Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: June 15, 2011

Hi, Everyone, and Happy June! This is our very first "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day" post. Last month I read Bloom Day posts at Hayefield and Carolyn's Shade Garden and enjoyed them immensely. Then, Carolyn visited our blog and suggested we join Bloom Day so here we are! 

With 31 separate garden beds, we always have something in bloom. June is the month when most of the late spring, early summer flowers are peaking and for our inaugural post they are doing me proud. In fact, deciding which beds to feature and what pictures to include has been an intimidating job.

So brew a cup of tea, sit back, and join me for a virtual tour of the gardens. I only wish I could share the fragrance with you as well. It's absolutely heaven here, with Zephirine Drouhin, my favorite damask rose in full bloom here on the trellis bench, getting ready to climb over our mailbox, and climbing up a trellis gate into the flowering tree and shrub grove.

We are bursting with color - clematis, lupines, peonies, and roses, roses, roses, to name just a few!   
Peony "Sarah Bernhardt" with purple sage and penstemon "Husker Red"
You aren't seeing double. Unidentified pale pink peonies and purple spikes of catmint.
Peony "Singing in the Rain"
Peony "Karl Rosenfield" forms a dark red backdrop for the fountain. In the back are peony "Dawn Pink" and rhododendron "Nova Zembla". The pink miniature roses surrounding the base of the fountain are "Cupcake".

Peony "Edulis Superba"
Our tree peonies are blooming  for the first time ever!
Tree peony "Koukamon" with lupines in one of our full sun perennial beds.
We have numerous clematis that bloom throughout the summer. The earliest of them opened just this week. We are struggling to identify many of them after the tags for virtually every plant in the garden were inadvertently pulled and discarded during preparations for a garden tour a few years ago. These are all currently blooming.

Clematis Henryii and climbing grandiflora rose "Queen Elizabeth" embrace on a lamp post.
Lovely blue-purple bell-shaped clematis, probably "Betty Corning"

Our deck garden is one of the newest beds. We started it last year, and turned a very drab, unappealing deck into a garden oasis filled with tubs and raised beds of trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

Our Meyer lemon tree loves the location as does a tree hydrangea, fig tree, and some late blooming lilacs. These are not as fragrant as our other lilacs but we do enjoy having blooms well into June. Annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs make this a true kitchen garden just steps away from the stove.

Stocks and pansies provide color until the cosmos and hollyhocks mature and bloom.
Lettuce, cilantro and sweet yellow peppers share space with dahlias and summer squash.

Late blooming lilacs are not as fragrant but just as pretty.
The snap peas are off to a great start, as are the yellow peppers and some cucumbers.
We added pansies, violas, and calibrachoa to the pots that hold the trees and shrubs.
Pansies and zinnias provide color while the cosmos and hollyhocks are bringing up the rear.

With more than 185 roses comprised of at least 75 different varieties, all of our beds are awash with color. The  shrub, hybrid tea, antique, and climbing roses are scattered through four rose beds, two perennial beds, several cottage beds, and the herb garden.

One of our dedicated rose beds, edged with Munstead lavender.
Peony "Karl Rosenfield", rose, "Abraham Darby", and "Fragrant Cloud".
Rosa rugosa, the Beach Rose
"Blushing Knock-Our Rose"; an occasional petal is streaked with red.

Bella Roma
Double Pink Knock-out with Nova Zembla Rhododendron, growing up behind the waterfall and koi pond.
"Sea Foam"
"Social Climber"
"Passionate Kisses"
"Queen Elizabeth" grandiflora

In the herb garden, chives are in bloom and the herbs are thriving. We love to cook with fresh herbs and we're experimenting with some different varieties of thyme, sage, and basil this year. Besides sharing with friends, we make herbal teas to spray the yard and I also dry a fair amount for winter use. Next to the herb garden we have a smaller bed where strawberries share space with Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina). We have to ride herd on the spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm on a daily basis.

Chives, oregano and germander are ready for harvesting.
Several varieties of thyme and sage are clustered next to the mint.

German thyme
Silver leaf thyme
Lemon balm (rear) and spearmint and peppermint take up one corner of the herb garden. An old mailbox is a handy place to stash garden tools and gloves so they're handy for those quick garden chores.
Stachys and strawberries... sweet and soft.

The formal garden has four rose beds and two large perennial beds. In the perennial beds, the peonies are in full bloom along with the lupines, daisies, clematis, and cranesbill.

Lupines and sage take center stage, with clematis on a pillar (left), ligularia wondering whatever it's doing in a sunny bed (it loves it there), and astilbe getting ready to bloom.
Yarrow and cranesbill make wonderfull "ground covers" in a perennial bed. The expand to fill holes quite effectively.
Japanese windflowers, cranesbill, lupines, and peonies frame the Italian fountain that is the hub of the garden.
Cranesbill and Veronica
Shasta daisies, spikes of lupines, Japanese windflowers (Alba anemone), and peonies (Sarah Bernhardt) in one of the sun perennial beds.
Roses bloom along the back of one of the perennial beds. On the other side of the stepping stones are yellow straw flowers. Yellow peonies, "Singing in the Rain" is farther along the path.
The yellow centers of the shasta daisies pop next to a yellow lupine.
The Munstead lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) has started to bloom and within a week, the hedges surrounding the rose and perennial beds will be a mass of fragrant purple blossoms.

The woodland and shade gardens feature mountain laurel, variegated foliage, and shaded walking paths and a quiet place to read.

Aquilegia is still blooming and this light blue double bloom is particularly lovely.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia) and penstemon "Husker Red"
The flowers of the mountain laurel in the woodland garden are exquisite.
Mountain laurel flanks the walking path into the back side of the woodland garden.
The last of the azaleas are blooming in the pathway along our dry river bed.

The Kouza dogwood next to the water garden has pink tinted bracts.
This tuliptree sprouted in the midst of our perennial bed two years ago. These trees are not native to this area and there are none in our immediate vicinity. We are working with tree experts to determine how it came to be growing here.
A second tuliptree sprouted this spring, also in a perennial bed. You can clearly see the unusual leaf. We believe they sprouted from dormant seeds contained in the soil that perennials were grown in.

A spring flowering trifecta - white kouza dogwood (rear), Bridal Veil (center), and pink wiegela (right). I love the interplay with the variegated caryoptis "Blue Mist" and hostas. The burgundy contrast on the left is courtesy of barberry and Betty Prior roses (in front of the barberry)
Honeysuckle climbs the fence next to the gate into the main garden
The blossom of the honeysuckle.
The American wisteria is in full bloom.
The Chinese wisteria finished blooming last week and we were fascinated to see seed pods on a spent blossom from one of the mauve and rose colored flower spikes. I'm hoping to dry and save them so I can try sprouting them (just for fun!)
Rhododendron "Nova Zembla" and mock orange bloom across the front of the house.

Blooms in our water garden are a little behind schedule. A cold wet spring has delayed things considerably. The yellow Siberian iris are finally blooming but the water lilies haven't even budded yet. The koi are a bright splash of color, literally and figuratively!

A kouza dogwood and cat tail reeds provide a backdrop for yellow iris and water mint growing at the edge of the pond on a shelf that is 2 feet below the surface of the water. Yellow flowering sedum trails over the rocks on the berm.

Our main garden area is a starburst comprised of two huge perennial beds and four rose beds. Perrenials were chosen for height and bloom time so that we would have a succession of blooms throughout the gardening season. We'll see you next month!

The Garden Bloggers; Bloom Day roll is hosted by fellow Blotanist Carol of Indiana. You can find links to visit all of the gardens that participate in this monthly bloomfest on her blog at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Wow, maintaining 31 beds is not for the faint of heart. Completely awestruck, thanks for the tour of your garden!

  2. This is too much to handle, so much beauty for my eyes to behold! :-) Peonies and roses are my favorites, and yours are all so gorgeous. I just added a Zephirine Drouhin to my garden this year, and can't wait to see/smell it in bloom. You have a really spectacular garden, so much variety and this is very impressive.

  3. I'm so glad I took your advice at the start ... I did sit back with a cuppa to enjoy your post and it was an absolute treat! Such spectacular colour everywhere you look. Your collection of Peonies and Roses is amazing and I adored your pond area and water garden. It's been such a pleasure visiting your garden on this GBB day!

  4. Absolutely beautiful! Love all you have going on. Thanks for the tour.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  5. Wow you were not kidding about the blooms...I am always impressed by gardeners who have so many roses...they take so much care....I am breathless from these pictures...the second to last of the macro clematis pics looks like Crystal Fountains...I have it funny how things blooming in my garden are not blooming in yours and vice versa...Happy Bloom Day!!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing, this is beautiful!!! If you don't mind me asking how large is the property your gardens are on?

  7. Cathy and Steve, Wow! Such beautiful blooms. If I had your gardens, I fear I would never get anything done but sit out and gaze at the garden -- and then how would I support my gardening habit. I'll look forward to seeing what you have going on in subsequent months. -Jean

  8. Thanks, Everyone, for visiting. I'll be visiting you all later (I have to go out and finish some weeding first, LOL).

    Girlsprout: I started to write a blog post for how this all evolved... it's a rather humorous story LOL. It'll post sometime within the month. The blooms are really heavy now but it slows down a bit as summer goes on.

    Crystal: You will absolutely LOVE Zephirine Drouhine. The fragrance is amazing. Steve and I enjoy sitting at that trellis bench for a cup of tea ourselves! And the trellis next to it, which is covered with New Dawn, gives us privacy as this area faces the street.

    Bernie: In the unedited first draft, I recommended a visit to the powder room and a sandwich as well LOL. The garden is a lot of work but a lot of fun as well. DH and I spend a lot of quality time out there!

    Cher: Thanks for taking the tour!

    Donna: Thanks for the info about that clematis. I am going to check it out. I am also amazed at how different things bloom at such different times not just in different areas but even in my own area and my own garden! And some things that bloomed early here are just blooming for others now.

    Emily Rose, thanks for dropping by. We have a 1/2 acre of land. We have almost no lawn or grass. We have turned the entire yard into a series of gardens.

    This bloom day was a bit overwhelming for me, never having done one before, and doing one while the garden is peaking in every bed. On a future bloom day, I'd like to simply snap a single view of every bed. And we are busy compiling plant lists and diagrams for the annual garden tour next week, which we will post here, so you'll really be able to get a sense of things.

    And Jean, this time of year we have to make a deliberate choice to do just that - sit and enjoy it. Having the deck all "decked out" helps!

    Do you all find (as we do) that you're almost addicted to weeding. We'll be sitting, reading the paper or having lunch, and we'll look to the side, see a weed, and then we're off. It's so bad, we weed when we visit the neighbors LOL.

  9. Absolutely beautiful...I'm exhausted just thinking about all your gardens! Love all the vignettes you've created, just lovely!

  10. The mountain laurel flowers are *awesome*!!

    Do you have a map of your garden? I'd love to see what it looks like "all at once".

  11. What a treat. I feel like I have taken a tour of a fabulous botanical garden. Your roses are stunning, and your deck garden is thoroughly charming. Do you maintain all of this, just the two of you, or do you have help?

  12. Thanks, Scott for dropping by to visit. And I understand how you feel - we're exhausted too! And sometimes just looking out and seeing the weeds, I get exhausted LOL.

    Alan, So nice to see you here visiting! Yes, we have a diagram and we're just putting the finishing touches to it, at which point it will be posted along with a plant list for each bed. You can expect to see it soon (by the end of next week, in time for the garden tour, we hope). It will be on a separate "page" on this blog and we'll announce it in a post. But I have to tell you, the only way to see it all at once is with a Google map, which we will also have on that page. ;) We have 90% of the plants tagged with permanent markers indicating common and botanic name for perennials, and for roses, rose class, name, and year of introduction.

    Deb, thank you as well for dropping by! To answer your question, we do 95% of the work ourselves. In years past, when I was quite sick and on chemo, we hired help for two months to help us get ready for the garden tour we participate in each year, which takes place the last week in June.

    This year we have had the least amount of help, but the beds are more mature and need less "fill in" -- while we waited for plants to mature, we had to fill in spaces with annuals. This year, we have someone helping to weed for 6 hours per week and that's just through next week. Steve and I go out 2 hours each morning, plus an hour or two each evening, and for the months of April, May, and June, most of our free weekend time is spent in the garden as well. It's definitely a labor of love!

    At this point, we could maintain it ourselves, but I wanted to go to NYC for the rose events and Steve had a hectic schedule this spring as well so we decided to get some help and take some pressure off us as we have two big events coming up... one this weekend and then the garden tour next weekend.

  13. Absolutely lovely. I love how everything seems to grow and merge together. Very romantic feeling. I'm glad you included your pond. You have an amazing number of blooms!

  14. I am blown away! What a beautiful garden you have. I don't know if it is the photos, but it seems huge. I love the fountain with the lavender surrounding it. The opening shot of the rose arbor is also lovely. I hope you will stop by my blog again. I look forward to getting to know you and your beautiful garden.

  15. Thanks so much Jennifer, and I'll be buy to visit shortly. We've been busy dealing with four dogs in the garden LOL.

    The garden IS huge and it always seems bigger after a few days of rain when the weeds start to sprout. Think double sized house lot with no grass, just garden. It's a series of beds connected by walking paths and walkways.

    It's set up kind of like rooms - I was really into P. Allen Smith's style for a while.... and it shows. There are lots of places to sit and just relax, read, visit with someone, have a meal or snack, meditate, sew on buttons.... we've done it all. ;)

    The shade gardens and tree and shrub grove have lots of little secret hiding places where the dogs like to hide out and we can sit and share a private moment. In fact, there is another huge fountain nestled in the trees that you can only see from inside the tree grove.

    The rose arbor is in the front, right outside the front door. The trellis is actually a bench and to the right of it is another trellis covered with two clematis (not in bloom yet) and a New Dawn, so it's very private.

    That fountain is enormous - we gave it to each other for a wedding anniversary gift.

  16. Thanks for stopping by HolleyGarden. Yes. lots of blooms, and that was AFTER 2 hours of deadheading! I took half the pix yesterday, half the previous couple of days. it took me the entire day to sort through them!

  17. Cathy, as usual, your garden is incredible! Truly so beautiful. I'm afraid gardening in the southwest is not like the northeast. How I wish! If we could just have some of your rain I'd be happy!

  18. Hi C&S,
    Your garden is a delight..Not the way i garden but it sure exudes great passion/love/ whats wrong about Peace/Love and understanding! (old Hippie joke)



  19. Your gardens and plants are stunning! I must say that little blue columbine is special and the mountain laurels are amazing! I will have to become a follower as this is a very special garden! Larry

  20. If I lived there I'm not sure I'd ever ever go inside. Ever.

  21. Oh my! Your garden looks fabulous. I bet it smells wonderful in the evenings. Hard work clearly pays off - well done!

  22. I am still pondering - 31 garden beds! What a dream ... Mountain laurel is a stunner! Are those dwarf varieties edging your walkway or just young plants. When I've encountered it in the wild (always a treat) it's pretty big ...

  23. Wow these pics are so lush and splendid! Thanks for providing some visual relief over here.

  24. I am returning a visit and can only think to say Wow. Magnificent gardens you two.And I thought I had a lot to keep up with. Your roses are spectacular and look really healthy - no small feat. I have beeen searching for mountain laurel around here and hope to find it some day, as your plants give me great pause.

  25. You have so many blooms in your garden, it was wonderful to see all the great pictures. I love the peonies and the lilac especially because they won't grow here and I love their fragrance. Enjoy your garden!

  26. Cathy and Steve, wow that was a virtual tour to remember. You have quite some garden there and although many people probably go on about the work involved, I bet you just love it and treat it all as relaxation. We have an evergreen shrub in the garden which looks healthy doesn't flower though, its called Kalmia,picture on the label looks exactly like Mountain Laurel.

  27. Oh my gosh, a delight to have so many visitors! I'll respond here, but for those who had questions, I'll try to track you down via email or blog or blotanical as well!

    Alistair: Kalmia latifolia is the botanical name for mountain laurel, of which there are 8 varieties, all native to the eastern continental US, as far south as Kentucky and Tennessee, I believe. It's a member of the heath family, by the way, and enjoys the same climate, which is why it grows so well for you in Bonnie Scotland.

    Mountain laurel is an acid lover, so acidifying the soil may encourage it to bloom.

    Cathy: I have to be honest, I don't know if I could survive in the Southwest (unless I had access to irrigation LOL). I know a bit about xeriscaping and have often lamented that I would love to be able to grow things that require a warmer hardiness zone (like jasmine and bougainvillea). My husband had friends in AZ that he visited often and he said the landscape was gorgeous, but I would struggle without roses and lilacs and peonies. ;)

    William: We are honored you dropped by and left a message on your blog. ;)

    Larry: Isn't that blue columbine the sweetest! We have three plants, all in the same bed, and they are the only variety there so I have hopes that the seeds will come true. I plan to save some this year. We are honored to have you as a follower. ;)

    Jess: I chuckled at your comment. We ARE outside constantly this time of year, but mostly because the annual garden tour (our gardens are featured) is this weekend and we have to have the whole place looking pristine by then.... a full time job and then some right now LOL! After the tour, we'll be pretty caught up with the spring and early summer chores and be more able to do as you suggest - sit out and just enjoy being in the midst of it.

    Ronnie: Thanks Ronnie! Yep, the fragrance is absolutely heaven.

    Sheila: Sheila, there are 8 varieties and like you, when we have seen it growing wild up here, the pink blooming varieties are what we usually see in the woodlands and they do tend to be much taller. I think that part of that is the variety and part of that is the environment. WHen it is growing wild in the woods, it usually has to compete with tall canopied trees for sunlight and that can make it "stretch". Also, much older plants tend to be woodier - same thing happens to rhodies as they age.

    Even in my grandmother's yard, however, the pink ML, while not as leggy as what you'd see in the woods, was a big old shrub that sprawled along a fence, although she did have it in a shadier part of her yard near a grape arbor.

    Ours are in a shaded woodland garden and are 4 year old plants. They were 2 YO plants when we got them and we have had them for 2 years. Last year they had a sparse showing of blooms but this year, they made their momma proud! And they are still blooming out there, btw... just a gorgeous display.

    S.F.O.: You're so welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

    Patty: Thanks for the compliments! ;) It took us a couple of years to find the mountain laurel, and it was not the pink that I had hoped for originally but we also put it in a different location than what we had intended originally. It is gorgeous where it is, though!

    Masha: So sorry you don't get to enjoy the beauty of lilacs and peonies, which are two of my favorite spring bloomers. Masha, check with Select Plus Lilacs in Canada. I recall reading on his web site that he was working on some varieties that do well in the south. He might have something available that could thrive where you are.

  28. Oh my, you have so many beautiful blooms in your garden. And what a garden you have. I love the blue double Columbine.Do you know its name? Also thanks for posting a picture of your Silver Leafed Thyme. I had received it as a free plant with an order and there was no name tag on it. Now I know. LOL! I cannot believe you have so many roses girl. How wonderful. Let me know what you find out about the Bonica roses and thank you.

  29. !!!!! I'm positively swooning over here looking at all these gorgeous photos! What an amazing collection of gardens and plants you have put together - can't imagine the work involved with tending 31 different gardens, but it must be a joy and totally worth it from the looks of your flowers.

    I particularly love the clematis (all of them!), the unusual-shaped blue c0lumbine, the pink honeysuckle, and the purple azalea row - so dramatic and yet so peaceful!

    Your tree peony looks like one that I bought at this year's Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale - it had 2 blooms at the time and a 3rd bloom opened after I transplanted seems sort of delicate and the foliage seems a little on the yellow side...I'm sure hoping it will come back and bloom again next year.

    I love that you are growing lilac in a container! I didn't even know it was possible. We have such limited areas of sun in our yard...I'm not sure my new, very small lilac will have enough - perhaps potting it up into a big barrel so that we can move it to the patio would be the way to go...thanks for the idea and for all of these gorgeous photos! Very inspiring!

  30. What a tour !! your garden is fantastic and must keep you very busy. It's all beautiful.

  31. Lona, the columbine is Aquilegia vulgaris var. flore-pleno "Tower Light Blue". It's also referred to as double-flowered common columbine. It blooms later in the season, which is really nice because it extends the columbine season about 3 more weeks.

    My Bonica rose sprouted some dark pink buds that opened into medium pink blooms that almost immediately turned pale pink - within a day. The rosarians at the rose show said they will do that when it is very hot. They are coming here for a rose society meeting in August and I am going to have them actually look at the rose, so I'll update you again.

    Redgardenclogs, when we got our lilacs, we got them from Canada as we wanted some really different varieties and many we bought as tiny plants that we kept in pots for several years. They thrive and bloom as long as they are fed and watered regularly. Thanks for the compliments - yes, it's a ton of work! And when we go on vacation, we have someone come stay with the dogs and another person come and take care of the garden. We have fruit trees and even a hydrangea tree in containers - a veritable garden all in tubs on our deck. Definitely consider it!

    Maureen, thanks for visiting our blog. "Busy" doesn't begin to cover it LOL. But we do the work together and that makes it all the more fun and special.

  32. May I just say: Glorious!!! your garden photos are so clear, crisp and dewey! You have a superb green thumb!

  33. Thanks, Mandar! I'm glad you found our blog!

  34. I love how the barberry contrasts with the variegated Hypericum! Your columbines are awesome!

  35. Chris, I am embarrassed to tell you that that is not a variegated hypericum - I am not sure what daydream I was in when I wrote that LOL. THAT is actually the caryopteris "Blue Mist" that I am rooting as we speak!

    Ironically, we have a variegated hypericum in the front yard but it has been almost totally eaten by the rabbits. (Maybe that's why they are so laid back and actually pose for pictures?) I'm not sure it's going to survive.


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