The Seasonal Page:


Here come the roses and daylilies!

[Daylily Cross]

Things are going to be coming on gangbusters this month. While the front yard has center stage in May with the rhododendrons, the back takes over for the rest of the summer. The lilies and roses usually come first with the daylilies biting at their heels. Lots of other good stuff is sandwiched in between. I can't possibly take pictures of them all, but will try to catch the best.

The daylily pictured above is one of the earliest to blossom and is a cross between 'Wally Nance III' (early bright red) and 'Prairie Moonlight' (large soft yellow). This wasn't the effect I was hoping for, but it is kind of striking in its own way. All the progeny were in the burgundy to terra cotta range with yellow markings of some sort.

[Roses and Lychnis coronaria]


I allowed this volunteer Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) to stay in the rose bed because it would compliment this section of pink rose cultivars. The taller rose with pink buds to the left is 'Peter Frankenfeld'...a wonderful cutting variety with no fragrance. The cluster at left center is 'Betty Prior' and you can see it closer in the photo below...



There aren't nearly enough good single roses on the market and 'Betty Prior' is an old one. I bought it as a tribute to my Aunt Mary Z. who grew it and loved it in her garden. She had trained hers to look like a tree for awhile, but finally let it have its way and be a robust bush! The color is bright and cheery. Another single that I actually like even more is 'Dainty Bess' and I fear I've killed that one. It wasn't happy in its location, and I've not noticed it this season. More investigation in the grass is in order.




[Rosa 'Betty Prior']



[Dianthus 'Crimson Treasure']

I sure wish I could let you take a sniff of these flowers. This is Dianthus 'Crimson Treasure' and it certainly is! I couldn't quite get the color to look exactly like it does in the yard, particularly since it has a tiny bit of "diamond dusting" in the sunlight and is very velvety. My eye says it appears slightly darker in the flesh as well.

[Dianthus 'Crimson Treasure' Close-Up]

Here's a closer view of the flowers on 'Crimson Treasure' and you can see better the soft pinkish white markings and margins. It's a very low grower and would be charming in the rock garden. I've used it toward the front of the oak bed perennial garden.

[Sisyrinchium striatum]


I tried several times to get a good picture of Sisyrinchium striatum (the spikes of whitish yellow shown here), but couldn't. This will have to do. It is a relative of Blue-Eyed Grass and makes a great accent in the garden. The leaves are semi-evergreen and the old foliage will turn black, so it does need a bit of tedious grooming each spring. The flowers are produced on the new fans, so careful removal of the old ones will keep the clump going. The other way to ensure their persistence in the garden is to let them go to seed. They are moderate reseeders. The plants are easily moved to wherever you want them and the color blends with almost anything.


Here's a closer view of the flower spikes on Sisyrinchium striatum. If it's possible, they provide a vertical accent and horizontal one at the same time because of the shape of the flowers. The outsides of the buds have touches of brownish/burgundy striping that are more noticeable when the flowers are closed (they open during the day and close at night).


[Sisyrinchium striatum-Closeup

[Rosa 'Typhoo Tea'


This is my favorite hybrid tea rose for fragrance (even more than 'Fragrant Cloud') and its name is 'Typhoo Tea.' It has English origins and was ordered years ago from Fred Edmunds Roses in Wilsonville, OR. You almost need a ladder to cut the flowers because, despite harsh pruning, it has gotten way over my head each season. The fragrance is heavy and very fruity. The flowers display more of the contrasting lighter color during warmer weather. That foliage is quite handsome as well. I'm not sure if you can still get this rose, but if you ever smell it, you won't forget the experience!



Some more roses for your viewing pleasure. I tell people that if I could only have one rose, 'Fragrant Cloud' would be it (and you can buy it almost anywhere). It has to have the most intense rose fragrance of anything I've experienced (but not the sweetest or fruitiest). It is the dusky orange/red one here. The yellow roses belong to a lovely floribunda, 'Sunsprite.' 'Sunsprite' and 'Fragrant Cloud' both have nice foliage as well as flowers.



[Roses 'Fragrant Cloud' and 'Sunsprite']


[Gaillardia with Heuchera and Catmint]

The original Gaillardia planted here was 'Goblin' and I think this is still it, but it could possibly be a seedling from the original 'Goblin.' Notice that the flower to the left has more yellow and is probably a separate volunteer. These are really cheery, but need to be watched so that they don't die out. The center of the plant usually goes and it helps to reset the edge pieces periodically to ensure the vigor of the clump. The dark burgundy leaves to the left belong to Heuchera 'Place Purple' and the blue flowers above are Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' (catmint).

I want you all to feel better about your carports and garages! Some of this stuff belongs to my gardening addiction and most of the rest to my son and husband. The reason I put it here, was to show you what terrible things I did to the hosta that was situated to the left of the bench in the alley bed. The whole thing was lifted, a variegated piece extracted and replanted and the solid green one removed. The good news is that this "bag full of hosta" found a home with a friend in her shady back yard, where it will be beautiful (if she can keep the slugs at bay). Progress in the garden can be painful sometimes! I don't recommend lifting hostas at this time if you can do it when they are dormant, but they will withstand such treatment if you water them well until they recover. Don't expect them to look as good for awhile, however!


[Messy Carport with homeless hosta]


[Dwarf Orange Lilies]


Bright and cheery! I don't know the name of this dwarf lily. It was a gift to my sister at the time of her husband's death and I've had it here (in its pot) for safe keeping this past year until she got situated in a permanent residence. Recently I noticed this same variety for sale at a local hardware store but they had a generic tag on it...still don't know the variety name.



[Achillea, etc. in Ash Bed]

[Geranium psilostemon and Catmint]

These photos were taken in the ash bed, which was recently weeded and barked. While not terribly showy, the left picture shows some of the buds on Achillea 'Coronation Gold' starting to open. To the left is a Leycesteria formosa with elongating flower clusters (the bracts around the flowers are actually the colorful component) and the blue behind is Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' (catmint), one of my favorite catmints. It gets to be about 2-3 feet tall and spreads. The plants around the yard here are getting pretty sprawly and could benefit from dividing next season.

The photo to the right shows a few blossoms on the Geranium psilostemon with catmint nearby. The deer love to browse the blossoms off this plant and it is so infuriating. Right now I have a sprinkling of blood meal on it to, hopefully, dissuade them from dining. If happy, and uneaten, this plant can get quite large...up to three or four feet. The color shines like a beacon from across the yard and some folks find it hard to use in the landscape. I love it in this bed with the yellows and violets and find that it provides a wonderful accent to the whole ensemble. Maybe if the deer didn't eat some of the flowers every year I might think it was too much? If you have a bed that is semi-shady and heavy on foliage, the harsher colored geraniums like this one, or G. 'New Hampshire' can do a lot to spark the whole area. That is probably where they shine the a sea of green.

[Baptisia australis and Climbing 'Altissimo' Rose]


The pretty spikes on the left belong to Baptisia australis, False Indigo. It is just as good a plant as all the books say and one you won't have to fuss with after planting. You do need a little patience, however, for it to establish before it will make a show. After the flowers fade, they are replaced by pea-like pods that eventually turn black before popping open. During the in-between stage, the pods take on a bluish bloom that is extremely attractive in its own right. The foliage is trouble-free and a nice glaucous green color. You NEED one of these in your landscape! :-) By the way... the rose in the background is Climbing 'Altissimo.'


If I did a bit of research in the old gardening notebook, I could probably figure out what the exact variety name of this peony is. It's probably either 'Pink Princess' or 'Madame Butterfly.' When I get this spot weeded, there might be the remnants of a tag behind the plant. It's a good idea to write down where you plant things as you get them, in case you need to know later. You don't remember as well as you might think! I still have the receipt for the peony order in which this came, but didn't write down the exact locations of where they were placed. Maybe someday if they all bloom and I can find the old catalog descriptions, I'll figure it out!


[Pink Single Peony - Japanese?]


[Geranium 'Claridge Druce' weaving through Purple-leaf Barberry]


Another photo that is slated for hopeful replacement. This is here just to show the amazing weaving qualities of Geranium 'Claridge Druce.' He's the guy that seeds all over, is evergreen and dependable (too much so). What you can't tell by the photo is that the top of this planting is about head height! The shrubs are Purple Leaf Barberry, Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea. These plants are situated at the back of the oak bed where they get dappled shade. If they were more exposed, there would be less green in the foliage and a darker purple. In the autumn they will be leafless, but full of brightly colored berries which the birds pick at through the winter.



This planting is underneath the Styrax japonica near the deck of the house. In the foreground are the bright flowers of Dianthus deltoides. The variety was one of the "red" ones...maybe 'Flashing Lights.' Dianthus deltoides will seed prolifically in a sandy setting like ours so I pulled up a lot of the pink ones I used to have. This red variety is not quite such a nuisance and the few progeny it has created have been welcome. The hosta to the left is Hosta aureomarginata. The whorled foliage in the right hand corner belongs to a volunteer Euphorbia characias wulfenii.



[Dianthus deltoides with Hosta aureomarginata]


[Styrax japonica blossoms]

If you look overhead during the month of June, this is what will greet you. These are the lovely flowers of Styrax japonica (small tree) and the bumblebees LOVE them! (...And honeybees when we had them...a mite is devastating the local colonies.) They emit a wonderful sweet fragrance. If you have nothing better to do, it is fun to just stand under this tree and take in the fragrance and watch all the flurry of buzzing pollinators do their thing. It can get quite noisy! I guess some people get nervous at the sound of bees, but bumblebees have never bothered me. In all the times I've waded into the flower borders and worked amongst them, I've been stung twice...both times when I accidentally hurt one without realizing they were there.


That blob of blue peeking through the grassy mess is Veronica 'Crater Lake' and I was sure it must be dead and gone! (This is in the West Perennial bed that is TOTALLY out of control.) Before these flowers fade, I'll need to find the roots and rescue it (pot it up to grow until it can be reset) because by the time I get to weeding this area, it could get thrown away without my notice! It is usually a short plant but this one has a three foot stem with all the leaves and flowers at the top!



[Veronica peeking through grass and weeds!}


[Daylily Cross, 'Wally Nance III' X 'Prairie Moonlight']



This daylily is a sister seedling to the one at the top of the page and probably has the best color of all the babies from that cross. The parents were a red ('Wally Nance III') and a large soft yellow ('Prairie Moonlight'). The foliage to the left is Monkshood/Aconitum napellus which will bloom in a couple more weeks.




[Salvia 'May Night'?]

Hardy Salvias make wonderful frontal plants and provide color for weeks, even after the violet flowers drop. Claret colored bracts remain colorful along the stems for a long time after. I think this is 'May Night'. Salvia superba 'East Friesland' is used in the other back yard beds, but it has more purple in the flowers.

[Lily 'Cherry Smash' and Salvia superba spike]

There are several red-colored lilies in the oak bed, but I believe this to be 'Cherry Smash' which was purchased from B&D Lilies in Port Townsend, WA. It is one of the earliest to open. The spike in front belongs to Salvia superba 'East Friesland.'

[Dierama (Fairy's Fishing Rod), etc.]


You saw this spot earlier, but there is more color happening now. The hot pink dangling flowers are a Fairy's Fishing Rod/Dierama pendula. It took the clump about three years to bloom from a four-inch pot. The light yellowish-white spikes are Sisyrinchium striatum and the bright pink flowers at right front and behind are Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion). If you look closely in the rose bed, you'll see a few blossoms of white flowering tobacco/Nicotiana mixed in with the rose bushes. These are beginning to produce the most wonderful scent in the night air. Wow! Near the Nicotiana are a few volunteers of Borage with their bright clear blue blossoms. Sure would be nice if I didn't have to have the unsightly fence to protect the roses from deer!


[Dierama close-up]

This is a closer view of the flowers on Dierama pulcherrimum/Fairy's Fishing Rod. They really are amazing when you think you're looking at grass seed before they emerge from their buds. Sorry about the ugly hose in the background. It serves a permanent purpose so is left there. Guess we should hide it under some bark? :-)


I believe the rose 'Aquarius' is classified as a grandiflora because of its height. It is a great cutting flower, except for the fact that it has a generous amount of thorns on the stems. The flowers have a nice fragrance and are a gorgeous blend of lighter and darker pink. The roses to the left of this one are 'Sunsprite' (yellow) and 'Fragrant Cloud' (red-orange...hiding behind some foliage).



[Rosa 'Aquarius' Bush]


[Flower Arrangement: 'Aquarius' Roses, Geranium lancastriense and London Pride]


I took this from the garden "archive" of a couple years ago (when I was doing more arrangements). This is a close-up view of Rosa 'Aquarius' with the flowers of Geranium lancastriense and the tiny blossoms of London Pride (which have sticky stems!). London Pride is in the Saxifrage family. It makes a wonderful baby's breath substitute when it's a bit too early to have any baby's breath open in the garden.



[Reclaiming the West Perennial Bed]


A perfect time to work, except for the mosquitoes and biting flies! I have this on the journal page but repeated it here. We are gradually reclaiming the West Perennial bed one square foot at a time. This area now has bark on it where you see bare dirt. The cat (Puff) is thrilled that she can walk down the pathway again unfettered by grass stalks. The tall bluish "shrub" near the arbor is a Eucalyptus gunnii. I will have to cut it back more this next year to keep it from becoming a huge tree. Without the yearly pruning, the beautiful round juvenile foliage would take on the less attractive shape of the adult leaves.



[Philadelphus at Sundown]

This is another view of the Mock Orange/Philadelphus shown in the picture above to the left of the eucalyptus. It certainly made working in this area a pleasure while it was in full bloom. At the time of this writing (June 24th) it is pretty much kaput and I have pruned off some of the sprawling branches so that the perennials underneath can get some light! The irises in the foreground are a white siberian type. It was mislabeled and I was expecting a blue one until it finally opened!


[Diane working in garden]


One of my reluctant helpers, Diane. She was digging out grass at the back of the bed for me, where decisions about what to keep are not necessary. The flowers just above her back belong to a Watsonia that bloomed for the first time this season. The blue needled evergreen looming above her is a Mount Atlas Cedar. I will never forget an incident when it was still quite new in the yard (and about 5-6 feet tall). We had livestock then and one of the cows had gotten out of the pasture and thought this tree made a great stomach scratcher (the top of the tree was bent clear to the ground). We had a sliding door off the back of the house then with a deck but no stairs, I leaped off that staging and ran back to the offender with broom in hand! Fortunately, the tree survived.


Here is a closer look at the flowers of one of the Watsonias that is in bloom in back. They are a half-hardy bulb in this climate, but have survived the winters for about 5-6 years where they are planted. Their foliage looks like a cross between gladiola and phormium (only the leaf shape...not the habit). Until we removed a pine tree which was increasing the shade there, they had not bloomed. I hope they will increase and make a bigger showing in the next couple of years...I wonder if mice like to eat the bulbs?!




[Watsonia Spike]


I hope you can stand more pink...because the next few photos all have that in common!

[Another Rose and Lychnis Picture]



A rainfall beat these blossoms up a bit, but I kind of liked the picture anyway. The larger pink roses belong to 'Peter Frankenfeld' when it is full blown. The buds on this variety are exquisite and it is a prolific producer of single stemmed roses, excellent for cutting. I got it from Fred Edmunds' Roses in Wilsonville, OR. The flowers in the foreground belong to Lychnis coronaria, Rose Campion. If you think this is familiar, you are right...I showed it from the other side earlier on this page.





This appears to be a good new lily variety. It is called 'Lollipop' and this is its second season in the garden. I also planted it in a barrel on the deck and those really multiplied in the first year! They are prettier with the little pollen capsules intact, but I usually pick those off since our frequent June showers can really stain these flowers when they wash the pollen down on those pristine petals.



[Lily 'Lollipop']


[Rose 'Pink Favourite']

Wow! This old variety of rose is called 'Pink Favourite' (is it the British spelling, or not?). In cooler weather it really is beautiful. I remember reading its description in the Fred Edmunds catalog years ago where he extolled the disease resistance of this plant. He said a bug would have to be wearing crampons to just stay on the leaves because they were so heavy and glossy! After growing it all these years, I believe he was right.

There is more to come in June...Click here for page 2...

This page last updated on July 4, 1998.