June, My Favorite Month.

Peony Farm

June, June, June…..

June is one of my favorite months. And with good reason. This is the month that the perennials begin to shine. Right now is when your hostas look amazing, irises are just finishing up blooming,

Siberian Iris

the peonies are just starting, and many other perennials are setting buds for later bloom.

June is such a great month that it has been named  both National Perennial month and National Rose month. It has a week devoted to pollinators and Father’s Day is coming up.

Although perennials will keep coming into bloom all month, right now salvia has been catching my eye. Besides the colors, do you know what the difference is between all the kinds of salvia varieties?

The Bumble series are the most compact salvia we carry. Their small stature is perfect for the smaller garden. My favorite in the series is ‘Bumblesnow’. The Sensation series is a little larger and the plants form uniform compact mounds. The colors range from a deep blue to rose to white. I think the prettiest one is the ‘Sky Blue’.

May Night is the classic salvia you see in many commercial plantings. It is a super hardy plant with beautiful deep purple flowers.

It won the Plant of the Year award in 1997. April Night has a similar look to May Night, but it blooms about a month earlier and I think it has a little nicer shape.

But, Caradonna is by far my favorite salvia.

Caradonna Salvia

It is the tallest one we grow, so it works well for the middle of the flower bed, and I love the contrast of the purple stems with the green foliage. It can get floppy, but you can remedy that by giving it a mid-season haircut. In fact, you can refresh any of the salvia by giving them a light trim after they finish their first flush of blooms. By doing that you will encourage them to re-bloom and keep them tidy.

And what about peonies? I am seeing peonies blooming all over the place right now and they are so beautiful!

Peony Bush

I think they are one of the longest-lived perennials around. How many people do you know that have a division from their grandmother’s peony? They are great cut flowers. You can even pick them early (when the bud feels like a marshmallow) and store in the fridge to save for up to a month. Here is a post I wrote about peonies a few years back. We all want peonies that are fragrant and don’t flop but personally, I would pick not flopping over fragrance. I have smelled some peonies that are fragrant and, sometimes, that smell is not a good one. When you are picking out a peony, look for strong or sturdy stems in the description. If you can, June is the time to visit peony gardens and make note of which varieties catch your eye.

Peony Farm

 

What about Pollinator Week? It runs from June 22- 28 and is a great opportunity to learn more about our little friends.

I think over the past few years the conversation about sustaining our pollinators has become more and more mainstream. It isn’t just the nature lovers looking for ways to support our native insects anymore. Even people that don’t like being outside are looking for ways they can make a difference. What are some ways to celebrate pollinator week? Plant some plants specifically for the pollinators. Did you know that pollinators come in many different forms than just the butterflies and bees? Even flies, beetles and especially moths can be pollinators. Although we tend to think about plants with showy, ornamental flowers as the best food sources, they aren’t the only players. Many shrubs and trees also will provide nectar for the adults plus leaves for the larvae. So, you don’t have to spray every insect you see eating a plant. Before you grab that bottle of insecticide, check to see if they have a symbiotic relationship. It is the introduced insects such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moths and japanese beetles that throw the balance off. Educate yourself on the subject. I highly recommend reading the book ‘Bringing Nature Home’ by Doug Tallamy if this is a subject you are interested in learning more about.

I know traditionally we think about giving flowers for Mother’s day and not Father’s day but what could be a more fatherly gift than a tree? Haven’t you heard about grandfather tree? Now you have. 😊 I’m sure it is a tradition somewhere.

Written by

Cathy Maxson is Sargent's Gardens Perennial Growing manager. In addition to making sure Sargent's grown plants thrive, she enjoys growing in her own garden, canning fruits and vegetables, traveling, and walking her dogs.