June is the month when the flowers in the garden begin in earnest. This year in particular the spring has been cold and wet (remember the frost in April and the cold wet weather in May?) and watching Monty on Gardeners World last week he reckoned we are about a fortnight behind our usual season. So what is performing now as we are at the middle of June?
The star of June has to be the peony. We have waited so long this year but now they are starting to make their appearance, so worth the wait. Double peonies are quite spectacular to see, lots of frilly petals and beautiful colours ranging from white through pale pink, deep pinks, salmon and dark red.
Sweet Williams are doing their thing, I absolutely love these flowers, gorgeous in multi shades of pinks and deep reds and such a good flower to cut, lasting for ages in the vase and with a lovely scent. I grow Monarch Mixed which give a good variety of colours. I start the seeds off in the early autumn and then planting out young plants September to October.
In the garden I have a range of perennial salvias that start to look good this month, the dark purple Salvia nemerosa Caradonna has spikes of flowers that are a really rich colour, they look good in any mixed bouquet. I also have a pink salvia (not sure of the name as I bought it in a plant sale) that the bees seem to especially love, it flowers from the end of May for weeks through June, has a wild flower look about it that I like and it seeds itself around which is another plus for me. Then there is Salvia sylvestris Schneehugel which has spikes of white flowers again which look good in mixed bouquets.
Blue flowers in June include Nepeta or catmint, very delicate flower spikes in a pale blue, and the rich blue of the cornflower, a real favourite with me. A new flower for me that is a very pale blue is Amsonia tabernaemontana or Eastern Blue Star, the arching stems have clusters of star-shaped flowers at the tips.
Alliums come in various sizes and colours and the one that really comes through in June is Allium Christophii, large globes of silvery lilac that shimmer in the sun. I let the round flower heads go to seed, they still look good when they are a straw colour and now I have lots from the seeds scattering.
Astrantias are a flower that does well in partial shade, I find the flower structure fascinating. Astrantia major is a greenish pinky white, hard to describe but beautiful to look at, and Astrantia major Gill Richardson is a rich claret. Once the flowers are fully open they are good to cut and add that woodland wild flower feel to an arrangement that I love.
The pink daisy Pyrethrum is also flowering well with large heads of pale pink to deep fuchsia, mixed with the acid green of Alchemilla they look stunning. Adding in Briza media, a quaking grass, makes for a interesting bouquet with lots of textures and colour.
This is just a taster as more and more flowers are beginning to open and bloom all through the garden, June is the real blast of colour to start the summer flowering season.