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Delight in the June Garden: GBBD, June 2011

June 15, 2011

the back garden in mid-June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) In Maine, where spring is a brief and tenuous season, the garden doesn’t really come into its own until June, when many flowers burst into bloom. After it rained here for most of May, June got off to a warm and dry start and things were happening fast in the garden. This glorious start was followed by a string of wet and unseasonably cold days, and the garden seemed to be in a state of suspended animation. Last night, the low pressure area parked over the Gulf of Maine finally slid off to the east, bringing a dry, sunny morning that was perfect for taking a slow walk around the garden to see what was in bloom.

the circular bed in mid-June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The pastel look of the circular bed in June is my favorite of its many seasonal moods. I love the way the chartreuse of Alchemilla mollis combines with the pink blooms of two different varieties of Geranium x cantabrigiense, ‘Biokovo’ and ‘Karmina.’ Blue and violet tones are added by the striking flowers of Allium giganteum ‘Globemaster,’ by violet Siberian irises, and by Geranium x ‘Brookside’. Normally, the white flowers of Tradescantia x ‘Danielle’ would complete this composition, but it has been slow to get started this year and just opened its first flower today.

June blooms in the circular bed (photo credits: Jean Potuchek)(Clockwise from upper left: Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ and ‘Karmina,’ Tradescantia x ‘Danielle,’ Geranium x ‘Brookside,’ Allium giganteum ‘Globemaster,’ violet Siberian iris)
the back slope in mid-June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The rhododendron whose pink blooms dominated the back slope at the beginning of June is now finished blooming, and its flowers have been replaced by the blues of Iris sibirica and Tradescantia virginiana.
June blooms on the back slope (photo credits: Jean Potuchek)

(Iris sibirica and Tradescantia virginiana)


Blue flowers dominate the blue and yellow border in June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) These same flowers define the look of the blue and yellow border, which is in its blue period at this time of year. Here the old-fashioned blue Siberian irises are joined by the flowers of newer cultivars, ‘Super Ego’ and ‘Tiffany Lass.’ Other blue and blue-violet flowers include Linum perenne, Baptisia australis, and two varieties of hardy geranium, ‘Brookside’ and ‘Nimbus’. Yellow accents are provided by the chartreuse blooms of Alchemilla mollis, by a white and yellow Siberian iris, and by the bright yellow flowers of the very early daylily, Hemerocallis flava.

June blooms in the blue and yellow border (photo credits: Jean Potuchek) (Clockwise from upper left: Hemerocallis flava, Baptisia australis, Amsonia hubrichtii, Geranium x ‘Nimbus,’ Linum perenne, Iris sibirica ‘Tiffany Lass,’ unknown Iris sibirica, Tradescantia x ‘Zwannenburg Blue’)

Pale pinks define the deck  border in mid-June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Across the walkway from the blue and yellow border, the look of the deck border is currently defined by the palest of pinks, in the pink-tinged flowers of Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ and Rhododendron catawbiense album, and in the barely pink flowers of an unknown columbine (Aquilegia). Here and there, these pale pinks provide a frame for stronger color tones – in the clear pink blooms of Geranium x oxonianum ‘A.T. Johnson’ and Geranium endresii ‘Wargrave Pink,’ in the spires of Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice,’ and in the lavender flowers of Iris sibirica varieties, ‘Lavender Bounty’ and ‘Carrie Lee.’

June blooms in the dck border (photo credits: Jean Potuchek) (Clockwise from lower left: unknown columbine, Iris sibirica ‘Carrie Lee,’ Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice,’ Rhododendron catawbiense album, Geranium x oxonianum ‘A.T. Johnson’)

the fence border in mid-June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Stronger shades of pink and lavender also predominate in the fence border, which is looking surprisingly mature in its second year. Here, the front edge repeats the combination of Alchemilla mollis and Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ and ‘Karmina’ that we’ve already seen in the circular bed. The stronger color of ‘Karmina’ is picked up by the pink flowers of two different varieties of Geranium endresii and by the deep wine-colored blooms of an unknown peony that opened its first flower today.  This flower bed also has two different colors of Tradescantia virginiana in bloom, the white and blue flowers of ‘Osprey’ and the lavender flowers of a self-sown volunteer.

June blooms in the fence border (photo credits: Jean Potuchek) (Clockwise from upper left: Tradescantia virginiana, Geranium x cantabrigiense with butterfly, unknown Geranium endressii, Tradescantia x ‘Osprey,’ unknown peony, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ with bee)

With all these beautiful flowers in bloom, the June garden is a wonderful place to be. And what makes it especially delightful is that this is just the beginning; there is so much more still to come.

Garden Blogger’s 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.

52 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 11:49 pm

    what beautiful blooms…the blues are particularly stunning…..I love the colors you have so wonderfully planned

  2. June 16, 2011 12:37 am

    Such a lovely cool colour palette in your garden. Everything flows together so seamlessly. 🙂

    • June 18, 2011 8:43 pm

      Donna and Rebecca, I find the blues and pastels of the June garden very soothing. This is the time of year when I am most relaxed and when the weather (typically dry and sunny with temps in the 70s) are most conducive to just sitting out on the deck gazing at the garden and daydreaming. But I also welcome the shift to yellows in July. Yellow is my favorite color and I find it very energizing — just when I start to realize that summer isn’t endless and need that energy to get moving on summer projects.

  3. June 16, 2011 3:11 am

    Beautiful blooms, so much to see 🙂

    • June 18, 2011 8:44 pm

      Lizz, Thanks for visiting. There is so much to see in the garden at this time of year; sometimes it leaves me feeling a bit breathless.

  4. June 16, 2011 8:04 am

    It’s like a time trip back into spring! Makes me long for the cottage in Maine …

    • June 18, 2011 8:50 pm

      Sheila, It’s so interesting that you think of these as spring flowers, when I so clearly associate them with summer. It reminds me of a lunch conversation many years ago when I was teaching at Bates College. Several of us were bemoaning the fact that Maine has no spring to speak of, that it can go from winter to summer in a couple of weeks, when a colleague who grew up in South Carolina said, “That’s not true at all! Maine has a very long spring; it’s summer that never comes here.”

  5. June 16, 2011 8:20 am

    What a great GBBD post… I really, really love your hardy geraniums; you’ve reminded me of some I had in my last garden and haven’t got round to trying here… G. oxonianum… hmm… where’s that plant catalogue?


    • June 18, 2011 8:53 pm

      Kate, I just keep adding more hardy geraniums to the garden; I can’t resist them. I’m particularly fond of all the G. endressii cultivars or the hybrids that have endressii in their parentage (including G. x oxonianum). In my cool climate here, these typically bloom all summer long, and I love the way they drape themselves over nearby plants so that their flowers peek out between the larger, bolder flowers of other plants.

  6. June 16, 2011 1:39 pm

    Your garden is beautiful…love the color combos of pink/blue/chartreause too…it’s definitely a fave!

    • June 18, 2011 8:59 pm

      Scott, It is a great combination. There’s a moment coming very soon, when I will look out from my favorite reading chair, through the sliding glass door on the deck, where I will look through pink spires of astilbe, past the still-blooming flowers of geranium ‘Biokovo,’ to the chartreuse of Lady’s Mantle and the blues of Siberian iris and tradescantia. It’s delicious.

  7. June 16, 2011 3:41 pm

    I love all your cool blues and pastels! It is a refreshing retreat. I think I would enjoy a leisurely stroll, breathing in your cool Maine air and enjoying all the beautiful blooms.

    • June 18, 2011 9:57 pm

      Deb, This is a wonderful time of year in Maine. It’s interesting that as the weather gets warmer in July (well, warm by our standards, not by yours!) the colors of my garden get warmer, too.

  8. June 16, 2011 4:57 pm

    Jean you must be delighted! Your garden is looking lush, lovely, and so inviting. Walk right in …

    • June 18, 2011 9:59 pm

      Diana, the second half of June is typically one of the most delightful times of the year here. (The first half of October is another delightful time — but less so in the garden.)

  9. June 16, 2011 9:29 pm

    Jean, you have such a wonderful tradescantia collection. I have to keep my one small clump hidden from my neighbors, the deer. I so enjoy the photos of yours.

    • June 18, 2011 10:00 pm

      Oh, gosh, I’ve never had deer eat tradescantia; they were too busy with the hostas. I guess our deer here are just not numerous and hungry enough, so they can afford to be fussy.

  10. June 16, 2011 9:40 pm

    Oh, I enjoyed seeing your lovely gardens and flower photographs. Thank you!

    • June 18, 2011 10:01 pm

      CurtissAnn, Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you enjoyed the June garden.

  11. June 16, 2011 10:11 pm

    Jean, the colours and textures in your garden are so beautiful. Your hard work really pays off. I love that you put the latin and common names it and I appreciate how much work that must be.

    I definitely know what you mean about waiting and waiting and then all the peonies bloom at once! And your other comment was so interesting, about how gardeners give each other plants and they get passed on. I actually try to write on the marker, who I was given the plant by. I love to have at least one plant from all my dearest friends and relatives. I just found out that my Mom’s cousin has a piece of his mom’s bleeding heart. She (my great-aunt) passed away this year, at 100, and I am going to definitely get a piece from that plant and cherish it.


    • June 18, 2011 10:05 pm

      Diane, This may have been the shortest peony season on record. The first flower opened on Wednesday, they were all open by Friday morning, and most of them got completely shredded by a hail storm on Saturday afternoon! (My peonies are all pass along plants — two from my mother’s garden and one from the same friend who gave me the Siberian irises.)

  12. June 16, 2011 10:19 pm

    Jean, I love the way you organized this bloom day post, so user friendly for people looking for ideas. I always hated Maine in June because it was cold, wet , and buggy after a normally beautiful May. sounds like you got the reverse this year. Carolyn

    • June 18, 2011 10:08 pm

      Your perception of the Maine weather is so different from mine. I think of the second half of June as the best weather of the summer — sunny and dry with temps in the 70s. May was certainly cold, wet, and buggy this year; the mosquitoes have been so bad I didn’t even notice the black flies!

  13. June 16, 2011 10:22 pm

    Lovely garden. Hope you had a Happy GBBD.

  14. June 17, 2011 8:12 am

    What a lovely, restful garden you have, Jean. The blues and pinks (with a splash of yellow) are the same as I aim for in my tiny back garden. Geranium ‘Karmina’ can also get some very nice fall foliage colour. Is that your experience? It would make quite a splash in the swath you’ve cultivated.

    • June 18, 2011 10:15 pm

      Helen, I have a lot more yellow coming once the daylilies get going; July is more yellows and blues with splashes of pink. The Geranium x cantabrigiense does get nice foliage in the fall, but it get’s totally upstaged here by the foliage of the deciduous trees, especially the many maple trees growing all around the edges of the garden.

  15. June 17, 2011 8:23 am

    Jean your gardens are lovely and give me such inspiration. The cool, wet weather we have been having here in Maine have my gardens blooming schedule set back about a week. So happy to have the sun back.

    • June 18, 2011 10:19 pm

      Karen, What a nice thing for you to say. Are you in the process of creating gardens either at your cottage or at your New Hampshire home? I am always looking for homes for divisions of some plants — especially Geranium ‘Biokovo,’ the dark blue Siberian irises (which self-sow like crazy), tradescantia, and some hostas. If you are ever interested in any of these plants, we should arrange a visit.

  16. June 17, 2011 9:11 am

    Jean, I was so pleased to see this post and the detailed look at your flower beds. I’m planning a bed right now and it seems I have chosen many similar plants and colours as you have so I was happy to get a glimpse of how these plants might look together.

    • June 18, 2011 10:21 pm

      Marguerite, What fun! I’ll be eager to see what you do with a similar set of plants (like that rhododendron, for example). I bet the number of different ways for gardeners to combine and compose with the same set of plants is almost infinite.

  17. June 17, 2011 12:35 pm

    I love seeing your garden combinations! Everything seems so delicate, with lovely, dainty colors and shapes. Lovely!

    • June 18, 2011 10:22 pm

      Cynthia, Yes, this is definitely a delicate season in the garden. By July, things are looking more bold and substantial.

  18. June 17, 2011 12:48 pm

    Jean you were right about our gardens being at a similar point though none of my hemerocallis are in flower yet. Your choice of plants for a June garden are perfect and I wish I had room to grow a few more that you feature in your garden like the Amsonia. Baptisia and Linium just can’t make it through our wet winters.

    • June 18, 2011 10:24 pm

      Rosie, Both the Amsonia and the Baptisia grow to shrub-like proportions, so they definitely need space. The Linum barely hangs on in my garden. I tried planting some in my Gettysburg garden this spring because some of the gardens I pass on my walk to work have huge clumps of it; it will be interesting to see if I have more success with it there.

  19. June 17, 2011 3:26 pm

    Beautiful garden! This is such a ‘floral’ time of year, isn’t it? It seems we have waited so long, and then…everything blooms.

    • June 18, 2011 10:28 pm

      Michelle, If you think you have a long wait for the garden to bloom, you should see how long the wait is here! (The garden is usually still under snow into April.) That is exactly what makes the June garden so sweet, though. All those flowers after that long hunger makes me swoon.

  20. June 17, 2011 9:55 pm

    Jean, your Maine garden is beautiful in June! We’re finding ourselves with a lot of blue in the garden too this season, as many of our drought tolerant species seem to sport blue blossoms.

    • June 18, 2011 10:29 pm

      Thanks, Clare. What is it about blue in the garden that is so enchanting? All the pinks in the deck border have a very calming effect on me, but it is the masses of blue in the blue and yellow border that take my breath away at this time of year.

  21. June 18, 2011 12:26 am

    I love your gardens and the prolific use of hardy geraniums. Very nice!

    • June 18, 2011 10:34 pm

      Grace, LOL, my use of hardy geraniums is so prolific at least in part because the geraniums are so prolific. The Geranium x cantabrigiense varieties, especially ‘Biokovo’ more than double in size each year. They have to be thinned every year, and I can’t bear to throw the thinnings away. So I either have to give them away or plant them someplace new. From two $5 divisions of this plant 10 years ago, I now have them all along the front of the deck border (about 35′), around the outside and front of the circular bed and fence border, and in both my front and back flower beds in Gettysburg. In addition, I’ve given them away to just about everyone I know (and even some people I don’t know!). And, of course, the more different places I have them planted, the more I have to thin each year. It feels a bit like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence in Fantasia!

  22. June 18, 2011 11:43 am

    Last night around dusk I took a glass of wine and walked the garden … and I have been trying to walk the garden in the mornings as well. So much is happening in your garden and it was great fun to walk through your blooms. I love the blend of colors you have. Your accumulation of geraniums is very impressive. I hope my irises spread. You have such wonderful variety. I like them mixed with the spiderwort.

    • June 18, 2011 10:36 pm

      VF, I was just noticing this year the serendipitous way that the tradescantia and irises echo one another, not only in color, but in the shape of their leaves and flowers organized on the principle of 3. Some of those tradescantia will be coming your way soon!

  23. June 20, 2011 9:05 am


    I’ve enjoyed getting a closeup look at your beautiful garden. I love the blues of June here in Maine.

    • June 20, 2011 12:33 pm

      Caroline, June is definitely the blue season in my garden. Already, though, the blues are past their peak. Pretty soon, the more pinks (Astilbe) and especially yellows are going to come on strong.

  24. June 20, 2011 11:15 am

    Just found your blog – I shall visit it again! Love the photographs, particularly the blues.

    • June 20, 2011 12:41 pm

      Sandra, Welcome and thanks so much for subscribing. Blues seem to be a color for which digital photography is made; trying to get blues right was always a big frustration with film cameras, and I love the fact that I can show off their true beauty now. The blue Siberian irises are now starting to fade (the hail storm we had a couple of days ago didn’t help), but the Tradescantia (spiderwort) will hang on for most of the summer and blue delphinium and balloon flower (Platycodon) will make their appearance in July and August.

  25. Phil permalink
    June 20, 2011 11:32 am

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog! It’s inspiring and informative. Your garden is beautiful. I’d love to create something as lush in my own garden, which is a work in progress right now. I’ve always loved the Allium giganteum ‘Globemaster’. Very dramatic. Are these also known as Lucy Balls? I also had a question about the screen house you have on your wood deck. We’re thinking of getting something similar for our house in upstate New York and just wondering how it works for you. The bugs are particularly bad this year! Thanks!

    • June 20, 2011 12:54 pm

      Phil, Thanks so much for visiting. I’m delighted that you’re finding my blog both inspiring and informative. I don’t know if Lucy Balls is a common name for the Allium; common names vary so much from place to place. (“Lucy Balls” sounds like a common name with an interesting story behind it.) LOL, all gardens are a work in progress. Gardeners who actually finish their gardens have to sell their houses and start over somewhere else! I confess that when I take photos for the blog I tend to avoid the parts of the garden that aren’t progressing so well.

      Regarding the screenhouse — it is the difference between enjoying my deck and never using it. I’ve tried a number of screenhouses over the years, and you have to be prepared for the fact that the screens and canopies tend to get beat up out in the weather and often need to be replaced every few years. This screenhouse, which I’m very happy with, has a very solid metal frame and screen walls and canopy that are separate. If you look for one to buy, be sure to read customer reviews online. I almost bought one very similar to this from Lowe’s until I read the reviews and discovered huge complaints about the quality. Mine is from Target. I have it screwed to the deck in a couple of places and I have not had any trouble with it blowing around or tipping in heavy wind. I sprayed the canopy with Scotchguard last year to provide more waterproofing and protection from sun damage. I expect to get at least another year or two out of the current walls and canopy (there are a couple of holes in the screens and one of the zippers is no longer working properly) and will probably buy replacements this year so that I’ll have them on hand when I need them. I take the whole thing, including the frame, down each fall and set it up again in the spring. It takes me about 90 minutes to do the whole job, working alone. (The instructions say it is a two-person job, but I haven’t found that to be true.)

  26. June 20, 2011 9:30 pm

    Simply incredible Jean! I adore all the pinks and purples. Your flower beds are absolutely beautiful.

    Hope you’re having a good June!

  27. June 21, 2011 12:33 am

    Spring may be slow in coming but your plants are making the best of the season. You must be excited to see the seemingly sudden change since your last snow! Unlike your bright yellow daylily avatar, all your June flowers seem much more restrained and collegial. It’s a soothing mix.

  28. Lula ( permalink
    July 8, 2011 1:38 pm

    I am amazed by the colors and diversity in your garden, indeed it must feel like a paradise relax surrounded by so many beautiful flowers.

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