View from the Garden: The Joys of June Gardening in the Hamptons

The beginning of June! Although it started with a VERY hot day, the next day was sublime…coolish with a delightful breeze. After a tough week of gardening for others, I’m going to work in my own garden.

There is a riot of crimson/orange oriental poppies in the side garden interplanted with roses. I’m sure it’s Beauty of Livermere. I can’t think of another plant with this color. The huge papery, shimmering flowers bob in the breeze. Sometimes they need to be staked, but the flowers are so wonderful that I would almost just stand by them and hold them up myself if needed! They don’t last long enough for me and when the flowers are gone the leaves begin to go and soon are ready to be removed for the summer, only to reappear for a short time in the fall. I’ve heard that they can be cut when they begin to turn yellow and I will try that this year. They are interplanted with roses leaving the roses to shine on their own for the summer. And they self-seed!

Papaver atlanticum, my very favorite poppy is beginning to bloom. It’s a small plant with soft apricot-colored flowers and if kept deadheaded, will bloom all summer and fall. It also self-seeds!

The German irises are in the middle of their bloom time. There is a delicate blue one and a white and purple one. The chocolates are budded and much anticipated. The white/purples are planted with a pink columbine next to a red Japanese maple. Ooh! The columbine…also self-seed!

The very old phlomis that I reduced in size considerably last year has survived and is beginning to bloom. Its yellow color is not my favorite but the plant is fascinating.

The roses are in bud! And the clematis is in bloom. I have not seen these plants bloom for several years— the deer haven’t nibbled them (knock wood). I put up some high fence on the side of the house where they entered and they have stayed away except for one who came into the yard and ate the buds of a Mrs. Backhouse lily. She’s a rare one and didn’t bloom for three years after I planted her but the wait was worth it. The flower is recurved, small, pale colored and fat-petaled.

My co-worker and I transplanted some very large topiary boxwoods that are in pots and had grown so root bound that they really could not be watered. It’s very rewarding to see them beginning to push new growth with zeal. They thank me when I pass by!

The digitalises that self-seeded all over are beginning to bloom and they make me think of fairy gardens (yes, I still believe in fairies). If you can find a digitalis purpurea and want them to begin popping up around your garden, get it, plant it and wait…

We rescued some hakonechloa from a growth of Lily of the Valley where it was in danger of being swallowed, and transplanted it. It’s looking weak but I’m hopeful that the roots are underground reviving and that the plant will live and thrive. It’s a beautiful grass; it shimmers and glows in the dry shade.

The kousa dogwood is about to bloom. There’s no tree that presents its flowers so graciously, and in the border with Shasta viburnums, that area looks like it could be the canopy of the fairy garden!

I’m working in my own garden more than in years past. I have neglected it but it’s responding to my renewed attention. The plants seem to appreciate my efforts and are ready to shine again. Today I’m going to make a bamboo trellis and plant some birdhouse gourds on it. This plant is a joy to watch growing and, if you keep the gourds off of the ground and let them remain on the vine until dry, they will harden. Emptied of seeds, they are easily made into birdhouses that the birds will use! Oh boy, to the garden!

Jeanelle Myers is a professional gardener, landscaper and consultant. Call her at 631-434-5067.

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