Late May to mid-June generally isn’t a great time for pretty garden pictures here at Hayefield. I’m usually just getting around to setting out the annuals and tender perennials, so the new plants are pretty puny. And, I normally end up cutting most of the summer- and fall-blooming perennials back hard (anywhere from halfway to all the way to the ground) the last week of May, so anything that is pretty in flower now is likely to be surrounded by chopped stems. Still, interesting combinations have a way of happening despite all this. In an effort to remind myself of that – though all I can see right now is the mud, the mess, and the weeds – I thought I’d take a look back through my archives to collect some of my favorite late-spring and early-summer images.
Mid- to late May brings on a number of classic perennials, such as the ornamental sages or salvias (Salvia). Slender-spiked ‘Caradonna’ has been a very good performer here over the past 5 or 6 years. In the front garden, it ended up in front of golden meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’), one of the few perennials I tend to leave uncut now, because I love the scent of its flowers [June 4, 2011].
I also really like blue with white, so I have several clumps of ‘Caradonna’ in the side garden. Below, it’s with a variegated sport of ‘Cardinal’ red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) and white-flowered ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) [June 14, 2008].
I wouldn’t have intentionally put two blues together, but the intense purple-blue of ‘Caradonna’ looks really good against the lighter purple-blue of ‘Brookside’ geranium (Geranium), especially with the white plumes of giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha). The shot above is from May 23, 2010.
The image below, from June 13, 2009, is a wider view, with a splash of white from blooming silver sage (Salvia argentea) in front and lacy gray silver willow (Salix alba var. sericea) behind.
Biennial clary sage (Salvia sclarea) seeded itself around quite dependably for a number of years. Above, it’s with several other early-summer bloomers, including ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), larkspur (Consolida ajacis), Bowman’s root (Gillenia stipulata), and giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha). That shot is from June 14, 2008. Below, from June 13, 2009, it’s next to ‘Brookside’ geranium, with some larkspur and ‘New Dawn’ rose in the background.
Until I found these photos, I’d forgotten how pretty clary sage is. I found only one first-year seedling this spring, nearly smothered by a mass of weeds; I hope it will recover soon and bloom next year.
Late May is also peak time here for a variety of irises.
I didn’t have much luck with Dutch irises in my last garden, so it took me a long time to try them here, but I’m glad I finally did. Above is ‘Rendez Vouz’ with Ornithogalum magnum [May 28, 2011]; below is ‘Lion King’ in front of ‘Axminster Gold’ comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) [May 21, 2012]
Sweet iris (Iris pallida) also blooms about this time. Above is white-variegated sweet iris (I. pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’) between ‘Caradonna’ salvia and silver sage (Salvia argentea) [May 26, 2008].
Below is yellow-striped sweet iris (I. pallida ‘Variegata’) with ‘Axminster Gold’ comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum), Chardonnay Pearls slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis ‘Duncan’), and ‘Auslese’ lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) [May 26, 2008].
I have a few bearded hybrids, too. Bicolor ‘Edith Wolford’ was still in bloom about a week ago, with ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ baptisia (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) and Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) [May 21, 2012].
Below is a no-name beauty shared by a friend many years ago (thanks, Gerald!), in front of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’) [May 28, 2011].
And below is the wonderful white, reblooming ‘Immortality’ paired with ‘Bath’s Pink’ dianthus, with Abelia mosanensis in the background [May 22, 2011].
I mainly grow ‘Gerald Darby’ (Iris x robusta) for its purple-flushed spring foliage, but it’s nice in flower, too. In the front garden, shown above, it flowers at the same time as the round-headed alliums and Wine and Roses weigela (Weigela florida) [May 28, 2011]. Below, it’s against the new foliage of ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus) [May 21, 2012].
I don’t have tremendous luck with the very showy ornamental onions (Allium), but I enjoy them very much while they last.
These Allium schubertii, rising out of woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) and backed by ‘Brookside’ geranium, were exquisite for just two or years, but I have dozens of pictures to remember them by [above, June 1, 2009; below, June 12, 2009].
After that spectacle, poor Blue Bunny found ‘Ivory Queen’ Turkestan onion (Allium karataviense) a rather inferior companion, but the flowers still were pretty cool [May 22, 2010].
Star-of-Persia (Allium christophii) isn’t quite as show-stopping as A. schubertii, but it’s been much more dependable for me. That could have to do with the site, of course; the soil here in the courtyard, where I have star-of-Persia growing out of a patch of golden oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’), has much better drainage [May 28, 2011].
Allium atropurpureum – above with ‘Amazone’ tuberous Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa) – flowered just one year in the side garden [June 4, 2011].
White ‘Mount Everest’ had been much more dependable in several places here, not just surviving but actually increasing from year to year. Below, it’s with ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ baptisia (Baptisia sphaerocarpa), Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii), and silver willow (Salix alba var. sericea) [May 28, 2011].
Roses, of course, are a classic part of the early summer garden, but, because of rose rosette disease, my collection has dwindled to just a few sturdy favorites that have so far escaped infection. Above is ‘Guinevere’ with ‘Axminster Gold’ comfrey [May 22, 2010]. Below is Blushing Knock Out (‘Radyod’) with rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) and ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta) [June 6, 2008].
And, of course, the original Knock Out (‘Radrazz’), above with giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) [June 14, 2008] and below with golden oregano, ‘Angelina’ sedum, ‘Caradonna’ salvia, and golden elderberry [June 8, 2008].
Ornamental grasses aren’t typically a highlight of early summer gardens, but Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) – a.k.a. ponytail grass – is absolutely exquisite right now, as it’s coming into bloom.
Above is Mexican feather grass with giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) and silver willow (Salix alba var. sericea) [June 13, 2008]; below, it’s with ‘Brookside’ geranium [June 14, 2008].
Above is Mexican feather grass with ‘Provence’ lavender (Lavandula x intermedia), with the addition of ‘Mount Everest’ allium seedheads below [both from June 13, 2011].
Colors in the early summer garden tend to be on the soft side, but there are a few hints at the intensity that will peak later.
Above is Dichelostemma ida-maia against an unnamed red-leaved Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) [June 12, 2011].
Below is ‘Sedona’ coleus with variegated lilyturf (Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’) and Sunshine Blue bluebeard (Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’) [June 12, 2010].
This is a great time of year for chartreuse. The combo above is a bit too much, perhaps, but the leaves of the ‘Jester’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum) in the foreground will turn deep purple-brown in just a few weeks, making a nice contrast to the golden catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’) [June 12, 2010].
‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) makes a striking foliage partner for pretty much any companion, but it’s especially dramatic with bright flowers and/or dark foliage. Below, it’s with ‘Vesuvius’ Maltese cross (Lychnis x arkwrightii) [June 4, 2011].
Another light-and-dark combo – Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’) and Diabolo ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’) – with a splash of orange from ‘Fireglow’ Griffith’s spurge (Euphorbia griffithii) [June 13, 2009].
At some point in June (the warmer the weather, the sooner it happens), the dark leaves of ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana) start turning from deep purple to deep green. Back on June 13, 2011, it was still dark enough to make a decent background for ‘Monte Negro’ Asiatic lily (Lilium) and ‘Jacob Cline’ bee balm (Monarda), which were just coming into bloom.
Above is a shot of the same ‘Red Majestic’ when it was a few years younger, behind bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) and in front of ‘Onondaga’ viburnum (Viburnum sargentii) [May 18, 2008].
Like the bronze fennel, red orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra) seeds around freely here. It eventually gets 3 to 4 feet tall, so I end up pulling out a lot of the seedlings that are near the front of the border, but for now, I enjoy the foliage color wherever it pops up. Below, it’s in front of Lysimachia atropurpurea and bronze fennel, as well as the one-stemmed sprig of ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel as a baby [June 1, 2006].
The leaves of ‘Ebony’ angelica (Angelica) are at their most intense darkness right now. Oh, how I wish it would self-sow as freely as the red orach! It’s with ‘Firewitch’ pinks (Dianthus) in the shot above [May 18, 2009].
Early to midsummer is the best time for foliage color on ‘Oakhurst’ pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), too, though the leaves tend to get mud-splashed during spring storms and I really should remember to tidy them before taking their picture. Below, it’s paired with ‘Princess of India’ nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), with a bit of ‘Sedona’ coleus and variegated lilyturf in the background [June 13, 2011].
Foliage contrasts look great in the vegetable garden, too. Above is ‘Ruby Streaks’ and ‘Golden Streaks’ mustard [May 21, 2008]; below is ‘Red Velvet’ and ‘Australian Yellow’ lettuce [May 30, 2012].
And to finish, an assortment of some other favorite early-summer combos…
Above, white-flowered betony (Stachys officinalis ‘Alba’) and ‘Cora White’ rose periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) with silvery gray ‘Berggarten’ sage (Salvia officinalis) and variegated ‘Prairie Frost’ purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) [June 12, 2010].
Below, pink-flowered crosswort (Phuopsis stylosa) with variegated ‘Harlequin’ firethorn (Pyracantha) and Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) [May 28, 2010].
Above, ‘Pink Grapefruit’ yarrow (Achillea) with Veronica grandis and an allium seedhead [June 12, 2011]. Below, yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) – a weed, but a pretty one – with the pink whorls of ‘Amazone’ tuberous Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa) and some Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’) [June 1, 2006].
Above, annual hare’s ear (Bupleurum rotundifolium) with ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis) [June 13, 2011]. Below, ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ baptisia (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) with ‘Susanna Mitchell’ marguerite (Anthemis) [June 8, 2008].
Above, perennial flax (Linum perenne) in front of ‘Sunshine’ red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea subsp. occidentalis), with Euphorbia palustris ‘Zauberflote’ and a bit of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) in the foreground [May 26, 2008].
Below, ‘Sarastro’ bellflower (Campanula) with some sea kale (Crambe maritima) [June 14, 2008].
And last, two more shots of plumy white giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha): above with blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) [May 23, 2010] and below with ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) against ‘Center Glow’ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) [June 12, 2010].
Well, gee, that ended up looking a whole lot like a Bloom Day post, didn’t it? Two weeks to go until the next one, so I’d better hope that I have something new to show by then.