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My Early Summer Garden Tour

With our new home and garden, it’s been pretty exciting to see what’s popping up and blooming in my early summer garden. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d have so many beautiful plants. So grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever you want, and let’s see what’s flowering today!

If you enjoy kicking around the garden nursery as much as I do, have you ever walked by plants and thought to yourself…that’s a cool plant – and then walk on never to purchase or plant it?

I’m discovering many of those plants and flowers here.

It is super cool to find them and I have to say, walking around the gardens here every day feels like Christmas morning for the gardener.

Something is always growing, blooming, or changing that surprises me.

Plants I’ve never seen or grown before that I have to look up.

And it is an amazing experience to enjoy the gardens from that perspective too.

Looking forward to seeing what happens next because I didn’t plant or nurture it.

I can’t wait to show you all the changes.

Oh and my new cottage gardens too.

Because the flowers that I started from seed are already blooming. So I’ve been cutting and making arrangements often already.

They are cut and come again, so this is only the beginning too.

Wait until you see what’s blooming in my early summer garden tour!

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My Early Summer Garden Tour

Before we move through the gardens, it’s important to look back at May’s garden tour to see how much the beds have changed.

And even more important to look back at the gardens to what they looked like when we moved in.

Because the property looks SO MUCH DIFFERENT!

So many of the plants have filled in.

And there are many more blooms now.

Oh, and we got some shubunkin and koi fish for the ponds too!

1850 vintage farmhouse at sunset with easy patriotic decorating ideas on front porch, stone wall with gardens

Today, I’m sharing the front yard gardens that include the porch garden, new cottage garden, pool garden, new potager garden, and the pond garden.

In the backyard garden, I’m sharing the zen garden, koi pond, and backyard specimen plants.

And finally, we’ll wrap it up with a quick tour of the formal garden that is located in the sideyard.

Welcome to my gardens!

view of the front yard gardens from the pond bridge at sunset looking at potager garden with arbor and lonicera, tree sculptures and 1850 vintage farmhouse.

The Front Porch Early Summer Garden Tour

Our front porch has gone through a few transformations this spring.

First we started with some early spring yellows.

Then we progressed to adding some pinks and purples.

And now, we’re ready for July 4th with some patriotic decorating ideas.

But the gardens?

front porch with patriotic decorating ideas and front yard gardens with superwave petunias, hostas, and scaevola in hanging baskets.

They’ve been doing their thing and it’s fascinating to watch the plants that were here grow and change.

Some I’ve grown before while others are new to me.

It’s also been a thrill to watch my seedlings grow and start to bloom.

And the new cottage garden come to life. The porch garden is a bit smaller than the bed by the pool, but it’s filling in and looks so pretty right now.

front porch garden view by stone wall with hostas, superwave petunia, larkspur, snapdragons, superwave petunia latte, echinacea, yarrow, tickseed, nepeta and zinnias by stone wall in my early summer garden tour

The bed just outside the front porch is in a lull right now.

There is a lot of greenery because there is a resident rabbit who’s been topping off my zinnias and ate MOST of the sunflowers here.

There are two sunflowers left that flank the front entry pillars to the porch, so hopefully they will survive and bloom.

The sunflowers are about 3 feet tall now. I think I have a few others tucked in this bed, but they aren’t in a spot getting full sun, so they may not thrive as well as these two.

close up of front porch gardens with off white paver walkway, travertine tile, scaevola in hanging baskets, and patriotic american flat buntings on front porch railing on a yellow house with white shutters.

There are black-eyed susans and summer blooming allium in this garden, so it’s just a matter of time before they start blooming.

I’ll need to stock up on some wire cloches next year if I want zinnias to grow better in this bed.

But truthfully, I’ll likely dig and divide perennials we have here instead of doing all that work.

close up of superwave petunia 'latte', snapdragons, larkspur in front of stone wall in my early summer garden tour

The other side of the walkway near the stone wall is looking beautiful right now.

I noticed there wasn’t anything planted here when we moved in, so I decided to plant several of my seedlings here.

Although I started a cut flower and cottage garden near the pool and driveway, because I’ve not experienced the critters here, I wanted to spread them out in case a garden was decimated.

And good thing I did, because these larkspur are all that I have left.

close up of larkspur in my cottage garden by stone wall - early summer garden tour

Remember that baby bunny we saved months ago?

Well it lives in my garden now and has helped itself to my zinnias and larkspur.

He hasn’t gotten to all of it, but I’m glad I planted my seedlings in different spots around the property.

I figured something would survive!

close up of tickseed or coreopsis 'caramel creme' in my early summer garden tour
Coreopsis ‘Caramel Creme’

While I thought I would fill this garden with only annuals that I started from seed this year, I decided to pick up some perennials too so that I didn’t have as much work next year.

In this garden, you’ll find:

  • nepeta ‘cat’s meow’
  • salvia ‘may night’
  • coreopsis ‘caramel creme’
  • echinacea
  • yarrow
  • superwave petunia ‘latte’
  • snapdragons (a few varieties)
  • larkspur (a few varieties)
close up of snapdragons, larkspur and superwave petunia latte in my early summer garden tour by the front porch in front of stone wall

My New Cut Flower and Cottage Garden

The new cut flower and cottage garden has had its ups and downs over the last month.

As I mentioned previously, a bunny wreaked some havoc in the bed.

It ate ALL of the larkspur to nubs and decimated my young butterfly weed, asters and penstemon plants that I received from Garden for Wildlife.

As disappointing as that was, the garden continues to flourish and the blooms have been gorgeous.

The roses were spectacular. They just wrapped up blooming so I fed them again with Espoma Rose Tone and we’ll see which roses produce more blooms.

Since I did not plant them, I’m not sure which ones will or won’t, so we’ll feed them and see what happens.

pink roses on green wood picket fence

Aside from the roses, we had a pretty display of peonies too.

Of course, peony flowers only last about a week, but it was fun to see what color blooms were planted here.

Note to self: plant more.

my new cottage garden in front of wood picket fence that is painted green with a concrete planter. Garden is filled with flowers and green garden stakes with terra cotta clay pots on top
Cottage Garden in Early June
close up of peonies in cottage garden - early summer garden tour

If you recall from last month, I planted a lot of perennials in this garden.

Here is a list of the plants in this bed:

  • creeping phlox
  • dianthus
  • sage
  • helianthus ‘Sunbelievable’
  • snapdragons
  • larkspur
  • zinnias
  • hibiscus
  • foxglove digitalis
  • echinacea
  • moonbeam coreopsis
  • nepeta
  • solomon’s seal
  • monarda
  • butterfly weed
  • asters
  • penstemon
  • superwave petunias
  • lantana
  • peonies
  • roses
  • bearded iris
  • daylillies
  • bleeding hearts
  • yarrow
  • heuchera
  • columbine
  • myostotis
  • delphinium
  • iceland poppies
cottage garden with roses blooming in front of a green garden fence with harvest basket in early summer garden tour
Cottage garden in Mid June

And if you recall, there was A LOT of liriope in here before we removed it all.

We did a pretty good job getting it out because not much is returning thankfully. It has a very deep root system so it was not easy to remove.

The iceland poppes are done and should be neatened up.

cottage garden in front of green garden fence with concrete stone planter in early summer garden tour in new jersey
Cottage Garden in late June

I noticed there is some milkweed planted along the green garden fence.

Milkweed is a wonderful plant if you want to attract butterflies to your garden, particularly monarch butterflies.

It is a great host plant for the larvae to develop into butterflies.

However, they do tend to attract aphids as you can see here.

close up of aphids on milkweed - early summer garden tour

NEVER put a pesticide on milkweed to remove aphids or any other kind of pest because you can kill the monarch larvae.

Not even an organic pesticide.

Instead, just blast it with a strong spray of water to keep them at bay so you don’t risk killing off monarch butterflies.

close up of snapdragon in cottage garden in my gardening zone 6a early summer garden tour
Snapdragon ‘Madame Butterfly Bronze’

I grew several types of snapdragons from seed in this garden and the front porch garden.

They are just starting to bloom and I’ve already started cutting them to make fresh flower arrangements.

Here are the varieties I started from seed this year:

  • Madame Butterfly Pink
  • Costa Apricot
  • Chantilly Lace Mix
  • Madame Butterfly Bronze
  • Orleans Early Lemon Yellow
snapdragon 'orleans early lemon yellow snapdragon' in early summer garden tour
Snapdragon ‘Orleans Early Lemon Yellow’

The echinacea, bee balm and liatris are beginning to bloom.

And I did not finish planting the back end of this bed.

Frankly, I got tired of planting it and wanted to move on to my container gardens.

So I decided I’ll be splitting some hostas from other areas of the property to plant near the back because it gets a lot more shade.

echinacea, bee balm and liatris in cottage garden in early summer garden tour with green garden fence

As an aside, I noticed some of the liatris stalks were severed and broken.

Not sure if that’s from the rabbit trying to pull it down, groundhog, or vole.

But hopefully, it won’t damage all of them because I love the look of blazing star.

It adds a lot of interest in the cottage garden and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

view of cottage garden with echinacea and snapdragons in early summer garden tour

The Pool Garden

I’ve never had a pool before and am really enjoying it.

The best part though, isn’t the pool but the surrounding gardens!

I LOVE sitting out there and enjoying the flowers while lounging by the pool.

Roses blooming on a green garden fence

There are a few rose varieties planted here that bloomed like you would not believe.

And they smell pretty amazing too.

Since I did not plant them, I couldn’t tell you what varieties they are, but what I can tell you is how much I love pink flowers with the green garden fence.

I used to think we would eventually paint the green fencing white, but not anymore.

I love the green!

close up of roses in the pool garden

Because the roses are growing and blooming so beautifully here, I decided to plant more roses in the pool garden.

They get watered by the irrigation system at the roots and seem to LOVE this spot as it gets full sun all day long.

So I picked up a few David Austin varieties that will bloom throughout the growing season and planted them here.

close up of roses in the pool garden by a green garden fence in my early summer garden tour

The first set of rose blooms lasted a good month or so and it smelled like heaven out here!

Aside from the roses, I planted all of my dahlias in this garden too.

Most are doing quite well, although the rabbit got to a few of them.

To protect the smaller ones, I turned over these vintage egg crate baskets that I found thrifting to help them get a better start.

garden view of the pool with umbrella and surrounding gardens in early summer garden tour

I also planted some marigolds back here too but the bunny has been snacking on them so they don’t look like much.

Shana and I planted calendula and sunflower seedlings in here about a month ago.

Every single one of them is gone. And I saw the rabbit eating them, so I know it was him.

When my dogs are out here with me, they hunt around for the little bunny, but have not found him yet.

2 black labs sitting by pool in front pool with gardens

I’m loving the astilbes in this garden.

What gorgeous flowers!

I had astilbes back at the old house but don’t recall them smelling this wonderful.

In the pool garden, we have some reddish pink and white varieties.

close up of astilbes with red flowers in front of green garden fence in my early summer garden tour

But my latest love in the pool garden are these incredible lacecap hydrangeas.

I’ve never grown them before and I love the flowers.

These plants are still pretty young and they are in full sun.

I’m going to watch how they do because I’m not sure how much they will love the amount of sun it is receiving here.

close up of lacecap hydrangea with stella d'oro sunflower in background of pool garden with green garden fence and yellow building in background
close up of lacecap hydrangea flowers

The New Potager Garden

My herb and vegetable garden is doing quite well in my raised garden beds that we added to the new potager garden.

While my romaine lettuce, arugala and cilantro are almost done, the cucumbers are starting to take off.

And the different varieties of tomatoes I’m growing are starting to produce the fruits.

So it will be not time before we start harvesting them!

close up of gardener's supply self-watering raised garden beds filled with herbs and vegetables in the potager garden in my early summer garden tour

While I have marigolds planted in the beds to help keep the pests away from my vegetables, I also started some nasturtiums from seed.

They are just starting to grow, so hopefully we’ll see some flowers next month.

I started pumpkin seeds as well, but most of what I planted around the property has been eaten.

Luckily, I planted a few varieties in the potager garden that are still growing, so hopefully they’ll survive.

hawaiian party theme dinner table decorated with light green bohemian table cloth, fuschia pink napkins, lenox dinnerware, tapered candles, votives, pineapple centerpieces with fuschia pink roses, sunflowers, snapdragons, sliced fruit with an arbor covered in lonicera in the potager garden

We’ve enjoyed a lot of fun evenings out here as well.

This spot is where the family gathers to enjoy evening meals when the weather is agreeable.

And we’ve celebrated with a few parties out here too.

close up of outdoor entertaining ideas for low country boil with red and white checkered tablecloth, brown craft paper, on farmhouse table with wicker chairs and honeysuckle in the garden

From the Hawaiian party theme to a low country boil, the potager garden is the perfect spot for a gathering.

I planted more container gardens out here for Tori’s Junior Pre-Prom party but it rained about an hour before guests were suppose to arrive.

So I moved the party indoors.

Luckily, we were still able to take pictures outside between the raindrops.

Potager garden with green fence and nepeta 'walkers low' in bloom

Do you guys remember those hydrangea paniculatas I pruned in late winter that flank the entrance to the potager garden?

I could tell they were not properly pruned before because the plant looked like it had a buzz cut instead of pruning with the shape in mind.

Well look at them now!

The one to the left doesn’t receive as much sun as the one to the right, but what a different a good pruning makes!

I wasn’t sure how the left hydrangea paniculata would do but so far so good!

close up of entrance to the potager garden with hydramgea paniculata and green garden fence in early summer garden tour in new jersey

There is a huge lonicera vine that grows on the arbor that leads to the pond garden.

It looked so pretty in early June all covered in blooms but now it has some powdery mildew.

So next year, I’ll need to treat the lonicera vines early for powdery mildew.

This particular vine is also weighing down the top of the arbor, so we’ll need to figure out a way to repair it in fall.

arbor that is covered with lonicera between the potager and pond gardens with a boxwood in front

The Pond Garden

I have not planted a thing around the pond garden yet because I wanted to see what came up.

There is a lot of open space that is getting a lot of weeds, so I’m planning to dig and divide some shade loving plants like hostas, brunnera and lenten rose to plant here.

The biggest change to the front yard pond garden is the addition of 6 shubunkin goldfish.

front yard pond garden at sunset in park like setting in early garden tour with cedar branch footbridge over pond and liriope

So far, we only see 5 since dropping them in, so we aren’t sure if one is still hiding or if it got eaten by a predator.

Let’s hope it’s in hiding. I’ve read they do that when they are unsure of a new location.

To help protect them from predators, we added this blue heron decoy that I named ‘Bob’.

Bob the blue heron decoy in the front yard pond garden in my early summer garden tour

And we have a floating alligator decoy on the way too.

I think we are going to add some netting too but have not done it yet.

We’ve been talking how to better use the patio space by this pond too.

So far we have a few adirondacks, but we’d love to add a wood burning fire pit.

Nothing fancy, but just one to enjoy the view of the pond.

view of adirondack chairs on patio in front of pond garden with fountain and footbridge in early summer garden tour

As an aside, a lot of weeds pop up between the patio stone.

So I use my simple recipe for homemade weed killer that is safe to use around the pond and other wildlife.

It works really well but I do need to get out here about once a month to keep up on it.

front yard pond with blue heron decoy and fountain in park like setting in new jersey early summer garden tour

Won’t the pond garden look so pretty with more plants and flowers around it?

I can’t wait to get to work on it in the fall.

It looks so pretty as it is, but I would love to see more perennial flowers around the garden.

I could have added some seedlings down here because I had so many, but I wasn’t sure how much sun it would get.

The garden here receives more shade than sun so I’m leaning towards more shade tolerant perennials that bloom.

footbridge over koi pond in park like setting in New Jersey

Backyard Zen Garden in Early Summer

One of my favorite spots to enjoy is the backyard zen garden.

We’ve got a small pond, garden statues and trees sculptures with lots of pretty specimen plants and container gardens.

I shared the back porch for the first time in my new outdoor living spaces tour.

wide angle view of the zen garden with back porch

This is a great space to listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfall in the koi pond and relax after a long day.

Speaking of the koi pond, we finally added koi!

When we brought the shubunkin home, we also purchased five koi fish to represent each member of our family.

It’s been really fun caring for and watching them.

We made some changes back here recently to add some stepping stones from the back deck to the stairs leading up to the backyard.

My dogs are having a tough time on some of the stones and we found several concrete round stepping stones on the property.

So we laid them out but have not dug them in yet.

Zen garden with round concrete pavers, stairs with white railing that leads to container gardens fill with pink superwave petunias 'bubblegum pink' and the backyard garden with black labrador retriever standing on stone wall with koi tree sculpture in the background

As I mentioned before, I’ve been adding a bunch of container gardens back here to soften the hard lines in the hardscaping with plants and flowers.

Originally, I planned to move all of my houseplants out here, but this area gets a little too much sunshine.

So over the next few years, I’ll be adding to my planter collection to make this a larger container garden.

close up of the potted flowers in my container gardens filled with superwave petunias, elephant ears, coleus in front of a stone wall on river rock in my zen garden in the outdoor living spaces home tour

But the real thrill of the backyard has been all of the plants I’ve discovered!

Some I’ve seen before and others are totally new to me.

Something is always changing and blooming back here so this is the last place I stop in my daily garden walkabout before settling onto the back porch for the night.

Here are a few of the blooms discovered in the backyard:

Isn’t that so fun?

And these don’t even scratch the surface.

The rhododendrons and azaleas put on an incredible show.

And they pair so well with the different varieties of Japanese maples.

Some beautiful pink peonies made a brief appearance along the stone wall.

I forgot to stake these so they flopped over a bit.

But these peonies were beautiful nonetheless.

I wish peonies lasted longer than a week, don’t you?

close up of pink peonies that are cottage garden flowers deer tend to avoid

The irises were also quite beautiful too!

The bearded irises are different varieties from what I grew in my former garden.

And the siberian irises were really striking too!

Right now, the hydrangeas kicked off their blooms.

And let me tell you there are a lot!

I am planning to cut a few this week and will use the allum method to keep the blooms from wilting in a vase.

blue and white hydrangea flowers in the backyard garden in my early summer garden tour in new jersey

The Formal Garden

And finally, we’re wrapping up this month’s garden tour in the formal garden.

Aside from cleaning up the beds here, I have not done anything.

But wow look at home beautiful it is with everything leafed out!

entrance to the formal garden with tree sculptures, garden statues and gazebo amongst the trees in early summer garden tour in new jersey

We enjoy evening strolls out here and hang out for bit in the gazebo.

It’s a nice spot to soak in the sights of the valley and think about the future of this garden.

I’d love to add more perennials but they’ve got to be deer resistant plants because we get herds of deer out here and I do not want to spend my time spraying repellent out here.

garden statue in formal garden in new jersey early summer garden tour
garden statue in the formal garden in my early summer garden tour in new jersey gardening zone 6a

As an aside, I LOVE all of the garden statues and tree sculptures here.

They add a lot of unique character to the property together with a sense of formality.

At some point, would love to add a rose garden with boxwoods around the rope tree scultpure.

view of the valley with a rope tree sculpture in early summer garden tour

And I know roses are not deer resistant but wouldn’t that be so pretty?

That tree sculpture looks a little lonely. It’s not on my list of things to do this year, but somewhere down the road, this will become a garden.

As far as other wildlife goes, we have a few hawks that nest in our backyard and hunt this entire area.

There are a few dead trees around that they perch from to look for prey.

Never thought we’d see hawks let alone have them living here.

view of the formal garden from the side with the gazebo and garden statues on a beautiful sunny day

Looking for More Flower Gardening Ideas?

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden tips, tricks, and inspiration.

Want to See Another Gorgeous Flower Garden?

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells shared her beautiful cottage garden in the pacific northwest.

Kim grows the prettiest dahlias and spilled all of her secrets for growing them.

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Stacy Ling

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early summer garden tour by the front porch in early summer garden
early summer garden tour with close up of caramel creme coreopsis

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14 Comments

  1. Bee you tee full!!! LOL Thank you for every detail you shared and good luck with all that you have planned. My own yard is a postage stamp compared to yours but I try to fill it with as much floral beauty as possible and I have to agree that those pesky rabbits and groundhogs are quite the challenge. There seems to be an explosion of them this year here in my north Jersey town but thanks to you I have pretty much eliminated the other problem, the DEER !! Not planting what they love and using the DEER SCRAM has made such a difference so bless you for that information.

    1. Which plants are you talking about? I use deer spray religiously and tried liquid fence for deer and rabbits but the rabbit ate through it. That little guy will be a challenge.

  2. I can’t tell you how much joy your gardens bring. I love your snapdragons, they look beautiful. The pool area, the zen garden, the pond…so much beauty Stacy! I still have a way to go before I get all my summer blooms. We are so far behind this year because of the colder weather we are having.

    1. Thank you Kim! I would love to do a live garden tour in person some day! I can’t believe how behind you are this year! And I can’t believe how ahead we are here – I feel like I’m about 1.5-2 weeks ahead from where I used to live!

  3. Stacy,
    What a beautiful tour. I love Bob. I need one for our ponds however I did see 3 of the real thing early one morning last week.

    1. I’m surprised you had 3 together like that because they are pretty territorial. Maybe they are siblings or something. Bob is fun – wait until you meet Fred this weekend. hahahaha

  4. Stacy, your gardens are just breathtaking! I love all of the details and the lovely plant choices.