Tiny and Jam-Packed – My Garden in June


Yes, I have one full garden come summer. Now for 100 photos of my front June garden. Just kidding, but there are quite a few and I did not even come close to featuring all of it, tiny as it is.

Most of these photos were taken June 11th and 12th before I decided to get in there and weed, cut back perennials for later bloom and pull spent foliage from bulbs. Some images are from today. I am very lax on caring for my garden for how it looks, but will try to do better this year. Keeping on top of aggressive plants is important in a heavily planted garden.


There literally were a hundreds and hundreds of bees of every size buzzing during the sunny days, so I waited until rains were on the way to do the chores. Next week when the daylilies and Asiatic lilies are blooming you will get a more cleaned up garden to view.


It was a pollinators dream because it has been raining for days, mostly at night. The plants are fully hydrated and growing like weeds. In fact keeping up with weeds is a chore with all the Norway Maple trees growing. Two inches tall, at least they are easy to pull. You might notice I let the grass a bit long when the clover is growing. The pollinators love my “lawn”. It is all nectar giving weeds!


Take a tour around the front garden and see all that is tightly packed into this 30 foot space. I like to show the wide views as well as planting combinations. Click the galleries to see different views and combinations.

The pansies are still going strong which is a surprise, but many other plants, like salvias and daylilies will be pushing them out in a few weeks. The butterfly weed is just coming into bloom too. See what you can find in my garden.


I will show you the back garden next post. Wow is a lot happening back there!!! Above the side yard almost in the back yard.

I am following up the collectors’ garden with this post because like her, I have a large number of plants tightly grown.


For as tight as they are, all remain healthy without the use of fungicides and pesticides. I have so much insect activity, the garden takes care of itself in that regards. It is why I have so many weeds too, they just love moving in. Funny they can find a space to grow though. I have to push back perennial foliage to find those Norway Maple seedlings hiding.

What Keeps it Growing and Healthy?


Keeping plants healthy in a heavily planted garden means you depend a lot on a few basics that is the same for any garden, but far more important in one heavily planted. My top 10 suggestions.

  • 1. Build the soil. It pumps up the yield. A deep, organically rich soil encourages the growth of healthy plants. It is a farming practice I follow. Plants build extensive roots to find nutrients and water more easily.  The less work a plant does, the more time it spends giving us what we want. You get lush, productive bloom above ground.
  • 2. Stagger the plants. I place self-seeding annuals between perennials. Annuals have a smaller root system which works well with the deeper rooted perennials. Different layers of nutrition and water. Plant in triangles. By staggering plants, you can fit 10 percent more plants in each bed.
  • 3. Let the good insects do their job. Overly tight spacing can stress plants, making them more susceptible to disease and insects. Good eats bad! Planting plants tightly also benefits insects by creating a cooler, moister habitat for them. This is very important.
  • 4. Round and mound. Yes, a rounded or mounded bed shape allows more surface and air circulation. Plus you fit more if beds are built up and mounded a bit. Again, this works with having or adding good soil.
  • 5. Mix plantings and make wise companion plantings. I love those onions for keeping away pests.
  • 6. Plant for plants to succeed those blooming earlier. Create ground cover color and texture.
  • 7. Push the season. Have plants that bloom early and those that make their way until the snow covers them. Bulbs are useful early and late season. Plus they take up little room, yet do demand good nutrition. Good soil!!!!
  • 8. Keep the garden hydrated. Soil organisms need the moisture as much as the plants they help to grow.
  • 9. Keep on top of aggressive plants. Otherwise you might have an entire garden of goldenrod, Oenothera fruticosa , Oenothera speciosa, or Rudbeckia. These and plants like them will push their way around the garden at the expense of other plants you might prefer.
  • 10. Mulch early because later the garden will be covered in foliage. I just top dress rather than mulch. The plants themselves shade the soil nicely.

Now for Design…

Like I mentioned on the collector’s garden, my garden has a more subdued color scheme of blues and pinks, yet a few hot colors pop up throughout the season. Too much color, especially hot colors, is a lot more jarring than festive.  I like hot colors as a garden accent.


Reds, yellows and oranges are in the main bed and command attention, but generally as a few specimens. I design designated beds where they have a greater presence, like the side garden above. Masses of red, yellow or orange blooms are guaranteed to attract attention – they add excitement, but so do a few accents. I love color, but the garden is very different through the growing season.

Spring is pastel and fall is predominantly blue and purple.  A designer trick is to vary the color scheme by seasons. Hot color says summer! I use a lot of white to temper the color too. Color is tricky because if you use too much, color can cancel out the neighboring batch. We are wired to easily notice confusion and things having too much contrast.

Front-yard-6-15-2 Front-yard-6-15-1

I use blue all season long. Blue tones can help widen or lengthen the look of a garden because blue falls back visually, and in a small space blue makes it feel larger. Because blue fades as night comes, I add lots of white to brighten the garden. In the garden now are pansies, Salvia, amsonia, spiderwort, lavender, and Campanula. Shortly the Delphinium, asters, Russian Sage, balloon flower, and Caryopteris take the stage.

The side gardens are all hot colors. Rudbeckia, coneflowers, Sundrops, roses and yarrow.


The Japanese Lilac Trees after the rain, all the blooms droop.

Check out the garden in a week or two. It will look quite different as a whole new host of characters perform. That is one of the best reasons for a tight planting, there is always a “new” garden to see as the season progresses.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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39 Responses to Tiny and Jam-Packed – My Garden in June

  1. Your garden is lovely! I just love flowers, and feel good contributing to pollinators. My delphinium gets so tall that it’s beautiful flowers bend and break even though I stake them. Do you have this issue?

    • Thank you Julie. I have the same issues with them some years. Not every year, but when they self-sow and I get more of them, they support themselves. I found using stakes or any means to keep them from leaning just breaks them at the point of containment in strong wind. Better they are supported buy other plants. They are a plant best surrounded with other heavily foliated plants for support.

  2. Jet Eliot says:

    Your garden is a work of art, Donna, and I thoroughly enjoyed the front tour. The color scheme is completely relaxing, even through photos. And I was thrilled to see the hummingbird moth too!

    • Thank you Jet. I saw the moth yesterday and I just lowered the ISO on the camera, otherwise it would have been stop-action and better in focus. He quickly took off, so no camera setting could be changed.

  3. Wow! There’s a lot in your garden and a lot in your post. Thanks for the beautiful views and wonderful information.

    • Thanks Connie. I wanted to follow up on the collector’s garden because like her, I have a lot of plants too. Where she mostly uses hot colors, I use predominantly cool colors. It really shows a difference in natural lighting. I can take photos in noon sun and they are not quite so glaring.

  4. Such a beautiful garden! I can’t imagine the work that goes into making that happen each season and year. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Thanks for showing your wonderful front garden in detail and thanks too for all your further information! The 10 suggestions are extremely helpful, Donna! I enjoyed your choice and combination of plants a lot and I’m impressed with the effect of colors, sizes and foliage! Really nice! Great to see the insect activity in your garden!

    I love to have some hot colors apart from the calming and fresh blue, white, pastel shades etc. but I totally agree that these should better be limited (spots, single plants, accents). Only when it comes to bright yellow I can’t resist! ^^ In the northern part of Germany we often have to wait rather patiently for sunshine and warm temperatures. In this case yellow blossoms are really helpful. They pretend that the sun is shining, act as a substitute or as a kind of morale booster.

    I’m now looking rather forward to visiting your back garden!

    Have a nice week!

    • Thank you, Michèle. I love yellow too and in Spring there is quite a bit of yellow in the garden. It works great on cloudy days like you mentioned. In the fog image opening the post, you can see my cool colors all fade and darken. The Lilac tree has yellowish blooms and they are bright on a cloudy day. I like how you said the yellow blooms “pretend like the sun is shining”, it is very poetic.

  6. Those are indeed some amazing pictures. I agree with you on so much of your advice as well, mulching, good soil, and encouraging good bugs has always worked wonders in my garden. It took quite a while to digest all of those pictures, there were so many of them and they were just lovely. Well done!

    • Thank you. To see all the plant partnering many angles were taken. It is hard to get the little garden inone big image, then you can’t tell what is in the beds. I still missed a big side bed and some smaller ones on the opposite side. There is more stuffed in my garden than many others many times in size.

  7. Now this is what I call harmony! Simply gorgeous, Donna!!!! 🙂

  8. debsgarden says:

    Your garden is wonderful! I have always loved swathes of purples, blues, and pinks, though it has taken years for my uneducated (garden-wise) brain to determine how to do that here in Alabama. Years ago I planted lovely pastel perennials in my summer garden. It was a disaster! Those sweet colors quickly faded to white, then fried in the scorching bright sun. I discovered that summer hussies with bright orange, red, magenta pink and yellow (not my favorite colors!) stand the heat better, so I learned to keep pastels for the spring and then celebrate my tropical side in summer. I could have saved myself frustration if I had had professional advice!

    • Thanks Deb. It is funny what light does to colors and it changes around the country. When In SF, CA a few years ago, I could not get over how strong the light was on gardens. The colors washed no matter what they were, but on a cloudy day, they shown like jewels. I like your “summer hussies” because that is so much what they remind me of, especially those tall double dahlias. Pretty yes, but very full of themselves.

  9. eulalia says:

    Beautiful gardens, beautiful pictures

  10. I wasn’t familiar with the Japanese Lilac trees until a couple of years ago when landscapers started using it heavily here. They seem like good choices for suburban gardens. You have many beautiful blooms. Great tips for keeping the plants healthy.

    • Thank you, Beth. The lilac trees are nice because swallowtails like the flowers. I saw a few on them this year already. The tree stays small and grows relatively slow for an ornamental tree. They are a bit fussy and will not flower nicely if they are stressed by drought the prior year. The city here uses them frequently.

  11. rose says:

    What a beautiful garden! This is just the kind of look I have been striving for–wish I could have had your advice a few years ago:) I like to plant things really close together, too, and your color scheme is my favorite. I’m curious what the light blue flowers are in several photos; it’s hard to find many blooms in that shade of blue. The Japanese lilac tree is a beauty!

    • Thank you Rose. The light blue shows up in a few of my gardens, but the ones you see in the front bed are likely the annual nodding bloom Salvia ‘Sky Blue’ and tall Flax , Linium perenne ‘Blue’. Both are baby blue and very true blue I might add, no hint of lavender. The grower told me these two are good self-sowing plants. She is a large grower of cut flowers in Eden. They have better conditions for soil than do we, but I am trying them out. Her suggestion last year of Verbena bonariensis ‘Buenos Aires’ and Cosmos ‘Choca Mocha’ were two of my favorite self-seeders. They are both beautiful, delicate long-stemmed blooms.
      Some of my true navy blue blooms are the great pollinator plant Salvia ‘Black and Blue’, and Gentian a butterfly and hummingbird perennial. Both are in the gardens. I have so many to name, and maybe one post I will list them all. They are spread throughout the season though. From Blue phlox to Caryopteris to asters.

  12. Laurin Lindsey says:

    A beautiful cottage garden so full and lovely! Thank you for the tips. I am saving those : ) http://ravenscourtgardens.com/

  13. Denise says:

    You certainly have a full garden! A pollinators paradise. I also have so many maple seedlings, unbelievable.

  14. ShellE says:

    Your gardens are lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Roger Brook says:

    I understand your US term ‘Master Gardener’ now Donna
    I fully agree with your ideas about mounding the borders
    I envy you the rain, we are as dry as a bone in York

    • We had months of no rain, so these rains are quite welcome. Trees especially were stressed. I hope your weather improves in York. Well, when the soil needs improving, going up helps quite a bit. This rain has helped the soil too, it still remains friable, when by now it usually starts to become ‘concrete’.

  16. Your garden is looking terrific this June, Donna. I also seem to have a lot of cool colors at this time of year, but garden lacks blue for some unknown reason.
    I’d love to come to the Buffalo Garden walk, if not this year, perhaps next.

  17. Oh Donna I am so glad to be catching up with reading blog posts today as I get to see your stunning garden. I love to use bright colors as accents too and I adore the plants and colors you have blooming….great advice again with how to successfully maintain your garden…looking forward to seeing the back garden!

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