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A Wonderful Time of the Year: GBBD, June 2021

June 16, 2021

patio garden june 2021Mid-June is a wonderful time of year in my Maine garden. The area around the patio is looking (and smelling) particularly lovely this year; in an unusually warm late spring and early summer, peonies have bloomed early and all my rose buds popped open at once. The view from the patio back toward the entrance to the house isn’t too shabby, either.

walkway from patio june 2021

On the other side of the patio, the plants along the Lavender Walk are full of buds just about to open.

lavender walk buds lavender buds

violet siberian irisThe display of Siberian irises in my garden has been disappointing this year. An on-going drought reduced iris blooms in both size and quantity, and early heat meant that they didn’t last as long as they normally would. When this clump of self-sown irises popped up in the Deck Border, the wrong color for a flower bed that had been designed in shades of pink and white, my original plan was to remove them and replace them with a division of the Siberian iris ‘Hubbard’ given to me by a friend. But this year, I realized that I find the violet color of these flowers enchanting. I’ll leave them where they planted themselves and plant ‘Hubbard’ behind them, in place of the self-sown spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) that has been spreading too aggressively and crowding out other plants.

I generally welcome Tradescantia virginiana and grow these plants in many parts of the garden. This clump by the back door includes the variety ‘Osprey,’ which I’m particularly fond of.

back door tradescantia osprey june 2021

I happily tolerate the self-sowing tendencies of the spiderwort because I find them such beautiful additions to my garden. When they pop up in unwanted places, front slope magenta comboI usually wait until they bloom before I decide whether to transplant them to a better location or just compost them. I’m currently enjoying one of those transplanted volunteers as it blooms with Geranium sanguineum in this vibrant magenta combination on the front slope.

Another hardy geranium, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ is now blooming in many parts of my garden. I often use this fast-spreading groundcover at the edges of flower beds, as in the deck border, where it borders the walkway, and along the edge of the driveway at the bottom of the side slope.

biokovo back walkway biokovo side slope

Near the top of the side slope, the flowers of Amsonia tabernaemontana and Baptisia x ‘Purple Smoke’ are almost finished blooming,

amsonia fading baptisia purple smoke 2021
but Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ is just opening its first flowers. magic carpet opening

In the Serenity Garden, goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) and bowman’s root (Gillenia trifoliata) are blooming. And in parts of the garden where I have encouraged wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) to spread as a groundcover, the flowers of May have given way to the jewel-like (and delicious!) fruits of June.

serenity garden goatsbeard & gillenia ripe strawberries 2021

front border 1st year june

I’m feeling quite pleased with how the new front border is looking in its first year. Some plants (for example, peonies and most of the Siberian irises) responded to being transplanted in fall by not blooming this spring. Other plants, however, have not missed a beat. globemaster allium display 2021The big purple balls of Allium x ‘Globemaster’ are putting on quite a spectacular display at the turn into the driveway. Along the front of the border, Geranium x cantabrigiense and Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle) are blooming happily, and plants of Geranium x oxonianum and Tradescantia virginiana ‘Danielle’ have responded enthusiastically to being divided.

front border geranium oxonianum tradescantia danielle 2021

One of the things that makes June such a wonderful time of the garden year is that there is so much to enjoy and so much more still to come. The garden season has just begun and won’t reach its peak here until late July.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is being hosted this month and every month by Carol Michel at May Dream’s Gardens. Visit her site to see her June flowers and those of many other gardeners.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. joyce boos permalink
    June 16, 2021 4:57 pm

    Jean..lovely as always.

  2. Pat Leuchtman permalink
    June 16, 2021 5:35 pm

    Wow! What beauty so early in the year.

    • June 20, 2021 7:20 pm

      Pat, Everything is so early here this year. My garden has already entered that pause between the early summer blooms and the high summer blooms that I usually associate with early July.

  3. June 16, 2021 10:03 pm

    As always, I envy you the peonies. Greedy gardener that I am, I’ve tried to grow both Amsonia and Baptisia, both of which my Sunset Western Garden Book suggests I should be able to grow, and failed.

    • June 20, 2021 7:22 pm

      Kris, I’ve had that experience of planting something that everything I read suggested should thrive in my garden and then have them fail. As another garden blogger once pointed out to me, “The plants don’t read gardening books.”

  4. June 16, 2021 10:38 pm

    I love your light colored spiderwort. I tried growing a light lavender colored one, but it didn’t make it through two winters, while the more common native purple thrives. -Ray

    • June 20, 2021 7:24 pm

      That’s very interesting, Ray. I think the first light colored one I ever tried, ‘Bilberry Ice’ was a no-show the second year, but other light color ones have done very well for me, and I would say at least half of my self-sown seedlings have light color flowers. Although your description of your experience focuses on winter failure, I find myself wondering if the light color ones might, for some reason, be less heat-tolerant.

  5. June 17, 2021 10:11 am

    Beautiful!
    Love those Peonies!
    Have a blessed day!

    • June 20, 2021 7:26 pm

      Thanks, Lea. Although the peony season is fleeting, their intoxicating fragrance makes them worth it.

  6. June 17, 2021 4:55 pm

    So satisfying to walk down that path, I remember with admiration, how you paced yourself to do that!

    • June 20, 2021 7:26 pm

      LOL, Diana, I’m still pacing myself. My ‘five-year front garden project’ is now in year 7!

  7. June 17, 2021 9:20 pm

    Oh, that allium is spectacular! I am making a list as I read the blogs of plants I want to try for next year, and this I think is going to be one. I love your lovely garden and all the walkways (the lavender path– major swoon).

    • June 20, 2021 7:31 pm

      Angie, When I was redoing the planting at the front of the property last fall, I couldn’t find the old Allium x ‘Globemaster,’ bulbs, so I bought and planted three new ones, only to have the old ones emerge this year, too. I’ve tried lots of different Allium varieties over the years, but this is the only one that has really performed for me. I noticed on your blog that you are growing lavender ‘Munstead,’ which is one of the two varieties that is reliably winter-hardy here in Maine. (The other is ‘Hidcote.’) One of the advantages to growing lavender along a walkway in a cold climate is that the dormant plants retain their essential oils in winter and when I brush against them with my snow shovel, a heavenly lavender scent wafts up to greet me.

  8. June 21, 2021 5:34 am

    Hello Jean, it’s all coming on so well as I remember the first posts where you described the lavender walk path that you were going to make. The front border already looks very lush and full too, those gaps will fill in in no time.

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