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The Late Spring Speed-Up

June 4, 2022

back slope rhododendron 2022A fellow garden blogger, Sunil Patel of Sunil’s Garden, once described my Maine garden season – which is considerably more compressed than his more temperate UK garden experience – as “gardening in the fast lane.” If that is true, then this point in the year as May has turned to June, is the time when my garden puts on speed and moves out into the fast lane. After the leisurely pace of April and early May, when crocus flowers slowly appeared and were followed by daffodils, moss phlox, and native wildflowers like violets, wild strawberries and bluets, suddenly everything is happening at once.

amsonia clumpThe big rhododendron on the back slope (above) came into its glory in the last week of May and is now starting to drop its petals. Nearby, on the side slope, big clumps of Amsonia tabernaemontana are full of pale steel blue flowers.

amsonia flowers

Globemaster bloomingAt this time of year, each day’s morning stroll through the garden finds new flowers opening for the first time. Those that have come into bloom in just the past few days include Allium x ‘Globemaster,’

Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch,’ Firewitch 2022

sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis) and Heuchera x ‘Raspberry Regal,’

sundial lupine 2022 Heuchera raspberry regal 2022
Blues Border June 2022 several varieties of spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana),
and the first of the roses to flower, ‘Therese Bugnet.’

Therese Bugnet flower 2022

Therese Bugnet flowers 2022
Siberian iris species The Siberian irises have also begun to bloom, including the self-sown species plants that are usually dark blue, the beautiful violet variety that was passed along to me from a friend who, in turn, got it as a division from her aunt, and the variety ‘Hubbard,’ which another friend gave me several divisions of a few years ago.
Siberian iris Hubbard 2022 Siberian iris violet

In that same few days, I have gone from having one species of hardy geranium (Geranium maculatum) in bloom, to also having flowers on G. x cantabrigiense, G. x oxonianum, G. sanguineum, and G. x ‘Brookside.’

Biokovo first flowers Geranium sanguineum 2022

As late spring turns into summer in the weeks to come, the speed-up will continue. Irises and roses will be joined by baptisia and peonies and goatsbeard and spirea. These will be followed in turn by daylilies and coreopsis and false sunflowers as the garden reaches its high summer peak in late July.

This late spring moment, as the speed-up begins, is an exciting time in the garden and a time of sublime anticipation.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2022 4:27 pm

    It’s always magical when you discover new blooms every time you walk out the door. Enjoy the transition from spring to summer, Jean!

    • June 8, 2022 5:24 pm

      Kris, This really is a delightful time of year in my garden. I’m starting to see the first flower scapes on my daylilies — another wonderful form of anticipation.

  2. permalink
    June 4, 2022 6:30 pm

    Lovely photos of your beautiful garden! Mine has also been blooming its head off, one group of plants after another! What a wonderful season!

    Janet M. Powers

    “I object to violence because when it appears to do good,

    the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

    • June 8, 2022 5:24 pm

      June is my favorite part of the Maine summer.

  3. Pat Leuchtman permalink
    June 5, 2022 7:59 am

    What a beautiful garden you have. Our garden has not been very quick, but just 4 days ago I was amazed at the budding and opening of my roses.

    • June 8, 2022 5:25 pm

      Pat, It’s as though the garden makes you wait, and makes you wait — and then, Bam!

  4. June 6, 2022 3:13 pm

    Hello Jean, over the years I’ve been trying to find that precise point at which your garden catches up with mine and then starts to overtake it. Right now, your Iris Sibirica is just flowering, while ours has just finished, so I’d say you’re still catching up, but it’s close. Maybe within the next 2-3 weeks we’ll be neck and neck, after which I’ll be eating your dust as you race off into the distance.

    • June 8, 2022 5:28 pm

      LOL, Sunil, I’ve been watching episodes of Gardener’s World three weeks after they aired in the UK, and that has been about right. I’ll pay attention to when I have to start watching two episodes a week to catch up and when my garden gets ahead of Monty’s. Siberian irises seem to be coming and going very quickly in my garden this year, and the first of the peonies opened yesterday.

  5. June 7, 2022 4:33 pm

    Steel blue Amsonia is a wonderful understated colour

    • June 8, 2022 5:30 pm

      Diana, I agree; it’s very subtle. I love that touch of sky blue on the receptacle below the flower that you can only see when you get up close.

  6. Donna Donabella permalink
    June 7, 2022 7:23 pm

    It is amazing when the garden does the fast forward as I like to say….it is warp speed right now even with some cool days.

    • June 8, 2022 5:31 pm

      Donna, I imagine our garden seasons are quite similar, and the speed of change is pretty breathtaking right now.

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