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Early Summer in Maine

June 24, 2019

Pink patio bloomsLate June may be my favorite time of the year in Maine. Today was a perfect late June day, with clear blue skies, temperatures in the seventies (F), soft breezes, and long hours of light.

Side slope June blooms 2019By this time in June, we have made the transition from late spring to early summer. In my garden, plants that got off to a late start this year are making up for lost time. The garden looks lush and fresh, and it is full of beautiful flowers and of possibility. (Peak bloom here won’t happen for another month.)

back slope irises 2019Siberian irises, which are now at their peak, have been exceptionally prolific this year; all that spring rain made them happy. Most, like these that have self-sown down the back slope, bloom in various shades of blue. The side slope display also includes some white ones (‘White Swirl’), and this lovely wine color flower of ‘Carrie Lee’ is blooming in the deck border.

side slope irises Carrie Lee 2019

circular bed pastelsAt this time of year, the garden blooms primarily in shades of blue and pink, with the low contrast giving a feeling of lovely calm. The circular bed at the turn into my driveway is a study in pastels.  The blue and yellow border is in its blue phase, with contrasting yellows still to come.

blue and yellow blues

Biokovo with bumblebeeWith such a bounty of late June blooms, pollinators are plentiful and busy. As I walk through the garden, I see several types of native bees, bee-like flies, hummingbirds, and several species of butterflies. The bumblebee queens have been exceptionally numerous and large this year; they look a bit like flying school buses!  Among the early summer butterflies, the tiger swallowtails are the showiest. I love the way a pair of them will circle round one another in a spiral ascent up into the trees. They have been visiting many different flowers, including Siberian irises and allium. I managed to capture this pair nectaring together at a clump of Allium ‘Globemaster.’


Iris with swallowtail 2019 Globemaster balls with swallowtails

In late June, I feel as though I’m living in a lovely dream.

June patio blooms

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2019 11:46 pm

    Your description of your garden sounds just like a dream, Jean. Siberian Irises have such graceful blooms and flitting butterflies add an extra touch of elegance.

    • June 28, 2019 2:44 pm

      Kris, Everyone in my area is reporting an unusually large number of tiger swallowtail butterflies this year, but I don’t know if/how that is related to our long, cool, wet spring.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2019 6:31 am

    Beautiful ❤️

  3. Pat Webster permalink
    June 25, 2019 9:08 am

    Late June is my favourite time in the garden, too, Jean. Another indication of how similar our gardening conditions are. Your allium are doing well. I haven’t had any success getting them to naturalize or spread. Have you?

    • June 28, 2019 2:47 pm

      Pat, ‘Globemaster’ is the only allium I’ve successfully grown. Usually it has an increase in the number of flowers in the first couple years after I plant the bulbs, then the flowers start getting smaller in the several years that follow, then they stop flowering. I’m guessing that I should dig up the additional bulbs when they reach the smaller flowers stage and keep them from getting overcrowded.

  4. June 26, 2019 8:50 pm

    Yes, June does seem to have a lot of blue flowers. Fantastic butterfly shots! But tell me honestly, how bad are the mosquitoes?

    • June 28, 2019 5:01 pm

      LOL, Jason, our long wet spring created super conditions for mosquitoes — so much so that the local news ran a story this past week featuring the mosquito expert from the University of Maine. At this time of year, I work in the garden wearing a net shirt that covers me from head to hips, including long sleeves and face covering.

  5. June 27, 2019 1:40 am

    All of our gardens should be like a dream.

    • June 28, 2019 5:03 pm

      I find that these dream-like moments are fleeting and should be savored until some disease, insect or animal pest brings me crashing back to reality. 😉

      • June 30, 2019 12:04 pm

        I happen to live and work in place where many come to vacation and be with the sort of nature and scenery that we take for granted. I find that I enjoy the gardens and landscapes more when I see others enjoying them. I can sort of see it more like they do, rather than with all the problems that I look for professionally. Part of the reason I enjoy the Mojave Desert so much is that I do not recognize much of the minimal flora there, so I do not see the problems. I tend to notice the scenery more.

  6. July 13, 2019 8:54 pm

    I remember when you remodeled your house and began planting your garden. It has matured into a lovely pastel dream! When I think of my ideal garden, I think of plants like yours. I envy your mild summer temps that are so good for your perennials.

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