June 12, 2016

June, June, June!

White Rugosa rose

 June is bustin' out all over!
All over the meadow and the hill!....
....Just because it's June, June, June....
Rogers and Hammerstein, Carousel

I sing snatches of this song to myself during the burst of flowering of June, the most wonderful time in my garden, a month of roses and irises and peonies. The rugosa roses I planted have begun to bloom.....

Pink Rugosa

....and they're wafting their delicious fragrance through the air. They are especially lovely early in the month, before the insects––rose chafers and Japanese beetles––arrive.

Wild rose

 This tiny rose is a wild species that was growing in my backyard when I moved here. It isn't showy, but I like it for its air of tradition.

Tree peony

June is also peony month, though so far only the beautiful pale yellow tree peony is blooming. It too is sweetly scented; a single flower spreads its fragrance from a vase on my kitchen table.

Oriental poppy

There are lots of buds on the Oriental poppy plant this year and they've begun to open, at first looking like a spread fan.

Old fashioned bearded iris

Only two perennials were in the garden when I moved into my house over 20 years ago: the common daylilies in front of the house, and this pale yellow iris.

Siberian iris "Caesar's Brother"

I love the delicacy of form of Siberian irises, and this deep purple variety is a stunning one.

Siberian iris "Summer Skies"

Then there's the aptly named "Summer Skies" with its pale blue and white petals. Siberian irises are moisture lovers, so I have some of these growing by the pond....

Yellow flag iris

....along with the water-loving yellow flag irises, Iris pseudacorus, supposedly the model for the fleur de lis. 

Korean lilac "Miss Kim"

The main event of lilacs happens in late May, but the Korean lilacs, much smaller shrubs, bloom later. Their tiny flowerets look like miniature trumpets, and they blast out the most delicious fragrance.

Snowball bush, a viburnum

The lovely viburnums bloom in June. I look out the window behind my desk and see these white puffballs nodding in the wind.


Wildflowers are blooming: the bright yellow hawkweed dots the lawn and buttercups the fields. At my house, columbine grows wild in the tall grass beyond the mowed lawn of the backyard. Its complex flowers ask for close attention.

Blackberry blossoms

I took these photographs on Friday afternoon, during a brief spell of sunny, not too cold weather. It has been chilly, gray, damp, and blustery for a week, and when I saw these blackberry blooms I remembered the definition of "blackberry winter": a cold spell during their bloom time. So it's not unusual after all to have a week of temperatures 20 degrees below the average! It's blackberry winter, but I long for a return to spring when it will be pleasant to work in the garden, enjoying the sights and scents of June.