Late May in the garden

We’re in the garden’s annual purple phase, dominated by the Siberian irises. I’ve spread them out so there are many clumps. I wish I could be as successful dividing the amsonia (or finding more). I need to thin out the black-eyed Susans and hope that will let the Walkers Low take off.

purple 2016

This year we have some white Siberian irises in one spot as well as lots of purple ones. I can’t remember where those came from, but I’ll be looking to spread them out over the next few years.

white and purple siberian irises

The first red-hot poker is blooming. (Yes, those are more Siberian irises behind it, and some yellow irises of some kind to the left.)

red hot pokers may 2016

Last weekend it looked like this:

red hot poker almost in bloom 2016

The next plant to bloom is likely to be this peony. Yes, more Siberian irises. You want some?

peony about to bloom

Some alliums that I thought had disappeared are back. But just some of them. I want to move these out of an ignored far-back bed:


We’ve also got these alliums:

alliums bells

These dianthus along the front walkway really look much more pink. I want to extend their section of the border (and get them off the walkway):




Mid-June in the garden

I’m looking out the window and seeing rabbits in a neighbor’s yard. Just don’t let me see the groundhog! We have at least two, and they have done enough damage in the raised beds.

Still, tomato plants are generally thriving, and I’m hopeful we’ll have some early ones in time for the Fourth of July. Zucchini and potato plants are shooting up. My favorite flower, rose campion, is blooming, as is another favorite, red-hot poker (a little late, I think, but then spring was late and started off cool). And I’m excited about this new red-yellow Rudbeckia that blooms much earlier than the traditional yellow black-eyed Susan. I’m guessing it comes from one of two places where I plucked a flower head and then planted it. I’m hoping it spreads like crazy.

Here’s a look at some of what’s blooming in the garden just a few days before the official start of summer:

Yellow and red Rudbeckia
What a beaut!

red hot pokers

Rose campions are in lots of places:

Rose campion

Rose campion and coreopsis

Rose campion, coreopsis and tiger day lilies

Day lilies above and below:

red daylily
Hope this spreads too

stella d'oro daylilies

The first of the many coneflowers to come:


A faded allium:


A new addition to the hosta collection:

hosta late may new kind

A month of blooms

I’ve been blogging so much about my bike training that I’ve been neglecting the garden write-up.

Regular rain, flowers, tomatoes and more growing well. Bees and butterflies happy and plentiful. Cool til recently, so red-hot pokers seemed to bloom an extra week. Regular rain also helps the weeds grow. Oh well.

The dill worked its magic, attracting a caterpillar that should become a Monarch butterfly. Look at it munch!


Like this pairing of rose campion and penstemon huskers red:

Rose campion and Penstemon Huskers Red

The always-irresistable red-hot pokers:

red-hot pokers and more

A volunteer? Or from a neighbor? Don’t know the name:

yellow flowers

White campion:

white campion

Coreopsis in bloom, think I should extend the bee balm in the back to the corner of the bed, like a ribbon running through:


Separate the rose campion and red bee balm in the flower bed along the driveway? Do they clash?

rose campion and bee balm

Give these day lillies a bit more prominence along the drive?

day lillies

Bees and Butterflies

Yes, I’m back. Sorry, life got a little hectic.

But when I look out the dining room window, I see red hot pokers, shasta daisies, coreopsis, rose campion, nepeta walker’s low and tiger lillies all in bloom, with butterflies flitting from flower to flower. Get a bit closer, and I see bees.

The front bed has gone through its yellow phase (daffodils) and then its purple phase (Siberian irises, walkers low, some alliums and not much more). Now it’s in multi-color exuberance. Maybe I should just let a few photos tell the story.

Changing Scenery

This is how the front walk looked a week ago:

Front walk around June 6

And this is how it’s looking today, as the red-hot pokers fade and the shasta daisies start blooming:

When I came back from London just over a week ago, I thought my desire for “exuberance” had gone too far and that it was looking … well, overgrown. But as I tied the sprawling daffodil foliage into neat bundles, I realized there was plenty of space between (some) flowers. And even more space when I pulled out a few weeds that snuck in.
This weekend, I noticed how one spot close to the door needs filling in. The Brit put in a few nicotiana, but they will take time to grow. In a few other spots, I tossed in some cosmos and sunflower seeds that needed using up, but that will take even longer.
I just got some new plants through Bluestone’s 50% off spring clearance sale, including some cool-looking rudbeckia like this one, called Cappuccino:

And this interesting Solar Eclipse:

Maybe they’ll do the trick. I just hope the deer don’t munch them. Black-eyed Susans aren’t deer-resistant, but the clumps of more established ones are untouched. These seem a bit more established than some that have self-seeded, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Our all-stars

Time to take stock of what has worked this year — or not. Here are some favorites:
Cardinal lobelia. Love the red, love the long blooms, love how it stands out. Need to get more.
Sneezeweed (Helenium). We have red/yellow/orange blooms that pick up so many other colors in the garden. It bloomed a long time too. Only quibble is we don’t have enough to make it stand out. Hopefully it will need dividing soon. In the meantime, it’s on next year’s list for the Master Gardeners plant sale.
Red-hot poker.

Red-hot pokers and the rest of the garden in June
Red-hot pokers and the rest of the garden in June

The blooms (more red/orange/yellow) only last for a couple of weeks, but the effect was spectacular. These seem to need frequent dividing, in case someone wants to put a hand up.
Blanket flower. I was ready to give up on them last year, but this year they have done fantastically. More long blooms (or new blooms), red and yellow, so eye-catching too. it apparently is easily established from seed, which is good since I recently found a packet.
Black-eyed Susans. Our drift of them is gorgeous, just needs to be repeated at the other end of the front bed. Maybe we should try the ones that have some red/burgundy in them.

Nicotinia, with sneezeweed behind
Nicotiana, with sneezeweed behind

For the same amount of effort of growing from seed, flowering tobacco has outdone zinnias (which admittedly now look really good, aided I presume by that spurt of hot weather.) Would like some that are deeply scented next time. I may have finally learned to spell this properly.
Rose campion. These magenta flowers are among my favorites in June. Can’t get enough of them.


All mixed up!
All mixed up!

We have so many, and the varieties are fairly well mixed. The front bed is full of them in April. What more could you want as you come out of winter?
Coleus. This annual was slow to start (and did best in pots), but adds some nice zing now. Hoping to overwinter some so we get a jump on 2010.
Yucca. I wasn’t a fan when we were given a bunch a few years back, but they’ve really grown on me. Love the strong leaves and how it looks in winter. And was surprised at how they bloomed this year.

— what the deer discovered: asters and clematis. Too heavily munched. The light blue asters that covered the porch railing last year barely make it to the bottom of the porch.
David phlox didn’t do much this year.