“Why was June made?—Can you guess?
June was made for happiness!
Even the trees
…June was made for happy things,
Boats and flowers, stars and wings,
Not for wind and stress,
June was made for happiness!” Annette Wynne
The native buttonbush (shown in photograph above) has just started to burst into bloom. The pollinators danced above my head as I tried to capture a hint of the morning sun shining down upon my melodious garden.
“On this June day the buds in my garden are almost as enchanting as the open flowers. Things in bud bring, in the heat of a June noontide, the recollection of the loveliest days of the year – those days in May when all is suggested, nothing yet fulfilled.” Francis King
Ratibida pinnata, shown in photographs above and below, was purchased last spring from Almost Eden Plants. “Sleep, creep, leap” is often said about perennials, noting the three stages – or years – that it takes a plant to get settled in to its new home. “Sleep” it did last year. Poor thing. Shipped from Louisiana in a cardboard box, to land in Texas just as Mother Nature cranked up the thermostat. This year? I am not yet sure if it missed the memo and went straight to “Leap” or if I underestimated its ability. If this year is “Creep,” I may regret that I didn’t give it a quarter acre. It is absolutely stunning – and it hasn’t even bloomed yet! Every morning garden stroll takes me immediately to this plant, to see if it has bloomed yet. So far, it is suggested, nothing yet fulfilled. But soon. Patience is a virtue and one this gardener struggles with.
“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” Aldo Leopold
The zinnia bud (above) is one that simply cannot be ignored, for it is ringed with scallops, its petals held tightly in a circle. A day or so later, Behold, the buds have burst wide open. Such a glorious sight. Zinnia and cosmo seeds were mixed together, along with a bit of earthworm castings, and direct sown in the garden in mid-to-late March.
The pollinators are quite busy this first day of June. Below, a bee lands and collects pollen on a red cosmo, part of the riot of blooms in the photograph above.
Echinacea is commonly known as coneflower, after the high center cone that the flower sports when it is fully open. In full bloom, it is quite popular with the bees and butterflies. (Photograph below.)
This mid-stage, though. Isn’t it amazing? If fairies inhabit the garden, surely this must be their crown. (Photograph below.)
“…Again from out the garden hives
The exodus of frenzied bees;
The humming cyclone onward drives,
Or finds repose amid the trees…” John Burroughs
Buttonbush can be viewed in its native habitat along the marsh trails at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. In the wild, it is rather scrubby looking, not one that many think to plant in their own gardens. Alas. They would then miss the pleasure of standing under these orbs of pollen, watching the pollinators flutter about. Truly, buttonbush is the Dr. Seuss plant of the native genre. (Shown in photographs above and below.) I planted one in a low lying area of my garden about 25 years ago, after development next door created a bit of a swamp during rainy seasons. It does look a bit wild, but I am good with that. I pruned it into a tree shape by removing low growing branches early on and it happily complies.
“A quiet hour beneath the trees;
A little, whispering, lazy breeze;
A perfect sky,
Where, now and then, an idle cloud
Strayed from its mates to wander by…” Matilda Hughes
So much is happening in my melodious garden this June.
Onions, planted in mid-winter, have been pulled to make way for another crop. Someday, hopefully, I will figure out how to grow an amazing crop of onions. I have memories of pulling softball sized onions from my aunt’s garden in Nebraska. Possibly my memory is off, due to my young age then and my older age now. Possibly it was that midwestern soil that earned its reputation as “The Breadbasket” of the nation. Possibly it was their abundant rainfall and our repeated droughts. Possibly I just don’t know yet what it takes to grow really large onions. All the same, they smell wonderful and will be much enjoyed.
The tomatillos have plenty of flowers and plenty of pollinating, so hopefully some homemade salsa verde is on the horizon. (Photograph above.)
One patch of parsley, a biennial herb, is nearing the end of its lifecycle and is setting flower. To have a continuous supply for the kitchen, it is best to plant a bit more parsley every year. It is also advisable to plant extra, in the happy event a swallowtail butterfly chooses to lay her eggs in your garden. This very hungry caterpillar, shown below, was spotted early this morning. As the saying goes – we can complain that rose bushes have thorns or we can rejoice that thorn bushes have roses – such is the way with caterpillars. We can complain that they are munching down on our herbs or we can rejoice that a butterfly fluttered in to our garden and found just the spot to lay her eggs. Fennel, dill and parsley are host plants for the swallowtail butterfly, so it is best to plan ahead and plant a bit extra so there is enough to share.
This has been an especially good year for the daylilies and I am thankful that I discovered the world of large, bold daylilies. Orange you glad, too? (Sorry. Bad pun.) Yes, orange flowers may just be my new favorite.
Happy June, my fellow gardeners.
“I most often find that happiness is just where I planted it.” Unknown
All photographs taken the morning of June 1, 2023, in southern Denton County, Texas. Zone 8a