Like the song says, “June is busting out all over!” But before it concedes to July and the bold colors of summer, June is holding a formal affair before things really heat up. The following garden guests, white flowers all, have donned their best to graciously welcome summer.
Mock Orange (Philadephus lewesii): This Northwest native shrub is a beloved bloomer around this parts, sporting sparkling white flowers punctuated with starburst stamens. One Philadelphus can perfume an entire garden, and inspire your inner poet.
Regale Lily (Lilium Regale): Perhaps my favorite lily for its classic beauty and tough-as-nails habit. Toss in a dreamy, wafting fragrance, perennial nature, and ability to bloom just about anywhere with good drainage, and you have winner in the bulb department.
Clematis “Fragrant Star”: Such a beautiful and well-behaved vine crowned with a showy constellation of white blossoms. Most clematis lean or meander on a fence or trellis as if ready to faint. Borne on woody stems, the vine’s airy habit, gentle twining and welcoming presence make it a happy sidekick for any garden gate.
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica): A stately lady in any garden, and a wonderfully hardy calla in the Pacific Northwest (Zone 8). While it takes a few years to establish (sleep, creep, then leap), this brilliant baton is unrivaled in elegant stature and vase life as a cut flower. Callas can take a little more drought than usually reported. In late dry summers, the leaves may die down, and the rhizomes go dormant, sleeping it off until next year’s spring bloom.
Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa): Kousa dogwoods offer a hardiness and disease resistance not usually associated with their more temperamental cousins Cornus Florida. As a result, Kousa dogwoods have been bred to create an amazing array of cultivars perfect for the ornamental garden. Blue Shadow (shown above) is front and center in my garden, sharing its flowers in spring and colors in fall.
Madame Alfred Carriere Rose: She’s French. She’s sassy. She’s gorgeous. She’s a repeat performer and unapologetic patron of perfume. What’s not to like about a rose that performs on all levels. This almost-thornless rambler is my all-time favorite rose, which is saying a lot. In my former garden in Seattle, my entire gazebo was draped in bowers of blossoms like a ballgown for the garden.
Cafe au Lait dahlia: For those of us who like a little coffee with our cream. This dahlia is another powerhouse performer —a beautiful repeat bloomer that lavishes me with flowers perfect for cutting. While dahlias aren’t fragrant, their decorative forms and colors celebrate the garden like no other flower. Dahlia tubers are hardy to about Zone 8, and lucky for me we had a mild winter and all of mine survived in the ground. Most garden guides suggest you remove and store tubers over winter. I leave them, mulch heavily and cross my fingers.