What’s in Bloom? June Garden Report


By Thea Hegland

The Gardening Staff is deep in a frenzy of garden work – the spring show is expeditiously being dismantled; the summer beds are all now in the process of being planted just as the Rhododendron blossoms begin to fade. All the Rhododendron shrubs will need to be deadheaded carefully by hand to ensure next year’s gorgeous flowers. To offer a deeper perspective on this daunting task, imagine this; The Gardens is home to an estimated 3000 Rhododendron shrubs with literally thousands and thousands of blooms. Some of these shrubs are very old and large, dating back to Jennie Butchart’s early days in The Gardens.

Rhododendron blossoms in the Sunken Garden

June is often regarded as the “in-between” season in terms of mass plantings. All the gorgeous spring bulbs are now replaced with carefully chosen summer displays. Within a matter of weeks, all the flower beds are replanted, the container plantings and hanging baskets are switched over from spring to summer. Here are some interesting facts about our summer displays:

 Over 900 varieties are amongst the 265,000 summer annuals that are planted.

  • 188,000 started from seed
  • 58,000 plants purchased as rooted vegetative cuttings or plugs
  • 19,000 from our own cuttings
  • 185 hanging baskets
  • 280 varieties of Rosa (Rose)
  • 70 varieties of Begonia
  • 40 varieties of Pelargonium (Geranium)
  • 700 Dahlia – over 100 varieties in the Dahlia Border
  • 40 varieties of Paeonia

The Rose Garden is enjoying the first flush of blooms, notably the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ which encircles the Rose Garden. As the month progresses and the warmer trend continues, we will soon have a bounty of beauties to admire. This time between seasons has a much subtler allure; attention is drawn from the mass plantings to the shrub and perennial borders where gorgeous Deutzia and fragrant Philadelphus (Mock orange) shrubs gracefully arch amongst the stars of the June garden.

Early June in the Rose Garden

Perhaps the biggest star of the June garden is the magnificent Paeonia flowers. Absolutely lush with riches, these fragrant beauties have soft silky petals, ranging in many shades of pink, red, white, and coral. Over 40 varieties are grown here at The Gardens including our newest additions ‘Coral Sunset’ and ‘Coral Charm’ that have piqued interest with their unique colours. The old-fashioned classics ‘Red Charm’ and ‘Festiva Maxima’ are the epitome of elegance.  Our collection also includes the extraordinary Japanese form ‘Sword Dance’ which bears bright pinkish-red flowers with yellow petaloids, and the beautiful ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ steeped in poise and elegance with layers of ruffled pink petals atop sturdy stems. These iconic blossoms are drenched in a sumptuous fragrance that attracts a host of pollinators.

‘Sword Dance’

Alongside the beauty of the Peonies is the collection of Iris. More than 70 different varieties are found amongst the perennial borders. My personal favourite is the ‘Sweet Lena’ a delicate lavender blue beauty with a sweet fragrance, reminiscent of a grape punch. Located along the Sunken Garden perennial border, it is casually spotted by fragrance and sheer beauty!

‘Sweet Lena’

Soaring above all, the incredible Eremurus (Foxtail lily) demands attention, blooming in harmony with Allium along the perennial borders. Also noteworthy along the borders are the Lupinus and everyone’s favourite, the simple delectable Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet pea) which are grown on bamboo teepees by the Rose Garden.

Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet pea)

Our most famous flower of all, the beautiful Meconopsis betonicifolia (Himalayan blue poppy) is now blooming. These beauties are highlighted amongst the delicate ferns under a leafy green canopy of Japanese maples in The Japanese Garden.

Meconopsis betonicifolia (Himalayan blue poppy)

Plants, trees, and shrubs that are currently blooming
  • Abutilon
  • Alocasia (Elephant’s ear)
  • Allium
  • Alyssum
  • Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’
  • Aquilegia (Columbine)
  • Baptisia (False indigo)
  • Begonia
  • Brugmansia (Angel’s trumpets)
  • Centaurea montana
  • Clematis
  • Cornus kousa (Korean dogwood)
  • Crataegus (Hawthorn)
  • Davidia involucrata (Dove tree)
  • Delphinium
  • Deutzia
  • Dianthus
  • Dicentra (Bleeding heart)
  • Digitalis (Foxglove)
  • Disporum (Fairy bells)
  • Doronicum (Leopard’s bane)
  • Epimedium (Barren wort)
  • Eremurus (Foxtail lily)
  • Fuchsia
  • Fraxinus ornus (Flowering ash)
  • Heliotropium (Cherry pie plant)
  • Hemerocallis (Daylily)
  • Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
  • Illicium
  • Impatiens
  • Iris
  • Kolkwitzia (Beauty bush)
  • Laburnum (Golden chain tree)
  • Lantana
  • Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet pea)
  • Lobelia
  • Lupinus (Lupin)
  • Matthiola (Stock)
  • Meconopsis (Blue poppy)
  • Nectaroscordum
  • Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop plant)
  • Paeonia (Peony)
  • Paeonia lutea (Tree peony)
  • Papaver (Poppy)
  • Pelargonium (Geranium)
  • Pericallis (Painted daisy)
  • Petasites
  • Polemonium (Jacob’s ladder)
  • Podophyllum (Mayapple)
  • Poncirus trifoliata (Hardy orange)
  • Primula (Primrose)
  • Prostanthera rotundifolia (Mint bush)
  • Rheum
  • Rhododendron
  • Rosa (Rose)
  • Salvia
  • Schizanthus (Butterfly flower)
  • Skimmia japonica
  • Spiraea (Spirea)
  • Smilacina (False Solomon’s seal)
  • Stachys marcantha
  • Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell)
  • Syringa (Lilac)
  • Thalictrum (Meadow rue)
  • Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
  • Viburnum
  • Viola
  • Weigela