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June is Busting Out All Over

June 5, 2010

Peony bloom (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Musical theater aficionados will recognize this as a song title from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. This musical is set in Maine, and the song evokes the sudden and dramatic arrival of summer in June.

In my Maine garden, as in the fictional coastal town of the musical, the arrival of June brings an explosion of early summer blooms. The show starts in the iris bed, which fills with blue as two varieties of old-fashioned siberian irises flower, accompanied by Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Zwanenberg Blue.’ Irises and tradescantia in other parts of the garden quickly join in; at the end of the first week in June, I have eight different varieties of iris and five different varieties of tradescantia blooming in seven different flower beds.

Ttradescantia and irises in blue and yellow border (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Tradescantia and irises on back slope (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

The hardy geraniums are also an important part of the early summer burst of bloom, and nine varieties of these are currently in flower. Varieties of hardy geranium (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

The effect of abundant bloom is strongest in the back garden. The back garden, coming up from driveway (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)As I come up the walkway from the driveway, the chartreuse foliage of spirea ‘Magic Carpet’ in the deck border and the tall foliage of rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ in the fence border frame not only the flowers of iris, tradescantia, and geranium, but also lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), columbines (Aquilegia), flax (Linum perenne), Amsonia tabernaemontana, Baptisia australis and the early species daylily, Hemerocallis flava.

In the new fence border, several varieties of geranium and tradescantia are joined by lady’s mantle and the first peony bloom. Fence border blooms in early summer (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
The blue and yellow border as viewed from the deck (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The view from the deck (where I am now eating many of my meals) focuses particularly on the beauties of the blue and yellow border.

And much more is still to come. Several varieties of siberian iris and geranium have not yet opened their first flowers. In the deck border, Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Pink Chablis’ is just beginning to add its flowers to the blooms of geranium and heuchera; and the goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) and astilbe that are such an important part of the early summer display in this border have not yet begun.

Tiger swallowtail on allium (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) I am not the only one who appreciates the bounty of June in the garden; the pollinators have also noticed. Bees, hummingbirds, and several varieties of butterflies are now visiting regularly, and their presence adds to the sense of life “busting out all over.”

24 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 7:51 pm

    Jean, your flowers are just beautiful. You’ll enjoy many different views of the garden, while you eat your meals on your deck, as the summer progresses.

    I took your advice and added a section to my blog that makes it easier to see the ‘progression’ of my garden from 2007 until now.

    Later in the summer, I will post some ‘then and now’ shots, which should be fun.


    • Jean permalink*
      June 5, 2010 11:00 pm

      Diane, Thanks for visiting. As the summer progresses, I tend to spend more and more time on the deck. Sometimes, I just take my telephone and laptop out there and turn it into an outdoor office. (It’s hard not to keep getting up to check something out in the garden, though!)

      I love the new page on the progression of your garden that you added to your blog; it’s a perfect solution. I’ll look forward to seeing those before and after photos. (I agree that they’re lots of fun.)

  2. June 5, 2010 8:14 pm

    Your spring garden is beautiful and, as always, the graphic presentation is outstanding.

  3. June 5, 2010 8:55 pm

    All over the meadr an’ the hill!

    I LOVE Carousel. One of the reasons I came to Maine; one one of the myriad reasons I love Maine and really want to be there.

    • Jean permalink*
      June 5, 2010 11:05 pm

      Allan, Thanks as always for the kind words.

      Susan, I don’t think I knew that you had a Maine connection. I, too, really want to be here. For the past 25 years, I’ve juggled a job 600 miles away in southern Pennsylvania with maintaining a home and garden here. Fortunately, I teach college, so I really only have to be in PA 30 weeks per year and tend to head up to Maine anytime school is out for more than 3 days in a row. I’ve been on sabbatical this year and enjoying a full year in Maine. In four years, I’ll be retiring from my teaching position and finally able to settle into my house here as my permanent (and only!) residence.

  4. June 5, 2010 10:17 pm

    Hello Jean, your garden is looking just lovely.
    I am very taken with all of your different geraniums – can I pester you for their names? Heidi.

    • Jean permalink*
      June 5, 2010 11:31 pm

      Heidi, I always joke that I never met a hardy geranium that I didn’t like. The Picasa collages are nicer looking than my home-made ones, but the disadvantage is that each image can’t be captioned and enlarged separately.

      Here are the names of the varieties, clockwise, starting from the upper left:
      (1) unknown variety from a friend’s garden; from it’s foliage and growth habit, it seems to be a cultivar of G. endressii
      (2) G. sanguineum. This is actually a little more magenta than it looks in this photo. This species is more tolerant of heat and full sun than most members of the genus. In my garden, it begins to bloom in May and is usually finished by the end of June.
      (3) This is either G. x oxonianum ‘A.T. Johnson’ or G. endressii ‘Wargrave Pink’. These are very similar plants that I originally planted side by side and that have how grown together into integrated clumps. They form mounds and then drape their flowers over other nearby plants in a very appealing way. In my cool Maine garden, they often bloom continuously from June until fall. One has a slightly more silvery/lavender flower and the other a slightly more salmony flower. I think this is the more silvery one, which I believe is ‘A.T. Johnson.’
      (4) This is G. x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ a groundcover type geranium that spreads very fast in my sandy soil by sending out shallow roots in every direction. It bursts into a mass of frothy blooms that always remind me of whipped cream in early summer. The bloom period only lasts 2-3 weeks, but the foliage is attractive throughout the year, and I like to use it as a front of border edging plant. In the picture of the fence border, this is the plant in the left foreground, growing side-by-side with a darker pink x cantabrigiense cultivar called ‘Karmina.’
      (5) This is G. x ‘Brookside.’ It has a lot of endressii in its parentage, has those same mounding/draping tendencies, and usually blooms continuously all summer long in my garden. I also have a very closely related cultivar called ‘Nimbus’ which has more red in it than ‘Brookside.’
      (6) This is G. sanguineum ‘Album,’ a bit less vigorous than the magenta species, but with the same characteristics.

      Other geraniums in my garden are G. maculatum ‘Album,’ which is the first to bloom and then goes dormant (I think I had a photo of it in my May bloom day post.), G. x ‘Johnson’s Blue’ (which is a more erect plant than the endressii types, has a shorter bloom period, and has not begun to bloom yet), and G. pratense ‘Splish-Splash’ (which is erect and has a relatively short bloom time like ‘Johnson’s Blue,’ but which also has the fun characteristic of flowers that combine violet and white in different patterns on each flower).

      • June 6, 2010 3:51 am

        Thank you so much for taking the time to provide all of that wonderful extra information Jean! I’m going to print it out and keep it tucked away until I have a chance to go out looking for some new geraniums. Cheers, Heidi.

  5. June 5, 2010 11:20 pm

    Your garden looks wonderful. Pat and I will use our deck once it stops raining. jim

  6. June 6, 2010 12:50 am

    Wow – your garden looks great! I love the photo of the butterfly on the allium; what a beautiful color combination that is! And all of your geraniums and the red peony! I would sit on that deck all day!

  7. June 6, 2010 10:07 am

    The abundance of June makes me giddy with delight, even though I’m currently confined to the house with too much fog and muscles/joints that aren’t working right. We’re wrapped in fog, but so much is coming into bloom (we’re probably 2 weeks behind you, Jean; only the Geranium phaeum cranesbills are in real bloom, the bigroots and field and bloody cranesbills trembling on the edge of flowering, the irises and tradescantias and the peonies still waiting for their cue to come on. Even the oriental poppies are waiting–a little sunshine, and there will be a botanical explosion here. (we’ve been in rain, fog and drizzle for a few days now but I’m not complaining–the woods, the farmers, and many wells were getting stressed.)
    I often wish (along with many other unfulfillable wishes) that we could stay in June for about three months. It seems to go soooo quickly, and we go from that perfect green lushness to a tipping over of over-lushness, things that need cutting back, things going to seed, days shortening in length, all too quickly. But we all go through that, so I really do savour each day, fog or no fog, wind or no wind. Because it isn’t snowing, bleak or cold-dull. 🙂

  8. June 6, 2010 3:36 pm

    Your garden is looking very lovely. I especially like your collection of Hardy Geraniums. They’re such fun, fuss-free flowers. Happy gardening!

  9. June 6, 2010 3:47 pm

    Thank you for these wonderful pictures – the geraniums are fabulous

  10. June 6, 2010 5:49 pm

    If I had such a lovely deck, I don’t think that you could drag me off of it to do anything. Especially housework inside.



  11. June 6, 2010 7:55 pm

    hi Jean! i just love your pathway to your house. your gardens are just divine! and such beautiful geraniums. i always get pots of the scented geraniums each summer just so i can rub their leaves for a quick whiff of their scent.

  12. June 6, 2010 9:10 pm

    You have created lovely gardens, Jean. I’m sure you are thoroughly enjoying your outside meals. Thanks for sharing your gardens … btw, my trandescantia, peonies, lady’s mantle and cranesbill are blooming now also. Perhaps our seasons have caught each other?

  13. June 7, 2010 2:03 pm

    I do love iris and your geraniums are so sweet. It is so interesting to see the difference in how your garden looks like now as opposed to covered in snow in winter time (I live in Arizona, so things like that fascinate me).

  14. June 7, 2010 3:13 pm

    Jean the palette of colours just now in your garden is so beautiful. I love a mix of purple and yellow in the garden and even though ladys mantle is such a prolific seeder I would be lost with out those frothy sulphur flowers – I see you like them too along with those geraniums , iris and spirea.

    I don’t know about you but June is my favourite month of the year in the garden.

  15. June 7, 2010 9:49 pm

    What beautfiul “busting!” I would eat (and sleep) to this view! What a great garden Jean! I love goat’s beard and mine is in full bloom! Lady’s Mantle is also one of my favorites. Can only hope for the variety of Iris and Geranium you have one day.

  16. June 7, 2010 10:05 pm

    Beautiful!! June is my favorite month in my garden, and yours looks just loaded with flowers. I love the geraniums. They are such great plants and such long bloomers.

  17. June 7, 2010 10:10 pm

    Your garden is looking wonderful Jean! I really do need to plant some Alliums here, even if it’s just to beautify the vegetable garden, and entice a few extra butterflies. It’s funny, it doesn’t seem like so long ago we were all lamenting the late arrival of spring…and now it’s almost summer!? Where did spring go? I’m not ready for summer yet!

  18. sequoiagardens permalink
    June 8, 2010 2:55 am

    Jean, I love your garden and your choice of plants. You have several of my favourites that over the years have not moved into the newer parts of my garden or been lost – geraniums, tradescantia etc., and I don’t get the joy from them I should. This needs to be rectified. Thanks for the reminder!

  19. June 8, 2010 7:03 pm

    I love your title! My garden is ready to bust out but isn’t quite there yet. Give me a week or two . . . . I love June!

  20. June 9, 2010 5:05 am

    Your gardens look beautiful. I love all of the geraniums. I recently added Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘St. Ola’ which is very similar to ‘Biokovo’. I love the scent that comes from brushing up against this plant. G. x ‘Johnson’s Blue’ remains one of my favorites. And, G. macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ remains on my wish list.
    Geraniums have the sweetest flowers, and I continue to fall in love with more and more varieties. That geranium pictured in the first photo is beautiful, and I’ll have to do a little more research to determine this variety.

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