The garden is in full swing now, even though the first week of June was cold and rainy.
Usually high temps in the first two weeks of June average 74-77 degrees F. For the first week of June, we ran 10-20 degrees F below those, with highs in the low 50s to high 60s and lots of rain. That was right after I planted my cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green bean, and herb seedlings, some annuals, and arugula, Swiss chard, and lettuce seedlings. Not a happy state of affairs for anyone except the arugula.
This last week, nature sought some sort of perverse balance, setting the solar death ray on stun. Highs ranged from 78 to 95F, which is almost 20 degrees F above average. Some years we don’t have temps in the mid-90s even in July or August. It’s been in the 80s and 90s since Saturday. This the veggies like better, but I had to mulch and water those that survived the first week to to protect them from climate whiplash. So far, I have replaced about half the cucumber plants.
Anyway, there is a lot to talk about now, and to show, including the veggies, but also the perennials, shrubs, trees, weeds/wildflowers, compost, insects, etc.
Bulbs: The only bulbs really happening at the moment are large purple alliums (shown with variegated Solomon’s Seal) …
… and scilla (aka wood hyacinth), which just seems to have sprung up in the front yard without my planting it.
So-called Weeds: Some of the prettiest flowers in the yard.
Perennials: Where to begin?
An all-time favourite of mine is Rodgersia, a plant that not only likes shade, hallelujah, but looks positively tropical. And the flower, which is about to bloom, smells heavenly. If you don’t have one, get one. Or six.
The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is entirely kaput, but I like it that way.
Centaurea (perennial bachelor button) always looks fabulous, with a very photogenic deep blue and purple bloom.
The geraniums are starting to bloom like crazy; these were plant sale buys whose names are lost to history.
The hostas are happy campers, except that the deer keep eating them, especially Gold Standard and So Sweet. I’ve shaved some Irish Spring into their leaves, which has always nipped this nipping in the bud, so to speak. We’ll see. They’re not blooming yet, so just a couple of photos now, with more to come in later months.
Next, a couple of nice ground covers, Mother of Thyme, which spreads quickly, and yellow archangel, a false lamium that I’ve read can be very invasive but it certainly isn’t in my gardens in Maine and New Hampshire.
Baptisia and amsonia are spring perennial mainstays in my area. This year, I was given some more yellow baptisia by a neighbour, what a gift. I transplanted them less than two weeks ago and they seem to have adapted:
I also have other yellow baptisia (not shown yet), and some of the more common blue variety as well, in four different parts of the yard.
I’ve got two kinds of amsonia, ‘Blue Ice,’ with dark blooms (the first three photos), and an Amsonia tabernaemontana, with a paler, more delicate bloom (the last photo), planted in three different spots in the garden. It’s just starting to bloom now.
Speaking of things blue, salvia …
and lupine …
And then there are pink things, are there not?
Like ‘Pink Profusion’ Bowman’s Root, another favourite.
And comfrey, which is sort of pinkish purple. And it needs its first chop-and drop, for instant mulch, soon, before I have to stake it.
And dianthus, in the back and front borders.
I should also mention the woodland plants, mostly in the rock wall, but some are tucked into other spots as well.
A hodge-podge of a few other perennials coming to life now:
This is the time when the rhododendrons make their splash. I didn’t plant these but I have been hacking away at them for seven years; it only encourages them.
I also didn’t plant these cream-orange and red azaleas, but I LOVE them, especially contrasted with the boulder and the Japanese maple tree.
Lilacs are about finished — here are Ludwig Spaeth, Beauty of Moscow, and Sensation before they lost their oomph —
but the little Miss Kim is going strong.
The pagoda dogwoods have flowers now.
The buddleia, which should reach about five feet in height, is off to a slow start, but it’s growing. The photo on the left was taken on 1 June, the one on the right on 14 June.
Food Crops: Not much happening yet, though most have been planted by now.
The peas are flowering:
And the peach trees have so many peaches on them that I will have to remove 5/6 of them to get a good crop of decent-sized sweet, juicy peaches. Apparently there should be one nub the size of a dime every 6-8 inches on a branch. It’s going to be farming torture to thin them next week.
Fungi: I don’t know who, but they’re growing in the rock wall.
Compost: I am actually using compost I have lovingly handcrafted from kitchen scraps, tossed cut flowers, leaves, some grass clippings, dirt, pruned shrubs and perennials that aren’t diseased, and whatever else finds its way into the bin. It’s dark and crumbly!
Animals: You know, insects, deer, fox, bears and cubs — the usual suburban garden fare. (Some photos courtesy the motion camera.)
I’ll finish up with a few landscape shots.
Thanks for stopping by!
More GBBD, hosted at May Dreams Gardens:
… danger garden – always fun for me to see interesting spikey things that don’t grow here
… Late to the Garden Party (south coastal California, so exotic!)
… Commonweeder in western Mass. is more my speed
… Southern Meadows (northeast Georgia, zone 8a) has great insect shots
… Dirt Therapy in Vancouver, WA
… Rogue Eggplant in Maryland
Vetch of some species, growing in a meadow in Sutton, NH. These buds are so delicate, so full of magic.
“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” — WB Yeats
Go ahead and ask : what principle
animates the natural : owl pink Lady’s Slipper
orchid white-tailed deer woodchuck :
is it only what’s visible that’s knowable
— from “Long After Hopkins” by Brian Teare
On the first day of June — a day among a stretch of about a dozen or fifty when it rained, often all day long — we got out on the Clark Pond Trails in New London, NH in just the slightest intermittent sprinkling, motivated to see what we knew from past experience would be dozens or even hundreds of pink lady’s slippers (Cypripedium acaule) blooming.
And we were not disappointed.
I especially like the pale yellows of the some of them, and the light shining through others, and the really dark, rich pinks. There must be more than a hundred just in one intersection of the Allen and Norman trails. And then there are maybe a hundred more scattered hither and thither along those trails and the Dancy trail.
They’re pollinated pretty much only by bumblebees, which is fortunate for them this year because until yesterday, our high temps have been in the 50Fs, when most bees aren’t active, but bumblebees can become active at temps as low as 40F (honeybees not until temps reach at least 60).
There were still a few painted (and red) trilliums around, and a couple of Jack-in-the-Pulpits.
Just starting to bloom in abundance are the Clintonia borealis (blue-bead lily), with a sort of waxy yellow flower.
This one has a white-striped black moth (Trichodezia albovittata) on it, and a fly of some kind:
The Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) is starting to become more obvious in the woodland understory and to get buds. One was quite tall, about 2.5 feet.
Bunchberry (Chamaepericlymenum canadense, formerly Cornus canadense) is also making itself seen, with some of the flowers looking more pale green than bright white. Plants with six (sometimes seven) leaves flower; plants with four leaves usually don’t.
The starflower (Lysimachia borealis) is also blooming now.
Around the streams and brooks there are colonies of false hellebore (Veratrum viride), which, as Go Botany notes, is a plant “composed of eastern North American populations that are widely separated from western North American populations.” It’s mostly coastal, found as far west as Tennessee and Ohio and then as far east as California, Idaho, and Montana; there are none in the middle of the continent: “It is hypothesized that continental glaciation produced this distribution.”
Tiarella cordifolia (foam-flower), a garden favourite of mine, is also blooming now in the woods.
Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) has finished blooming here but an attractive flower head remains.
Besides the white-striped black moth, shown earlier, I also came across this dragonfly, Leucorrhinia, maybe hudsonica (Hudsonian Whiteface) …
… and this duskywing (Erynnis; possibly a dreamy duskywing, Erynnis icelus) butterfly, a kind of skipper.
I especially like the mosses (including club moss, or lycopodium spp., which are not true mosses), lichens, and fungi on these trails.
This is a Lycopodium clavatum, also called common, staghorn, and running clubmoss, and here it is, running:
This yellow-needled white pine tree …
… and these sturdy striped maples (Acer pensylvanicum) are favourites.
You can see how much water there is, in brooks that are high and flowing, in water pooled on the trails.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
I’ve posted three previous field trips to Bedrock Gardens in Lee, NH, a playful place that’s art gallery and collector garden combined — The Most Ephemeral – July 2015; 31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 18 – Oct. 2015; 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds :: Day 25 – Oct. 2016 — so I’m not going to go into the history and organising structure of the gardens again. Check out my past posts or the Bedrock Gardens website if you want more info.
One new thing: They have hired John Forti as their first executive director. Forti was for many years the chief curator of historic gardens and landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and since 2014 has been director of horticulture and education at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, MA (I saw him in that capacity at the Boston Flower Show in March). They day I visited Bedrock Gardens last month, Forti was on our small 3-hour garden tour led by volunteer Hobson Jandebeur.
I saw some new plants:
And some plants I’ve met before but don’t see often:
Things I just liked:
And one of the things I love the most of all, ginkgos:
It was a great day, with an in-depth, plant-geek tour of the gardens, followed by a fun lunch at The Holy Grail in Epping, NH.
The post title — “The moments when we choose to play / The imagined pine, the imagined jay” — is from a Wallace Stevens’ poem, “The Man with the Blue Guitar,” which I also quoted above in a caption (“Things as they are / are changed upon the blue guitar”).
“If the garden of Eden really exists it does so moment by moment, fragmented and tough, cropping up like a fan of buddleia high up in the gutter of a deserted warehouse, or in a heap of frozen cabbages becoming luminous in the reflected light of roadside snow.” — Helen Dumore, The Raw Garden
Photos of some perhaps ordinary, obscure, small, oft-overlooked and even maligned elements of the paradise that’s earth, this feast of being. (All photos taken in the last month, in New England, except for the final collage.)
I’ve been a little fascinated by dandelions lately.
And other so-called weeds. Like ajuga in the lawn, in shadow and light:
And ferns, coltsfoot, tall rockcress, and violets along the roadside.
‘Never forget that every mind is shaped by the most ordinary experiences. To say that something is ordinary is to say that it is of the kind that has made the biggest contribution to the formation of your most basic ideas.’ — Paul Valéry
There are beautiful pests.
Spring ephemerals, woodland plants, sometimes nodding or lowly, both showy and unshowy, like trilliums (Kezar Lake, Cider Hill Gardens):
And Jack in the Pulpits (Bedrock Gardens, Clark Pond Trails):
And lady slippers (Clark Pond Trails):
As well as flowers languishing.
And then there’s the infusion of sunlight, and raindrops, and both.
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Sometimes Eden is more drab than you might expect, and in that almost (never) monotone it sings its siren song, lures us closer:
Eden by way of juxtaposed colour and texture:
“It’s an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: “nothing special,” as Buddhists say, meaning “everything.” Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral.
“All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.” ― Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd
Yes, I used that quote before, in 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds – Day 31 – FEAST OF BEING.