The Gentle Hues of June: GBBD, June 2012
Later in the summer, many of the color combinations in my garden will be characterized by strong contrasts. But in June the garden features the gentle harmonies of colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. Blues shade into violets, which shade into pinks, which shade into whites – and the contrasts provided by the varied greens of foliage and the chartreuse of Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) are sweet rather than sharp.
Outside my bedroom window the mock orange (Philadelphus) is blooming against a cloudless June sky. The perennial border between this shrub and the house is suffering from neglect, both because it has never been a very successful planting and because it will disappear when I put an addition on this part of the house. Many plants have already been relocated to other parts of the garden, and I have not yet gotten around to weeding or cutting back last year’s spent stems. But even here, June’s beauty can be found in the way that Tradescantia x ‘Danielle’ and Geranium sanguineum album echo the white and yellow of the mock orange blossoms and in the nearby combination of Geranium sanguineum and Tradescantia x ‘Pink Chablis.’
The blue and yellow border is almost entirely blue at this time of year, with a strong presence of blue provided by several varieties of Iris sibirica as well as by Tradescantia x ‘Zwannenburg Blue,’ Geranium x ‘Brookside’ and Baptisia australis. The camera doesn’t adequately record how electric these blues look in the cool dry air of a Maine morning. At this time of year, yellow accents are provided by the tiger swallowtail butterflies that are particularly drawn to the flowers of Amsonia hubrichtii.
The new serenity garden is designed to give a starring role to foliage. Nevertheless, when the planting is mature, this is the time of year when flowers will be most abundant. This year, however, some plants (Amsonia hubrichtii) are not yet well enough established to bloom, and others (Poteranthus trifoliata and Heuchera ) have been discouraged from blooming by heavy deer damage earlier in the spring. I am happy, however, to enjoy the gentle pleasures of blooms on Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ and goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus).
In late April, after unusually warm weather had brought an early spring, my garden was several weeks ahead of last year. But cool, wet weather in May and the first half of June slowed things down so that my current blooms are comparable to last year’s June display.
The signature flower for June in my garden is the Siberian iris. These flowers are a little past their peak right now, with the display just about done in the iris bed and on the back slope. But the late-blooming ‘Yankee Doddle Boy’ in the blue and yellow border has not yet opened its first flower. One of the great pleasures of my life each June is gazing at the wonderful swirls and patterns of Siberian iris flowers.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is in bloom this month in gardens around the world.