It really is impossible to pick out just ten blooms from all the glories in the June garden, but here goes, I will give it a try. I have already written about roses which are my all time favourites. But I love them so much that they have to come in at number one on my June list. So here are a few more.
Rosa ‘Blush Rambler’ is scrambling up the trunk of the big cherry tree. I had the tree cut down this year but the trunk remains to give support to this lovely rose. I think it is the best of the multiflora ramblers with masses of flowers and healthy, glossy foliage. It doesn’t hang on to its fading petals either so it always looks good.
It looks lovely against the dark leaves of Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.
I love single flowers so I am particularly fond of the Hybrid Musk rambler ‘Francis E Lester’. It has apple-blossom pink flowers which fade to white. Later it has masses of long lasting small hips.
I adore old fashioned roses but now and then I fall for a modern one, specially if it has single flowers. I couldn’t resist ‘Smiling Eyes’ when I came across it the other day. It is pink with dark pink centres which turn apricot as they mature.
Of course, having bought this rose I couldn’t find room for it, or for any of the other ones that I suddenly find I can’t live without. So here we go, digging up more lawn. Which is no fun in this heat. And anyway it is totally stupid to plant anything in hot weather, watering already takes a large chunk out of my day.
Of my old fashioned roses, the gallica ‘Charles de Mills’ is one of my favourites. It is always healthy and spreads nicely, the flowers are such a glorious colour and shape and it is fabulously fragrant.
David Austin roses are all gorgeous but if I had to choose just one it would be ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ because of the fabulous colour of the flowers and also the super stems and foliage which set off the flowers so well.
The fleeting flowers of the oriental poppies are over now but I have to include them as they are June blooms. One I always grow is the tall, bright red ‘ Beauty of Livermere’ because my father grew it and it reminds me of my childhood, but the scarlet flowers are hard to place unless you like very bold colour schemes. Papaver orientale ‘Patty’s Plum’ is much more subtle and always a favourite. It is a sumptuous rich plum colour although it doesn’t die elegantly and the flowers turn brown with age. It was found on a compost heap in the 1990’s.
Papaver orientale ‘ Cedric Morris’ is a greyish pink, although it seems to be variable, mine isn’t very grey. It was one of Cedric Morris’s seedlings although he was rather disparaging about it, he rather rudely said it is the colour of dirty knickers. It is sometimes known as ‘Cedric’s Pink’.
There are several black and white poppies, I grow one called ‘Checkers’ which has a distinct black cross on the satiny white petals. Here it is with the single white peony ‘White Wings’.
Up until the early twentieth century there were only red oriental poppies. A nursery man in Enfield, Essex, Amos Perry discovered a pink one growing in his nursery beds in 1906 and called it ‘Mrs. Perry’ after his wife. In 1913 he received an irate letter from one of his customers complaining that one of his poppies was white. He swapped it for some montbretia corms, called it ‘Perry’s White’ and began breeding new colours. Today of course, there is a whole range of pinks, reds, oranges and whites and we are spoiled for choice.
Next to ‘Checkers’ you can see the glaucous leaves of the shiny, black opium poppy, Papaver somniferum ‘Black Beauty’. They seeded themselves from last year but I had to weed out the ones that didn’t come true. Some are single, some are double, but all are gorgeous.
On my ‘beach’ in front of the shed I grow the orange horned poppy Glaucium corniculatum. You see the yellow one Glaucium flavum on the beaches and dunes in Suffolk. They like a poor, sandy soil. Gerard said that ‘the juice mixed with meale and honey, ruindisieth old rotten and filthy ulcers‘. So that is handy to know if you are unfortunate enough to be afflicted in this way. The orange ones are not long lived but they do seed about.
Irises are also flowers that grace early June and they are all too fleeting. In the past I have grown plenty of flounced and frilly bearded irises in amazing colours and I still do.
And I particularly enjoy growing them from seed because you never know what you will get. Here are four off my own seedlings.
I have grown two very pretty Pacific Coast Irises from seed taken from a rather undistinguished parent. One of them is a lovely shade of pink and the other is buttercup yellow. it is a much brighter yellow than it appears on the photo.
Of course, we have to include full blown peonies which loll about the June garden like pampered courtesans because who would be without them? My favourite is Paeonia lactiflora ‘ Sarah Bernhardt’. It is sumptuous and fragrant too.
‘Festiva Maxima’ is another fragrant one. It looks like whipped cream with a little raspberry juice swirled in.
I love white flowers and I would not be without the lovely white corncockle, Agrostemma githago ‘Milas Snow Queen’. It has satiny petals with pretty markings that look as if someone has doodled on it with a brown crayon. It is poisonous but then why would you want to eat it? It is an annual but it seeds itself and the self-sown seedlings are very tall. I grow it with Ammi, delphiniums and the lovely primrose coloured dandelion -like Andryala integrifolia. This actually belongs to the daisy family. It grows wild in Tuscany where I collected a few seeds. I have never seen it offered for sale here which is a pity as it is so pretty.
Another white flower which you don’t see very often is Crambe cordifolia. It throws up a stem bearing a huge cloud of froth consisting of hundreds of tiny flower. Bees love the honey scented flowers. It sets off roses beautifully. It is actually a brassica. Everyone wants to know what it is and nobody believes me when I tell them that it is a Giant Kale.
Now in late June all my white flowers are disfigured with pollen beetle. I planned to include beautiful pure white Madonna and Regale lilies and I worked so hard for weeks to keep them free of lily beetle. Now just as they are in bloom they are unsightly as they are covered in these little beasts. Madonna lily, Lilium candidum used to grow beautifully in cottage gardens but these days it is tricky. I believe that the whole lot are infested with a virus and they go into a decline very quickly. The only way that I can keep them going is to dig them up and keep them going in the greenhouse in the winter as the leaves keep growing all winter long. In the greenhouse they get fed and watered and cossetted but if left outside they dwindle away.
The trumpet shaped flowers of Lilium regale are yellow inside and striped pink on the outside of the petals and they smell divine. I have found this the easiest lily to grow from seed. I have painstakingly picked off all the lily beetles on this next picture but in minutes they will be back.
June is the month when the campanulas are ringing their bells all over the garden. Most of them seed around happily so you never need to be without them. The peach-leaved campanula, Campunula persicifolia in blue or white is the most enthusiastic self seeder but is always welcome.
Tall growing Campanula lactiflora ‘Pritchards Variety’ benefits from the Chelsea chop to keep it tidy but I didn’t bother as the border is so densely planted that there is no room for it to flop.
I am fond of the huge deep purple bells of Campanula ‘Sarastro’. It is similar to ‘Kent Belle’ but much longer lasting and I think it is prettier.
Very similar but more violet in colour I have Campanula ‘Summertime Blues’. It is a perfect match for Geranium ‘Rozanne’.
Amongst the smaller ones ‘Wedding Bells’ is pretty and ‘Spring Bell’is a delight.
And here are a few more, as you can see, I can’t resist them.
I am now at number ten and I don’t know what to chose. I have not talked about delphiniums or thalictrums and I should have mentioned clematis. But I am going to finish with my beautiful hardy orchids. I read somewhere that Dactylorhiza fuschii destroys honey fungus which is an on going problem in my garden. I bought one at great expense and waited for it to seed around into honey fungus- destroying carpets. It never has any seedlings at all but it does come back every year and it is beautiful.
And my slipper orchid, Cypripedium ‘Kentucky’ is my pride and joy. It blooms in early June so I have a whole year to wait until I see it again.
Please do join in and show us your Top Ten June Blooms. Or just one or two if you are short of time.