How to Use the Internet to Find Gardening Information

macterrarium by aur2899

If you wish to do gardening, plant or insect and pest research on your own, TheGardenLady wants to suggest a few ways to get the best, most up to date information on line.

The first is to check out what the extension offices have written on your subject of interest. When Googling up your topic, add the word extension at the end of the word/s you type in the search space and you will get a list of papers put out by various Agricultural extensions at different universities. For example, do you have skunks making a nest in your basement window wells? A friend did and contacted me about what she should do. I told her to call small animal control in her town. However, if you want to see what else might be recommended or if skunks don’t interest you but you are interested in rose care, type in Skunk extension or rose care extension and a list of papers from university researchers on the topic of your interest will appear.

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Upcoming Gardening Events

StoneCrop Gardens 152 by jon.trimble

TheGardenLady has received some notices of events that might be of interest to readers of blog. As they are received, I will try to let you know what is happening so that you can mark your calendar and plan ahead.

Carolyn’s Shade Garden is having an open house this October 9th at her nursery at 325 South Roberts Rd, Bryn Mawr, PA Telephone: 610-525-4664 She has some lovely plants for sale. Contact her for more information. Her garden alone is worth the visit.

Central Ohio is having their 56th Annual Home and Garden Show on Feb. 26th. If you are interested check out this site.

Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Springs, NY (see here) will have their 4th annual Alpine plant sale in the spring- probably early April. If you are interested in Rock Gardens and plants for the rock garden or just love alpine plants, it seems that Stonecrop Gardens is one of the foremost gardens in the US for these plants so that the Rock Garden Society of America has their alpine sale there. And the Stonecrop Gardens are wonderful to visit even if you don’t buy plants. More information will come about the date when TheGardenLady learns which weekend is chosen for this event.

Graveyard Plantings

Carolyn’s Shade Garden in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

TheGardenLady recently wrote  a post answering a question about the the types of plants she would recommend planting near a graveside.  You can read it here.   She then received the following letter from Carolyn Walker of the famous  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, which  was about the same topic.  Here’s Carolyn’s letter.

Hello Garden Lady

It is very coincidental that you should have this question about planting around graves. One of my customers referred an elderly woman to me who was interested in planting around her husband’s gravestone. The cemetery, which was in the woods, allowed live planting. She sought my advice on what would be elegant, simple, easy to maintain, and most importantly, deer proof.

My son and I went to the graveyard and transformed the site. First we removed the sod in a rough oval extending around the sides of the grave to soften its stark outline (see before photo). Then we planted ten shade perennials for maximum year round impact and deer resistance. We chose three Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’, one of the new Christmas roses that is not only evergreen but also blooms from November to April. We surrounded it with five Lamium maculatum ‘Shell Pink’, the only lamium that blooms from April to November. It is also evergreen. We now had flowers and foliage year round. Finally, we added two Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, a perennial forget-me-not with huge, silver leaves and long-blooming blue flowers in spring. To me the heart-shaped leaves of this plant symbolize the husband and wife. The two after pictures show the completed job. The plants will fill in quickly so that no bare earth remains.

I have never done this type of planting before, but it was immensely satisfying.


Carolyns Shade Garden 3rd Open House – May 15th, 2010

Large Hosta by WxMom

TheGardenLady is a big fan of hostas in the garden. They add such pizazz to any garden landscape. Mine are planted around trees to decorate the feet of the trees for a finishing touch. So in my garden, instead of just seeing a mound of mulch at the bottom of the trees, you see a sort of wreath of hostas that have pushed through the mulch. I think this adds such a pretty touch to the garden picture. If you want to buy hostas for your garden and are in the Philadelphia area on Saturday, May 15th, you should definitely visit Carolyn’s Shade Garden in Bryn Mawr.

Carolyns Shade Garden is having the third open house this Saturday, May 15, from 10 to 3, rain or shine, directions attached (checks and cash only). The display gardens are beautiful and full of great ideas, and the nursery has a huge selection of plants.

Appointment: Feel free to schedule an appointment during this week or next week if you can’t make it on Saturday. There seems to be a misconception that appointments are unusual. In fact, Carolyn does over half her business by appointment. Of course, if you only want a small amount of plants, the open houses are recommended.

Parking: For the convenience of my neighbors, please observe the no parking signs on Robinhood Rd and do not block mailboxes or turn around in driveways.

As promised, this is the best open house for hosta, ferns (10 varieties), and hardy geraniums, including hard-to-find and extremely desirable ‘Rozanne’.

There is also a great selection of phlox, foamflowers, bleeding-hearts, columbines, corydalis, lamium, pulmonaria, and, of course, hellebores (including the Lady Series, the Immanence Collection, and Christmas Rose ‘Jacob’). Japanese primroses and yellow corydalis are also ready.

Carolyn has some beautiful summer and fall-blooming shade plants, including white hardy begonia, ligularias, turtlehead, cardinal flower, great blue lobelia, Japanese anemone (six varieties), and yellow waxbells (Kirengoshoma).

A Word about Hostas: Carolyn has a great selection of hostas this year, including several varieties that she developed herself. She highly recommends that you walk around the gardens and look at the hostas in the landscape before choosing the type you want. Big-leaf hostas look totally different in a pot and often don’t develop their true leaf shape and gorgeous colors until they have been in the ground for a year. Smaller hostas cannot adequately portray their distinct habits in a pot.

When selecting hostas for your garden, you can’t go wrong by selecting a winner of the coveted Hosta of the Year Award from the American Hosta Growers Association. This award means a lot–only 15 hostas have received it out of the over 6,000 cultivars out there. I offer 1998 ‘Fragrant Bouquet’, 1999 ‘Paul’s Glory’, 2000 ‘Sagae’, 2001 ‘June’, 2002 ‘Guacamole’, 2008 ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, 2009 ‘Earth Angel’, and 2011 ‘Praying Hands’. Click here for gorgeous photographs:

Continue reading “Carolyns Shade Garden 3rd Open House – May 15th, 2010”

Another View on Using Compost for Potting Soil

On Monday’s post, TheGardenLady answered a question about using compost for potting soil, in which she suggested that this was fine to do.  Recently, she received a response to her answer from Carolyn of the famous Carolyn Shade Gardens in Bryn Mawr, a garden which TheGardenLady has written about in the past (see here).  Here’s Carolyn’s response and some photos of her beautiful flowers.

I would not recommend using straight compost as potting soil in a container. It will become too hard, impede root growth, and not drain well. I use my own compost in my containers, but I mix it approximately one part composted cow manure, one part compost, three parts Pro-mix. The compost improves the quality and fertility of the soil mix. However, container plants need a lot more fertilizer because water is running through them all the time. I add the cow manure for long-term fertility and also fertilize once every two weeks with a weak mixture of organic liquid fertilizer. The Pro-mix keeps the soil light and draining well and allows good root growth. I have attached some pictures of my containers.

Thanks Carolyn for your view on this question.  TheGardenLady is always open to different viewpoints, so if you disagree with TheGardenLady feel free to express your thoughts.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Hosts 5th Annual “Bulb and Wildflower Day” – April 10

Italian Arum – 20070804-vs-7131 by Made in Madeira

Carolyn of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens says that her unusual bulbs and wildflowers seem to peak between her first two open houses, so she is scheduling her fifth annual “bulb and wildflower day”. Anyone who is interested in purchasing the plants listed below is invited to stop by without an appointment on Saturday, April 10, from 9 to 3 pm, rain or shine (checks and cash only).

If you can’t come Saturday, feel free to schedule an appointment at to stop by during the preceding week (daylight hours April 5 through 9) or Sunday, April 11.

Continue reading “Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Hosts 5th Annual “Bulb and Wildflower Day” – April 10″

Open House at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Nursery, Saturday, March 27

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Nursery is having its first spring open house on Saturday, March 27, from 10 to 3, rain or shine (checks and cash only). Directions are attached. For the convenience of her neighbors, please park on the right side of Robinhood Rd only and do not block mailboxes and driveways.

Feel free to schedule an appointment if you can’t make it on Saturday—you won’t want to miss all the exciting plants described below! Carolyn is available days and evenings this week. Just send her an email with a suggested time.

Carolyn Walker has an excellent assortment of top quality shade plants available right now, and her gardens are beautiful. Here are descriptions of some of the exciting offerings:

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Hellebore Seminars for the Totally Obsessed

yellow hellebore by perseverando

Where: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

325 S Roberts Rd

Bryn Mawr, PA 19010


When: (Select One)

Saturday, March 20, from 10 to 11:30 am

Sunday, March 21, from 1 to 2:30 pm

Friday, April 2, from 10 to 11:30 am

Saturday, April 3, from 10 to 11:30 am

Cost: $25 per person

Attendance is limited to 15 people

Content: Using examples from my own gardens, I will cover everything and anything you ever wanted to know about hellebores, including:

+ How to grow and maintain them

+ How to propagate them by division and seedlings

+ How to pick the best plants

+ The difference between “species” and. “hybrid” hellebores

+ What makes a superior hybrid hellebore

+ What is special about the 15 or so species of hellebores

+ Some of the interesting new species crosses available

+ A special selection of hellebores will be available for purchase, including rare plants potted just for the seminars

The seminars are suitable for any level gardener as long as you can listen to discussions of the most esoteric qualities of hellebores without your eyes glazing over. Questions and observations from the group are encouraged. Feel free to bring samples for identification and discussion.

Registration: To register, please click on this address and send me an email listing the seminar date, your name, and phone number. You will receive a reply confirming your registration and containing further details.

A Hellebore.....The Lenten Rose by keithhull

Galanthus and Other Winter Plants To Buy From Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden

More Galanthus and other winter interest plants that you can buy from Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden

Potter’s Prelude

Charles Cresson’s Heirloom Snowdrop Collection

New G. ‘Atkinsii’: In Snowdrops, Matt Bishop says that ‘Atkinsii’ has “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I”—if that description doesn’t portray a true English classic, I don’t know what does. It is a large-flowered cultivar (the largest I am offering) valued for its early bloom and particularly sweet fragrance. Selected in the 1860s by James Atkins of Gloucestershire, Charles got his bulbs from the famous Swarthmore bulb authority Mrs. Wister. She bought her bulbs in the 1960s from the Dutch bulb nursery, Van Tubergen, renowned for their well documented bulb collections. The authenticity of Charles’s stock has since been reconfirmed by Michael Hoog, the grandson of Van Tubergen’s founder. Charles’s plants have the appearance and documented lineage of true ‘Atkinsii’, a snowdrop almost impossible to obtain today outside of England. $25 (1 plant per pot).

G. elwesii var. monostictus ‘Potter’s Prelude’: This is a free-flowering and vigorous snowdrop with wide recurving blue-green leaves and large flowers similar to the best of the species except that it blooms from November to January. It was selected by Jack Potter in the 1960s, former gardener to Mrs. Wister and Curator of the Scott Arboretum. In 2004, Charles registered it with the KAVB (the international registration authority for bulb cultivars) in the Netherlands. Matt Bishop declared ‘Potter’s Prelude’ the best of its type and will include it in the revised edition of Snowdrops. I am honored to be the only source for this cultivar. $40 (1 plant per pot) (photo above).

New G. ‘Magnet’: The descriptions of this snowdrop are a joy to read, and I can see why after having it in my garden. The stem (or pedicel) of the substantial flower is long and thin causing it to sway in the slightest breeze and setting ‘Magnet’ apart from all other snowdrops (no magnifying glass needed). Selected in the 1880s, it may have been named ‘Magnet’ after the child’s fishing game with magnets and sticks, we can’t be sure. I do know that Matt Bishop says it defines garden-worthiness and is a mainstay of snowdrop collections throughout the world. $25 (1 plant per pot).

Continue reading “Galanthus and Other Winter Plants To Buy From Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden”

More On Galanthus To Buy From Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden

More on Galanthus that you can buy from Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden

Galanthus ‘Potter’s

Galanthus elwesii

Early January bloom, unique green markings, naturalizes

Galanthus nivalis

Bears many flowers, spreads rapidly

Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’

Double flowers

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice

Green markings on outer petals, substantial plants, my favorite

Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’

Heart-shaped green marking, rounded petals

Galanthus ‘White Dream’

Late-blooming, rare

Galanthus woronowii

Continue reading “More On Galanthus To Buy From Carolyn Walker’s Shade Garden”