inside and out.  It was first seen in 1992 in famous galanthophile Primrose Warburg’s garden of the same name and is probably a seedling of ‘Trym’.  It is number 11 on the Avon snowdrop popularity list.

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‘South Hayes’ is very special.

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‘Titania’:  ‘Titania’ is a lesser known and rarely available member of the series of double snowdrops hybridized by Heyrick Greatorex prior to his death in 1954.  Like all Greatorex doubles, it is a cross between the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, and the double common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’, and is named for a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The neat and regular double flowers have a prominent horseshoe mark at the base of the inner segments.  It is pictured in the photo above at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Titania’ at Colesbourne Park
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In fairness to all customers, we do not accept pre-orders before the catalogue comes out.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

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.

New Snowdrops for 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here

Snowdrops and cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Last February, my husband and I traveled to England to visit famous snowdrop venues, meet prominent collectors, and scout out snowdrops to offer to my customers in the 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.   We toured Welford Park, Rodmarton Manor, Painswick Rococo Garden, East Lambrook Manor Gardens, and Avon Bulbs, among others.  We spent time with snowdrop luminaries Alan Street, Chris Ireland-Jones, Phil Cornish, John Morley, and Simon Biddulph.

But best of all, we were graciously hosted during our stay by Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes and were free to roam their amazing property Colesbourne Park, considered the preeminent snowdrop destination in the UK and well worth a trip to England!

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 cell 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.

.‘Ailwyn’ at Colesbourne Park

During our time in England, I was able to view in garden settings and compare hundreds of snowdrop cultivars.  This gave me a much better feeling for their ornamental characteristics and how they actually perform in gardens.  I have used this first hand knowledge as I have selected cultivars to offer in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, which will be posted on line in mid-December.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Meanwhile, here is a sneak preview of some of the new additions:

Note: Much of the historical information in the descriptions below comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006) (referred to as Snowdrops below).

.‘Ailwyn’: The Royal Horticultural Society recognized the perfection of  this early flowering, very regular double snowdrop with its coveted Award of Garden Merit in 2016, one of only 19 snowdrops honored out of the over 2000 in cultivation.   As the photos show, the outer segments spread out to reveal the lovely inner mark, which can be variable—compare the photo immediately above taken at the RHS 2017 Spring Show Avon Bulbs display with the preceding photo at Colesbourne.  ‘Ailwyn’ was selected in 1994 at Anglesey Abbey by snowdrop expert Richard Nutt and named for its owner Ailwyn Broughton, Lord Fairhaven. 

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‘Angelique’: This is a rare poculiform snowdrop, meaning that all six petals or segments are nearly uniform in length.  Or, as I sometimes see it explained, all the segments are outer segments.  Its near albino white coloring also makes ‘Angelique’ a very distinct and elegant snowdrop.  If you look closely, you will see two tiny, pale green dots on the inner segments.  A cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, it is a vigorous grower.  It was found in a French garden and introduced by French horticulturist Mark Brown in 1999.

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‘Bertram Anderson’: A classic single snowdrop, ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured, well-rounded flowers on tall stems also earned it a coveted RHS Award of Garden Merit along with only 18 other snowdrops.  The book Snowdrops calls it “one of the most impressive large snowdrops”.  It was selected in 1971 from the garden of famous British horticulturist E.B. Anderson as a snowdrop special enough to bear his name.

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A close up of ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured outer segments.

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‘Greenish’: The delicate green shading on the outer segments means that ‘Greenish’ is classified as a rare virescent snowdrop.  The shading plus the dark green mark fading to pale green on the inner segments make for an unusual and elegant snowdrop.  The very upright flowers displayed beautifully by the nearly horizontal leaves adds to the allure.  It is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and unlike many other virescent snowdrops, it is vigorous and easy to grow.  It was found in 1963 by a German collector in a village near Vienna, Austria.

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‘Fly Fishing’: I can’t think of a snowdrop I enjoy more or one that is more aptly named.  The upright scape (flower stem) casts the large and elegant flower out into the breeze on its extra long pedicel, attracting wandering galanthophiles like trout.  ‘Fly Fishing’ is early flowering, sometimes by Christmas, but always in the first half of January. I took this photo in my garden on December 27, 2015.  The flowers on my ‘Fly Fishing’ and those of other American gardeners often have green tips—must be the climate.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it is easy to establish and multiplies rapidly.  ‘Fly Fishing’ was discovered only ten years ago at Avon Bulbs by snowdrop expert Alan Street, known for his clever and creative snowdrop names, among other talents!

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‘Fly Fishing’ in my garden on January 24, 2017

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‘Colossus’: This classic single snowdrop is planted for its large flowers, tall stature, ornamental leaves, and robust growth.  Just as important to me is its early bloom time, sometimes by Christmas—the photo above was taken on December 23, 2015, in my garden.  It is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, and has the beautiful, pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  ‘Colossus’ appears as number 14 on the Avon Bulbs list of British galanthophiles’ 25 favorite snowdrops.  It was selected in 1992 by Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Colossus’ at Colesbourne Park where it was selected by Lady Carolyn Elwes.
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‘Colossus’ multiplies rapidly—pictured here at Colesbourne Park.
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My next post will feature an additional six snowdrops that will be newly offered in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  In fairness to all customers, we do not accept pre-orders before the catalogue comes out.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Carolyn

.

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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