Blooms Day: Mid-June in Toronto

Full disclosure: On this Blooms Day in the Microgarden, it’s mostly green.

However, you can see my opening statement of columbines; some blue Aquilegia alpina and an unnamed pink of the granny’s bonnet form. Both prefer the cracks in my paving stones, where their feet stay cool and moist. All efforts to get the alpinas to freely self-sow (as I was blown away by in Patrick Lima’s Larkwhistle garden) have largely failed.

We live in hope.

Now think what you might have thought, had I given you only this image. Sometimes, the best view of a garden is from right in the middle.

Here are my very happy Allium christophii flowering onion, perfectly [and I should note, accidentally] matched in colour with the self-seeded biennial dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis). One year, the dame will give an avalanche, another a snowball. This year, she is very meek and mild, seen here from her best angle.

Both pair nicely with a collection of hostas, the yellow leaves of Hosta ‘June’ and ‘Janet’ and the blue ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ (not seen). I’m often surprised when people don’t like yellow in a garden. In my part-shade situation, they punctuate what might otherwise be undifferentiated green foliage.

And the yellows are just the complement for blues. Here’s how the Penstemon barbatus look in their new home. Wasn’t I justified in that impulse buy? Just say yes. Please.

This is another cheat. Yes, I did plant this Clematis ‘The President’. No, it isn’t technically blooming in my garden. It was doing what it always does; growing up our shared fence… and blooming on my neighbour’s sunnier side. So I flipped the few at the top of the fence over to face me. Look closely to see the bee snuggling up to the lower one.

At the neighbour’s on my other side, my Corydalis lutea is doing a fine job of softening the edge of our shared driveway. Again, the cool, moist feet provided at the join of the brick and asphalt seem to be what they want. It my back garden, it has politely self-sown amongst the blue catmint, (Nepeta mussenii). I’ve tried to encourage the same behaviour in the dry front garden to no avail. The lesson from this: plants tell you where they want to grow.

All these pix are from the more photogenic back garden.

Blooming in the dry shade in front [not shown] are the mock orange (Philadelphus) and the tail end of the fragrant lemon lilies (Hemerocallis flava). Magenta Geranium sanguineum ‘Alpenglow’ and more petite ‘Max Frei’ – both enthusiastic performers – are softened by pink rock soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides). Note to self: move over some of the chartreuse lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) to complement these. A white Potentilla, which I think might be ‘Abbotswood’, is just coming into flower.

To see what’s blooming in mid-June in gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens, where on the 15th of every month, Carol invites garden bloggers to share their experience.


  1. Wow, the President has never looked so good.

    That corydalis lutea of course fills me with envy, as I've never gotten it to travel next door to my place, I also live in hope! Love it against the bricks. Reminds me of some of the things we saw in England last year: the red flower that was growing out of walls and roofs everywhere. (forget name right now)

    Yes, you were right to buy that blue Penstemon.

  2. helen, I love your post…and, yes, you should most certainly have gotten the penstemon! Always say yes to penstemon, especially when they look so charming in the garden! Have a good day! gail

  3. Love the penstemon and all the flowers! Sometimes when those plants take so long to bloom, the wait is definitely worth it… Enjoy the rest of your June. Teresa

  4. Hi Helen, You have many lovelies! All put together in a beautiful way. I especially love the corydalis. It is so gorgeous! That blue penstemon is so lovely.

    I was looking at your neighbor's garden too. Wow! What an eye stopper! Love the design!

  5. Helen:
    Penstemon barbatus is the most beautiful Penstemon going. Mine has over-wintered, and I am anxious for it to flower, but P. heterophyllum 'Shockwave' seems to be in the lead for flower buds!~ A resounding YES one hundred times over!

  6. I SOOOOO want some Allium christophii! Such a great looking plant. Gotta figure out where I can put some. Thanks for posting!

  7. Thanks, everyone, for your affirmation about my lapse in budgetary control. Guilt, begone!

    Sarah, we'll get the corydalis over your way by hook or by crook. I also want to get another C. The Prez. for my obelisk. Next year, of course.

    VW, your June is sure to fatten up in no time. Definitely a fave. And The Prez. is generally dirt easy.

    Susan aka Miss. R. — the garden is mine, but you'll often find Sarah in it, too. Both of us drinking tea. C'mon over.

    Teza, hope my penstemon overwinters. And 'Shockwave' looks like it lives up to its name. Yowza!

    Andrew, in my garden, A. christophii even self-seeds! An unexpected benefit.

  8. Just beautiful Helen! My mom had a rather new-age garden designer a few years ago who told her she listened to the plants and let them tell her where they wanted to be. We both chuckled a bit, then agreed she was absolutely right!

  9. The President looks similar to Blue Ravine, which I love!

    Great framing on that second shot! I feel like I'm peeking into a hidden garden.

  10. Okay – I have to ask the question. I'm actually just north of the city and have scoured up here for the Corydalis…None of the local garden centres carry it and I'm confused since it's supposed to be hardy to zone 4 (I'm at the edge of 5)…Does anyone know where I can get it?? LOL I will go back and review the pics but as soon as I saw the corydalis lutea, it was all I could see 🙂

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