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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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’
- superwave petunia ‘latte’
- snapdragons (a few varieties)
- larkspur (a few varieties)
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.
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.
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
- helianthus ‘Sunbelievable’
- foxglove digitalis
- moonbeam coreopsis
- solomon’s seal
- butterfly weed
- superwave petunias
- bearded iris
- bleeding hearts
- iceland poppies
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Looking for More Flower Gardening Ideas?
Here are more cut flower and cottage garden tips, tricks, and inspiration.
- 5 Quick Ways to Grow a Cottage Garden
- How My Cottage Garden Grew in 2021
- Cut Flower Gardening for Beginners
- The Complete Guide to Roses Care
- The Basics of Hydrangea Care
- Everblooming Cottage Garden Design Ideas
- The Secret to Growing an Everblooming Cottage Garden
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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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo