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The Gentle Hues of June: GBBD, June 2012

June 16, 2012

The colors of June in the back garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) 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.

The circular bed in June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
All these hues are present in the circular bed that marks the turn into my driveway, and I love the soft, pastel feel they create. A strong presence of pink is provided by two varieties of Geranium x cantabrigiense, ‘Biokovo’ and ‘Karmina,’ and by a division of Geranium x oxonianum ‘Wargrave Pink’ that was recently moved here from the fence border. Geranium 'Brookside' and Tradescantia 'Danielle' vignette (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)The Allium ‘Globemaster’ that usually provides a focal point for this flower bed in June is smaller than usual this year. (I’ll dig in some bone meal after it finishes blooming to encourage stronger blooms next year.) I always enjoy the white and blue accents provided in this flower bed by the intertwined blooms of Tradescantia x ‘Danielle’ and Geranium x ‘Brookside’.

Mock orange in bloom (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) 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.’

Blooms outside my bedroom window in June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Fence border in June (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) In the back garden, the fence border repeats many of the plants and colors of the circular bed. I’m particularly taken with the combination of pink and chartreuse in this bed and with the way that the tradescantia plants provide accents of blue and violet. I love the strong venation in the pink Geranium endressii growing here. Peony ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ is providing both pink color and lovely fragrance.
Peony 'M. Jules Elie' with pink Geranium endressii and Tradescantia 'Osprey' (photo credits: Jean Potuchek)

Morning blues in the blue and yellow border (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) 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.

Tiger swallowtail on amsonia (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

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).

Serenity garden in June 2012 (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

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.

Siberian irises in the June garden - clockwise from top left: Carrie Lee, Tiffany Lass, Superego, self-sown species flowers (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

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.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2012 7:34 am

    Gorgeous iris…they were early this year….I love your Serenity Garden…looking so lovely…I am looking for a wonderful fragrant pink peony so I might give this one a try…I love seeing all the Tradescantia and geranium in your garden!

    • June 19, 2012 9:30 pm

      Donna, I can recommend M. Jules Elie for both loveliness and fragrance. I got mine as a division from a friend who offered me the choice of any peony in her garden. I chose this one because it had the most wonderful fragrance.

  2. June 16, 2012 9:49 am

    Hello Jean
    You have so many lovely corners and pockets in your yard! Your Serenity Garden has fabulous potential – it already looks very pretty but you’ll be surprised at how quickly the plants will triple in size and fill in! I love blue in the garden and your Blue Garden is beautiful. Actually I enjoyed all the plants and am happy you posted on GBBD! Have a great weekend.

    • June 19, 2012 9:32 pm

      Astrid, Since I only planted the Serenity Garden at the end of last summer, with a few more plants added this fall, and since many of the plants got seriously browsed by the deer when I wasn’t here to discourage them in the spring, I’m thrilled about how much it is already filled in.

  3. June 16, 2012 10:04 am

    I was thinking something very similar the other day, that the blues and whites of late spring were about to give way to the yellows and reds (all the beloved DYCs, Monardas, etc.) that dominate high summer. Truly beautiful photographs. Especially jealous of your irises. Right now I am Iris-deprived, but this makes me want to rush out and buy some.

    • June 19, 2012 9:36 pm

      Jason, The only irises I grow are the Siberians. Not surprisingly (given their name), they love our cool Maine climate. By growing different varieties and having them in several different flower beds with different micro-climates, I manage to have irises blooming for about a month. I always think of the period between the end of the iris season and the beginning of the daylily season (all those yellows!) as a kind of brief pause in my garden. The blues keep going pretty much all season long in my garden, but they are most intense in June.

  4. June 16, 2012 10:28 am

    Beautiful Jean! I am certainly enjoying Tradescantia Osprey thanks to you! And I do have some bonus pink varieties as well as a Geranium – tiny pink flowers? – that also must be from you. Love Goatsbeard. Your serenity garden is filling in nicely.

    • June 19, 2012 9:40 pm

      Kathy, I’m glad you’re enjoying the Osprey; I hope they self-sow for you as they do for me. I did think there might be a pink one mixed in with all the Osprey, but I don’t know what the Geranium could be. Although I certainly grow lots of different varieties of Geranium in my garden, they don’t usually sow themselves in the walkway the way the Tradescantia do. I also love goatsbeard. The one I planted in the deck border more than 10 years ago is now a large clump that grows 7′ tall. I’m looking forward to this new one becoming a similarly commanding presence.

  5. June 16, 2012 2:14 pm

    Blue and white are so beautiful in the garden. And your first photo reminded me that I forgot about the alchemlla in my garden. I take it so for granted – although the bloom is just starting.

    • June 19, 2012 9:41 pm

      Pat, I never thought I liked chartreuse as a color until I started growing Alchemilla — but when they bloom, especially with pink flowers nearby, it just takes my breath away.

  6. June 16, 2012 6:53 pm

    Interesting that blue dominates in your June garden. In my garden, blue is more a late summer and autumn colour. Love the blue and white, especially.

    • June 19, 2012 9:43 pm

      Lyn, Yellow is more the color of high summer and late summer in my garden — probably because I grow so many daylilies that bloom in July and August. I do have blue flowers throughout the season, but the contrast with the yellows and oranges makes them less dominant a presence later in the season.

  7. June 17, 2012 12:22 pm

    I think I must have taken some subliminal inspiration for my new flower garden from yours Jean. I have lots of lady’s mantle and soft pinks and blues coming up right now. I know you certainly reminded me of how pretty Siberian Iris are. I’ve planted Caesar’s Brother but I’ll have to wait until next year to see any blooms from them.

    • June 19, 2012 9:46 pm

      Marguerite, I hope you are enjoying the combination of lady’s mantle with neighboring pinks and blues as much as I am. I have some strong pinks blooming with the chartreuse, too, and I love that combination. I hope you have good luck with the Siberian irises; if they’re happy, they can grow into very large clumps in just a few years. I find that the old-fashioned varieties like Caesar’s Brother bloom more profusely in my garden than the fancier modern cultivars.

  8. June 17, 2012 11:20 pm

    Jean, you have such beautiful trandescantia. So many shades to enjoy. I have just the standard dark blue, but love its presence in the garden. Your serenity garden is looking very … serene!

    • June 19, 2012 9:55 pm

      Joene, I began with Zwannenburg Blue tradescantia, and then added the white Danielle, the white and blue Osprey and the white and pink Pink Chablis. I’ve noticed that the volunteer seedlings tend more toward the dark blue/violet range.

  9. June 18, 2012 4:19 pm

    Your garden looks like a soft pillow! What a gentle, comforting place. I especially like the blue geranium and tradescantia with the yellow lady’s mantle – wonderful combo.

    • June 19, 2012 9:56 pm

      Rebecca, I love the way so many of the early summer flowers have that soft, frothy look. Blue and yellow is my favorite color combination :-).

  10. June 18, 2012 8:04 pm

    I am glad your garden and your weather caught up with one another. We are still about three weeks ahead, but I have become accustomed to it now. I really appreciate your plant and color combinations…wonderful.

    • June 19, 2012 10:00 pm

      Michelle, I am happy to have the garden on a more normal bloom schedule. I’m glad you could appreciate the color combinations from the photos. The disadvantage of having such a gorgeous classic early summer day for bloom day was that the strong June light made it hard to take good photographs; some clouds in the sky would have made it easier to capture the colors!

  11. June 18, 2012 10:22 pm

    The Blue (and Yellow) Border looks really lovely, Jean — I can imagine how those blues would sing out in the morning light. Glad to see your Serenity Garden survived the winter mostly intact, despite the lack of snow early in the season.

    • June 19, 2012 10:02 pm

      Stacy, It really is a Blue Border in June; I think of it as the garden’s ‘Blue Period.’ Everything in the Serenity Garden came through in relatively good shape, even with the deer damage (which turned out to be more of a problem than the lack of snow insulation). This flower bed seems to be “self-mulching” due to a steady rain of pine needles drifting down onto it.

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