Thursday, June 25, 2009


In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.
No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.
~ Aldo Leopold

June is the time of abundance in the flower garden. So much bloom all at once it's difficult to appreciate each new flower. The roses, lilies, salvia, not to mention the annuals are all covered in billowing masses of color. The best any of us can do is pay tribute to the all too brief display of a few of our favorites.

David Austin's flamboyant masterpiece Pat Austin. A departure from his pale pinks and buttery yellows.

Salvia nemorosa 'Marcus' is a small salvia remaining under a foot tall. The clumps are compact and don't sprawl like May Night and Caradonna. In my garden I've used this excellent option for tight spots between plants that benefit from some all season color. It does well in my clay soil and withstands our drought periods.

I fell in love with the colors of this pelargonium 'Elegance Purple Majesty' Masses of lovely blooms all summer long. Of course there's a downside--constant deadheading. I'd have to say it's worth the extra trouble.

Meidiland Magic is often described as a ground cover rose. The idea of using roses as a ground cover strikes me as a painful choice. There is no way to prevent all weeds from growing up in any ground cover. It seems to me that weeding an expanse of tightly compressed roses would be a very uncomfortable experience.

Magic is a good choice for pegging or it can be used as a climber. Roses that are pegged (keeping the canes horizontal rather than vertical) produce more bloom. I've experimented on this rose trying to recreate some of the beautiful sculptures the British create by pegging canes in a pattern. Sadly, I haven't mastered the art;)

In my garden Magic blooms all summer. The flowers are small and produced in clusters of six or more in an eye catching electric pink.

Phlox paniculata is becoming an obsession with me. Two years ago I stumbled upon an absolutely perfect phlox, one of the Volcano series. Constant bloom attracted tiger swallowtails in droves all season long. No disease, no pests, very compact requiring no staking. If I could find any of the Volcano phlox I'd happily buy a hundred in various colors. Where are they? I haven't been able to locate any since that original purchase.

This year I've added a dozen 'non-Volcano' phlox hoping to find one or more that perform almost as well. The one above was labeled 'Blue Paradise' (not sure the name is correct) under a foot tall. It began blooming very early in June and continues with no sign of quitting. We will see how disease resistant it proves to be.

I'm going to try to maintain a regular schedule of posting, at least thru the summer months. Mondays and Thursdays hopefully I will have something to say. I know it is sometimes difficult when bloggers post irregularly. My blog list updates me when my favorites post new subjects but if you don't use a blog list, it can be hard checking in frequently looking for updates.

A non garden related news note: Some of you may have seen this on CNN. We had a train derailment in Rockford a couple days ago. Not normally something I would blog about but this accident happened to take place directly behind the building where I work. One woman was killed, several others were badly burned. All the victims were waiting in their cars at the railroad crossing.

The train was hauling tanker cars full of ethanol which exploded when the cars left the track. We were fortunate that our building is set back a couple hundred yards from the tracks.

(Rockford Register Star Photos.)

The news media is consumed with the telling and retelling. They have progressed from 'what happened' to 'why did it happen' and are now concentrating on 'who's fault is it'.