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The Garden in June 2010
Iris sibirica Silver EdgeJune 3rdPlant of the Moment

Irises certainly are plants of the moment: their flower period is brief but spectacular. The Siberian Irises (Iris sibirica) like "Silver Edge" here are easy to grow and tolerate many most soil conditions. Flowering is from late May through June. 

Keep dead heading by carefully snapping off the spent flowers watching out not to break off the adjacent buds waiting to open.

June 4thNature Watch

At rest this large moth - an Eyed Hawk Moth - is very impressive with its swept-back wings and dark brooding presence. (top picture)

Alarm it and what a shock to get (picture below)

 

The eyes are revealed backed by red cheeks and a large black nose (the moth's head) making a fright mask fit to make any would-be predator recoil.

Eyed Hawk-Moths are widespread in the UK and the large green caterpillars feed on Willow, Poplar, Apple and Pear leaves

June 5thOn the cusp

Early June and our front garden is on the cusp of its summer glory. It this time of year plants are growing rapidly (and need water and food) and buds are swelling. Even before the flowers burst forth I love the fresh, deep breath of green that rises from the plants. Each green is different and adds interest. 

Centaurea dealbata Steenbergii  2010 SpecialPerennials.com all rights reserved.June 15thPlant of the Moment

Centaureas are looking great just now with many of the taller varieties bursting into flower.  Centaurea dealbata Steenbergii is one of the best with bronze buds bright magenta flowers from early June for many weeks.  This plant has handsome divided leaves with silver-white backs. 

 

Carder Bee on Cirsium (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.com All rights reservedJune 16thGreat year for Bumblebees

So far this year seems to be a great one for Bumblebees in our garden with Carder Bees (in this photo), White-Tailed, Buff-Tailed and Red-Tailed Bumble Bees in great numbers. 

 

Achillea Serenade (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.com All rights reserved.June 17thPlant of the Moment

Achillea Serenade is a lovely pale pink with dark green leaves and a good flowering height of about 2ft 6in in its first year of planting.  I find Achillea get taller in subsequent years. There are two ways to keep them shorter - do the Chelsea Chop - cut of 3 -5in of growth in Mid May or dig up, divide and replant vigorous sections in April. 

 

June 20thTaking a new path

Well, I've finally done it - stripped off the last of the grass paths in the back garden and put down gravel. This gives me so much more scope for having plants flop over the edge and soften the lines. Now my Geranium sanguineum varieties and Nepeta Six Hills Giant won't have to be held up to avoid making bare patches in the grass.  Plus, no more mowing. Oh Happy Man!

 

Helenium Wesergold is ususually the first to flower (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.com all rights reserved.June 22ndFirst Helenium

Every year I can't wait for the first Helenium to flower.  Its normally a race between El Dorado and Wesergold to be the first to open. This year it was neck and neck with Wesergold (right) winning by a short head. 

I wondered if Heleniums would be affected by the hard winter and flowering would be delayed. They certainly started growing about 4 weeks later than normal. But, no these two varieties are right on cue and in line with the average flowering dates from records I've kept for the last 4 or 5 years.

 

Centaurea glastifolia has beautiful buds (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.com All rights reserved.June 23rdBudding Star

Centaurea nearly always have attractive and interesting buds, and glastifolia pictured right is no exception. The brittle, silver scale-like buds shine in the sunlight and look good long before the yellow thistle-like flowers open. 

Hemerocallis Outrageous (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.com all rights reserved.June 25thOutrageously Beautiful

We love Day Lilies (Hemerocallis) for their easy temperament and spectacular flowers in mid summer. "Outrageous" (pictured right) is simply a showstopper. 

A lot is being written about Gall Midge affecting the plants but in our view its no bigger deal than greenfly: one simple step will prevent any major problem. All you need to do is have a look at your Day Lily plants every few days from mid May until early July and pick off any buds that are swelling from the base and becoming ribbed and thickened. Put these in a bag and into the bin.  At most you'll lose a few flowers. No big deal.

Hemerocasllis Dark Avenger and Penstemon GarnetJune 26thPerfect Partners

We love the combination of the purple red of Penstemon Garnet with the luscious dark, black red of Hemerocallis Dark Avenger.  These small flowered Day Lilies with flowers held at the tops of the stems are great in the border. The current hot, dry weather doesn't bother either of these plants.

 

This combination of (front to back) Salvia Pink Blush, Geranium Mrs Kendall Clark and Achillea Pretty Belinda makes a lovely show for our NGS opening. (c) 2010 SpecialPerennials.comJune 27thPerfect Partners

Very hot today with mid-summer sun so strong colours come to the fore. This combination of (front to back) Salvia Pink Blush, Geranium Mrs Kendall Clark and Achillea Pretty Belinda makes a lovely show for our NGS opening.  All like our well-draoned soil and a good amount of sun (not necessarily all day sun though). 

 

Helenium Fata Morgana blooms from the 3rd week of June right through October  2010 SpecialPerennials.com all rights reserved.June 29thGetting the most from early Heleniums

Early flowering Heleniums, like Fata Morgana (right), are great value for money plants in the garden.  They tend to be shorter than most  - 1ft to 3ft and come into bloom from the 3rd week of June / early July and go on and on right through October if treated correctly.  

Correct treatment generally means: deadheading spent blooms by cutting back to just above an emerging bud; and keeping them well watered at all times.

Other excellent early and long flowers are: (yellow)  The Bishop, Goldene Jugend, Pumilum Magnificum, El Dorado,  Wyndley, Wesergold; (orange)  Luc, Sahins Early Flowerer Waltraut, and (red) Vivace, Meranti, Red Army, Kupferzwerg and of course Moerheim Beauty.

 

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