June Flowers

I love great foliage, it's what carries plants through most of the year . . . contrasting textures and colors are often more interesting than flowers. I am also, to use the words of Annie Hayes, a flower floozie but don't tell anyone. June is peak flower floozie month, so let's have a look at a sampling of what's going on at Chickadee Gardens right now in the realm of flowers, outdoor living and maybe a critter or two.

California poppy 'Alba' from Select Seeds has bloomed after a mid-spring sowing. I think I like this one best, it ties together most of the colors I seem to be drawn to. The color plays nicely with others and when the sun hits it, there appears to be a little light inside each flower.

The gravel garden is filling in. Sedum, Carex comans 'Frosty Curls', Santolina virens and Zauschneria californica or California fuchsia (a West Coast native) thrive with little water and full sun (although the carex likes more water than the others, it seems to do fine here).

Sedum dasyphyllum 'Lloyd Praeger'

Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'

We have been working on fixing up the deck so we will actually be able to use it. I have had to replace many plants in containers lost this past winter, so it's been a slow process. We just added party lights for fun, we'll paint the deck soon and rearrange the whole lot.

Verbena officinalis ssp. grandiflora 'Bampton' - whew - what a mouthfull! Cool dark foliage on this make it look metallic, great against the electric color of these teeeeeny tiny flowers. Nearly impossible to photograph.

Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire) is one of my new favorite shrubs. Flowers this time of year and reddish orange foliage in the fall. In mild winters, it's evergreen for us.

Santolina 'Lemon Queen' or lavender cotton with sedum blooms. 

Thymus vulgaris 'Silver Posie' is a small (for now) little evergreen thyme with wonderful variegation. Great earthy scent, too.

One of three good-sized Philadelphus lewisii or mock orange. A native shrub that likes sun and is tough as nails. The fragrance is pretty amazing, too. We pass three of them on the way to the front door. Yum, love that smell.

Geranium 'Rozeanne', Zauschneria californica, Artemisia 'Powis Castle', salvia, sedum and verbena all grace the berm on the north side of the house, which is amazingly full sun all spring, summer and fall.

Asclepias speciosa, our native milkweed. I had this at the old garden and even experienced a monarch caterpillar and butterflies visiting. That post can be revisited here. As it was planted in the hell strip along the street, it was kept in check. I planted two of these here last year in the labyrinth garden which was a blank slate in full sun. Now I have two giant clumps of it and I am told it will take over the world someday. Well, if that really happens, it's okay with me. It looks great, feeds monarch caterpillars and is a wonderfully popular plant with many other pollinators. We think we saw eggs on the leaves recently, so let's cross our fingers for some monarchs.

Allium sphaerocephalon or drumstick allium begins its show. Soon the rich magenta blooms will open from the top down, making a striking egg-shaped spectacle.

Halimium ocymoides purchased from Xera Plants a year or so ago took a hit this winter. It lived, all-right but it flattened out like a pancake. No more sweet little rounded rockrose form, rather it looks more like a ground cover. It started putting on new growth as seen by the green stems in this photo, a nice contrast with the fuzzy gray of the older leaves. It's blooming and happy, so here it stays, flat or upright, which ever it prefers.

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' is a tough one. The brilliant blue is short-lived but worth it.

The double white flowers of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' make me swoon. I have three of these plants, all are still on the small side. I will overlook their slow growth right now due to their incredible beauty.

I sowed seeds of hollyhock 'Nigra' last year, this year I have four or five plants, this is the first to bloom. The photo doesn't do it justice, they really are darker than this with less purple. Incredibly striking flower.

Monarda austroappalachiana, a new to me monarda that I really like. White with pink flowers, unusual for a monarda or bee balm.

Salvia desoleana, a gift from one of our garden blogger's swaps this spring. I am wowed by the bloom and size of the leaves, this thing is huge.

Achillea millefolium, our native yarrow that is one of the very best plant for pollinators I have witnessed. It attracts predatory insects (that help keep garden pests in check) as well as tiny native pollinators, honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

Foxtail lilies or Eremurus sp. - not sure which cultivar or species these are, they were given to me by Anna of the garden blog Flutter and Hum. Thank you, Anna! I love them!

Dorycnium hirsutum or hairy canary clover. This is the first time it's bloomed for me, it's a soft gray foliage that I was really attracted to. It's in about the hottest spot in the garden with very lean gravelly soil and it's quite happy.

Stipa barbata or silver feather grass. This beauty was also a gift from a garden blogger's swap last year. This elegant plume is stunning, also it's drought tolerant once established. Unfortunately, it apparently does not seed around. Too bad, it would be an elegant addition en masse.

Ceanothus x pallidus 'Marie Simon', a deciduous ceanothus with pink flowers. As it can take more water than most California lilacs it is at home in a variety of garden settings.

The weird and wonderful flowers of Sempervivum arachnoides.

Good ol' Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', non-stop flowers begin . . . now. This will keep going until the first frost, practically.

And now for some fun: Bengals in the garden! Lucy and Hobbes helping out, watching the chickens or just following us around. Which is which? You guess. We sometimes can't tell. FM says they can tell us apart, however. That is, they both sleep on and around Mommy Bengal and so leave Daddy Bengal on his own. Lucky, Daddy Bengal!

I love this photo of Effie, not sure why. She is a regal gal and a super egg-laying champ. The others? Well, let's just say they are all pets, really. We will have some good news about our hen population for you soon. Hint: Red Star is the watchword!

I encountered this little guy (or gal) the other day. I think he may have hit a window and was sitting on the ground for a few minutes when I approached him with some sunflower seeds and to protect him from other critters. He sat there with me, chirped and eventually flew away. He's somewhere out there with his buddies in the trees as I type this. The crazy thing is I see up close how big sunflower seeds are by comparison - that is to say that these little guys eat a bazillion of them a day. They're huge! It's the equivalent size of a big sandwich for a human. A BIG sandwich!

As June wraps up, I'm glad I had a few moments to stop and enjoy the garden and take a few photos. Enjoying the garden is part of the goal, after all. As projects get scratched off of the to-do list, I find myself with more and more moments to take it all in and enjoy. I hope you are doing the same - that is to say taking the time to enjoy nature.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Until next time, thank you so much for reading and your comments. Happy gardening!


  1. Steve B.7:59 AM PDT

    I visit your blog regularly but haven't commented before. I'm loving your garden. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Steve - for both reading regularly and commenting with your kind words. I love hearing from garden lovers out there!

  2. You work so hard in your garden and it's wonderful to see the beautiful rewards for all that effort! You know I love your cats, they're such beautiful and sweet creatures although perhaps your bird visitor might think otherwise.

    1. Aw, thank you Peter! Oh, those cats..I know. The birds were far away from them, mark my words. Thankfully they are indoor only cats, as we let them out only completely supervised for about 10 minutes a day (we each watch one - it's a tag-team effort), weather allowing. They don't get much "hunting time" - unless it's tuna flavored treats in a bag.

  3. Always a delight! And I take notes almost every post. Only - five - flowers this time that I'll be searching for next visit to the nursery! : )

    1. Hmm.....I'm trying to predict which flowers you will be searching for. I'm guessing the Ceanothus 'Marie Simon', the Eremurus or foxtail lilies, the hollyhock...am I close? :)

  4. Your fabulous floral display is reward for all the hard work you have been putting in to your garden, and it'll get even better as you guys only just begun :)

    1. Flowers really are the icing on the cake, aren't they? Thanks for your sweet words, guys.

  5. omg i haven't been to your blog in a while and WOW! AMAZING! Dang, everything looks filled in already!

  6. You have a lovely collection of flowers! I admit to being a "flower floozie" myself and I was pleased to see some of the very same flowers grow in my garden, albeit on a very different schedule. My white California poppies, sold here in seed as 'White Linen', are long gone already and my Hairy Canary Clover is busy casting its seeds about. I always love seeing the cats but your avian critters are good to see too.

  7. It just keeps getting better and better !

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