June 13, 2021


Siberian iris Summer Skies

There have been glorious days this past week, with bright sun, low humidity, and perfect temperatures for spring. As I walked around my garden, admiring all the flowering plants, I kept singing to myself June is bustin' out all over..., that wonderful Rogers and Hammerstein song from Carousel: 
June is bustin' out all over
The feelin' is gettin' so intense
That the young Virginia creepers
Have been huggin' the bejeepers
Outta all the mornin' glories on the fence!
Because it's June!
The flowers in my garden are at their height this month. I look out the back kitchen window and see a mass of the perfectly named Summer Skies iris, with pale blue and white petals floating above green. 

Peony Charlie's White

The peony is the queen of the flower garden.  They have a frothy exuberance, and if I would describe their character, I would say that they have a great generosity of spirit.

Korean lilac Miss Kim, with Swallowtail butterfly

One of the delights of lilacs, aside from their form and delicious scent, is that they are very attractive to swallowtail butterflies. This late-blooming Korean lilac is a butterfly magnet: I see several of them at one time, fluttering around the shrub, landing and sipping, and fluttering and sipping again. 

Wild rose

This small pink rose with a delicate sweet perfume was growing in my backyard when I moved here over 25 years ago. It has since become a lovely large mound, which is dotted with bright color in June. 

Rosa Rugosa

I planted Rosa rugosa along the side wall of my studio, and it has since grown into a wide hedge. When it's blooming in June, the delicious scent wafts into the studio building, and I hear the sound of bees buzzing as they gather pollen. When I watch them inside the flower they seem to be ecstatically wallowing in its center, drunk with pleasure. 

Honeysuckle Dropmore Scarlet

A honeysuckle climbs alongside my front door, blazing orange. I do love the honeysuckles we can grow up here in zone 4, but I miss the ones of my youth, those with scent and taste. During summers at the Jersey shore, we saw masses of the white flowers with a delicious smell. I'll never forget how my father taught us to remove the end of the flower, pulling out the pistil with its drop of nectar. Tasting that was a magical treat. Whenever I see that variety of honeysuckle I'm moved to enact that same ritual. 

Daylily Lemon Lily

The Lemon Lily is the earliest of the daylilies to bloom, and its bright cheerful face is very welcome in June. It too has a lovely scent.

Yellow Flag iris

Another intense yellow flower blooming near the pond is the Yellow Flag iris. It loves wet spots and can grow in standing water. Its form is beautiful, with large drooping petals. It is thought to be a possible model for the design of the fleur-de-lis.

Wild Strawberries

June is also the month for strawberries, both cultivated and wild. The teeny berries have begun to color in my lawn and field.

Cherry tomato Sungold

The garden is producing asparagus, lettuce, and lots of spinach. One thing that I find very exciting is seeing the cherry tomatoes begin to form. Up here in northern Vermont, the growing season is short and tomatoes don't come into full production until August, but here is a sign that I may have ripe Sungolds in 3 weeks or so, depending on the weather. Events like this are what keep me gardening. 

There is a famous Henry James quote about a season: 
Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English language.

I would like to add to that "June day, June day..."


1 comment:

  1. My father also taught me to taste the nectar of the honeysuckle at my childhood home in Newton Mass. There was a vine under the pantry window that scented the kitchen when it was in bloom.