Young Summer Days

White Peonies in bloom along white picket fence

“What is one to say about June,

the time of  perfect young summer,

the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,

and with as yet no sign to remind one

that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”

~ Gertrude Jekyll

Hi Friends!

It has been a perfect young summer week here in our Midwest garden! Our above-average rainfall in May has made the first week of June oh-so beautiful. This afternoon, as I worked in the Herb Garden, I had lovely company. Several robins kept me entertained as they splashed in the nearby birdbath, flew to the picket fence, and filled the air with their birdsong. A young rabbit happily munched on clover in the grass.

Our Friendship Garden bed is just beginning to show its June colors, with pale purple Iris, yellow Iris, deep purple Siberian Iris, bright pink Peony, deep blue Spiderwort, and delicate, white Anemones in bloom this week. These special perennials are all gifts from the gardens of friends. Admiring at each plant always brings warm memories of dear friendships in my life.

Enjoy a little peek at some of the ‘friends’ in this garden bed…

Deep purple Siberian Iris and delicate, white AnemonesDeep purple Siberian Iris and delicate, white Anemones show off their colors and distinct foliage.

Bright pink Peonies and creamy white Peonies

Bright pink Peonies and creamy, white Peonies add a heavenly scent to the Friendship Garden.

Siberian Iris with Birdbath

The slender, spiky foliage of Siberian Iris provides a sheltered area for a pretty birdbath.

Bee bath with Iris

This simple bee bath is a new addition to the Friendship Garden this week. A shallow bee bath, with rocks to land on, will encourage bees to stay longer when they visit the garden It was inspired by the amazing Stephanie who blogs at Garden TherapyI simply used a clay pot base, a shallow, stoneware bowl from the thrift store to hold fresh water, and river rocks. Now we have bee baths in the Friendship Garden, the Herb Garden, and the Cutting Garden to encourage pollinators to stay awhile.

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Gardenkeeping has filled my days this week, as I work to pull out groundcover-gone-wild from several flower beds. The culprit is Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podararia). This fast-growing groundcover was already growing in the garden when I moved here 28 years ago. In spite of constant attention, it spreads vigorously by shallow roots under the layer of mulch. Our rainy weather last month really jumpstarted its rapid growth. In June its white flowers, looking a bit like scraggly Queen Anne’s Lace, bloom atop 3 ft. stems. Each spring, I work so hard to pull out the Bishop’s Weed and dig its roots out of our Front Porch Garden, where it invades the Hostas, Hydrangeas, Salvia, Daylilies, Anemones, Coreopsis, and Dianthus. Although it remains  a constant work-in-progress,  I am very grateful for the damp soil this week that makes the job a bit easier!

Since we had close to 5 inches of rain during May, our soil remains quite damp. One thing that I am being mindful of is preventing soil compaction in our garden beds. When the soil is packed tightly, it is more difficult for the roots to grow and water runs off, rather than soaking into the soil. According to Garden Gate magazine, “Studies have shown that 80% of problems affecting plants may be caused by soil compaction.”  If the soil is compacted, there may be fewer flowers.

Did you know that foot traffic in the garden beds affects the top 6 inches of your soil?

If you garden in an area that has a wet Spring climate, it’s important to avoid soil compaction while cleaning up and planting. Garden Gate magazine offers some helpful tips to prevent soil compaction:

⚛   Creating narrow garden beds or border gardens, reachable from both sides, reduces the need to walk through the beds.

⚛   In wider garden beds, walking on stepping stones or a path can reduce soil compaction at the base of the plants.

⚛   Try to plan gardenkeeping tasks, like weeding or deadheading, when the soil is dry.

⚛   Mixing lots of compost into the soil will create air spaces. This helps the soil to spring back after it is stepped on.

⚛   Spreading a thick layer of mulch in the garden beds will encourage earthworms. They naturally break up the soil.

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Very sadly, some parts of our country are experiencing severe drought, while other areas are dealing with extreme flooding. Our thoughts go out to everyone who is affected by such harsh weather conditions. We hope that the weather will be kinder and that life can return to normal very soon.

I hope you can enjoy the beauty of the young summer days in your garden this weekend. If you are not a gardener, a walk in the park or through the neighborhood is a perfect way to enjoy a ‘taste’ of young summer days.

Respected British horticulturist, garden designer, and writer, Gertrude Jekyll,  reminds us all that June is “the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months.”  We have waited a very long time! These young summer days are a delightful treat! Enjoy!

Happy weekend!

♡ Dawn

            P.S.  What gardenkeeping tasks are keeping you busy this week? Which June blossoms are your favorite?

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A Burst of Spring Color!

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.”

~ Robert Frost

Hi Friends!

With the arrival of April rainstorms and warmer temperatures, our Midwest garden is displaying its first burst of color. Gardening season is just beginning here… but garden happiness is in full bloom!  Wherever you live, I hope you can feel the excitement of new beginnings, too!

Springtime is definitely my favorite season in the garden. I can see the changes each day as new foliage emerges from the dark, wet soil. The burst of color from each blossom lights up early Spring garden beds! I love to take slow, daily walks through the garden, just to take note of all of the new growth. On the heels of our cold, snowy Winter, this burst of new growth feels like a miracle. Each Spring, my heart is simply filled with delight!

Come take a peek at the early Springtime colors in our garden this week….

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The garden is all abloom, with tiny bursts of early Springtime blossoms! (Top: Crocus, Daffodil, Crocus; Bottom: Scilla, Miniature Iris, Pulmonaria)

Just last week, hidden beneath a clump of dried leaves, I spotted miniature Iris in full bloom. I couldn’t help doing a ‘happy dance’ right in the garden! Seriously! Day after day, the parade of color has continued ~ Crocus, Daffodil, Scilla, and today I discovered Pulmonaria in bloom.

Beauty is in the details ~ especially in the Springtime!

This week, I wanted to spotlight two of these early Spring bloomers.

They always bring a bright burst of color and it’s really fascinating to watch them grow!

Scilla siberica  {Photo Credit}

A few years ago, I planted several tiny bulbs of the eye-catching blue Scilla siberica (also known as: Siberian squill). Unlike my other Spring flowers, Scilla blooms while it is emerging from the soil. It’s such fun to see a tiny, blue blossom practically touching the soil. Growing to 8 inches in height, Scilla lifts its bloom as it grows. Within a few days, the blue, star-like flowers are dancing in the April breeze!

Pulmunaria officinalis  {Photo Credit}

For many years, I have enjoyed growing Pulmonaria officinalis (Common name: lungwort) in my garden. This shade-loving plant grows happily beneath our towering pine trees. It spreads very slowly from the original clump and thrives in soil rich with organic matter. I am always fascinated by the pink and blue flowers growing on the same stem in early Spring. Cutting off the leaves immediately after the bloom time encourages new white-speckled leaves to grow.

This Spring celebrates my 28th year of gardening happiness! It warms my heart to look back on all of the changes in my garden over the years. The ‘seasons’ of my gardening life have brought big changes to my gardening style. I learned to garden by planting flats of annuals, providing bright, season-long color throughout the garden. Neat and tidy, growing in staggered rows, annuals filled my border beds with instant color. Annuals were a perfect choice for a brand new gardener!

When I began visiting our Wednesday farmer’s market, I would treat myself to a new perennial each week. Before long, my neat, tidy annual beds evolved into old-fashioned perennial cottage gardens. What could be sweeter surrounding a cozy 1922 Bungalow? I adored the crowded, old-fashioned look of big, beautiful blossoms all tumbling together in my garden beds. There were so many flowers filling my collection of vases, that I began using stoneware crocks and pitchers to display the garden blossoms!

After several years of happily growing cottage gardens, my style changed again. I wanted to enjoy the beautiful form and unique foliage of each of my perennial charmers. I think I spent that entire summer digging ~ dividing and moving the perennials to different parts of the garden, allowing space to walk amongst the flowers. I made repeated trips to the garden center to buy bags of mulch, stacking six bags of mulch into my small car each time. Ahhhh, it felt wonderful to have room to breathe in my cottage gardens.

This long journey has been brimming over with garden happiness!  My garden teaches me wondrous, new things every day. I truly love my perennial, cottage-style beds. Now I enjoy them so much more, with freshly mulched paths, encouraging me to walk through the garden admiring each individual plant. On Summer mornings, you will often find me walking amongst the blossoms, with my snips, and a basket filled with flowers. It is so exciting when the gardener grows…  along with the garden!

Garden happiness will be in full bloom soon.

It all begins with a burst of Spring color!

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What is your favorite gardening style? How have your gardens evolved over the years?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I always enjoy our visits in the garden!

Scatter sunshine!

♡ Dawn