A fine June day

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)June 10, 2008

June is indeed bursting out all over! A little rain has made everything lush and the heat has brought out lets of flowers. The view from the office window was enticing this morning:

A few minutes before I took this picture, there was a rabbit hopping through, stopping to nibble here and there. Do you think I could get even one of the three dogs in residence today to go rabbit hunting/chasing ?! Not even Misty, the dedicated rabbit hunter, was interested in going out and itÂs much cooler today (although still very humid) than it has been the last three days. Useless beasts!

You can see in that picture the need to limb up the oak. The lowest limbs are now so low-hanging and wide-spreading that moderately tall people have to duck to pass under the ones overhanging the lawn. The plants probably wouldnÂt mind a little extra light too. So tree pruning is on the chore list for Feb./Mar. 2009.

The view, with the aptly named Beautybush, lured me outside for a tour around the yard to see what was fresh today. So I took a tour around the yard, starting from the back porch:

The rain overnight brought down leaves and lots of ash tree junk (seed keys, stems and general debris) so the patio and back porch is a mess. The eavestroughs are full to overflowing  Randy is not thrilled :- )

You can see where Randy cut the branch off the ash on the weekend. It really improved the look of the tree and the view of the garden from the porch. I wish weÂd got around to doing it soonerÂ. You can also see the new paths I did this spring  to turn the lawn into a rectangle and, as a side benefit, eliminate the need to edge the backyard beds! I like the somewhat formal look of the rectangular lawn in contrast to the wilder look of the woodland areas. For those of you interested in growing Persicaria polymorpha, there are two in that picture and another one out of the picture on the right down under the pines. There are also several on the south side of the yard in the woodland beds. In contrast to the one grown in full sun in the front yard, the ones in the backyard are shorter, looser/more open and bloom a week or two later. But they do very well in shade and many people donÂt recognize that itÂs the same plant when they see it in shade.

The Beautybush is making a nice show outside too.

I know itÂs not considered Âproper to plant big shrubs so close to the house and windows but I planted this one deliberately to fill up the blank stretch of wall between the living room and office and to have flowers peeking into the office window right about now! I tried growing a clematis through it but itÂs very dry in the bed along there and I didnÂt keep it watered enough to survive. I might try again this year, planting it on the outside edge where it is out from under the roof overhang and more likely to get moisture.

These painted ferns live at the bottom of the south alley:

They are supposed to be two different varieties but I sure canÂt tell the difference!

I didnÂt take any pictures of the rose swag  the New Dawn roses have buds but they arenÂt open yet. The next major phase of the rose swag wonÂt happen until after the roses finish their first flush of flowers so that wonÂt be until mid-July.

Just outside the south gate is one of the combinations I look forward to at this time of year. ItÂs one of those Âhappy accident combinations:

IÂm not sure what the clematis variety is  most people assume itÂs Nelly Moser. I lost the tag. I have no recollection of ever buying a Nelly Moser but I also canÂt remember what I bought  itÂs one of the earliest plantings here and my records are spotty for those first years. I also donÂt know if the dwarf Korean lilac is Miss Kim or something else, although I do vaguely recall shopping for a Miss Kim.

Stepping back a bit, you can see that that combination is growing through the mockorange under the kitchen window:

ItÂs a good thing the mockorange is fairly sturdy. The Clematis montana on the south gate arbour throws some stems into the mockorange, as does the New Dawn rose on the house side of the arbour. So the mockorange has lots of company. So far it has managed to hold its own  I do make sure the C. montana doesnÂt overrun itÂ

A little further up the house wall, just past the fading big lilac, The President is making its usual big snow:

(I should have deadheaded the lilac before taking the picture!)

Just past The President is the driveway with the herb bed running along the south side. The lavender and roses arenÂt in bloom yet so the herb bed is not particularly showy. The white potentilla shrub is looking good though and you can see at the top edge of the picture some of the pots of peas that line the driveway on this side.

In this view of the of the herb bed you can see some of RandyÂs garlic plants  he tucks them into any available space in the sunny beds!

Across the top of the driveway, under the front porch, is a VERY narrow bed filled with Emerald Gaiety euonymus and Rodgersia aesculifolia. I love big-leafed plants. This is one of my favorites and I have them in many places in the garden.

At the herb bed side of the porch bed there is a Vyvyan Pennell clematis waiting to burst into bloom any day now. This poor clematis used to grow all the way to the top of the lattice by the porch lift but got knocked back severely by spring frost two years in a row. It now seems to have given up on the idea of climbing and is content to stay short. I want it to climb again!

On the other side of the driveway there are big pots of highbush blueberries and pots of strawberries. It looks like we should have a good crop for both this year. Here are a few of the pots (there are 9 in total)


Blueberries (with some lettuce and pansies at their feet):

The wisteria lives at the bottom of the driveway border where the border swings around to embrace the front lawn beds. The wisteria dropped its flowers on Sunday so it is now just a large green shrub  in need of some heavy pruning of the new growth! The Therese Bugnot rose beside it just started blooming today so weÂve moved from wisteria perfume to rose perfume. This rose has a very strong fragrance - it stopped me in my tracks as I walked down the driveway this morning with the dogs and I could smell it at the bottom of the street when we were coming back from our evening dog walkies. I just planted this rose last summer so this is its first real summer in the garden.

Moving on to the main front garden, things are bursting into bloom along the main path:

And on the cross path:

Blue and white are the dominant colors in the front bed. In this closer view of the bench, you can see the white peony and the flax that are in MartieÂs birthday card:

We call that peony the Âpoke-eye peony because when Randy was digging the hole to plant it a couple of years ago, he scratched his cornea on a Shasta daisy stem! The peony came from a neighbour who was fed up with it because she had had it in her garden for several years and it had never bloomed. We had no idea what color it was as someone had passed it on to her to see if she could get it to bloom. It bloomed here the summer after it was planted so we got lucky and the color is perfect for that spot.

Nearby is gasplant and Persicaria polymorpha. IÂm surprised that gbÂs Persicaria blooms before mine. Mine is just starting to bloom. ItÂs been a cold spring here with heavy Âcooler by the lake effect. That has delayed bloom on a lot of things this year.

The lupins this year are not their usual strong colors. I think the last two years of drought have taken a heavy toll. These lupins are a very washed-out color; they are normally a strong blue-purple:

This is a bad picture but I did want to show that not everything is blue or white! The picture sadly fails to capture that the color peeking out of these peony buds is almost exactly the same color as the columbines behind them. I thought they made a charming combination but I couldnÂt get a decent picture of it. By the time Randy has a chance to go take some photos, the columbine will probably have faded and the peonies will be in full bloom.

Returning to the backyard through the north alley The path is very lush after the rain, with lots of columbine in a variety of colors, although white (faded pale blue ones) is the most visible.

And the path brigs you back to the starting point on the patio.

From the porch there is an excellent Âborrowed view or the neighbourÂs dogwood that is looking pretty at the moment:

I hope you enjoyed the walk around the garden on this fine June day.

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Wow Woody ! Just beautiful ! I love all your combinations and particularly the blue/ white vignettes, a particular favorite of mine. Your unidentified clem looks more like Ramona to me than Nelly , but sometimes pics are not as true to color as one would like. In your photo the plant looks move on the lavender side than pink. Nelly has a darker mauve stripe down the center too, I can't tell if thats the case.

I felt about 10 degrees cooler walking through your wonderful spring garden . Thanks for sharing such a special place with us.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:28PM
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June is a good month in the garden, isn't it?

I love that the view from the office window "calls" you to the garden! I am being woo'd by Persicaria Polymorpha and all of your other big leaved plants!

I agree that your garden seems cool and refreshing! Thank you for the tour....I look forward to seeing the season progress!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:27AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Everything is looking cool and wonderful Woody! Here there is no sign of bloom on The President so far. It has been so hot and miserable that everything else is quite lush and advanced, weeds included of course. Today promises to be a perfect summer's day though!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody...What a great garden you have! Despite not having seen the before photo of the ash tree with the branch there, I can imagine. I think it is a great view the way it is. I love the placement of that pine and the hosta on the edge of the patio is huge. Which variety is it?

By Beautybush, do you mean Kolkwitzia? I have one in our front yard, that has been in bloom all week and some petals are starting to drop. I love the fragrance of ours.

LOVE your painted ferns. They don't all develop the gorgeous markings as well and yours look very happy. I agree that was a happy accident with the Clematis and the lilac. I am thinking you might have Syringa pallibin and not Miss Kim. Only because I have the pallibin and it looks like that with the small foliage. I thought I had Miss Kim and ordered two from Bluestone to find out that Miss Kim has the usual size lilac foliage and is a different shrub all together than what I wanted. The two of them are still sitting in pots while I wonder where I could put them. I have a white clematis behind mine too but the lilac has already gone by.

The VP Clematis may be short, but wow, look at how bushy it is and how many buds are on it!

Woody...Love your pot garden by the driveway. Can I assume that you have too much shade for veggies in the back? I also have limited amounts of full sun and for awhile I was using a lot of containers. I hadn't thought of doing strawberries that way...great idea.

Thanks Woody...really enjoyed the tour! :-)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:50AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I too, enjoyed the walk through your gardens. You have put an awful lot of work in them, and they are looking wonderful. I am so happy for you.
I like the potted veggies. If I had some place sunny, where the deer could not get to them, I would do that. Some would do okay on our deck, but it is full of potted flowers !. ;-)

I have never had a beautybush, but keep thinking I 'need' one. :-)
I love the painted ferns, too.
The clematis doesn't look like Nelly Moser to me, either, but it could be that the brightness of the sun made the stripes not visible ?

Why oh why won't my clematis bloom like your "President" ??? Lovely !


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:06AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Thanks for the nice comments. I'm quite pleased with how the garden is looking (aside from too many weeds sprouting after the rains and heat we've had - cursed garlic mustard weed in particular!)

I'm almost positive that is not a Nelly Moser. It is a bit pinker than it looks in the picture and it does have a stripe down the center of the tepals. The stripe is a darker pink. Kathy - I have a Ramona on the south fence in the back yard and it doesn't look anything like the one with the lilac. It's also not blooming yet. But then I wouldn't swear to the one in the backyard actually being Ramona - it seems that almost every clematis I buy turns out to be something other than what the label says it is! I've concluded it doesn't matter what their names are as long as I like their blooms and they grow well for me...

PM2 - the biggest hosta in the patio hosta bed is plain old Hosta sieboldiani 'Elegans' - an oldie but a goodie :-) On the right side of the patio is a 'Bressingham Blue' that is finally hitting its stride after 3 or 4 years - it's the big round leaves you can see on the right in the second to last photo. I've also been adding several Blue Angel and Blue Mammoth in a few places to see how they do. I'm a sucker for big, preferably blue, leaves!

Yes, the Beautybush is a Kolkwitzia. Marian, the drawback with planting one is that it took about 5 years for that one to get big enough to flower - I gather that it's common for them to take a few years to flower but they are very pretty when they do!

And, yes, the veggies are in pots because there is too much shade in the back for a vegetable garden there. The blueberries used to be in the back but got shaded out. I moved them to pots last spring. They didn't produce any flowers or fruit last year - I thik they were too shocked by the move. They spent the winter in the garage. They produced lots of flowers and there are a lot of green berries forming now so I'm hopeful for a good crop this year - if I can keep the birds off them when they start to ripen...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Sumptuous, cool, lush. And the clematis of my dreams! What a lovely sanctuary you have, Woody. Thanks for sharing it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Fabulous Woody! You've done a wonderful job, I especially like all the paths. You have made great use of your space. You also have some great colors going on. Thanks for the tour.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:38PM
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Beautiful paradise you have. I especially love the lupines (can't grow them here), gasplants and your clematises. Do the blueberries grow in the ground for you there? Do you have acid soil? Or is that the main reason for growing in the pots? Hope you get a great harvest from them. Yum.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:35AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

anita - I had the blueberries in the ground in the back for a few years and they were fine until they got shaded out. I moved them to pots last spring. I gather it is common to grow them that way in England so I thought I'd give it a try. I put the pots in the (unheated) garage for the winter. The blueberries seem to be doing better in the pots than they did in the ground! I gave them a dose of soil acidifier last year when I potted them up and again this spring, along with some rhododendron fertilizer. It'll be interesting to see how long I can keep them growing in pots and how well they will do.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:04AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Wow, wow, wow!!!! Wonderful photos of your June bounty. I especially love the Persicaria polymorpha with the Gas Plant. Lovely combination.

I've got a Vyvyan Pennell also and its about to bloom but doesn't have near the amount of buds that you have on yours. I'd love to see a photo of yours when all those fat buds open up! Your clematis are all lush and lovely. What a show! Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:38AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Woody, re: growing blueberies....the wild ones grow all over , here. There are large patches of them on our land. Some years they have lots of fruit, and we can gather a lot, if the bear and other wildlife don't get them all. I like the flavor of them a lot more than the tame ones. I planted some tame ones when we first moved up here, and had a good crop the first year or two. I moved them, and lost most of them. The ones that have survived have done nothing....barely surviving. If I get enough ambition, I may dig them up and pot them ( but probably won't). :-(

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:01AM
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