Early June.

‘What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade’. Gertrude Jekyll.

Well yes, Gertrude, I agree, just so. But one could say that it is the crowning moment of the whole year. April and May are exciting and we enjoy a constant delighted astonishment at the clothing of the whole landscape in tender green. But June is the moment of perfection. It is a month when even lazy people like me get up early so as not to miss a single glorious minute. The early mornings are wonderful but so are the evenings and the bits in between. How can we bear to go in and miss a single second of it? Today we have some welcome rain; lovely, gentle, summer rain and so it is a chance to catch up here. In June, every day brings new blooms and delights and I find it difficult to find the time to come in and write about them. Here are a few of the early June flowers that keep me out in the garden.

One of the most challenging things about gardening, unless you have somewhere like Sissinghurst or Great Dixter, is to have the whole garden looking wonderful all year round. Of course these gardens always have plants waiting in the wings to replace ones that have gone over. A larger garden enables you to have different areas which are at their best at different times. But whatever the size of the garden it is a good idea to have something which is stunning in bloom at every season; something so beautiful that looking at it makes your heart beat faster. For me at the moment it is the gravel garden I made for my ever growing iris collection. I started with irises years ago in a previous garden with some fancy irises ordered from France. They were brightly coloured and primped, ruffled and ruched, flounced and frilly like overdressed contestants for TOWIE and I was delighted with them. But then I discovered some modestly clad irises growing in a corner of the garden and thought they made my French ones look rather vulgar. I later found out that they were Benton irises bred by Cedric Morris and given to the previous owner, a nursery man who was a friend of his. Now Benton irises are becoming very popular and this is thanks to Sarah Cooke who lives near here and has the National Collection of Benton irises which she has tracked down from all over the country and beyond. She has made them available to the public and many people are falling for their lovely colours and reticulated flowers. This next one is ‘Benton Deidre’.

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My favourite is ‘Benton Olive’ because it has such subtle colouring.

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‘Benton Susan’ is a lovely yellow colour.

‘Benton Susan’ is the mother of my favourite iris baby and the only one I have named. She is such a rich yellow colour. I think she is even more beautiful than her mother.

I am also rather proud of this dark purple baby.

And this one in blue.

And I think this one is quite striking.

And the ones in the foreground here.

Amongst the irises I grow the snowy white Libertia grandiflora.

At the far end of the gravel garden there is a spectacular Abutilon x suntense.

And on the other side of the path you can see the yellow claws of Sophora teptaptera which like the libertia comes from New Zealand.

And next to it there is the bushy Magnolia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’ which has glossy green leaves and delightful flowers which open up from brown suede-like buds.

If you turn left by the sophora you enter the secret garden where at the moment the trellis is festooned with pink and white wisteria. But I will take you there another day. And very soon we will have roses everywhere and then I shall probably never come in from the garden at all.

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18 Responses to Early June.

  1. Heyjude says:

    Oh, these are all so wonderful. I saw so many irises last week on a brief holiday in Somerset. I love the colours of the bearded irises, especially those last two of yours.

  2. Kris P says:

    I can’t imagine that your garden is ever anything but delightful. No garden lacks warts here or there but I’ve no doubt that, were I to visit, I’d be wandering about oohing and aahing for hours, if not days. Your bearded Iris collection is lovely. My own is seriously unimpressive. I’ve discovered that the handful that bloom reliably are all situated at the bottom of my neglected back slope, while those I’ve given more attention bloom haphazardly, if at all. I haven’t decided if those on the back slope receive just the right level of moisture, if the rhizomes on the garden’s main level get inadequate sun exposure, or who knows what but they have me frustrated.

    • Chloris says:

      I wish you could visit Kris, it would be such fun to share our gardens in person. Irises are quite difficult to keep happy. I had them all along my picket fence iin the front garden but they couldn’t stand the competition of the roses. They need regular dividing and sole occupancy of a place in the sun.

  3. Cathy says:

    Yes, there is certainly a lot of gawping to be done In June! Mind you, I don’t think I will ever gawp at bearded irises, the way many others do…sorry! It must have been so exciting to find those irises tucked away in your garden and have them identified as Benton varieties – were any of them ‘long lost’? Do you matchmake with yours or is your yellow (and much prettier, so it’s perhaps the variegated colours that put me off…?) one from a chance relationship?

  4. cranetalk says:

    Do you open your garden under the NGS or any other scheme? I’m a Suffolk gardener who would love to visit your inspirational garden.

  5. tonytomeo says:

    How rad that the iris are still going! I think that if there were more variety blooming here, some of them might still be blooming now. Individually, their seasons are brief. Collectively, they can prolong the season.

  6. pbmgarden says:

    June is your happy time, I see. Your irises are so lovely and I agree ‘Benton Olive’ is special. I’ve grown fonder also of the more modest forms. Happy gardening.

  7. Your garden is so full of so many different plants. Do you keep a list of all your plants?

  8. Love the Dunwich rose and the Ceanothus. And all those Irises! Our June is not as colorful as yours. Things here really hit their stride in July. Though our peonies do compensate for a lot of boring green.

  9. I’m glad that you had some soft gentle rain Chloris – the best sort of rain and it also gave you the chance to share some of your June gems with us. I’ve read a couple of articles on the subject of ‘Benton’ irises recently and ‘Benton Olive’ is on my wish list. How lovely that your garden has that link to Cedric Morris and the gravel garden looks the perfect spot for them. What is the orange flower in the foreground of the row of irises?

  10. Glorious flowers for a glorious month! I agree with you and Gertrude that June is a beautiful time in the garden, to be savoured. The blue of the Ceanothus is gorgeous.

  11. Cathy says:

    What a wonderful array of blooms. I love Ceanothus and envy your milder winters… it wouldn’t last here. Bearded irises do well here though, but I must admit I am happy to admire them in other people’s gardens. The abutilon is wonderful.

  12. Quite the Iris collection, I agree about Olive..the coloring is beautiful and my favorite..Interesting that Sophora, we have a native shrub here that is similar..

  13. Jo Shafer says:

    Well, I rather like the frillier irises, when I can find them. Mostly mine are the plain varieties planted years ago as contrasting accents to peonies. Lately, May seems to the prime month for my English borders filled with peonies and roses, along with a few irises and lovely clouds of cat mint. Now that it’s June, they already are ready for their first “Chelsea chop” of the season after two days of fierce winds. Must have been a storm out at sea, I always say.

  14. Pauline says:

    Lovely iris, just wish I could grow them, I’ve tried but they don’t like my heavy clay even when it has been improved! Your Dunwich Rose is ahead of mine, I have been and had a look at mine and it is still in tight bud, I bought it after a holiday in Dunwich many years ago.

  15. snowbird says:

    Oh my, what a stunning collection of Iris you have, I just loved the colours of all of these. Wonderful blooms, especially that magnolia. Your garden looks wonderful all year round, If I had it I wouldn’t go in at all.xxx

  16. bittster says:

    I love it all, the iris are probably my favorites and I may rip my garden apart next week to plant more… but then you mentioned your roses, and I can’t wait to see them and will wait before filling every open spot with iris.

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