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