The Beginning of Summer

Photography by Ellie Meade

Photography by Ellie Meade

Spring annuals are over, their seeds collected and cleaned, and the old stalks pulled out to

make room for summer plantings. We go from bed to bed weeding, planting many of the

annuals and tender perennials we had in place last year, while we remember what didn’t work.


Some of the colors just don’t go together. There were bullies, which took up more space than they deserved or, more importantly, than we were willing to give them. The dahlias receive a weekly pruning even though sometimes it means we have to cut away promising buds ready to open.


We cut back most of our summer phloxes knowing that the new growth will be fresh and healthy and the flowers, though delayed, will bloom just as the summer reaches its peak.

We inspect all plants in the nursery, looking for those that need dividing, repotting, or tossing into the compost pile, while we look for desirable plants in the garden to propagate in order to make them available to interested gardeners. After a thorough reexamination of the deep not-for-sale cold frame, we found nearly forgotten plants, including Cypella plumbea, and Clematis acuminata. It is just about impossible to stay ahead of grass, which has seeded into the dianthus walk. As we remove the grass, we scatter the seeds of Omphalodes linifolia, cut back Geranium sanguineum, and remove excess self-sown seedlings of Hibiscus trionum. Adequate rains mean the soil is still moist, relatively cool considering our 90° days, and we plant hoping that with a minimum of care, our tender perennials will settle in quickly. This is a time of great expectations!

Montrose Garden