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Moving Into Summer: GBBD, June 2013

June 15, 2013

red peonyIn many places, mid-June is very clearly summer; but in my Maine garden we are just on the cusp of summer. The garden has not yet reached its full flush of early summer blooms, but it is moving in that direction. Now that cool rain has given way to blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s (F), new blooms are joining the summer garden show every day. Among today’s new stars is the first peony of the season.

blues in b&yThe real star billing this week, however,  goes to the Siberian irises, which are at the peak of their bloom. These are important plants in my garden, growing in 6 of my 8 flower beds. I have seven different varieties of Iris sibirica in bloom right now, with two more still to come. The main iris show is happening in the Blue and Yellow Border, where blues predominate at this time of year.
back slope irisesIn the Iris Bed, where the old-fashioned blue Siberian irises bloom first, they are just about finished; but on the back slope (the last place that this variety blooms), they are in their glory.
white swirlBut not all my irises are blue.  ‘White Swirl,’ which provides some contrasting color in the Blue and Yellow Border, is blooming more profusely this year than ever before. In the Deck Border, pink irises are just beginning to bloom.  Two of my favorite Siberian irises, now in bloom, are ‘Super Ego’ and ‘Lavender Bounty’.
super ego lavender bounty_1

Other flowers that deserve special notice in the Blue and Yellow Border are the amazingly blue blooms of Linum perenne and the pale yellow inflorescences of Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight.’

blue linum yellow baptisia

Another important player in the early summer garden is Tradescantia (spiderwort), which grows in all my flower beds except one. The cultivar ‘Zwannenburg Blue’ opens its flowers first, but it is quickly followed by the blue-violet volunteers and by the other named varieties, all of which have now opened their first flowers.

Tradescantia 2013

deck border June 2013In the Deck Border, hardy geraniums dominate at this time of year, with Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ providing a froth of blooms along the walkway. Other geranium cultivars that are currently blooming include Geranium sanguineum and Geranium sanguineum album, Geranium x ‘Brookside’ and Geranium x ‘Patricia.’

Geraniums 2013

serenity garden june 2013

Geranium ‘Biokovo’ is also the most visible bloom in the Serenity Garden, now in its second year tentative bleeding heartsand beginning to fill in. If you look closely, though, you can find a few other flowers blooming. Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ which dropped all its blooms in the unusual hot weather here at the end of May, has reconsidered in the cool temperatures of early June and put out a few tentative pink hearts among its chartreuse foliage.

Tiger swallowtail butterflies are very much in evidence these days. They flit among the trees on the edges of the garden and then float down into the garden to nectar on flowers of  Amsonia hubrichtii, Rhododendron catawbiense, Geranium x cantabrigiense and Iris sibirica .


Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see June blooms from gardens around the world.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. bushbernie permalink
    June 16, 2013 12:16 am

    Well given that your Maine garden is just on the cusp of summer, it’s looking spectacular. I loved all your Irises and your Spiderworts. I think deck border looks fantastic with all those blooming Geraniums. Your Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly shots are beautiful as well.

    • June 17, 2013 9:58 pm

      Bernie, Early summer is one of my favorite times of year here. I love the irises and spiderworts, too. Today my late-blooming Siberian iris opened its first flower, and I felt a little pang of loss because I know this means the iris season is past its peak. Happily, there is so much more to come. And it has been so nice of those tiger swallowtails to hang out and pose for their portraits :-)!

      • bushbernie permalink
        June 18, 2013 3:10 am

        I’m so looking forward to what’s coming!

  2. June 16, 2013 6:33 am

    Jean, you are just a bit behind me as my Siberians are done now. I adore them. I have a great pale yellow one as well that I love. And all the butterflies. Wish I saw more this year but all the cool rainy weather is keeping them away.

    • June 17, 2013 10:00 pm

      Donna, The butterflies have been more active here this year than ever before, and it is a real treat. I do love this part of the garden season — so much happening, but without the sense of loss that comes as the garden pasts its peak later in the summer.

  3. June 16, 2013 7:09 am

    I’m about a week ahead of you here on the seacoast of NH. My Irises and Peonies are done for the year but I certainly enjoyed their beauty and fragrance. Your garden looks wonderful.

    • June 17, 2013 10:02 pm

      Judy, I’m so pleased that my peonies are just starting as we have good weather forecast for the next week. Usually, peony bloom seems to be some kind of signal for heavy rain to begin! I’m finding it all too easy these days to blow off other chores and spend hours each day sitting out on the deck, gazing at the garden and reading novels.

  4. garden337 permalink
    June 16, 2013 8:04 am

    Jean, lovely as always, but I think I particularly envy those irises. My peonies finished before GBBD, but they were gorgeous this year. Nice to see everything so lush after last year’s drought.

    • June 17, 2013 10:04 pm

      Nancy, The irises have done especially well this year — and for the first time in a long time, I’ve seen almost no iris bud fly damage. Yeah!

  5. Nell Jean permalink
    June 16, 2013 12:35 pm

    Peonies and Irises! Can it get any better?

    • June 17, 2013 10:05 pm

      Nell, Not much!! Oh, but I love the daylilies at least as much. I am now at that point in the garden season when I find myself peering into daylily foliage and counting developing flower scapes. Such delicious anticipation!

  6. June 16, 2013 3:56 pm

    Love your Serenity garden. Names really matter. Happy GBBD!

    • June 17, 2013 10:06 pm

      Aiste, Thank you. I created the Serenity garden to try to capture and enhance the feeling that part of my property always created in me.

  7. June 16, 2013 4:45 pm

    I am very jealous of your tiger swallowtails, they have not been seen here, though there was a Monarch yesterday. I like your selection of Spiderworts, here I grow only Ohio Spiderwort.

    • June 17, 2013 10:10 pm

      Jason, I am seeing more tiger swallowtails this year than I have in the past, and it is a treat. The spiderworts are very happy here. I bought most of mine as the Andersoniana strain of T. virginiana (although I think there’s also some T. Ohiensis bred into them). Since they self-sow like crazy, who knows what I have now; whatever they are, I love them!

  8. June 16, 2013 5:01 pm

    Hi Jean, your Siberian Irises put mine to shame! I’ve many years before I will be able to catch up! With so many different varieties in close proximity, have you discovered any new and unusual coloured irises popping up? I’m growing some from seed but they do take a very long time to get established don’t they?

    • June 17, 2013 10:14 pm

      Sunil, The Siberian irises establish big clumps here pretty quickly (although I’ve never tried growing them from seed, just divisions from others’ plants); I think they really like our cold winter weather. I keep reading that the need lots of moisture, but (with a few exceptions like Pink Haze and Silver Edge) they seem quite happy in my sandy soil. The self-sow like crazy here, but I haven’t had any unusual colors pop up; instead all the self-sown seedlings are the old-fashioned blue (which also happens to be the first variety I ever planted here).

  9. June 17, 2013 1:44 am

    Spring-Summer appears to be pretty spectacular. The colors of your blooms are gorgeous.

    • June 17, 2013 10:15 pm

      Thanks, Charlie; I totally love to be in the garden at this time of year.

  10. June 17, 2013 8:33 am

    Beautiful Jean! I love, love Siberian Iris and have mixed in a few with the Blue Flags but imagine will take awhile to form. I love the spiderwort ‘Osprey’ you gave me and forgot to mention that some type of geranium came with it and I now have a nice clump of that also – tiny pink flowers? Not sure which one of your beautiful geraniums it is. I have even moved some to the new beginning section Hosta Row. Your serenity garden is looking lovely. I love that sculpture. Stunning. Beautiful Tigers! I have not seen as many butterflies here – but it has been quite rainy.

    • June 17, 2013 10:20 pm

      Kathy, I noticed the geranium in the photo of ‘Osprey’ on your blog and I wondered if it was a hitchhiker from my garden. I think I must have dug up the Osprey seedling that had sown itself between Siberian irises and geranium in my deck border. (It turns out I didn’t get all of it; it has now formed a big clump again and is seriously crowding the irises.) The geranium is G x oxonianum; I can’t tell you which variety, because I have planted several and they all look pretty much alike to me — maybe ‘A.T. Johnson’ or ‘Rose Clair.’ These are my favorite hardy geraniums and they usually keep blooming all summer long in my garden.

  11. Astrid permalink
    June 17, 2013 11:07 am

    Hi Jean
    Both blue and white Siberians are lovely as is the rest of your garden. I remember you had trouble with deer last year. How is it now? And I have see a number of those butterflies here in Southern Ontario as well. Thanks for letting me know what they are!

    • June 17, 2013 10:24 pm

      Hi Astrid, How sweet of you to remember about my deer problem. My problem was in the Serenity Garden, which was planted in August 2011 and browsed heavily by the deer while I was away in Gettysburg in the fall and spring. This year, I covered my hard-hit viburnum with netting from August until May. When I was here in late April, when the perennials were just starting to come up, I set up netting over most of that flower bed and left it there until I got back here for the summer several weeks later. That did the trick, and I have had no deer damage this year.

  12. June 17, 2013 2:15 pm

    It seems we have a similar taste in garden plants Jean 🙂 I have a Tradscantia called ‘purple dome’ that does very well in various different soil types. Loving your Cranesbill, I think they have to be one of the most easiest to grow with most impact garden plant we could wish for.
    The Tiger swallowtail butterfly piccies are amazing jean 🙂

    • June 17, 2013 10:27 pm

      Linda, LOL, I think we both have a fondness for plants that are unfazed by harsh winter conditions. Both Tradescantia and Cranesbill grow very happily in my garden, forming big clumps and generously creating new seedlings that can be added to still more parts of the garden. I love that the tiger swallowtails sit still long enough to have their pictures taken.

  13. June 17, 2013 8:09 pm

    Our season (3 to 4 hours north of Toronto) seems to be synchronized with yours. The Siberian irises are in bloom and the peonies are just starting. I particularly like your Linum perenne – that blue is wonderful.

    • June 17, 2013 10:30 pm

      Alain, It’s always interesting to see which parts of Canada have seasons similar to mine. I’m always surprised that Toronto has a considerably milder climate than I have. These days, especially in the cool air of morning, the garden is an amazing collection of electric blues.

  14. June 18, 2013 5:59 am

    I love hardy Geraniums too, especially the ones that self-sow and have taken over many of my borders so I have less weeding to do and constant bloom. I have many of the same ones. I love your blue Flax, I dropped some Flax seed on the ground when feeding some to the chickens and was surprised to see some blue flowers come up as a result. I’m amazed you can grow so many pretty flowers in Maine. Happy GGBD!

    • June 20, 2013 4:31 pm

      Hannah, With the reclassified USDA hardiness zones, I’m now at the northern edge of zone 5 — which gives a lot of options for plants. There are a few things (like agapanthus) that I’d love to grow but can’t; but there are also plants like peonies and delphinium that really like a cold winter that I can grow more easily than those in warmer climates. I’ve never tried growing flax from seed, but it’s a good idea since they’re relatively short-lived plants.

  15. June 19, 2013 1:13 pm

    Your summer appears to be off to a roaring start. The Geranium ‘Biokovo’ is a sentimental favorite of mine – it created a pretty, low maintenance carpet in my former garden but I’ve had a difficult time getting it to take in my new garden just 15 miles further south. I’ll keep trying, though. A belated happy GBBD!

    • June 20, 2013 5:02 pm

      Kris, Allan Armitage lists the cantabrigiense hybrids as zones 5-7, so it seems like a stretch for your zone 10 garden. Do you think you had them growing in a particularly cool microclimate in your former garden? Maybe you should look for the coolest part of your garden and see if they would be happy there.

  16. June 19, 2013 3:28 pm

    All those geraniums – lovely! And so many tradescantia too – I think it is not as well known as it should be and I am keen to establish more.

    • June 20, 2013 5:07 pm

      Cathy, These were both plants that I had never seen when I first bought them, having learned about them from garden books. Now both are both foundation plants for my garden, growing in almost every flower bed, because they are so happy in my conditions. If you were in the US, I would happily wrap up some bare-root tradescantia and mail them to you, since they self-sow so readily here. Unfortunately, our governments frown on international transport of live plants.

  17. June 20, 2013 10:52 pm

    Your Serenity Garden is looking good! I love all the blues and pinks and creamy whites in your garden. The butterflies know a great landscape when they see one!

  18. June 21, 2013 5:31 am

    I am certain you are looking forward to a full summer in your Maine garden next year, Jean. It is looking lovely!

  19. June 24, 2013 1:21 am

    The Geranium ‘Biokovo’ is wonderful as it is an effective in border fronts or rock gardens.

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