June GBBD: Baby It’s Hot Outside

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Yes, it really is that color: herbaceous peony ‘America’.

Even though it is not technically summer yet, we have been hit with weather that my twenty-year-old son informed me is more suitable for August.   Six of the last eleven days (as of June 10) have been over 90 degrees, and on June 9 it topped 97 degrees (36 degrees C).  Nevertheless, we have reached the middle of the month when I encourage each of you to walk around your garden and assess what you need to add to make early summer an exciting time in your landscape.  Do you need more flowering trees, shrubs, and vines to give you a reason to stroll in your garden?  Could your garden benefit from more perennials that bloom in June after the spring rush?

Native hybrid false indigo, Baptisia x variicolor ‘Twilite Prairieblues’, provides a cool oasis for the eyes.

Spiny bear’s breeches, Acanthus spinosus

Make a list and take photographs so that when you are shopping for plants you know what you need and where it should go.  It’s beautiful outside now that the temperatures have dropped back into the 70s and low 80s (June 11), and you never know what you might find waiting in your garden like the jaw-droppingingly beautiful red peony (photo at top), which I photographed during my own  inventory.

Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ on an antique church gate.

Native hummingbird magnet Indian pink, Spigelia marilandica.

June 15 is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for June when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  Here are  some more highlights from my June stroll through Carolyn’s Shade Gardens:

Sicilian honey lily, Nectaroscordium siculum ssp. bulgaricum, just appeared in my garden one day, but I am glad it did.

Readers really enjoyed my photos of woody plants–trees, shrubs, and vines–so I have been photographing every woody plant that has come into bloom since May 15.  Most have finished blooming now due to the excessively hot temperatures, but I am including them anyway.  Let’s start with the trees.  You know by now that I love magnolias so here are my last three:

Oyama magnolia, M. sieboldii, was still in bud on May 15, but came into bloom shortly thereafter.  It is a great tree for part shade.

I can’t decide whether I like the bud just before it opens or the flower better.

The gorgeous flowers point down and are best viewed from below.

Native sweetbay magnolia, M. virginiana, also grows in the shade.

The flowers of sweetbay magnolia have the best fragrance of any magnolia I grow.

My native southern magnolia, M. grandiflora, will never compare to specimens growing in the south, but it is still a beautiful evergreen tree suitable for part shade.

Southern magnolia starts blooming in mid-June.

I am also a huge fan of dogwoods and extend their season by growing lots of different kinds:

Native pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, suckers to form a colony.

The flowers of pagoda dogwood produce beautiful pink-stemmed blue berries loved by birds.

The Rutger’s hybrid dogwood, Cornus x ‘Constellation’, is a cross between Kousa dogwood and our native flowering dogwood.

‘Constellation’ flowers between its two parents–great for extending the dogwood season– and is disease resistant.

Kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa, flowers the latest of all my dogwoods.

The flowers of kousa dogwood are followed by very showy cherry-like fruit.

I have a very old golden-chain tree, Laburnum wateri, which I love but really should replace.

June is a great month for shrubs:

The shrub rose ‘Westerland’ is truly magical.  The deep red buds open to this gorgeous apricot flower, which ages to a peachy pink.

Rugosa roses are completely foolproof, just requiring occasional pruning.  Clockwise from upper left:  Rosa rugosa ‘Polar Ice’, ‘Hansa’, ‘Alba Plena’, ‘Alba’.

I guess Knock Out roses are considered passe in rose circles, but I can’t help thinking I am going to my first prom every time I look at ‘Blushing Knock Out’.

Native oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, nestled in full shade at the base of my huge black walnut.

Oakleaf hydrangeas are ornamental 365 days a year, but nothing is more spectacular than their gigantic conical flowers.

Peonies remind me of my childhood, and I love their fragrance.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘Coral Fay’, unknown, unknown (dug from a friend’s grandmother’s garden), ‘Raspberry Sundae’.

Clockwise from upper left: ‘Cheddar Cheese’, ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Angel Cheeks’, ‘Karl Rosenfeld’.

Linden viburnum, V. dilataum

The flowers of my linden viburnum never produce berries.

Redvein enkianthus, E. campanulatus, grows in full shade.

The exotic flowers of redvein enkianthus cover the shrub completely.

Chinese sweetshrub, Sinocalycanthus chinensis, grows in full shade too.

Its flowers are plentiful and gorgeous but not fragrant like our native.

Native hybrid sweetshrub, Calycanthus x ‘Hartlage Wine’, is a cross between the Chinese sweetshrub above and our native.

Its flowers and foliage are more beautiful than its parents, but it has no fragrance.  Still it is one of my top five favorite shrubs.

Old-fashioned weigela, W. florida ‘Wine and Roses’, has deep burgundy leaves.  It flowers later than my other weigela cultivars.

The showy pink flowers of ‘Wine and Roses’.

Vines are a favorite of mine:

Clematis clockwise from upper left: ‘Warsaw Nike’, ‘General Sikorski’, solitary clematis (C. integrifolia, really a perennial not a vine), alpine clematis (C. alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’).  I grow ‘General Sikorski’ up through my ‘Yellow Bird’ magnolia, and I grow gold-leafed ‘Stolwijk Gold’ up the ‘General Sikorski’–you can never have too many vines.

American wisteria, W. frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’, flowers after the Asian varieties.

The tightly packed flowers of ‘Amethyst Falls’ American wisteria.

I adopted this vine as a tiny plant at a rock garden society sale.  It turned out to be a rare hardy jasmine,  Jasminum x stepanense.  Two years later it was covered with these fragrant pale pink trumpets–what a deal!

The charming flowers of hardy jasmine vine.

This climbing rose with a multitude of small pink flowers in bloom right now came without a name.  I grow it around and through my anemone clematis, C. montana var. rubens, which flowers earlier.  If anyone knows the name of the rose, please let me know.

A few scenes of the flower beds in June:

Main sunny perennial border: not a full day but as sunny as it gets at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

The shady gold garden under a 120-year -old London plane tree.

Our cat Otto enjoying the wall garden.

Please let me know in a comment/reply what flowers are blooming in your spring garden.  If you participated in GBBD, please provide a link so my nursery customers can read your post.


Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my website’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with your name and phone number.

100 Responses to “June GBBD: Baby It’s Hot Outside”

  1. I am really not sure what happened to spring here in Austin. We hit 101 degrees yesterday. Anyway, I loved looking at your post and seeing some of my favorite shade growers. Oakleaf hydrangea is beautiful at the base of your tree. I am going to try to find a spot for one in my garden and give it a try. Lovely post!!

  2. Stunning photos as always! I have added SIX of these plants to my “someday” wish list! (Calycanthus x ‘Hartlage Wine’ being at the tippety-top of that list.)

    The peonies and roses that you’ve pictured here – are they in part shade too?

  3. Your blooms must love the heat. They are divine! We’re still stuck in a cool and wet pattern… really can’t complain except we do need a little more sunshine to open all my budding blossoms.

  4. NWPhilly Eric Says:

    Thank you Carolyn. As usual, your post provides lots or inspiration for us shade gardeners. Too often we forget about all the lovely things that thrive in more shade than sun.

  5. Susan Odonnel Says:

    Carolyn, I love your web site. Your photos are beautiful. Susan

  6. Carolyn, I love looking through your posts because you have some amazing plant varieties! I miss those beautiful fragrant magnolias I grew up with in Louisiana. I love to combine architecture with plants like you did with the antique church gate and clematis…so beautiful! I’m just imagining I’m in your peaceful garden. Glad you’re getting relief from the heat now.

  7. The first two years we were here, the temperatures frequently skyrocketed over a 100 degrees in this canyon starting in late May. Now we’re lucky to crack 80! I shouldn’t complain, but most of spring has been below average temperatures, I’m tired of having to wear my fleece jacket. Oh well, it does keep me more productive in the garden, even if the tomatoes and peppers aren’t impressed with the weather. Your blooms seem to be enjoying your weather though. The Sicilian honey lily is gorgeous, I’ve never seen one, but I can see why you’d be thrilled to have it in your garden!

    • Clare, During the 95 degree weather it looked like my fleece was in for early retirement, but today I went out in the middle of the day and it was 62 degrees. Crazy! The Sicilian honey lily is a bulb that probably came with my star of Persia allium. I think it used to be in the Allium genus. You can order it from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. Carolyn

  8. You’re on apartment therapy’s re-nest 10 Garden Blogs You Really Should Check Out!!! http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/outdoor/10-garden-blogs-you-really-should-check-out-149006

  9. You always have the best flowers and such treats in your gardens. Just stunning. I have to say I think the sweet bay magnolia has the best fragrance of ANY plant I’ve ever smelled. 4 o’clocks come in second place for me.

    • Tina, I didn’t want to go that far about the magnolia fragrance, but I have to agree with you. We had one by a pond growing up and every time I smell it I am right back there–magical. Amy from Go Away I Am Gardening has a current post about 4 o’clocks. I will have to find some to smell. Carolyn

  10. When I lived in a rental property in Vermont I used to plant imaginary “dream gardens” during the winters, and Calycanthus always made it into every garden. Is yours growing under a plane tree? What gorgeous blooms on the Calycanthus, and what a gorgeous, massive trunk on the tree! I love your gold garden–everything you have looks so lush and enthusiastic.

    • Stacy, That is a London plane tree behind the calycanthus. I have 15 plane trees that size. They line an old carriage path through my property. the plants are very lush this year because we had so much snow this winter and rain in the spring. It’s a jungle out there. Carolyn

  11. Very good advice about taking stock in the garden. Mine is in a transitional state….all the spring flowers gone and the next lot of perennials are later summer. I am flower-less (almost) now….. You have some lovely plants….magnolia sieboldii; and the spiny bear’s breeches….very unusual….

  12. I had no idea that the alternate leafed dogwood suckered like that. So nice to see a picture of the full tree. I was planning on buying one of these this year for a bed that never came to be. Seeing it in it’s natural form it’s quite different than I had thought so maybe a different space would be more suitable. Thank you for the great pictures and sparking some new ideas.

    • Marguerite, I could have stopped it from suckering, but there was plenty of room where I planted it so I let it go. If you just want a single trunk, it would be easy to make it that way. It is great for wildlife. Besides the birds, there is a special kind of caterpillar that only eats pagoda dogwood. Carolyn

  13. You have much in bloom for June despite the heat. You are far ahead of here, but our weather is turning towards higher heat soon. It is 62° here now, but will be in the 80’s by weeks end. Rain until the weekend too. I love the dogwoods. I remember them all over PA.

    • Donna, Some of the trees and shrubs had gone by due to the heat, but I “cheated” and put them in anyway. We were also 62 degrees today and now raining and even pouring. PA is covered with dogwoods but mostly Cornus florida/flowering dogwood, now being replaced by kousa dogwoods, which I like but would rather see a native. Carolyn

  14. Your garden is lush, lush, lush. Everything is so large and healthy; must be that compost!

  15. Another wonderful post from your gardens! My first reaction to the your ‘America’ peony was…is that a clematis with shiny red blooms? I definitely favor the Oyama magnolia buds despite the beauty of the blooms. I also appreciate learning the name of Nectaroscordium siculum ssp. bulgaricum as I purchased these late in the season a couple years ago and didn’t manage to retain the name… I just noticed today that they are in bloom now. I always enjoy all you display so beautifully on your posts! Larry

  16. Carolyn, i can’t pick anything from among them…because everything is awesome. I am with you is choosing which is better for the magnolia, the bud or the open. I can stay in your garden for days without being bored, just looking and shooting them is already paradise!

  17. I so want to be on your emailing list! Everything is so beautiful.

  18. Everything is looking so cool, elegant and beautiful in your garden. I so enjoy your shade when my garden is so hot! I’m trying to create more shade so I can grow more of these plants so I have a space tha at least t feels cool, Christina

  19. I can smell the mags from here. We are definitely a little further along, season wise here. What a wonderful garden. I can’t imagine how large the plane tree must be. Cindy and I went on a native plant tour last weekend and viewed a native Kansas Baptisea. Love those blooms.

    • Greggo, Baptisias were “discovered” a while ago and much hybridizing and selecting has been going on. I love ‘Twilite Prairieblues’, which is a cross between two natives. The southern and sweetbay magnolia are still in bloom, but the oyama is long gone. The plane tree in the photo with the calycanthus is actually my smallest one out of the 15. Carolyn

  20. If I have to pick a favourite in your garden it has to be Otto! Second the peopnies and then the Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ on the antique gate! As always, one of my favourite gardens in the world!

    • Christine, Another cat lover like us. Otto is a wonderful cat, so friendly. He comes to my open house sales and entertains the customers by curling up in their boxes looking his cutest. ‘Warsaw Nike’ is a beautiful color. Thanks, Carolyn

  21. Wow, Carolyn, I’m stunned. Almost too many beautiful plants to take in at once … Guess I will have to return to admire them. I adore spigelia marilandica. I grew it in my shady wildflower bed for five years. Sadly, this year the plants didn’t come up. Calycanthus ‘Hartlage wine’ is a beauty – much showier blooms than ordinary sweetshrubs. But it seemed not quite as tough as the originals – died in summer dryness last year in the same location where the others survived. Hmmm…. didn’t mean to record failures here 🙂 Oh, well, room for more plants.

    • Sheila, I planted my spigelia in spring last year, and I worried that it wouldn’t survive our record-breaking heat and drought but luckily it did. The ‘Hartlage Wine’ wasn’t phased. you probably had it much worse in NC. I do tend to look at things that died as room for more plants, and more plants better suited to the location. Carolyn

  22. Hi Carolyn, So many beautiful plants! The Native hybrid sweetshrub, Calycanthus x ‘Hartlage Wine’ caught my eye maybe because I am not familiar with this plant.

  23. I feel as if I enter another world when you show photos of your garden. It is very beautiful. I enjoy taking a long walk through the paths and seeing all the plants. That Sicilian Honey Lily is gorgeous!

    • SB, I am so glad you are enjoying all the photos. I don’t want the posts to be too long, but I don’t want to leave anything out (although this time and last I left a lot out). The Sicilian honey lily is an allium relative bought as a bulb. Carolyn

  24. Ouch…sorry about the miserable weather…still, your garden looks fabulous! I actually re-evaluated my garden last year, when I realized it didn’t really do a whole lot until July…so started adding things that were better earlier in the season…and am so glad I did. Now, if I planned it all out correctly, and weather permitting, I should have something blooming for months and months! Love that Baptisia…so stunning. Great post!

    • Scott, The weather didn’t seem to affect the garden as much as it did the gardener–I hate hot humid weather. It did mean that the roses and peonies didn’t last very long. I organize my open house sales by bloom time. Although I have plants for all seasons at every sale, I try to have a critical mass of summer and fall blooming plants at my June sale. It is always the least well attended. I have been more successful with moving people earlier in the season with snowdrops and hellebores. Carolyn

  25. Incredible blooms even on the trees….everywhere you turn you have something blooming…I have got to get down to see your gardens….

  26. I’m glad to see you are able to grow a Southern Magnolia up there. Is it a particular cold hardy cultivar, or just the species. One might make a good gift for my brother who lives in Bucks Co. You have some fabulous blooms to share today!

  27. I don’t even know where to start, one flower is more beautiful than another and another. I really liked your Bear’s Britches, “Warsaw Nike” clematis and as for the peony “America” for the first time in my life I’m speechless……Just ask my wife……:) Again loved your photos and gardens

    • Paul, I am glad that the peony made you speechless–it really is a wonderful cultivar and early too. Carolyn

      • Thanks for visiting my blog for GBBD, I wanted to answer your comments and this is the only way I have for now. I hope its OK. Here is my post today:

        @Carolyn @ Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, thanks for visiting and thanks for your comments on the roses, I’m so glad you liked them, I sure do…As far as breaking any rules for GBBD if you read any of my other stories and I hope you will you’ll know that I ain’t breaking any more rules or laws if I can help it…..:) even Garden Bloggers Bloom Day rules, unless I can get away with it…….:)

      • Paul,Thanks for dropping by. I am glad some people obey the rules. Carolyn

  28. Your garden is beautiful. It was nice to see what baptisia looks like in a large clump. Mine’s still spindly.

  29. Lots of color in your garden. Your dogwoods and hydrangeas are magnificent. Happy GBBD!

  30. Wow! Loved the first photo, the red is so gorgeous and eye-catching! In fact I loved all your beautiful flowers and your fantastic mosaics! Its also very hot and humid here…try not to go out…but the plants love the full sun!

  31. Mac_fromAustralia Says:

    Clematis, dogwoods, that gorgeous Westerland rose, your lovely cat on a beautiful wall… I love it all!

  32. You have an impressive array of flowering shrubs and trees! I wish I lived close to you; no doubt I would visit your nursery often and you would keep my wallet empty! I just commented earlier today to another blogger that i was going to introduce baptisia to my garden, since I discovered it is native here. In my garden hydrangeas are blooming now, as well as gardenia, the latter permeating the air with wondrous fragrance.

  33. Dear Carolyn,
    it´s hard to say which one is the prettiest bloom in your garden. Maybe the mirror could tell me!
    I love them all!
    Thank you for joining Blogger Blüten!
    wish you a wonderful weekend!

  34. Everything is positively stunning. You’ve given me a whole new appreciation for shade! And you might have helped me solve the problem of a magnolia we have that blooms in June… I’ll know better if it blooms this year! I came in to rest after a hectic morning in our yard, and really enjoyed this pleasant tour of your yard!

  35. I don’t know what I enjoyed more — the magnolias (which I can’t grow here), the peonies (which I very definitely can grow here), or Otto enjoying the warmth of the stone wall.

    • Jean, Otto is a professional at relaxing and always drapes his arm off the wall in a photogenic manner. I didn’t realize that magnolias didn’t grow in Maine. Carolyn

      • Carolyn, It turns out I was wrong! Your reply sent me to the O’Donal’s Nursery catalog (best source of trees and shrubs in southern Maine), and they list quite a few varieties of magnolia, several hardy to zone 4 and at least one to zone 3! I’m thrilled. I have been thinking about how I will re-landscape the front of my property after I put an addition on the front of the house, and had decided that it was going to need some kind of small tree or large shrub to shade a little patio seating area. I wanted something with flowers and fragrance. I think I see a magnolia in my future! Thanks.

      • Jean, I really had no idea whether magnolias grew in Maine or not. I am so glad that you looked into it. Maybe we could meet when you come down to the Portland area to get your magnolia. Which one are you considering? Carolyn

  36. If Knock Out roses are passée, what roses are in vogue and why?
    BTW, another stunning photo essay – Thank you for the pleasure .

    • Allan, I really don’t know anything about roses and just started planting varieties other than rugosa roses last year. All I know is that people ‘in the know’ keep saying things like “oh, Knock Out roses.” Personally I love them and would highly recommend them. Glad you got the accent on passe–I don’t know how to do that. Carolyn

  37. So this is summer in your shade garden. Fabulous blooms, Carolyn. Wish I could ramble down the garden path and discover for myself the surprises at every turn.

  38. Everything looks so inviting despite the heat. I love seeing the dogwoods and magnolias that I don’t get to see in Santa Fe. The clematis on the church gate is my favorite.

  39. Carolyn, if you are not a hot weather person you would love it here in Aberdeen Scotland. I really enjoyed the garden pictures which you showed us. An amazing amount of plants flowering in Carolyns shade garden at the moment. I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite out of this lot of beauties, but I do love your kousa dogwood.

  40. Hi Caroline, Beautiful photos and wonderful post, as usual. Would you consider taking cuttings of the jasmine to start for sale? Thanks. Rob

  41. This is all so spectacular I don’t know where to start! Love the dogwoods!!! Oh, and that church gate that the clematis is growing on. Coveting that. I guess it’s probably a sin to covet a gate from a church, huh?? Thanks for sharing your gorgeous garden with us.

    • Toni, We were very fortunate to be given the church gate by someone who was downsizing their home. The area where we placed it has always been very difficult–quite shady for most of the day and then broiling sun, under an overhang so water deprived. The gate really gave the whole area a focus, and occasionally I throw some extra water in that direction even though I really don’t water. Carolyn

  42. Dear Carolyn, Your garden is amazing! I really must get some baptisia and a dozen other blooms you have that I don’t. I’ll get on your email list so I can be sure to visit this fall. P. x

    • Pam, I actually don’t sell Baptisia because it really is a sun plant, and it likes heat. I would love to have you visit this fall. My gardens are nice but not quite as spectacular as the spring. I will take you to Chanticleer. Carolyn

  43. Carolyn, it’s a few days since your post and I hope it has cooled to something acceptable for y’all now. You have some wonderful specimens, many I could see over and over again. It was with interest I saw your photo of redvein enkianthus. I have seen this plant a number of times in magazines but they only show the flowers, since they are so showy. I never even realized it is a shrub. Magnificent.

  44. Carolyn, I’m really enchanted by your stunning and unusual species!

  45. Wow! Stunning Carolyn!!

  46. Lis Dobb-Sandi Says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I refer to your No-name pink climbing rose (grown around your clematis).
    We are in UK and today visited the Elizabethan house and gardens of Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire.
    As we approached the property we were bowled over by a fabulous floral scent. It was extraordinary, borne on the soft afternoon breeze and filling the yard and garden. On asking one of the stewards what it was we were told it was a pink climbing rose. It was a rambler, bluey-pink (a proper pink) and grew in several large, prolifically bushy spreads, about 10 foot high and as wide, along the stone walls. The staff were very sorry, but could not tell us what the roses’ name is. We were invited to pick a couple of blooms to take away with us.
    When I got home I googled pink climbing/rambling roses and scrolled through screeds of images comparing the roses we picked with the pictures. Many looked similar, but didn’t bear closer examination. Then, when I spotted your No name rose, I had an “Ah Ha!” moment. THAT is the rose.
    Please let us know what its name is if you ever discover it.
    Kind regards,
    Lis and John Dobb-Sandi

  47. Jocelyn Says:

    Carolyn, Re. your miniature pink rambling rose (June 16 2011). Try comparing it to “Minnehaha”. I have had them in my garden here, in Cornwall, Britain, forever. They are very old. Maybe was taken to USA by Cornish Emmigrants to remind them of home!
    Best wishes Jocelyn.

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