As spring makes its exit for the year, the garden is finally rebounding. It feels like a May garden still, but signs of summer tease me. The lack of May and June rain feels like summer, no tease there, but to be fair the temperatures have been kind the past few weeks, a gentle transition to summer much like the ones I remember from years past. That has helped reduce the watering chores and has been a very pleasant set up for working in the garden, which we have done, feverishly, as if we have a year's worth of fixing and clean-up to catch up on. I suppose we do.

With spring chores transitioning into summer vegetable garden chores, it's a perfect opportunity to photograph the garden while it is fresh and certainly on its way to hotter temps as the weeks roll along.
The outer edge of the labyrinth garden shows signs of color for tall spiky things such as Eremurus bungei and Dierama dracomontana. In the background Heuchera 'Firefly' and 'Northern Fire' continue to bloom, going easily into their sixth week of flowering.

Dianthus deltoides 'Flashing Lights' is so good. Very tiny flowers float atop short wiry stems over an evergreen mat of fine, dark green foliage.

My favorite and only "red hot poker", Kniphofia thomsonii rises above foliage in the meadow garden.

A wider shot, mixed in with fading blooms of Sidalcea campestris.

Linum lewisii, blue flax, floats on two foot or so high wiry stems. It seeds about in the gravel garden so it's always a surprise where it shows up.

Clematis 'Elegant Rhythm' is a Joy Creek introduction and even more special because it was a gift from Mike, owner of the nursery.

Hebe 'Sutherlandii' blooming next to Carex flacca and a variety of low-growing perennials.

Sibbaldiopsis tridentata is a low-growing evergreen plant I would use as a small-scale groundcover. It has white flowers blooming now and its winter foliage tends towards reds and golds.

Erigeron speciosus is a native perennial I recently picked up at Xera Plants, which has a great selection of natives, by the way. It is much taller than other erigerons I have and reminds me of asters, although its petals are markedly different. A nice addition to the garden, indeed.

Looking west towards the gravel and labyrinth gardens.

Plum-colored leaves of Cotinus 'Grace' with pink flowers of Spiraea 'Dart's Red' in the background picking up the pink tones of the cotinus. 

The area on the west side of our deck has been hard hit these past two years. Luckily Callistemon viridiflorus has filled in adding a citrine glow. A replacement Atriplex halimus is slowly but steadily growing to fill in where the original was lost to bad weather and moles. The new plant is planted with more gravel and on a better slope than the original to hopefully aid in its longevity.

Moving down to the southern edge of the property some hot colors are just coming into bloom including Dianthus 'Flashing Lights' pictured earlier.

Diplacus aurantiacus 'Jeff's Tangerine' is on fire this year! So lovely that I took many cuttings to have it all over the place.

Penstemon pinifolius mingles with flowers of Sedum album in a hot and dry site.

Hebe buxifolia blooming in the labyrinth garden with Miscanthus 'Cabaret' and Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' behind it.

I do have several white astilbes that look great for a while. Until summer heat sets in, that is. If I keep them irrigated they look fine but that doesn't always happen.

Hebe 'Wingletye' just beginning to bloom.

  Eriogonum heracleoides - a native buckwheat - is an evergreen sub-shrub at the edge of the driest, hottest part of our garden.

A second buckwheat, this is E. compositum I totally forgot I had planted in the early days of the garden. It was in the shade of a ceanothus that was removed when it died last year. Surprise of surprises, this popped up out of nowhere, now having adequate sun and air. Tough little plant, I'd say.

Rosa glauca mingled among Solidago 'Fireworks'. In autumn this is one of my favorite vignettes with abundant red rose hips and warm yellow flowers of goldenrod, a definite late-bloomer favored by bees.

Cistus ladanifer v. petiolaris 'Bennett's White' - such huge flowers! A small shrub now, it will eventually reach 3 - 5 feet in height. Cistus are great for hot dry sites and mineral soil with minimal summer water. In my garden, they have been water-logged in cold wet clay in our never ending winters that have lasted into May - but if sited in well-draining areas they do much better. 

Stipa barbata right before its flowers get puffy.

Another Stipa barbata tucked into the labyrinth garden in full sun.

Penstemon 'Rich Ruby' is a tough perennial at the edge of my meadow garden. I enjoy watching bumble bees squeeze to fit into these.

This little vignette is where a Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys' once was, having died last year and been removed. The Rosa 'Mutabilis', Heuchera americana 'Red Leaf Form' and others are not complaining about the extra light and air. Sometimes change is good. The heuchera has been blooming for two solid months, by the way.

Checker mallow, this is Sidalcea hirtipes, a later blooming species than S. campestris I have featured here many times in the past. The latter is finished blooming while this is just beginning.

While it may look like dull ol' shrubs, I love this combination of warm yellow of Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon', Miscanthus 'Little Zebra' and deep purple of Physocarpus 'Diabolo'. The contrasting colors at the edge of the western woodland make it light up from a distance.

Philadelphus lewisii branch gracefully sweeping downward. This native mock orange is so deliciously scented right now.

The corner of the orchard. The grass is allowed to grow tall in the orchard through summer.

Just a bit of the garden with greens, blues and silvers.

Lastly the potato box! FM built this last summer to grow potatoes in and I'd say he's pretty successful. He is from Idaho, after all, so I'd expect nothing less.

We're just getting into flower floozie mode which I'm quite ready for this year. The damage and "fixing" of areas is nearly complete (for now) so it's time to sit back and enjoy the pretty bits. Flowers, I'm looking at you. Bring it on. Summer's here, after all. So I am told.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you for reading and commenting, you guys are my people and you light up my life. Thank you for being there!
Happy summer, happy gardening, happy Juneteenth!


  1. Anonymous8:14 AM PDT

    Happy Summer, Tamara.
    Although its not my favorite season, but as you pointed out, we are transitioning gently into it so I can't - or shouldn't - complain.
    After I read your comments, I blow up the photos and have another "visual" round, to soak up the sights. Photo 10, "Looking west towards the gravel and labyrinth gardens" really appeal to me, draws me in. An unexpected favorite: "Penstemon pinifolius mingles with flowers of Sedum album in photo 15". Unexpected only because every once in a while just the right angle and crop make a vignette stand out. I love such surprises.
    Sidalcea hirtipes: looking so fine and airy. I'll have my eye out for next year.
    Men do love their potatoes... my partner pays close attention to his potato bed: a variety with purple skin and golden flesh, I think it's called Huckleberry Gold.

    1. I'm glad that photo 10 drew you in, it's a favorite of mine (the area), so I'm pleased it resonates with others. Yes, unexpected vignettes indeed - that's a bit of a theme this year I believe.

      The sidalcea I found at a local native plant sale, I don't know if it's available much in the general nursery trade but I can certainly save seed for you. That's funny about the potatoes! Your partner too, eh? Potatoes and corn are FM's domain...too funny.

    2. Anonymous7:47 AM PDT

      Thanks for offering seeds, Tamara.
      As it turned out, just yesterday I located sidalcea hendrsonii at a farmer market's native plans stand! It doesn't have the very fine leafs of your S. hirtipes, but I jumped at the chance to give it a try.
      Thanks again.

    3. Oh, that's fabulous! Please let us know what the name of the farmer's market plant stand is so we can all trek up there and buy them! That's wonderful!

    4. Anonymous6:37 AM PDT

      :-) I didn't notice a name. It's an elderly couple, most likely residents of Vashon Island that participate in the farmer's market every Saturday. I take the ferry to get there...

  2. The garden is making up for lost time. So many great combinations. You would never know now how much damage you suffered. I am with you on bring on some flowers. Spring is not transitioning gently into summer here. On the 19th we were 83 and on the 21st we were 39. Had to move all the succulents and tender things back in in case it froze or snowed. Hopefully that was Nature's last kick at the can. Come on flowers!

    1. Thank you Elaine! And yes, woot woot - bring on the flowers. That stinks about your extreme temperature fluctuations, I would be tearing my hair out. Uggg. hang in there, and yes, come on flowers. Elaine could use a break!

  3. I always pick up great plant suggestions from you, like that dianthus. I've been looking around for a small-flowered variety, and this might be the one. I did grow Cistus 'Bennet's White' in LA and now see it in bloom in a Manzanita garden -- it is a jaw-dropping cistus, with flowers as big as romneya! And good to know that these heuchera are doing well for you cuz I think this is what will be planted in the north-facing front garden. Thanks for the report! Everything looks great.

    1. Ooh, I'm glad you saw some goodies you like! The dianthus is so pretty and easy (and forgiving having been moved a couple of times). I think Little Prince of Oregon or Blooming Junction had them at some point, so maybe contact them. The heuchera too - they are in full hot sun here and do really well - these with west coast native blood in them, less prone to frying in the summer sun. They would be fab at the beach!

  4. You garden on a scale I can only dream of, Tamara. I love all those broad swaths of both foliage and flower color. Your buckwheat plants are alluring - that's a genus I need to explore further. The white Cistus is something I've been looking for for some time. That orange Diplaucus is impressive too. I hope you and the FM enjoy the pleasantest of summers.

    1. I bet the buckwheats would do well for you. The cistus - is it that specific one you're looking for? I can take cuttings if so and send you a rooted plant if so! Just say the word. I will try to propagate it anyhow, it's so pretty.

  5. You have the most inspiring garden. Though I can’t grow many of your plants, your design of the space, color, texture excites me every time. Glad your garden and weather are working in tandem at the moment.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! Your words mean a lot to me. It's color and texture that get me every time in most gardens - makes my heart swoon. I hope your weather and garden are also cooperating this summer.

  6. Kristin Thomas7:59 PM PDT

    I can definitely see the influence of Joy Creek in your garden!

    1. Really? That's cool - I don't think anyone has ever said that before!

  7. Oooh! Bring on the vibrant oranges and reds! I'll be trying Diplacus again. Had it several years ago, but didn't make it through the winter. Jeff's Tangerine is a real standout.. Dianthus 'Flashing Lights' too. BTW, the Stipa barbata seed you gave me has germinated. Just have to keep it going until the fall when I can get it planted.

    1. Orange and red and hot pink, oh my! Favorites for sure. Do the diplacus thing again, I've lost it before in hard winters but it's so worthwhile keeping it going. I'm thrilled the seed germinated - it's such an amazing grass. I hope it does well for you.

  8. Beautiful! I love the clematis from Joy Creek, it's positively romantic. Also your pathway with blue, green & silver is so calming. You're going to have a nice summer enjoying the summer blooms (and potatoes!).

    1. That's a pretty good description, TZ - romantic for that clematis. So true. I am having a lovely summer so far - it has been very forgiving and it finally feels like we're starting to heal some old wounds and the garden is rebounding. I hope you have a lovely summer as well!


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