Thursday, June 7, 2012

Visit to Carolyn's Shade Gardens in Bryn Mawr, PA

View of Carolyn's Shade Gardens
View of Carolyn's Shade Gardens
Pam and I had a wonderful visit to see Carolyn at her gardens in April. What a beautiful garden! And certainly a plant lover's delight.

One of the defining characteristics of Carolyn's garden are all of the amazing, old trees around her property. No wonder she has found a love for shade gardening! The trees act as a luxuriant setting for everything else. Other people may have cut trees down for more sun exposure, but I am thankful that she instead created gardens that fit her surroundings and even added many more beautiful trees. Creativity is sometimes best displayed when we learn to work with a seeming "garden challenge." 


I hope that this photo tour does some justice to Carolyn's garden and shows how it stands up to both the long view test and also closer examination. It is a truly wonderful garden!
A humorous garden sign: "Danger: Men Gardening" was one of the first views I noticed near the driveway.
A humorous garden sign: "Danger: Men Gardening" was one of the first things I noticed near the driveway. Very soon, however, my fears were put to rest at meeting Carolyn's very friendly and competent husband. He clearly is a wonderful gardener too!
After a short walk down the steps (top of post), we stepped into Carolyn's kitchen. This is the view from the window at the sink! It does not translate as well here, but let's just say that I might volunteer to do the dishes by hand more often if this were my view! I think that we just missed seeing the garden fairies fly by with their tea trays.
Back outside, I snatch a photo of the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) blooming on the porch of the house.
Back outside, I snatch a photo of the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) blooming on the porch of the house.
View from the middle terrace by the house to the bottom of the property with Carolyn's iconic bird house. The follow photos are taken on the terraces, then in the dry shade bed (just behind the bird house) and in her production beds (past the second lawn near the woods).
View from the middle terrace by the house to the bottom of the property with Carolyn's iconic bird house. The follow photos are taken on the terraces, then in the dry shade bed (just behind the bird house) and in her production beds (past the second lawn near the woods).
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The Terrace
When I saw this pot, I just had to take my own photo, as I have seen it so many times on Carolyn's blog. It is painted a fun teal shade that contrasts its miniature Hosta planting. The hosta on top is Carolyn's own selection, H. 'Carolyn's Malex II'.
When I saw this pot, I just had to take my own photo, as I have seen it so many times on Carolyn's blog. It is painted a fun teal shade that contrasts its miniature Hosta planting. The hosta on top is Carolyn's own selection, H. 'Carolyn's Malex II'.
Ruffly deep pink tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) on the terrace...
Ruffly deep pink tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) on the terrace... 
peony paired with plain and variegated honesty (Lunaria annua) looking up toward the garage.
... paired with plain and variegated honesty (Lunaria annua) looking up toward the garage.
Sunlight through the maple tree on the terrace, looking to the wisteria and pink dogwood (Cornus florida) in bloom.
Sunlight through the maple tree on the terrace, looking to the wisteria and pink dogwood (Cornus florida) in bloom.
A variegated lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis 'Albostriata'. Beautiful in the shade of the middle terrace!
A variegated lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis 'Albostriata'. Beautiful in the shade of the middle terrace!
A pretty combination near the steps: Heuchera villosa 'Caramel', Italian arum (Arum italicum) and Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet'.
A pretty combination near the steps: Heuchera villosa 'Caramel', Italian arum (Arum italicum) and Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet'.
Another view before descending the steps to the dry shade garden and the production beds.
Another view before descending the steps to the dry shade garden and the production beds.
The lower terrace is home to these orange Geums...
The lower terrace is home to these orange Geums...
... And these dark geraniums and yellow-blooming Corydalis lutea.
... And these dark geraniums and yellow-blooming Corydalis lutea.
View back up the steps to the house...
View back up the steps to the house...
View from the bottom terrace. Carolyn said that these terraces were installed before her arrival, though I would guess they have done much to maintain them. Such beautiful stone work!
View from the bottom terrace. Carolyn said that these terraces were installed before her arrival, though I would guess they have done much to maintain them. Such beautiful stone work!
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The Dry Shade Bed
At the bottom of the terraces is Carolyn's dry shade garden, staring Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus) and Japanese woodland primroses (Primula sieboldii) at the end of April. All this luscious foliage keeps this bed looking nice into summer, as I just saw in Carolyn' post this week.
At the bottom of the terraces is Carolyn's dry shade garden, staring Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus) and Japanese woodland primroses (Primula sieboldii) at the end of April. All this luscious foliage keeps this bed looking nice into summer, as I just saw in Carolyn' post this week.
I was captivated by the large planting of light and dark pink Japanese woodland primroses (Primula sieboldii).
I was captivated by the large planting of light and dark pink Japanese woodland primroses (Primula sieboldii).
Dark pink Japanese woodland primrose (Primula sieboldii) looking lovely threaded through Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum).
Dark pink Japanese woodland primrose (Primula sieboldii) looking lovely threaded through Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum).
Japanese woodland primrose (Primula sieboldii) with lungwort (Pulmonaria).
Japanese woodland primrose (Primula sieboldii) with lungwort (Pulmonaria).
The dry shade bed in full bloom. This view looks back to the house. Notice the foam of blue flowers in the middle of this photo below the wall...
The dry shade bed in full bloom. This view looks back to the house. Notice the foam of blue flowers in the middle of this photo below the wall...
... And you will see the location of this nice little sitting spot.
... And you will see the location of this nice little sitting spot.
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Lower Garden & Production Beds
Her golden variegated Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows') was really striking in the lower gardens...
Her golden variegated Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows') was really striking in the lower gardens...
... and especially paired with the vivid blue Casmassia Leichtlinii 'Caerulea'.
... and especially paired with the vivid blue Casmassia Leichtlinii 'Caerulea'.
A beautiful display of plants in her productions beds... just a tapestry of color. Primulas fill out the front in yellow and pinks.
A beautiful display of plants in her productions beds... just a tapestry of color. Primulas fill out the front in yellow and pinks.
Here is a very large stand of red heritage primrose, Primula x polyantha 'Old Brick Reds'.
Here is a very large stand of red heritage primrose, Primula x polyantha 'Old Brick Reds'.
Primula x polyantha 'Old Brick Reds' fades into a salmon Pulmonaria and Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus).
Primula x polyantha 'Old Brick Reds' fades into a salmon Pulmonaria and Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus).
This yellow beauty is known as cucumber magnolia, Magnolia acuminata 'Yellow Bird'. They flowers do look like a flock of tropical songbirds roosting in the sunlight.
This yellow beauty is known as cucumber magnolia, Magnolia acuminata 'Yellow Bird'. They flowers do look like a flock of tropical songbirds roosting in the sunlight.
Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum) and a variegated dogwood on the far side of the bottom lawn, moving up around the other side of the house.
Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum) and a variegated dogwood on the far side of the bottom lawn, moving up around the other side of the house.
On the back porch railing is pink anemone clematis, Clematis montana var. rubens.
On the back porch railing is pink anemone clematis, Clematis montana var. rubens.
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The Shade Garden
View of the path and plantings on the east side of Carolyn's house. There is a thicker canopy on this side of the house that creates a wonderful dappled shade.
View of the path and plantings on the east side of Carolyn's house. There is a thicker canopy on this side of the house that creates a wonderful dappled shade.
Tiarella, geraniums, ferns, Brunnera, hosta and every good thing, each neatly marked with their full name.
Tiarella, geraniums, ferns, Brunnera, hosta and every good thing, each neatly marked with their full name.
Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus) under the tree and the floating red blooms of the hybrid sweetshrub, Calycanthus x raulstonii(C floridus x C sinensis)' Hartlage Wine'. More on that one below!
Golden groundsel (Senecio aureus) under the tree and the floating red blooms of the hybrid sweetshrub, Calycanthus x raulstonii (C floridus x C sinensis)' Hartlage Wine'. More on that one below!
One pretty area in the shade garden is given over to blue and yellow for spring. Spanish bluebells and Celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are scattered here and there.
One pretty area in the shade garden is given over to blue and yellow for spring. Spanish bluebells and Celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are scattered here and there.
Love that golden groundsel (Senecio aureus)!
Love that golden groundsel (Senecio aureus)!
One of my favorites: little white Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'.
One of my favorites: little white Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena'.
Blue hosta with the golden groundsel (Senecio aureus).
Blue hosta with the golden groundsel (Senecio aureus).
This sweetshrub is perfect for the woodland garden. It is a hybrid between our eastern native (Calycanthus florida ) and the Chinese sweetshrub which as large white flowers (Calycanthus chinensis ). Together they have produced larger red flowers and named it Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'.  It was definitely a favorite and I am kicking myself a bit for not bring one home!
This sweetshrub is perfect for the woodland garden. It is a hybrid between our eastern native (Calycanthus florida ) and the Chinese sweetshrub which as large white flowers (Calycanthus chinensis ). Together they have produced larger red flowers and named it Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'.  It was definitely a favorite and I am kicking myself a bit for not bring one home!
Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' up close. I found a wonderfully thorough article from NC State University if you are interested in the development of this and other Calycanthus hybrids, including the even larger white flowered Calycanthus 'Venus'.
Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' up close. I found a wonderfully thorough article from NC State University if you are interested in the development of this and other Calycanthus hybrids, including the even larger white flowered Calycanthus 'Venus'.
Carolyn's deck with a creamy maple tree (Acer 'Butterfly') and a perfect spring under-planting...
Carolyn's deck with a creamy maple tree (Acer 'Butterfly') and a perfect spring under-planting...
... including Sapnish bluebells (Scilla campanulata 'Excelsior'), variegated Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Cariegatum') and bleeding hearts, Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba' which have received a Latin update (they used to be Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba').
... including Sapnish bluebells (Scilla campanulata 'Excelsior'), variegated Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Cariegatum') and bleeding hearts, Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba' which have received a Latin update (they used to be Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba').
Pretty little rue anemones in a single pink form, Anemonella thalictroides.
Pretty little rue anemones in a single pink form, Anemonella thalictroides.
Brunnera 'Jack Frost' with a blue glass jug... so cute.
Brunnera 'Jack Frost' with a blue glass jug... so cute.
Another view up the shade garden. The chartreuse lights up the shade so well!
Another view up the shade garden. The chartreuse lights up the shade so well!
Chartreuse hosta with white and yellow epimedium (Epimedium stellulatum, long leaf form).
Chartreuse hosta with white and yellow epimedium (Epimedium stellulatum, long leaf form).
Pretty view to the house which is dotted with chartreuse in the hostas and red in the wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and the azalea.
Pretty view to the house which is dotted with chartreuse in the hostas and red in the wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and the azalea.
This was an utterly captivating combination in the dappled shade: chartreuse hosta with red and yellow spurred columbine, Aquilegia canadensis.
This was an utterly captivating combination in the dappled shade: chartreuse hosta with red and yellow spurred columbine, Aquilegia canadensis.
Close-up of red and yellow spurred columbine, Aquilegia canadensis.
Close-up of red and yellow spurred columbine, Aquilegia canadensis.
One more of Aquilegia canadensis, this time with Corydalis lutea.
One more of Aquilegia canadensis, this time with Corydalis lutea.
Her miniature hosta bed.
Her miniature hosta bed, which does not include her mouse ears hosta which she has in a trough.
Corydalis nobilis
Corydalis nobilis
View from the back of the shade garden of the deck. There is that kitchen window in the corner by the door.
View from the back of the shade garden of the deck. There is that kitchen window in the corner by the door.
At the back of her garage, Carolyn had this elegant metal planter filled with a chartreuse bleeding heart, which I assume was Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart'.
At the back of her garage, Carolyn had this elegant metal planter filled with a chartreuse bleeding heart, which I assume was Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart'.
~~~~~
The Selling Yard
aka. the driveway
Lovely line-up of shade plants in the selling yard.
Lovely line-up of shade plants...
Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno', was one of my purchases.
Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Papageno', was one of my purchases.
More plants between the house (right) and garage (left).
More plants between the house (right) and garage (left).
More plants and the view back to the terraces.
More plants and the view back to the terraces.
 Pretty spring flower display.
 Pretty spring flower display for sale.
Carolyn herself...
The lady herself...
This walk was canopied by the white blooms of a native dogwood (Cornus florida)  and a Carolina silverbell (Halesia caroliniana).
This walk was canopied by the white blooms of a native dogwood (Cornus florida)  and a Carolina silverbell (Halesia caroliniana).

Thanks to Carolyn for the wonderful tour of her gardens! They were truly worth the visit and made a nice day trip when combined with Chanticleer. If you enjoyed seeing all of her plants, be sure to stop at her wonderful garden blog as well, Carolyn's Shade Gardens.

17 comments:

  1. Amazing! It was interesting to view Carolyn's garden through your lens! I have learned so much about shade gardening from her, especially about hostas. What a treat for you to be able to visit.

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  2. Julie, Where do I start? Your photos of my garden are so beautiful that I think I will erase my current post and just have a link to your blog. When did you take all those pictures and how did you remember all the names? I am very impressed. The Japanese maple off the deck is called 'Butterfly'. The epimedium is E. stellulatum long leaf form. The coydalis is C. nobilis. Nan @ Hayfield had a post on glass in the garden so I put the large blue bottle in with the 'Jack Frost' brunnera. You and Pam visited during one of the bloom peeks, and you captured it beautifully. I think I am giving up photography or getting a new camera. Carolyn

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    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      I am really glad you like the photos! Please do not give up taking pictures. My camera does most of the work for me. I still often set it to auto, though I am slowly learning to work with the light conditions, etc. I use a Nikon D80, but I know there are many DSLR cameras that would as well.

      Thanks for the plant names! I knew or remembered many of them, but when I wanted the exact yellow magnolia (to remind myself for later) I remembered that you had posted it last year... Google made quick work.

      I am thankful that you take the time and energy to share your gardens with all of us. You and Michael have done a beautiful job!
      ~Julie

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  3. Oh, I think your photos do it justice! It's so fascinating to see how different photographers and writers interpret the same garden. I love Carolyn's photos and interp, too, but how wonderful to see your perspective.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Beth.
      I agree - I truly think that a subject, or anything in life really, becomes richer through multiple people inputting their perspectives and and impressions.

      I am so grateful that Carolyn does share with us on her blog! I have learned a ton from her. Hopefully this post just encourages other bloggers to visit and see her gardens first hand. It was worth the 7 hour drive for me! - even with sick kids, I might add. PA is a BIG state.
      ~Julie

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  4. I think carolyn is right your images say more about her garden than hers do! Could be because you are an objctive outsider or not so modest about what she has achieved. I so admire her shade planting. Christina

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  5. Very interesting park and nice trip, I loved the picture of flowering cornus!

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  6. Fantastic photos bringing a new perspective to a now familiar garden. Have learnt so much about shade gardening from Carolyn's blog, wonderful to see your tour round her beautiful garden.

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  7. What an amazing collection of really super plants, put together so artistically. Thank you for your tour of Carolyn's garden which we have come to know so well from her blog, I have learnt so much about shade gardening from her.

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  8. Hi Julie - a fabulous show of Carolyn's garden - one of my favourites. How fortunate you are to live close by. I think I'd be one of her better customers if I did :)

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  9. A beautiful tour of Carolyn's gardens. You went at a spectacular time of year with so much in full bloom. I can see why Carolyn was fond of your images, nice angles of view, Julie.

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  10. Beautiful tour of Carolyn's garden. Thanks, Sheila

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  11. wow! This garden is gorgeous! I love all the fresh colors and beautiful trees..
    Honestly Julie, your pictures are so lovely! I makes me feel like I am on a trip there myself:)
    Thanks for posting all your wonderful photographs. I love them all.

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  12. Julie my goodness this is quite the ad for Carolyn's Shade Gardens. Your pictures and descriptions are amazing. I so want to visit soon and will think about the timing to see all these beautiful blooms....I had not thought of a strawberry jar for a hosta planter...

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  13. That is one of the finest shade gardens/ woodland gardens I've ever seen. I can see why you went to visit. Just magnificent!
    Thanks so much for the tour.
    David/:0)

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  14. I had to come back and look at your beautiful photos again. I do want copies but don't have time to think now. When you were here everything was in bloom with old plants hanging on due to the cold weather, seasonally appropriate plants, and many plants blooming up to a month early. Now what I was afraid would happen has happened. It has all caught up and nothing is in bloom now because the normal stuff has gone by.

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  15. Julie what a wonderful visit not just for you but for us too, thank you so much for sharing your visit and photos, I love Carolyn's posts but often would like to see the long view or fuller picture and you have done just that, her garden is even more beautiful than I could imagine, thanks Frances

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