in bloom: kousas, peonies, honeysuckles, a rose

THE FIRST PERENNIAL GERANIUMS are rushing by; the Viburnum flowers are shattering. But the “June garden” (which started a couple of weeks early, like everything else this strange spring) is in full force here…and moving out of bloom faster than one might like. Who said we gardeners had any control over anything, though? Let’s celebrate, even if it’s a fast-paced party, what do you say? A quick round of applause for things like these:

PEONIES—the big, traditional herbaceous ones, above—are in their peak moment. I grow them in an out-of-the-way spot for cutting only, not in the garden, as I have mentioned before. Have any that didn’t bloom so well? Some tricks of getting a peony’s full cooperation.

KOUSA DOGWOODS are having a really good year in my garden, with a proliferation of bloom, above, that I hope will be followed by good fruit set. Last year, the various Cornus kousa didn’t put on such a big show, and then you may also recall the near-disaster I had with my unusual weeping one. Glad I didn’t cut it down.

DAME’S ROCKET, or Hesperis matronalis, is to some a wildflower and to others a weed. This non-native blows into the surrounding area and even into my garden, and I’ve learned not to fight, but rather enjoy, it. More on this controversial biennial.

THE FAMILIAR PURPLE ALLIUMS are rushing past, but here comes the little yellow one, Allium moly, and an Allium cousin, Nectaroscordum siculum, is in its glory (above).

HONEYSUCKLES may attract aphids in some spots, but I’m happy to hose them down regularly to get to enjoy their glory. In praise of the vining Lonicera.

CLEMATIS and various other perennial vines throughout the garden are popping open daily. Some of my favorite clematis, and a few other vines you may wish to add to the story at your place.

THE GROUNDCOVER SEDUMS are starting to do their thing out by the vegetable garden edge, to the delight of moths (above) and butterflies, and before long I’ll be awash in a sea of succulents again. Not a bad place to be. Some of my favorite low-growing sedums.

PRIMULA JAPONICA, or the candelabra primulas, are on their way out, but you can say a quick hello, if you hurry.

ROSES, YOU SAY? Why didn’t she mention roses? She doesn’t grow a lot of them, you see, but one easy, bone-hardy climber does have a spot here, as raucous-colored as it is. That’s ‘William Baffin,’ above, part of the Canadian Explorer series.

I have never seen it so happy as this year, though William, like everyone, seems to have a train to catch…and figures to be out of here in a flash. Nice seeing you, all of you, my fleeting botanical friends.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Cynthia. Yes, a lot going on outside, isn’t there? All at once, a rush of sensory stimuli. See you soon again.

  1. Sharon says:

    My train already left the station down here in Roanoke Va (zone 7). But I have some lovelies still blooming, including a new clematis ‘Franziska Marie’ — a spectacular double deep blue violet. I also enjoyed the Nectaroscordum siculum I planted, based on your post last year. Cheers!

  2. Kari says:

    Color combinations work more gracefully in nature than anywhere else. Your peonies are almost the same combinations as my rose and rhodo. (I think Susan Cohan may have bought the coral peony’s cousin at Loomis Creek. It’s a beauty.)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Kari. I love the coral ones; aren’t they amazing? I saw Susan C. toting that beauty out of Loomis too! Hope to see you soon again.

  3. Lisa-St. Marys ON says:

    I just visited Longwoods and Chanticleer on May 22nd and 23rd and they were spectacular! It was my first time to PA and wow were the Kousa dogwoods out in all their glory! Fantastic gardens. I was disappointed I couldn’t quite manage to fly by your open garden tour as well, but you can’t do it all in one weekend. Our Kousa dogwoods are out right now, but with the hot dry weather everything is over very quickly here too.

  4. Gloria says:

    Yes, so beautiful and all blooming on my little 1/8 acre…

    “The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” — Gertrude Jekyll

    “Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”– Henry David Thoreau

    It recently occurred to me that obviously David never met Gertrude!

    Now back out to gardens…June 1st my deadline for all mulching done and kayak out!

    Country girl, Gone city… gardens followed. . . who knew?

  5. Deirdre says:

    I don’t have any dogwoods, but I am going to rectify that this year. The previous owners took out half the root system of a mountain ash, and buried the base when putting in a retaining wall. It’s dying and will have to be cut down before it falls down. I’m going to replace it with a variegated Cornus controversa. I love the way it grows in horizontal tiers, and it won’t carpet the garden with seedlings!

    I love that coral peony. I really need to find a place for peonies.

  6. D says:

    My peony lasted ONE DAY! Seeing that it was fading, I cut the blooms and brought them in. I’ve developed a sensitivity to fragrance (allergy?), especially in enclosed places, but I can’t resist and put the bouquet in the office. Peeked in every now and then to get my flower fix!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Priscilla. Thanks for the words of encouragement. The Sedum is a pretty carefree, colorful groundcover that looks good all but the winter months (and even then it’s not awful). :) See you soon!

    1. Margaret says:

      @Lynn: You definitely always want to take out the three “D’s” — dead, damaged, diseased. Check out my pruning FAQ page. Don’t try to shear it back partway; cut out any damaged/dead stuff back to healthy wood, and see how you go. Sometimes if a branch is half-dead, it need to be cut all the way down, anyway, if leaving it at half mast is going to disfigure the tree.

  7. Alvaro Abrego says:

    I love my peonies. I have only 2 so far ( Sarah Bernhardt and Doulbe Red ). Sarah has bloomed regularly for the past 2 year, but the Double Red has been more finiky.

  8. Dennis R says:

    i see some of my honeysuckle leaves have holes in them all of a sudden, is that the sign of aphids? would planting some marigolds around the vine base chase the aphids away or do i have to use the hose?

  9. Patricia says:

    You are so right. every thing seems to be ahead of schedule this year. My peonies lasted 4 days. They opened all at the same time and then this big rain came and they are done! It’s sad, it seems like they were wasted!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Digital Flower. Yes, it’s a beauty; I love all the coral shades. I am sick of the weather rushing things, but (needless to say) also completely powerless. :) Gardening!

  10. Kristina says:

    Wow! That William Baffin rose is huge! Is it climbing up a tree or do you have it staked to something? Or does it just grow that way?? Beautiful! I love this time of year. I wish I didn’t have to work so I could spend every waking moment outside!

  11. monica blum says:

    I just want to thank you for all your great tips. Just received my second delivery of Texas Tomato cages (six just weren’t enough) as well as another delivery of fabulous mulch from Farm and Field. On now on to finishing the edging that must be completed. As a weekender it is really tough to stay on top of the chores, but great fun. I love the orange peony and must add some. My newest acquisition is a fig tree that I worry about all week long! I hope to say hello at the Hillsdale luncheon in a few weeks! Again, thanks for the many great suggestions and lovely photos.


  12. Jeanne Jacob says:

    I am SO pleased to have found your website again. I thought I had bookmarked it before our house move, but couldn’t find it. I googled “Rosa glauca,” and wonder of wonders, got your compliments on it. I am planning a wildlife hedge in northwest Germany, and want to have wild roses that have lovely hips for birds and other fauna, and other berrying or fruiting plants as well. Rosa glauca is at the top of my list, but wanted to know how it behaves in slightly shadey conditions. Glad to have your endorsement!

    1. margaret says:

      Nice, Jeanne, that we found each other again! Love that rose. I also love the wildlife value of Rosa rugosa (and it has big, pretty hips that are nice to look at, too, and lots of flowers over a long season). There are many “improved” kinds of it, but I even like just the plain old species. You may like some other plants in this bird-garden post in my archive.

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