With so many flowers in full bloom in the June sunshine, it seems like the right time for another walk around the garden.
Starting beside the front door, the Russian Sage is in full bloom and attracting a number of bees and other flying creatures with its mauve flowers and strong scent. The Peace rose is blooming, but struggling with a little black spot, and the new lavender plant by the rock is blooming profusely.
I never have much success with lavender when I plant it in a good spot and lavish care on it, but this one was an afterthought on a stony corner right up against the rock, and maybe that is the way to go.
The border along the street on the north side of the house is colorful at this season, even without the candy wrappers and drink cups I collect during the school year.
The dark green of the star magnolia, Korean lilac, dwarf Alberta spruce, arbor vitae and the tall spears of zebra grass are a nice foil to the pink geraniums and Autumn Joy sedum.
Patches of portulaca are colorful, and multiplying as the seedlings from last year's plants start to show up. The highlight of the border soon will be the profuse golden flowers of the cutleaf coneflower, which already is 6 feet tall.
For several years, I disdained the cutleaf coneflower as a weed and pulled it out before it bloomed, and indeed I have found a mention of it in a weed book, but generally it is admired as a hardy perennial.
It is a real attention-getter for the weeks it is in bloom.
Between the house and the garage the two butterfly bushes are blooming. They went through some rough weeks with the early March heat that brought the leaves out much earlier than usual, only to be followed by the cold April weather and consequent browning and dying of the new leaves. Now, fresh foliage has appeared and the flower spikes are opening.
The butterflies love these buddleias in purple and white, a gift from a reader that keeps on growing.
The herb border is doing well, with my bay tree entering its second summer in good shape. I can rarely get a potted bay through the winter in the house, but this year it did well and is growing so fast it soon will look like a tree.
Parsley, thyme, chives, sage and several flavors of mint are right at hand outside the back door, and the two cherry tomato plants on the back steps are producing plenty of little green fruits.
The most colorful border right now is the one between the houses on the south side. There are plenty of sunflowers for the birds who come to the feeder there, with gold and dark red daylilies below them.
My favorite plant of all is the Maximilian perennial sunflower. It already is 6 feet tall and probably will grow to twice that.
I have a section of fencing to support it this year; its growth habit is rather undisciplined.
The golden flowers will shine into the kitchen windows over the sink and bring in their own sunshine on the dullest day. There are more than 30 stems growing enthusiastically, and I can't wait for them to bloom.
Which brings us back to the front shade garden.
After writing about it a couple of weeks ago as one of my annual mistakes, now I am not so sure. There is something appealing about a dim, shady area in this hot summer weather.
I will give it another year before I decide whether to trim the cascading branches
of the weeping cherry and let some light back in.
So there it is, a quick walk around the garden. I see I have left out many plants I enjoy (the caladiums in a container, all the portulaca that fills any sparse corner, many colors of daylilies, the geraniums that weather the winter in the basement and so on).
More another time.