June can be a rainy month, but the weather is seldom chilly, and every day that the sun shines in the garden is truly a joy. Still, overcast conditions intensify colours beautifully and also extend the life of flowers generally. Roses are a good example of plants that revel in the conditions in June. If you glance to the left as you enter the garden (beside the Shop in the Garden) you can’t miss Cooper’s Burmese rose (Rosa ‘Cooperi’), a magnificent evergreen climbing rose with gleaming, fresh green foliage and opulent, single white flowers. There is a specimen of the rare and endangered five-finger maple (Acer pentaphyllum) immediately to its right (one cannot live by roses alone). And check out the pond at the entrance. It is ringed with colour in June, as the early summer perennials are at their best at this time. Rodgersias (Rodgersia spp.), ornamental rhubarb (Rheum spp.), cranesbills (Geranium spp.), bistort (Bistorta officinalis) and irises (Iris spp.) are all fighting for your attention.
Continuing along Upper Asian Way, note the large planting of Rosa × odorata ‘Mutabilis’ at Stearn Trail. It is a carefree rose, both pest and disease free, and it produces its flowers from now until frost. Remember to look up as you walk through the Asian Garden and you’ll see many interesting lianas (woody climbers), including honeysuckles, kiwifruit, wisterias, climbing roses and more. For example, there is a magnificent giant yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera tragophylla) high up in a western red cedar (Thuja plicata) directly above where Staunton Trail crosses Upper Asian Way. But if roses are your thing, you’ll want to see the beautiful Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ on Siebold Trail at Rock Trail. ‘Kiftsgate’ is a strong climber (to more than 20 m) with masses of powerfully fragrant, white, cup-shaped flowers, in each large cluster. There are numerous other climbing and shrub roses throughout the Asian Garden.
Through the tunnel and up the hill you’ll find a number of other garden features. First and foremost is the Garry Oak Meadow and Woodland Garden. The “woodland” portions are resplendent with Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana) and Lewis’ mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii) in June. Further up the hill, the Food Garden, which is rapidly filling up as the plants put on summer growth, has a couple of significant new features (though not including roses). There is extensive new signage here (as there is throughout the rest of the Garden), including in the Taylor Plaza. Also new is the espalier tree collection. Because of significant disease issues, the old espaliers were removed and the soil in the area was replaced. We now have a new post-and-wire trellis system for apple, pear and plum trees, and a wall-mounted trellis system for grapes and figs. The Horticulture Training Program class of 2016-17, the Food Garden Horticulturist, Brendan Fisher and our Resident Pomologist (fruit tree expert), Richard Hallman are all responsible in part for the new look. If you haven’t toured the Food Garden lately, it’s certainly worth a visit.
Continuing to the north, the Alpine Garden has an enormous number of plants that flower in June and that are worth mentioning. Just in terms of visibility, the African section stands out with its red-hot pokers (Kniphofia species), the giant yellow daisies of the false gerberas (Haplocarpha scaposa), yellow iris-relative, Moraea spathulata and the mounding rock roses (Cistus species). The lavender growing near the top of the African section is Spanish lavender (Lavandula pedunculata); its floral bracts stick up like purple rabbit ears.
This is just a taste of what awaits visitors in June. Enjoy the flowers, and let us know what you think about the the new signage.
More photos can be found in our Forums.
Submitted by Douglas Justice, Associate Director, Horticulture & Collections, May 29, 2017