Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day–June 2014

In my shady garden, the month of June is mostly about hydrangeas. And though a late stretch of frigid weather killed the flower buds of most of the bigleaf types (H. macrophylla), the species which bloom on new wood are making up for their loss. The best of these is a relatively new cultivar named ‘Incrediball’.

Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball'

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’

These smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens), planted along the top of the retaining wall between the back garden and the woodland, are an improved selection of the popular ‘Annabelle’, offering thicker and sturdier stems that keep the shrubs from flopping in wind and rain. They made an especially enchanting sight last night, with fireflies dancing about their giant, moonlit flowers. And yesterday afternoon, when I took these photographs, the blooms were covered in hundreds of tiny black wasps, each as small as a grain of rice.

Tiny wasp on 'Incrediball'

Tiny wasp on ‘Incrediball’

In the secret garden, a single H. macrophylla came through winter with a few of its flower buds intact. This white selection predates me in the garden, so I don’t know its name. It’s a beauty though, don’t you think?

White H. macrophylla in the secret garden

White H. macrophylla in the secret garden

The large H. quercifolia, featured in the May post, is beginning to fade, but this dwarf form of the oakleaf is still strutting its stuff.

Dwarf oakleaf (H. quercifolia)

Dwarf oakleaf (H. quercifolia)

And in the woodland, the silverleaf hydrangea (H. radiata) is at its peak. This native shrub offers flat-topped clusters of white flowers surrounded by a handful of larger, sterile flowers. While I watched, bumblebees vied for pollen and nectar, so frantic in their efforts it was impossible to get a clear image.

Silverleaf hydrangea (H. radiata)

Silverleaf hydrangea (H. radiata)

Frantic bumblebee on H. radiata with a lumbering Japanese beetle, which I quickly dispatched.

Frantic bumblebee on H. radiata with a lumbering Japanese beetle, which I quickly dispatched.

Nearby, a black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is just beginning to bloom. The perennial’s fetid odor attracts carrion flies and beetles but repels most insects, which accounts for its second common name, “bugbane.” In recent years, the plant has become a popular herbal treatment for symptoms of menopause and thus is threatened with overcollecting.

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

If you look closely, you can see the individual flowers lack petals and the sepals fall away as the flower opens, giving them a fuzzy appearance.

The unique flowers bloom on stalks high above the foliage, reaching heights of 3 to 8-feet tall.

The unique flowers bloom on stalks high above the foliage, reaching heights of 3 to 8-feet tall.

To see June blooms in a variety of gardens around the world, visit the host of Bloom Day, May Dreams Gardens.

21 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day–June 2014

  1. thesalemgarden

    I’m sorry, I’ve been offline a lot lately (as my absence of blog posts shows) and I missed your trip to Italy. It looks like it was absolutely wonderful! Your hydrangeas are gorgeous today too!

    Reply
  2. Will

    Absolutely wonderful! Such a beautiful June garden, such lovely pictures. The white H. macrophylla looks mighty like my “Soeur Therese”, although on mine, the white tepals age to show tiny flecks of color splattered among some of the blooms. Vita Sackville-West has nothing on you and your White Garden!

    Reply
  3. Pauline

    White certainly shows up best in the shade, also I think bright colours in woodland just doesn’t look right somehow. You have some super hydrangeas, I tried some in the woodland here, but found that the huge tree roots took all the moisture and they needed watering all the time. I soon found a spot for them over the far side of the garden with no tree roots!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pauline–I’ve had the same problem with hydrangeas in shade, but this native always looks good. I can tell already, however, that some of my ground layering will not be successful. There are a few that might make it so I still have my fingers crossed.

      Reply
  4. rusty duck

    I changed my mind about hydrangeas last year, used to hate them, but the white varieties really do look lovely especially in shade.
    Glad you had a good time in Italy, your photos really made me want to go back!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jessica–I like the white ones best too. One of my favorites is Limelight (H. paniculata), which blooms in late summer, but I’m not sure I have room to add it! Italy was great fun and I’m taking a second group in September, so I’ll get to experience it all again in a different season. However, I love England for garden touring and I’m sad I won’t be visiting this year.

      Reply
  5. Marian

    O I love those ‘incrediball’ Hydrangeas! We have a shady garden as well but still too soon to have blooming Hydrangeas. they suffered a lot from the recent hail storm as well so we’ll have to wait and see…. but I’ll remember the name of this new and sturdy variety. Love the many blooms it has. Maybe I’ll replace some of the Hydrangeas not doing so well in our garden by these if I can find any where we live.
    Marian

    Reply
  6. Chloris

    I love white Hydrangeas. They lighten up a woodland. I’ ve never seen Incrediball before, it’ s lovely. And to have fireflies! Magical!
    Another white Hydrangea which I have and I am very fond of is Madame Emile Mouillere. But they are all lovely. Like Jessica I used to dislike Hydrangeas but I changed my mind when I discovered white ones.

    Reply
  7. hoehoegrow

    Gosh, your hydrangeas are much further on than ours are in the uk. Some of mine still are not fully in leaf ! Incrediball look fantastic, and I would have loved to have seen them at night, with fireflies around them. I have never even seen a firefly !!

    Reply
  8. pbmgarden

    Marian, I love all your beautiful hydrangeas! I planted Incrediball this spring, but doesn’t look like it will approach yours in stature or beauty. It does have flowers forming and I have been wondering about all the little black dots on the flowers–could be the black wasps you mentioned.

    Reply
  9. Cathy

    The hydrangeas are all lovely – I wish I could grow them! (I hardly have any shade). I’m intrigued by the Actaea racemosa… I grow one in the same family that smells heavenly! Sadly it doesn’t always flower though…

    Reply
  10. Nell Jean

    Your hydrangeas are stunning. I thought we couldn’t have too many Oakleafs but they’re starting to crowd others.

    Reply

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