June: Monthly review

The “olive drab” of summer is coming early this year.

June has finished, and although the gardener was often distracted by family matters, the garden carried on and charged ahead. Plants have nearly reached the top of the trellises and are spilling into paths. The daylilies are in full bloom mode and deadheading has been impossible to maintain. Just keeping things harvested and preserved has kept one busy. And there is still planting of annuals to continue, as the daffodil foliage disappears and provides space.

The lilies provide perfume for any visitors!

We’ll begin a brief tour with the Front Garden, where the “Durango” marigolds have filled out, the iris foliage has been trimmed and cleaned, and the daylilies are competing with the Oriental lilies for best of show. One disappointment…a new daylily planted last year that I was very excited about was supposed to be “Persimmon,” a deep orange, huge spider but when it bloomed, it was a watered-out pinkish lavender. I hate it when that happens…

That feverfew still looks great!

The Front Island continues with its yellow and white theme. You may notice that the big allium seed balls are finally missing. They were beginning to lean, so I clipped them off and have them drying in the garage. Keep watching…they may be back soon! I’ve cut bunches of feverfew for drying, and it’s still going strong, as well as the reliable shasta daisies. There’s space in that empty front for a few colorful annuals as soon as I can get to it. And sadly, that iris in the front left is now three years old and still hasn’t bloomed?!? This garden does need watering, because we haven’t had much rain all month and the two big trees absorb whatever moisture there is. There were still plenty of flowers. According to the Bloom Journal 116 varieties came into bloom this month in the various gardens.

The potager toward the end of June.

The potager has required a lot of watering as well due to the combination of raised beds and dense planting, but things are doing remarkably well considering the dry, hot weather we’ve had (not as bad as the Pacific Northwest, etc. but hot for us for June!) Also, the thirteen new varieties added, as well as succession plantings of earlier crops all required watering until they were established and growing. The late strawberries were here and gone quickly, and the black raspberries are not even worth wading through the edges of the woods to pick, so dried up they are. The roses were a delight all month, and of course the Japanese beetles arrived at the very end of June as usual. Cucumbers, summer squash galore, kohlrabi, beets, lettuces, Napa cabbage, cabbage, bol choy, asparagus, snow peas, peas, strawberries, garlic scapes, onions, peppers, cauliflower, fava beans, celery and lots of herbs were on the menu in June. In total, 127.75 pounds of goodness was harvested from the potager. (95.75 in 2020)

I have to say that the “Baby Napa Cabbage,” the “Bossa Nova” summer squash and the “Biet Alpha” cucumbers have joined the “Green Arrow” peas as MUST HAVE crops. I was amazed at how quickly they all produced, and how MUCH they produce. All are so tasty, and have been very easy to grow. The “Reine de Glace” lettuce began forming beautiful heads, but bolted as soon as the heat hit. They are so pretty, I’ll give them another try in fall and also give them an earlier start next spring. Probably won’t grow “Spring” peas once this package of seed is used up…not as much return as “Green Arrow.”

Much of the food was eaten fresh, or given away but 41 packages/jars were preserved, the main things being strawberry jam and frozen peas and snow peas. And, bunches of mints were hung to dry for winter teas.

Channeling Julia! Where are my pearls?

A couple of events happened in June that were cause for celebrating with a special meal. For the first time Duck a l’orange was made, using lots of celery and thyme from the potager as a bed for the roasting duck. It was delicious, but I doubt I’ll ever go to the trouble of making it again!

A “French” bouquet for the centerpiece of roses, sweet peas, cutting celery and elderbloom. What a wonderful aroma!

The Cutting Garden is really filling in, and several bouquets were made and given away, and some were kept for our own home, including this “French” arrangement made for the duck dinner. The last of the plants were put in, so the garden is jam-packed now and picking a bouquet is easy with so much variety of color and texture. More feverfew, nigella pods and yarrow were cut and dried. Not a clue what I’ll do with them, but they won’t go to waste. Still haven’t cut the lavender, but it’s on the to-do list! The first ranunculus bloomed but were not even worth a photo…only about the size of a quarter and a coppery color…and only two!! The gomphrena, strawflowers, cosmos and dahlias have begun as well.

It’s getting to be a jungle in there…guess I need to cut more!!! (And weed the path!)

That’s June in a few paragraphs. It certainly flew by quickly, and was a busy month overall. The gardens continue to be such a blessing and a joy. Now, if we’d just get a little rain….


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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18 Responses to June: Monthly review

  1. bcparkison says:

    I am over whelmed at the beauty. My new strawberry raised bed has done pretty well but the pill bugs( rolly polly) has enjoyed most of the fruit. Discouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I picked a handful of strawberries this morning from my everbearers, and most of them had two or three little shiny black bugs with a yellow dot on each side. They’d been gobbling unseen on the bottoms. Drats!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. susurrus says:

    Your potager looks wonderful and is amazingly productive.


  3. swesely says:

    You certainly have a lot of growing going on, and your bouquet is beautiful. Love the warm colors of the roses.


  4. Jo Shafer says:

    All things considered this unruly summer, your potager is amazingly productive. Yes, my Pacific Northwest is all but dried out, in spite of long, deep watering. The saucer magnolia and one of the dogwoods appear to be dying; only an arborist can determine that. Birches suffer top die back. Another triple-digit today . . .


  5. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I had no idea that feverfew could be dried – as it self seeds prolifically here I will have to try that. That rose bouquet is lovely – my roses have been particularly generous this year and cut ones scent the house beautifully.


    • carolee says:

      The feverfew that dries well for arrangements is the double one, not the medicinal single petal one. I grow both kinds, but only dry the “White Wonder” double.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Last year a double variety appeared but this year it has gone! I will try to get hold of a plant and try drying it. I do like them as fillers in a vase.


      • carolee says:

        I use the single variety fresh in bouquets, but it doesn’t dry well. I just cut nearly all of it back to the ground this morning because I don’t want it to self-seed as heavily as it did last year. It smothered all the poppies so there were hardly any of those this year. I’d prefer a balance of both!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Some plants have their sights on world domination!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy Rich says:

    Such an abundance! I love your description of it as the “olive drabs” that usually come later. I usually call it tired and brown, but the olive drabs is nicer, I think.


  7. Peg says:

    I don’t see how you keep up with all of that, kudos to you! My own garden is just now starting to produce some small vegetables, now that all the ridiculously HOT weather is hopefully gone.


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