Garden’s summer symphony begins

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Let the symphony begin as the gardens transition from late spring to early summer. The garden’s colors intensify as the heat goes up in the summer. Right now, the alliums are blooming next to the grape colored irises and in front of these are the hot pink gerbera daisies. And if that’s not enough color, throw in the fuchsia on the shepherd’s hook for even more intense hues.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

In the oval garden in the back, the Siberian irises are blooming in front of the yellow button flowers Ranunculus repens floro pleno. I love that combination of bright yellow and purple to catch your eye as you step into the gardens.

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The lilacs have finished blooming and it is time to do any pruning that might be necessary to shape up the bush before next year’s flower buds are formed. If you haven’t fertilized your roses, it is time to do so, so they will put out lots of flower buds during the summer months. I always add Epsom salts to my fertilizer to give them a little extra boost and then a good drink of water. Roses require lots of water to bloom at their full potential, so water them in the morning and keep it off the foliage to prevent mildew.

This year I added two new rose bushes: Oso Easy paprika rose, a vibrant orange that fades to coral, and Easy Elegance sweet fragrance, with buds of coral-orange with a deep yellow base with apricot blossoms that mature to salmon-pink. This is a delightful addition to my garden and what a fragrance it has besides being gorgeous.

Yesterday I noticed the new bobo hydrangeas were just beginning to bloom and flower heads were also forming on invicibelle spirit and vanilla strawberry. Hydrangeas add so much to the garden and really have become a favorite of mine. Now that they have developed several smaller varieties, they will fit into any garden.

The deep blue bachelor buttons are just beginning to bloom in the cutting garden along with the walkers low catmint, so when the yellow flowers start to bloom this garden will be ever-so lovely.

Siberian irises with yellow button flowers in the background bloom in Lang’s late spring gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Siberian irises with yellow button flowers in the background bloom in Lang’s late spring gardens. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

It won’t be long and the heat will really be turned up in the gardens as the lilies and daylilies begin their long season of colorful blooms throughout all of the gardens.

On the large pergola in the backyard, sweet summer love clematis is clambering up the sides, as are the other clematis. This exciting new clematis has fragrant cranberry-violet flowers that appear a month earlier than the typical sweet autumn clematis and I am really awaiting the blooms on this gem. If you have your gardens well-planned for continual blooms, the symphony will overwhelm you with color and fragrance.

It won’t be long and all of the zinnias will really put on a show of color to attract the butterflies into the gardens. As it heats up, so do these colorful and dependable flowers. They bloom until the hard frost in the fall.

This year, most of my roses didn’t fare well through the cold winter and I had to cut them to the ground, so the bloom time will be later and I don’t think up to the standards they usually are. My hardiest shrub rose bonica is just starting to grow after being cut down so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some blooms a bit later in the summer.

So, as we enter the summer season in the gardens, the colors become more intense with reds, oranges, yellows and purples everywhere you look and the color combinations just seem to harmonize with each other. How can we not be excited with all that is going on around us this time of the year? The conductor of this symphony sure must know what he is doing to have such excitement everywhere.

“Working in the garden gives me something beyond enjoyment of the senses… it gives me a profound feeling of inner peace. There is no rush toward accomplishment, no blowing of trumpets. Here is the great mystery of life and growth. Everything is changing, growing, aiming at something, but silently, unboastfully taking its time.” — Ruth Stout 


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at