A Celebration of June.

The  best of the year has arrived, its crowning glory. Now at last, it is the time for the floral aristocrats; roses and irises, poppies and peonies.  These flowers look as if they are cut out of rich fabrics; silks, taffeta and velvet. The garden is spangled with  opulent colours and exquisite scents. ‘Karlsruhe’ is a climbing rose from the 50s, but it has an old-fashioned look and healthy foliage. It looks lovely against  the dark foliage of a yew tree.

Rosa 'Karlsruhe'

Rosa ‘Karlsruhe’

Every self-respecting tudor house has to have roses growing up the walls.

DSC_0443  On the back wall, Zéphirine Drouhin  is always full of blooms and it is thornless which is a great advantage as we pass it every time we step outside.

Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin'

Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin’

Down the garden by the big pond, ‘Teasing Georgia’ seems unconcerned by the shade of the huge weeping willow. She has gorgeous, rich yellow flowers.

Rosa'Teasing Georgia'

Rosa ‘Teasing Georgia’

When we arrived here the garden had several straggly roses which I nearly removed. Instead I pruned and fed them and now they look very pretty. I planted some tall Aconitum napellus by this one.

This one is not a colour I would have chosen, but it looks lovely with Stipa gigantea shimmering in front of it.


I am not sure which this next one is but I am glad I kept it. I love single roses and it always starts blooming early.


Nearby is the dear little buttonhole rose ‘Perle d’Or’.

Rosa 'Perle d'Or'

Rosa ‘Perle d’Or’

I love the deep apricot  colour of Grace’.

Rosa 'grace'

Rosa ‘Grace’

‘ Evelyn’ is a similar apricot shade but not as beautiful,  or as graceful as Grace.

Rosa 'Evelyn'

Rosa ‘Evelyn’

Another David Austin rose, ‘Anne Boleyn’ is healthy and will certainly stay, I have no intention of chopping her head off.

Rosa 'Anne Boleyn'

Rosa ‘Anne Boleyn’

The China rose Rosa mutabilis is one of my favourites, its flowers look like flights of butterflies.

Rosa mutabilis

Rosa mutabilis

I love single roses and a great favourite is the Burma rose, Rosa laevigata cooperi. It is a climbing rose with huge white flowers and glossy green leaves. I used to grow it against a black shed which looked wonderful. Now it has to content itself with a wall and a greengage tree. It grows very quickly,  mine is only a six year old cutting.

Rosa laevigaat cooperi

Rosa laevigata cooperi

The idea of a blue rose is horrible and I don’t know why ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ has such an off-putting name. Of course it is not blue, it is a lovely faded, antiquey , slatey mauve and I love it.  I have a friend who hates it, I am sure she would like it if she didn’t think it was pretending to be blue.

Rosa 'Rhaaaaapsody in Blu'

Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’

Summer took us by surprise here in Suffolk. Last week Scotland and the West Country greedily hogged all the available sunshine and left us with wind, rain and chilly days. In my village, gardeners were wrapped up in their fleeces and sou’westers and bravely working until dusk to get ready for the Gardens Open Day on Sunday.  Tired and battle-weary, but triumphant, on the big day we basked in the sun and the kind compliments of visitors. This week with sunny weather every day and everything looking great, for a brief moment, we can laze in the sun, drinking in the scent of roses, philadelphus  and honeysuckle. The bees are humming and the young sparrows are quarelling in the bushes.  The sounds of June fill the air. Heaven.

The weather is perfect  and for a brief moment we can be idle.  Hector  is  being a little over-cautious and worried about catching a chill.



Or maybe he is sulking because nobody will play with him.


June means peonies and although I love single flowers, I love the extravagance of petals on the overblown double peonies, they are so heavy that they can barely hold their heads up. They remind me of women with far too much make up and over back-combed, puffed up, eighties hairstyles. A touch of the Dolly Partons. But they are so lovely that they make me smile.

Peony 'Bowl of beauty'

Peonia ‘Bowl of beauty’

Peonia festiva maxima

Peonia festiva maxima

Every old garden seems to have an old Peonia officionalis ‘Rubra plena’, it is not as glamorous as modern hybrids, but still earns its place.

Peonia officionalis 'Rubra plean'

Peonia officionalis ‘Rubra plean’

I love the singles even more and I wish I knew what this little darling is. I don’t remember planting it and have no idea where it came from.
It grows happily in the shade with the ubiquitous little Welsh poppy, Meconopsis cambrica.
My son gave me a beautiful tree peony some years ago and I dug it up to bring it with me. Peonies resent being dug up and it died. But it had been grafted and to my delight this lovely single peony grew from the base. I love it.

Oriental poppies loll about langourously, but they are so beautiful that I don’t mind. I feel one should provide a chaise-longue for them, rather than rudely corralling them with stakes. When’Patty’s Plum’ first opens, the petals look like crushed tissue paper.

Papaver orintalis 'Patty's Plum'

Papaver orientalis ‘Patty’s Plum’

The rose next to Patty is ‘Pearl Drift’ which was a gift from a dear friend.
I aalso grow Papaver ‘Beauty of Livermere’ which is a bright red and is difficult to place. But I have a sentimental attachment to it as my father always grew it. It is fine to stake this and make it stand to attention as it looks rather martial in its scarlet jacket.
New bearded irises are opening each day and I love them and can never get enough of them. I have friends who dislike the newer hybrids in their extravagant fancy dress and all their frills and frolls, like bridesmaids at a big, fat gypsy wedding. They come in the most wonderful rainbow colours. I have a friend who always asks me anxiously if her new plant acquisitions are vulgar. She must think that I am the most appalling plant snob. For her birthday I bought her Iris ‘Carnaby’ which is peach, orange and raspberry. I told her it is gloriously vulgar, but gorgeous. I hope she enjoys it. Next year I will be cadging a bit of it. I have many irises that I don’t know the name of but I enjoy for their glorious colours.

I live near Sarah Cook who has the national collection of Cedric Morris irises and of course I have some of these more refined beauties. The owner of my previous garden was a great friend of Sir Cedric and I have quite a few irises that were given to him. I will write a post about Cedric Morris irises another time. In the meantime here is one of them,’ Benton Sheila’.

Iris 'Benton Sheila'

Iris ‘Benton Sheila’

To enjoy June days to the maximum we have to have fragrance and I have philadelphus in every corner. This is the bush near the path to my two greenhouses.  The far greenhouse is quite large and timber, but very old and held together mainly by will power and probably  duct tape, as the Pianist has done a few repair jobs.

This golden-leaved one by the gate was pruned into a better shape last year and has fewer blooms. But still it smells divine.
Of course, there are better designed gardens than mine, better maintained and with better grown plants. Gardens with beautiful velvety lawns and exquisitely cut hedges and topiary. Gardens with lakes and rills and wonderful sculptures. But on a June day like today, I don’t envy anyone else their gardens. Mine is heaven to me and I don’t want to be anywhere else, but right here in my own Eden.

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52 Responses to A Celebration of June.

  1. mrsdaffodil says:

    Gorgeous photos! And, oh! the roses, peonies, poppies and irises. I couldn’t agree more: June is glorious. Your Hector is funny and sweet, too.

  2. Liz, what a wonderful and lyrical post. Applause to you and your garden. I enjoyed the tour and the photos. I have a Teasing Georgia plate, but that is the first real one I have seen. I particularly love your spiderweb gate. Hope the rest of June is as lovely. Amy

  3. Chloris says:

    Thank you Amy. It has just started to rain, in fact we have a thunder storm. Apparently we are going to have a wet week. Never mind, the garden will get watered and I will have chance to catch up with blog reading, I have got a bit behind with it.

  4. Hayley says:

    Such beauty all in one place! I have a few of these plants in my own garden yet to come into flower, and certainly not yet to the same scale. I love your spiderweb gate too. Your photos can almost conjure up the scents. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Tina says:

    You have every right to be pleased and proud of your beautiful garden space. Everything, including that cute dog, is perfection! Enjoy!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Tina, we are all pleased with our gardens in June. It is the best time of the year. My daughter’ s dog is cute, but he is full of mischief. He eats everything, but he is only 6 months old. .Maybe when he grows up he will be sensible.

  6. Your garden is a treasure. There was nothing but deep sighs of envy coming from me through the entire post – first for the gorgeous roses, then for those peonies are impossible for me to grow. And then you threw in a passel of beautiful Iris and poppies too!

  7. bittster says:

    I can almost pick up the scent of the roses! I’ve fallen in with the industrial shrub roses and although they fill a corner with color they have no souls without their scent. A late freeze killed the rugosa which used to make up for all it’s cousins lacked… I might have to bring a new one in.
    You’ve captured the glories of June perfectly. For all its weeds and unfinished tasks I also couldn’t think of a better place to be at this time of year.

  8. AnnetteM says:

    Your summer plants are wonderful. I love single roses too, in fact all single flowers, and your Rosa laevigata cooperi looks delightful. You have a super collections of irises too. Mine are all quite new, but I am getting there. I agree, you can’t beat your own garden in the middle of June, surrounded by all your favourite plants.

  9. Your garden is just dreamy. I am so please for you that the weather was lovely for your gardens open day. Rosa mutablis does look like butterflies, suitably fluttery and delicate.

  10. Such a beautiful collection of roses. I enjoyed your tour.

  11. Annette says:

    Wow, your garden look stunning! I don’t grow paeonias and papaver orientale anymore and thus can admire fewer aristocrats in my own plot but I very much enjoy looking at them here. Your visitors must have been thrilled and how nice that the weather behaved which is so important for open garden days. Such a pity, you’re so far away.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Annette and I wish I could have come to your garden opening.
      Peonies and poppies take up a lot of room,. Oriental poppies will sprawl so. I love peonies because I enjoy their nice plump red buds in the winter as well as their sumtuous flowers.

  12. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and wonderful pictures. xx

  13. Christina says:

    Oh, perfect that the weather was kind for your open day and that you had a few good days to enjoy it yourself afterwards. Rain here again today! Not constant but enough and it’s windy too – oh dear it sounds like I’m moaning and I promise I’m not! Your garden is glorious, of course you shouldn’t move an inch away from it just enjoy it. The rose with the Stipa might be Westerland.

    • Chloris says:

      We have the rain now and it is going to be showery all week, but last week was wonderful. Thank you for the ID for the rose, I think you are right. It does look like Westerfield.

  14. Cathy says:

    Your garden really is beautiful Chloris and your roses are fabulous. Love the way you describe some of your plants, and I adore that deep red poppy ‘Beauty of Livermere’!

    • Chloris says:

      Beauty of Livermere is certainly showy, if a bit bright for my garden. I have nothing that goes very well with it, but my father was very fond of it.

  15. You are having a real festival of roses and peonies (and more). So glad the weather was perfect for your Open Days. Of all your roses, I might like the Burma rose best – I am very partial to single flowers and white roses. Very true that you need fragrance to complete the garden. All we have now in that regard is Sweet Alyssum, but I am waiting for the Oriental and Orienpet lilies to open.

    • Chloris says:

      If you lived nearby I could give you a bit of the Burma rose. It is easy from cuttings. It is very special, the purest white against healthy, glossy green leaves.

  16. A joy, every photo just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Quel superbe jardin ! Un paradis où il doit faire bon vivre… Jolie collection de roses, de pivoines et autres fleurs. ce foisonnement de variétés et de couleurs, c’est somptueux ! Bravo

  18. Chloris says:

    C’ est un paradis pour moi- je l’ ai creé, c’ est comme mon enfant. Mais les roses sont superbes partout cette anneé. Dommage qu’ elles sont un peu abimeés par la pluie hier soir.

  19. snowbird says:

    I can totally understand why you are so happy in your Eden, it’s utterly gorgeous! I just loved all the roses and peonies, it must be heaven walking around smelling them all. I am having a good rose year too…..there do seem to be an awful lot f white and green fly on them though. Hector had me smiling….what a gorgeous little guy, I do hope he’s learning to respect your garden!!!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      This year is a wonderful rose year despite all the rain we have had. Hector is adorable and quite good at not going on the flower beds. He still eats everything though. He goes through the day hoovering up anything in his path. I am in a permanent state of stress when he is here in case he chokes or poisons himself.

  20. Alain says:

    I think we all take to our gardens in June. We are not as advanced as you are – it is still tree peony time here – but the garden is full of promises.

  21. Cathy says:

    Oh all those glorious colours – I can imagine every step of your rambles must bring the view of yet another delight. Definitely the place to be – but then again for many of us our own gardens are always the place to be… Glad it was dry for the Open Gardens – did all your visitors ooh and ah, ask lots of questions, ask for cuttings, etc?

    • Chloris says:

      We were so lucky with the weather, there has been so much rain since that day, that the garden hasn’ t always been the most blissful place in the world to linger in. . Still it has saved on watering. Yes I have promised lots of bits to various garden visitors. Now is a good time to be taking cuttings.

  22. Your garden is looking heavenly and how perfect that you enjoyed such fine weather for your open day. What a beautiful gate!

  23. The garden is spangled with opulent colours and exquisite scents, indeed, Chloris! And Hector seems to be enjoying it all. Beautiful scenes of the garden.

  24. Brian Skeys says:

    You are right to celebrate your garden in June Chloris. I completely agree with the words at the end, we should all be happy and content in our own garden. I now know we have Peonia festiva maxima, thank you.

    • Chloris says:

      We gardeners work so hard to create our own personal Edens, we deserve to enjoy them in June. ‘ Festiva maxima’ is quite distinctive with the little flash of pink on white.

  25. Anna says:

    I’m not surprised that you would not want to be anywhere else in June other than at home to lap up your fabulous garden. I’m so glad that the sunshine came out for your garden open day Chloris. Your visitors must have thought that they were in heaven and would not have wanted to go home. Was it just your garden that opened or a number of gardens in the village?

    • Chloris says:

      It was great to have that sun because since then we have had so much rain. Yesterday, it poured all day.
      It was just a village garden open day, I gave up NGS 10 years ago, all those teas and plants to sell was too much like hard work. It did it for 8 years and that is quite enough.

  26. pbmgarden says:

    So lovely! Your visitors must have been overwhelmed with the variety and the beauty. Glad the weather cooperated and that you now have a moment to reflect and just enjoy your handiwork. Papaver orientalis ‘Patty’s Plum’ is a fine beauty.

  27. Chloris says:

    Thank you Susie. Patty s Plum is a beauty and just imagine, it was found on a compost heap!

  28. Absolutely! That’s the way I feel about my garden too, although I have a few dry shady areas that need to be redesigned – again. I love all your roses, especially the ‘blue’ one. As for vulgar – who cares? Everyone should just plant whatever they like.

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