There is no stopping the unfurling flowing free petals in the gardens this first day of June. The rain has made its mushy mess of things ( perfect environment for botrytis to set in)... bad petal days too for tree peonies. If I had been standing out in the garden through days and nights of rain, I too would look a bit droopy. Still the petals hold on, as do most of the roses on the large shrubs of Rosa Rugosa, which photos here show are quite flushed and somewhat disheveled but with many fresh buds to open yet.
Our Tree Peonies are Chinese or Japanese cultivars ... I lean more towards the Chinese... but their lovely full bodied flowers are fading now. The yellow shrubby peony (the photos do not show true color) 'Age of Gold' maybe, was stunning but bloomed mostly in the rain and the blush pink which moves into white is shamelessly flaunting her age next to the fresh young Rosa Rugosa buds. The Tree Peony I have read is considered a 'favorite' flower in China and it can live to be over 200 years old. Even herbaceous peonies can live for fifty years and more... it is very impressive that the human mind can mingle and imagine with the plant world to create such lasting beauty. (Mind you the botanical world of human ingenuity is always it seems to me many steps below that of the wild and sometimes its meddling muddles things up.) Our farmhouse has been standing for just over two hundred years and I have the 'Age of Gold' planted nearby its east facing north corner. These shrubs do enjoy some dappled shade ... they will not give you as many blooms there but when they do bloom those blossoms will last longer. I have two planted under other shrubs but must be sure they do not overcome the stately 'not a tree really' peony.
The herbaceous peonies are marching towards their peak in bloom with the gorgeous burgundy red about to burst open... most likely is... as I sit here indoors writing this!! The late lilacs are attracting swallowtails and spilling delicious fragrance for our mere mortal human olfactory organs to perceive. The tree swallows are swooping around closer to the shrubberies but I hope it is not for the butterflies! It is a dangerous place for butterflies in this small bird sanctuary but they cannot help themselves for all the tubular florets and all their caterpillars hosts plants about. The wisteria is showing its fatigue after all the rain but still stands proudly purposefully purple. There are clematis un-spiraling into stars of white and purple and a few varieties of viburnums (sargentii 'Onondaga' and trilobum) holding their horizontal floral clusters to the sky also appealing to the butterfly.
Iris are creating landing pads for bees and paths into their ovaries and they are everywhere if less in numbers despite the voles greedy delight. I love the tall lanky Siberian Iris even before they open, as it is at that time they remind me of birds flocking together perhaps in a dance. Our Climbing Hydrangea (anomala petiolaris) winding up the Shag Bark Hickory is about to reach the kingdom of giant castles through the clouds... but I will not climb up it as Jack did so as not to have to cut it down! Lastly the Magnolia I am growing as a shrub instead of as a tree and prune it horizontally is ever blooming ... since April now and takes a pretty picture along side the Yellow Throat Warbler. I will address the Beauty Bush and Bridal Veil another time. All these images were taken two days ago after the deluge of rain. (with exception to one of the tree peony before the rain for comparison) Tomorrow I will post a true First of June day.
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Birds of Flower Hill Farm
Nearly Seventy Species Featured by Families
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For thirty years, I have been farming/gardening, observing and documenting a twenty-acre New England hillside paradise, which includes organic wildly cultivated rambling gardens, fields of wildflowers and organic blueberries, forest, fabulous views and expanse of sky. My greatest joy in working with the land is seeing how my farm has evolved into a habitat . . . home to a diverse community of wildlife. My blog is a journal of all the comings and goings of the flora and fauna here. All the photographs featured are taken at Flower Hill Farm ~ unless noted otherwise.