“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
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…
Bright pink Peonies and creamy, white Peonies add a heavenly scent to the Friendship Garden.
The slender, spiky foliage of Siberian Iris provides a sheltered area for a pretty birdbath.
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 Therapy. I 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.
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.
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!
P.S. What gardenkeeping tasks are keeping you busy this week? Which June blossoms are your favorite?