June 1, 2011

June Is Bustin’ Out All Over

I’m a huge fan of Fourth of July fireworks.  I love the way that they start with a few ‘teaser’ rockets, then simmer down to an occasional burst that makes the audience appreciate the beauty of an individual, colorful display.  Then, there is the ‘peppering’ of loud, staccato shells with their bright, white flashes.  It’s all a dance leading up to that grand finale when the Grucci family throws everything they’ve got into the sky all at once, and all you can do is stand there, slack-jawed in wonder.
In the 'Inner Sidewalk' bed, there are three colors of iris,
Amsonia, giant Allium, peonies, dianthus and salvia -- all
in bloom simultaneously
I feel that way about my garden this morning.  We went away for a few days at the end of May.  It has been a cool, damp spring and, while the narcissus made April a showy month, our ornamental plum had flowered on schedule in early May and the forest pansy redbud had put on its best bloom ever, it had been largely a ‘green’ spring.

The 'Outer Sidewalk'
Bed is just as colorful.
Sunday morning, though, I walked outside to find that five days of hot weather had pushed everything that could possibly bloom to do so simultaneously.  Two dozen rhododendron are weighed down with football-sized clusters of flowers.  Three Weigela – a ‘Wine and Roses’,  ‘Pink Princess’ and ‘My Monet’ – that have never bloomed in the same month much less the same week are all masses of flowers.  An adjoining Deutzia and Potentilla are both snow white with blossoms.  Out by the street, a ‘Carolina Moonlight’ Baptisia is in its full glory and a carpet of bright pink Delosperma threatens to engulf the sidewalk.  Even a Scotch Broom that is prone to skipping years has a beautiful, polychrome display.

Looking across the xeric bed, where
nepeta is in full bloom, a Potentilla
and Deutzia both are laden with
white flowers.
But it is the perennials that are the real attention grabbers.  In just one small garden, white peonies, three colors of Siberian and bearded iris, two of Amsonia, giant lavender Allium, plus geraniums, dianthus and salvia all jostle to be the showiest plant. 

In a perennial border, Cerastium, better known by its colloquial name, ground hugging ‘Snow-in-Summer’ is a mass of white flowers and silver leaves while above it bloom multiple cultivars of Columbine, a Daphne Atlantica, and still more iris, geranium and salvia.

'Carolina Moonlight' Baptisia in the xeric bed (front) and
an overpoweringly fragrant 'Miss Kim' lilac (rear).
This is June in the New England garden.  The wonderful part is this isn’t the end of it.  It isn’t even the beginning of the end of it.  Like that fireworks concert, the peonies and rhodies will pass, but the giant poppies and meadowrue already have flower heads fully formed and hundreds of astilbe have sent up spikes that will bloom pink and white before month’s end.

And those are just the perennials.  The exotic annuals in our newly potted-up container gardens are still getting their roots firmly established.  Once that feat is accomplished, we’ll have a summer’s worth of luscious color from that source.

Next month, I’ll still seek out a fireworks display to enjoy under what I hope will be a canopy of stars.  But this month, I’ve got one going on in my own garden.  To my way of thinking, life doesn’t get any better than that.

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