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RDG 2012 Summer Update

The RainyDayGarden is at its most lush at the beginning of June. The May rain, combined with the 70º day-time temperature, is a signal for many perennials to flower. The peonies blooms began to open up about a week ago.

The pink peonies have very large blooms and a heady fragrance. The blooms are so heavy that they tend to overwhelm the stems. We have them in flower cages, but cages can only do so much to hold things up. In order to enjoy the blooms, we typically bring them inside and display them. In water, the flowers can last for up to ten days.

Another wonderful RainyDayGarden cut flower is the spiderwort. It is a clumpy perennial with intense blue and purple flowers. We like them for their slim leaves and long lasting blooms, especially when brought inside.

Spiderwort grow to about three feet high, but because of their wimpy stems, they can fall over quite easily. In the past, we would just cut them once they started to lose their verticality. This year, we tried something new. We found these half-round plant supports from Jardin at Gardener’s Supply Company. They work pretty well on some of the lower bigger clumps of spiderworts, but it was too late for the taller ones. Now that we have the supports, we will get them around the plants earlier next season.

One fun fact about spiderwort is that the cells of the stamen hairs are colored blue, but when exposed to sources of ionizing radiation such as gamma rays (yes, from outer space), the cells will mutate and the color will change to pink! Spiderworts are one of the few tissues known to serve as an effective bioassay for ambient radiation levels. Now how cool is that???

June is the peak time for our Siberian Irises. We like them because they look great, are so easy to grow, a little bit on the small side, and very disease/pest resistant. It all adds up to a low-maintenance plant that is perfect for city gardeners. We have a few different clusters of Siberian Irises in different parts of the garden. Those with the most sun will bloom earlier. By strategically placing them throughout the garden, we ensure we have iris blooms for weeks.

Spirea is another plant which we love. We love it because it will grow in full sun or in shade. That means we can use it to add color to difficult areas of the garden without much fuss. The flowers blooms for months. Great for the garden and great for insects. Great in general. Buzz buzz!

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