The Glorious June Garden

PRS Rose Show 2014
The Portland Rose Society Rose Show is a late spring event that occurs yearly in early June.
Cussonia spicata (Cabbage Tree)
The newest addition to my garden is a the delicate cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata).

Not that all 12 months are not great for gardening, but for me June is extra special. June is when I have already made many trips to local garden centers, and my containers on the deck and throughout the garden are almost all planted. My summer color baskets are blooming, the roses are at their peak performance, and the hummingbirds are being aggressive over what they perceive as their territory and favorite plants. Our water features have been cleaned and are running, the green tree frogs have returned, and our patio furniture is out on the deck. Plus, we have had more than our usual share of blue skies and sunny days, and we’ve been able to have multiple evening meals on our deck. This all makes me realize just how glorious the month of June can be here in the Pacific Northwest.

It seems as though hostas have been particularly beautiful this spring season. With our mild winter and early warm spring weather, they emerged early and look outstanding. Sometimes we forget how having different, interesting leaf textures and colors can create a beautiful and peaceful scene. I was particularly impressed with a recent garden that I visited with a bed of hostas that created just such a setting with beautiful and distinct leaf textures and colors. This gardener told me that earlier this season. he had applied a mulch of Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Soil to help hold the moisture around the plants during what is predicted to be a dry summer.

Cornus kousa 'Venus'
Cornus kousa ‘Venus’ has gigantic flowers that appear in my garden in June.

There are many rose shows held throughout the month of June, and visiting one is an excellent way to gain some knowledge on growing roses. Since the roses being exhibited would primarily be from local gardens, they would likely be good performers for your area. Plus, attending a rose show is a good way to meet rose gardeners that are more than happy to share their knowledge. Despite the rose’s reputation of being high maintenance and requiring constant spraying, many new roses have been released that are quite disease resistant. Check with your local garden center on those that meet this requirement.

Dogwood trees provide spectacular blooms during much of June and this gives us an opportunity to see them as they actually grow and flower in a home garden. On a recent visit to the garden of a friend, I was in awe of his Cornus kousa ‘Venus’ in full bloom at the front of his house. The flowers measured 8-9 inches across and with the tree in full bloom, it was magnificent sight. Dogwoods generally like a soil rich in organic matter and adding Black Gold Garden Compost to the soil at the time of planting or as a top mulch on established trees would be beneficial.

Hostas at Joe's
The hostas are most spectacular in June.

I would be remiss without mentioning a new plant in my garden! It is cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata), and I have it in a large pot on our deck. I saw it at a local garden center and was not familiar with it. Since I liked the look, I bought it. I put it in a large pot using Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Soil and around the base of the tree, I put three small plants of Acacia cognata (dwarf). Even though both plants are perennials, I would not expect them to survive a winter here without protection, so I will think of them as annuals and enjoy them all summer.

If you have some public gardens in your area, be sure to visit them during June. You may see plants being display in a way you have never thought of. Many garden organizations have ‘open gardens’ during June and often non-profit organizations have garden tours. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities, you may meet some new plants and some friendly like-minded people.


About Mike Darcy

Mike lives and gardens in a suburb of Portland, Oregon where he has resided since 1969. He grew in up Tucson, Arizona where he worked at a small retail nursery during his high school and college years. He received his formal education at the University of Arizona where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture, and though he values his formal education, he values his field-experience more. It is hard to beat the ‘hands on’ experience of actually gardening, visiting gardens, and sharing information with other gardeners. Mike has been involved with gardening communications throughout his adult life. In addition to garden writing, he has done television gardening shows in Portland, and for over 30 years he hosted a Saturday radio talk show in Portland. Now he writes, speaks, gardens and continues to share his love of gardening. To be connected to the gardening industry is a bonus in life for Mike. He has found gardeners to be among the friendliest and most caring, generous people. Consequently, many of his friends he has met through gardening.

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