June - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

When Master Gardeners (MGs) visit my garden, it can be a bit intimidating. I love having people drop in to visit my little piece of paradise, but I also know that these are passionate, put-your-hands-in-the-dirt, real garden geeks! They will recognize the weeds; they will know what I haven’t divided or pruned; they will see my garden’s shortcomings.  So, when a group of fellow MG’s came by recently for a backyard greenhouse tour I was driven to spend extra time spiffing up my garden lest they be shocked by its appearance. It’s sort of like having your mother-in-law visit! Fortunately, they all understand the time it takes to care for a garden. In fact, one person noted that she was glad to see my garden had weeds!
Several areas in the garden were looking great and a few plants were impressive! As people arrived, they were greeted by an impressive quince (Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm') in the front yard. It’s a shrub that is borderline hardy in my area but lots of snow cover last winter must have protected it. It was a cloud of scarlet.

Master Gardeners love to visit gardens.

Flowering quince’s blooms resemble small roses.

A weeping crabapple is in full bloom, draping over the walkway on our way to the greenhouse. It truly is magical to walk through its branches. The display lasts only a week. I’m glad the group had a chance to see it because thunderstorms with ½ inch hail is predicted for this afternoon. Today may be its last hurrah. Moss phlox is putting on its annual display. It contrasts beautifully with the gold-leafed spirea and several evergreens nearby. It’s a combination that turns heads.

Weeping crabapple ‘Louisa’. 

Pinky-purple moss phlox grabs attention.

As young foliage unfurls, its colors are brilliant and pure. Insects, diseases, drought, hot sun, drying winds and stray balls have not yet made their mark. Springtime is a renewal. Leaves are garden-fresh and clean. Hostas are particularly attractive this time of year. As summer heat comes on, many will lose their spring colors. A large swath of ferns and foamflowers fill an area behind my garage. It’s a shady area with an informal appearance and I allow the native ferns and foamflowers to intermingle. This is a low-maintenance space. Occasionally I pull out a weed and seldom have to do anything else.

My Master Gardener colleagues had a chance to see some plants at their best. We talked about plants and pests and birds and bugs…. And, a few of them even pulled weeds. What better way to spend a day than with kindred spirits!

This hosta is unfurling to show fresh, crisp hues.

Foamflowers and ferns are perfect companions.