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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.

The Spring-to-Summer Speed-Up

June 4, 2021

patio walkway early JuneA fellow garden blogger once described my Maine style of gardening as “gardening in the fast lane.” By that, he meant that long after his more temperate English garden has come to life, mine is still sleeping under its blanket of snow. But then, in late spring and early summer, things happen fast in my garden. By mid-summer, my blooms have caught up with his and then speed past them as my plants prepare for the arrival of our much earlier winter.

The transition from May to June is also the transition from late spring to early summer in my garden. And with that transition, the speed-up has begun.  At this time of year, each day’s walk through the garden is a journey of discovery as I find more and more plants beginning to bloom.

back slope rhododendron 2021The big rhododendron on the back slope that is in its glory in late spring is starting to fade, but Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Album’ in the back garden, which hasn’t bloomed in years, is gracing the garden with flowers this year. Don Ouellette Memorial Blossom

geranium biokovo 2021Throughout the garden, various species of hardy geraniums are blooming. These include Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ whose frothy early summer flowers border walkways and paths in many parts of the garden. These flowers will come and go, but longer blooming varieties, like the pink Geranium x oxonianum and the blue Geranium x ‘Brookside’ have also begun to bloom.

geranium oxonianum 2021 brookside first flower 2021

lupine with companionsOn the front slope, the fading late spring flowers of our native sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis) and moss phlox (Phlox subulata) are now accompanied by the magenta summer flowers of Phlox sanguineum and Tradescantia virginiana.

Other early summer flowers that have begun to bloom include Amsonia and Baptisia.

amsonia & baptisia

back door iris & tradescantia By the back door, spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) is blooming with Siberian irises.

creeping thyme flowersCreeping thyme has begun to bloom on top of the retaining wall by the patio. Below the wall, the red flowers of Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’ are about to be joined by the intense magenta flowers of rose ‘Hansa.’

Weigela and Hansa

In the Fragrant Garden, rose ‘Therese Bugnet’ is blooming, and the peonies have even begun to open (the earliest I have ever known peonies to bloom here.)

Therese Bugnet 2021 1st peony 2021

new front border june 2021

Globemaster opening 2021The new front border is coming into its own, with a wonderful display of Allium ‘Globemaster’ by the turn into the driveway. At the other end of the border, the beautiful flowers of Siberian iris ‘Hubbard’ are blooming.

Iris Hubbard flower

And all this floral bounty is just the beginning; there is so much more still to come!

Celebration of Spring: GBBD, May 2021

May 16, 2021

fading daffodilsIn mid-May, Spring has truly arrived in my Maine garden. With warming temperatures, the daffodils of late April and early May are fading and being supplanted by a whole host of spring blooms.

The native wildflowers that I have welcomed into my garden come into their own at this time of year. The slope by the driveway is now covered with flowers of sweet white violets (Viola blanda), which act as a groundcover in this part of the garden. viola blanda 2021
Fragaria groundcover At the top of the slope, another native groundcover, wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), forms a weed-suppressing mat around the foliage of peonies and daylilies.
Here and there, common blue violets (Viola sororia) are tucked in among the perennials. viola sororia 2021

bluets 2021Another carpet-forming native plant, Houstonia caerulea (bluets), is blooming profusely this year. On the front slope, they are joined by colorful carpets of moss phlox (Phlox subulata) in two shades of pink.

Moss phlox1 2021 moss phlox2 2021
pin cherry blossoms 2021 beach plum flowers

Trees and shrubs are also flowering. My volunteer pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) has grown quite tall, making its blossoms harder to see from the ground. By contrast, those of the beach plum (Prunus maritima) in the new front border are blooming much closer to the ground. Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are also blooming at eye level.

lilacs 2021

In the shrub planting at the front corner of my property, Fothergilla gardenii is in bloom, and there are buds on the native pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi).

fothergilla flowers 2021 pinkshell azalea buds

My morning walks through the garden have become a delightful experience of discovery as new buds appear and new flowers open every day. I am celebrating Spring and a new garden season.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted each month by Carol J. Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her web site to find links to the May blooms of other gardeners.

A Hillside of Spring Cheer

May 3, 2021

hillside of daffodilsLast fall, I planted 150 daffodil bulbs between the perennials on my front slope. My goal was to repeat the successful planting of crocuses on the side slope. Those provide a much-needed splash of color in late March and April; I wanted to follow them with a cheerful display of yellow to fill the gap after the crocuses fade and before the perennials start to bloom in earnest in late May.

I bought my bulbs from one of my favorite Maine sources of seeds and plants, Fedco Seeds, a co-op that specializes in cold-hardy selections for the Northeast and whose catalogs are a source of both information and delight. From their catalog of “Bulbs and Plants for Fall Planting,” I chose the Narcissus Landscape Mix, described as a great choice for those who are “looking for a large splash of springtime inspiration that will last year after year.”

I used my garden spade to scoop out thirty holes between the perennials and pressed five daffodil bulbs into the sandy soil of each hole. After I closed each planting hole, I sprinkled ground cloves on top, a strategy recommended by Fedco for keeping rodents from sniffing out and digging up bulbs, and which I had used very successfully in protecting the crocus bulbs on the side slope.

Front Slope DaffodilsAs April has turned into May, all thirty clumps of daffodils have emerged and bloomed. I have identified four main varieties in my mix of daffodils (above), two yellow and two white, two with yellow cups and two with orange cups. As the perennials around them emerge and grow, I expect that the fading foliage of the daffodils will be mostly hidden from view. I am very happy with my hillside of spring cheer.

front slope daffodil display