June is Bustin’ Out All Over

june havoc

June Havoc, younger sister of Gypsy Rose Lee.

No! No! No!  Not that June; not that bust.  But the Rogers and Hammerstein lyric from Carousel does affirm the explosion of spring beauty, even if here in Virginia it’s late spring.  We’ve had an erratic season of persistent coolness, followed by summery heat and humidity in short bursts, all punctuated with lots of rain, including a visit from an unusually early tropical storm (no wind, just humidity and downpours) late last week.  I took an urban naturalist stroll of our quarter-acre estate the other day and was stunned by the way the combination of heat, rain, and humidity seemed to have brought everything into its glory at once.  It is an especially good year for roses, and the various forms of hostas we use in our shade-heavy yard are energetic and splendid as well.  A couple of low-growing late azaleas add their charm, and our active fern population is very much in evidence.

We finally have completed our porch and patio plantings as well, though the weather has

porch

Porch plantings

not been conducive to lots of porch sitting.  Every year we fill pots and planters with impatiens and begonias to line the sills so that the big screen porch in back will have that garden feel.  This year, thanks to a wilt disease that is destroying the impatiens in our area, it’s all begonias.  We put geraniums in the pots on the front porch on either side of the door.  And on the brick patio in back we have just completed the replanting of the octagonal garden in the center, which used to contain the trunk of a very large Willow Oak.  We had to have that cut down a couple of years back because it was too near the house, and just last fall we had the stump ground out by a tree service using an amazing remote

octagon

Octagon Project and repaved patio

control machine.  We had to haul off 20+ wheel barrows of earth and wood chips to a pile in the back corner of the lot, reconstruct the octagon border, and re-lay many bricks on the patio, but we salvaged most of the incredibly durable vinca minor (periwinkle) that had been growing around the stump, and now it thrives in the octagon, along with some begonias and a potted geranium.  For the first time in a very long time the patio is flat and coherent-looking.

So enjoy my visual report on our flora:

minirose

Jane’s miniature rose bush–coming into its own.

mocko

Variegated mock orange, beloved of small cerulean blue butterflies.

fern

Fern frond–an answer to seedbud’s question.

wildroses

Wild roses, growing by or side fence and up into the holly trees.

azalea

Low-growing azalea bush just covered with bloom.

Variegated hosta, growing where the sun never shines.

Variegated hosta, growing where the sun never shines.

whiteaz

Azaleas, whiter than the driven snow.

thyme

Thyme, thyme, thyme is on my side, yes it is, yes it is.

hosta

This hosta has claimed its shady plot.

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