Here’s a tour of my garden from May until late June as things have started taking off. My New England garden is located in zone 5b/6a.
My New Hampshire Late Spring Garden
Well after a very cool Spring, the warm weather is finally here and the garden seems to be really taking off now! We live right on the line of growing zones 5b/6a in New Hampshire.
The first wave of flowers has come and gone now. It was a quick season for my Siberian Iris this year. They opened and were gone in a little over a week.
These pictures were taken a week apart in May. We were wondering if the trees were ever going to bud and then BAM!!
Shade Garden Progress
The shade garden seems to fill in so much quicker than the sunny perennial beds on the other side of the house. It’s what I see out my kitchen windows and is always a welcome sight after looking at snow for months.
One of the reasons that I love shade-loving plants is that you can find such interesting leaf patterns. Like this ‘Old Glory’ Hosta.
This is the fourth year for this Coral Bells plant in my garden and each Spring I almost forget what a show-off it is! This is Heuchera ‘Dale’s Strain’. It’s an easy-care perennial hardy to zone 4. I’ve read zone 4-8 and also 4-9…for you warm-weather readers.
The leaves have a silvery-blue tinged in the middle with deep fuschia veining and bright green edges.
In late Spring the plant sends thin delicate flower shoots up. They are small lacy little blooms that look so lovely when the breeze flows through them.
After 3 seasons I also divided the original plant by digging it up in early spring and separating the root ball into 2 plants.
Dividing your plants is the perfect way to fill in your garden for free. It just takes a bit of patience for the original plant to fill in to be big enough to divide.
I divide all my hosta and daylilies every 2 to 3 years. What I can’t use I pass on to other gardeners.
But my absolute favorite thing to see in the garden is the peony buds! Oh, I just love peonies!!!! Don’t you? The big flower heads with all the petals and the beautiful shades of pink and red… are just the perfect addition to any garden!
Peonies are finicky and don’t really like to be moved so my advice is to decide on a spot when you first plant them.
Each morning when I opened the kitchen blinds the first thing I checked was to see if the buds opened…then finally this one opened! Out the door, I ran with my camera to capture the flower before it completely opened later that day.
The sad thing is that they only last for a couple of weeks barring any rainy/windy weather. We lucked out with a nice cool stretch of weather which helped prolong the blooms.
MY TOP SHADE GARDEN FLOWER PICKS:
- Coral Bells (Heuchera)
- Lady’s Mantle
- Toad Lily
Cottage Cut Flower Garden
Last year I had an invasion of voles in all my garden spaces!! If you aren’t familiar with these varmints…they look like dark grey mice but are lower to the ground and a heckuva lot faster!!!
What these critters do is make tunnels underground and also chew and destroy all your plants. They even eat bulbs and roots underground! Friends, I can’t tell you how awful they are!! They destroyed so many of my favorite plants by the end of the year and also did damage over the winter underground.
The voles even tunneled up into all my raised garden beds and chewed on my gorgeous flowers!! But the real kicker was they ate all of the dahlia tubers before I could dig them up!!!!
Well, I saw a few in early Spring (they were munching on my iris bed) so I had to be proactive.
Preparing My Garden Beds
This leads me to my first big garden task in the cottage garden…I emptied out all of the raised beds and lay down hardware cloth on the bottom and a few inches up the sides.
OK, not an easy job and it took me about a week and a half to complete all of my beds.
After doing all of this back-breaking work guess what??? I haven’t seen any traces of the vole colony!
I’m not sure if something was getting them at night or if it was the big annoying crows that have made a home in my tall pines in the back yard…whatever it is I am not going to complain!!!
Although I did not have great success with growing sweet peas last year…, I’m not a quitter and I’m going to try them again!!
Using a couple of items I had already had I assembled a quick, rustic trellis for them to climb up on using a few pieces of wood and chicken wire. All I did was staple the chicken wire to the wood stakes and make the trellis the length of the bed.
Next month I’ll fill you in on how the sweet peas did for me this year.
The prep work to get the garden going in Spring is the hardest part of gardening! Once everything is prepped and planted the work turns into watering, watching, and weeding!!
One thing that I wanted to do this year was to add more pots of flowers to my garden. Over the winter I was binging English garden YouTube! I’ll tell you if you are getting the winter blues put on an English garden tour and you will feel better.
You can check out how I put together this charming little corner of my garden with some old planters and vintage finds.
cottage garden projets
Early Vegetables in the Garden
One of my favorite early spring vegetables to grow is broccoli. Have you ever had garden-fresh broccoli? It is so delicious!
Once the heat hits you will see the broccoli start to bolt and flower but you can plant a late-season crop to enjoy in the Fall.
This year I’m going to try and start some broccoli from seed for the Fall…I’ll let you know how it goes!
If you are looking for an easy vegetable to grow you have to try radishes! In about a month you can grow them. I put in a few seeds every week (when I remember) to ensure a constant supply for my Summer salads.
I had also read last year to grow radishes with your cucumbers to deter cucumber beetles. Just plant them and leave them. I’m not sure how well it worked but I definitely had less of a problem last year with the beetles.
The Early Girl tomatoes still have a ways to go!! Hopefully by July 4th one will be red.
This year I added a new kitchen garden space out on my back patio area. Instead of digging out there or using regular raised beds, I opted for elevated raised beds and lots of pots of plants and flowers.
It’s so nice to walk out there in the morning to have my coffee too. But the chipmunks have been digging in a couple of the pots hiding seeds!
Full Sun Perennial Garden
By the end of June, all the perennials have filled out. I was so worried at the end of May if my plants were going to grow!!!!
This section of my garden always seems to give me a bit of trouble…something always looks off. Last season the voles ate all of my Sedums and a couple of other plants. This year I’m adding a few dahlias for late-season color right in the middle.
My sun-loving flower bed starts at the front of the house and wraps around the corner all the way to the end of the house.
One of the prettiest flowers that bloom in late Spring are foxgloves, a perfect addition to a cottage-style garden.
Some new additions to this garden space were 2 apricot Drift roses that were on the markdown cart at Walmart because someone had forgotten to water them and they were looking sad…but I knew they could be saved!!
In my garden last year I had added a yellow Bloomables ‘Moonlight Romantica’ rose..oh it was so pretty and they smelled like melon…well in October the voles had eaten all the tubers and I found it lying on the ground!!
My mission this Spring was to replace and I lucked out and found another one at Lowe’s.
A very easy plant to use in your borders is Lamb’s Ear. The silvery fuzzy leaves look great all season long…but did you know they also have an interesting flower?? Rocket shaped flowers with soft purple tiny flowers.
Now that we are heading into July and this is where the real fun starts in my New Hampshire garden!! The growth during the next month will be amazing!
For now, I’ll keep watching everything grow and start to form flowers! These echinacea buds are so cool looking that I had to snap a picture!!
favorite sun-loving perennials
- Butterfly Bush
- Lamb’s Ear
- Hardy Hibiscus
- Bee Balm
Grow With Me Gardening Series
This is part of the Grow With Me Gardening Series here at Cottage On Bunker Hill. I want to teach you ways of starting, maintaining, and enjoying gardening. I will share all the tips & tricks that I have learned over the years growing both vegetable and flower gardens here in the Northeast.