Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Most Beautiful Time of Year (is this wonderful or depressing...?)

This is truly the most beautiful time of the year in midwestern gardens and in my garden in particular, in my opinion. The period from mid-May until mid-June covers the time from the end of tulips until the finish of the first big flush of roses, including the iris, peony, delphinium, ox-eye daisy, lupine and dianthus bloom periods. Everything is freshly green and lushly filled out, with none of the brownness or tattered foliage yet that mid-summer heat and drought often brings. If this time were a human age, it would be the mid-twenties, the peak of our physical strength. There are certainly things to recommend other seasons (and human ages), but this really is my favorite time of year.

Here are a few photos showing the best of this most beautiful of times (click on each one for more detail):

The Pond Gardens are bursting with bloom: Dianthus 'Sweetness' and
'Prairie Breeze' roses (Buck), plus boxwoods, phlox for later, and
light pink petunias that are still small. You can smell the highly fragrant
Dianthus at twenty paces.

The view from the other direction, with the Rainbow Border
in the background. (Click for a close-up of the Rainbow Border.)

'William Baffin' roses on the windmill, "pink snow"
covering the ground beneath.

Painted daisies in the Front Border.

Delphiniums coming out further down in the Front Border.

The mock orange hedge I planted only two years ago to screen the
farm implements stored behind it. The shrubs should become 8 feet
tall and wide and the hedge is at least 80 feet long. And the flowers
smell heavenly: Philadelphus 'Innocence' is known as possibly
the most fragrant mock orange cultivar, with a scent like jasmine.

A line of large, mature peonies that might be 50 years old or even older.
'Golden Celebration' David Austin English roses.

Poppies in the Red Section of the Rainbow Border.

Little Kitty among the roses and peonies.

As wonderful as this time of year is, however, when I think about this being the peak of my gardens, I begin to feel the same depression that I get around the fourth of July at the height of summer, when we know that the days are already beginning to shorten. Not being an autumn person, everything feels like it's going downhill for me after June, and thinking about the coming of the long winter is almost too much to bear. 

This leads to the most depressing thought: If this is as good as it's going to get in my gardens, is there anything to look forward to after this? (And again, the decline of aging comes to mind.)

But then I remember three things: First, there are great pleasures to be had from the harvest season: fresh warm tomatoes from the garden, basil pesto, sweet corn, apples eaten straight off the tree and other seasonal delights. Second, the cooling of autumn is often a relief after the searing heat of summer, and the mild warmth of autumn can sometimes go on for some time before the onset of winter. 

And third (and best of all), my gardens may be at their peak for this year, but next year's gardens will likely be even more beautiful, after all the hard work and planning I've done this spring. I've planted several new areas and re-done some others, and I'm exceedingly curious how they will look next year, after two years, after ten (in the case of my new trees and shrubs). I have much to look forward to, and I'll have lots to share with you. Here's to an even more beautiful future!

Thanks for reading. -Beth


  1. Hi Beth, I love your pond garden and the front border. Gorgeous! My garden peaks around the end of June - July. I still have a lot to look forward to, and you do too, Beth. Enjoy all seasons!

    1. Thanks for your very generous compliments and for reading my post, Beth. (BTW, I sent you an email the other day -- did you receive it?) Thanks! -Beth

  2. I love the early summer season in the garden too. Your pond garden is very pretty and the fragrance from the dianthus must be a joy. I love the idea of a rainbow border and yours looks well established and will continue to give pleasure. I'm already planning additions for the Autumn and also thinking about the fruit and vegetable harvest if all goes well.
    Enjoy your gardening!

    1. Links for visiting, Linda, and for your very kind words. I hope your autumn harvest is bountiful and delicious!