IT REMINDS ME OF THAT SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SONG, “At the Zoo.” In early June, it’s all happening at the zoo I call a garden, a place full of plants that seem to want to act up and act out, one after another: Kousa dogwoods, peonies, roses, mock orange, Chionanthus, the next wave of alliums and more.
The song goes on to describe one animal after another: The monkeys stand for honesty, Giraffes are insincere… Here’s it’s more like this (do forgive the lack of meter and rhyme):
- Peonies are everyone’s darling, except when they refuse to bloom.
- Kousa dogwoods like to grandstand, and not just in the spring.
- Allium moly’s a prolific charmer—perhaps too prolific for some zoos.
- Dame’s rocket is likewise controversial: alien invader, or biennial border beauty?
- Honeysuckles attract hummingbirds (with the occasional side of aphids, but I forgive them).
- Speaking of climbers, darling Clematis clamber for attention, happy to romp over anything in their path.
- Mock orange grabs you by the nose and won’t let go (the gold-leaf Philadelphus grabs the eye, too).
- Rosa glauca is a blue-leaved star, my desert-island choice if only one rose were allowed.
- Primula japonica moves about as it likes, refusing to stay where I put it.
- Groundcover sedums are positively electric at the moment, and never ask for anything.
- Chionanthus is called the fringe tree, and for good reason; what fringe-y flowers!
- Viburnum ‘Michael Dodge’ flowers now, too, but it’s his later act we love him for.
So please, don’t look at the faded lilacs here waiting to be deadheaded, or the early perennials in need of a haircut. Look elsewhere right now, at the better-dressed members of my botanical zoo (profiled in all the green links in the list above).
I feel like everything is in a rush to bloom this year, I have overlap like never before it seems. I want to stand on a chair with a megaphone out in the garden and yell “SLOW DOWN!” Add in that fact that the cool weather has enabled my lilacsand wiegelias to keep keepin on in a very large and heavenly scented way , and you are absolutely right , it is a ZOO out there.
Welcome, Cheryl. Glad it’s not just me. Love the megaphone image — good idea! Hope to see you again soon.
I’ve always thought the exuberance of the June garden was in celebration of my June birthday! When i read you also have a June birthday-the best month of the year, I decided to write. This is my first post anywhere on any site, although I’ve chosen your garden as my vicarious gardening experience this season. I no longer have to feel as if I’m “stalking” your site if I go public! I’ve gardened all my life- two acres of trees, shrubs, perennials, pots and birds. Grew most of our own vegetables and berries. Lived off the food all winter until the cycle started all over again. I could never imagine not gardening. But I blew out my knees from “life”- mostly gardening the doctor insists. And now I am reduced to bending at the waist, mostly weeding. I guess I hit the wall pretty hard. No kneeling, crawling, twisting, digging, pushing heavy loads. So now I weed with passion. Now that I’ve given myself permission to not further injure my knees, I’m enjoying the garden in a different way. I bought and read your book and then discovered your gardening website, and I have found some peace with myself and my garden. So I want to thank you for being part of the process as I work through my loss and discover other ways to find joy in my garden.
I live in Maryland and with cool wet spring I had over abundant amount of weeds. I finally got the weeds under control (Ha, Ha) and now we have record heat with temperatures 95-99. I have been watering everyday to keep my young vegetable plants alive. The plants are growing well so far, but you have to love it. There is always something waiting to be done. When I sit on my deck and finally relax, I do enjoy my garden and the work is a far memory.
Welcome, Liz S. Love the “ha ha” after “under control”. Here, too. I pretend for 5 minutes it’s “under control” until I freak out again about the next thing. :)
Welcome, Wendy. How nice of you to make this the first place you jumped into the conversation. I appreciate it, and happy birthday to you as well!
See you both soon again?
Well here on the east coast of Canada we have just had our first few days of sunshine after a month plus of dark, dreary, cold days. Maybe summer has arrived. I have just been able to get my window boxes and planters finished this week. What we northern gardeners do for all of two months. It is necessary for the mind and soul if only for a short season.
May I ask what the name of that neon orange peony is in your photo above.
Thank you Margaret for your wonderful writings, and your wealth of knowlege you bring to us through this always interesting and informative website.
I love Chionanthus – the fragrance is so intoxicating…. it definitely fades too quickly!
I am having a hard time now with my knees and back. Many chores may take all summer at the rate I’ve been going, but you’re right. The roses, spiderwort, amsonia, clematis, peonies, etc. keep going so I have to pause and enjoy them. However, staking my tall delphiniums won’t wait through another rainstorm I believe.
Enjoy all that nature gives us even if we are slow to respond.
Happy Birthday Margaret, hope you receive as many joys as you give through your site. Enjoy the comments so much. Love love love peonnies, always indulge myself buying some while they are available down here. Thank you! Daisy .
I was searching for you at the Gunn library last Sat, the 4th. I actually went up to a couple women I thought resembled you from your web pic,and asked, “Are you Margaret?” I find your blog very helpful and wanted to tell you in person. Another time…This June wall concept gives me hope. I’m not alone. Last week I felt like I was simply too old to garden. Now, I see I simply need patience.
Welcome, Karen, and I hope we connect at an event soon. Patience, yes, and some days I wouldn’t mind a new right forearm (I see to have overdone something!) and so on. :) But I always hit the wall at this cusp of spring-to-summer, and this year is no different.
Margaret, love your latest re clematis–I am in love with them also, I keep putting them in under my tall-oaks shady yard. This year with all the rain we complained about (no sun), my 2 Nelly Moser Clematis were better than any other year-grateful…