Outdoors Recreation

The Observant Gardener: June is a Month of Growth and Wonder

Photo by Judith Canty Graves

Summer begins now, about a week past, with the expanded leaves, the shade, and warm weather…. Plants are rapidly growing, shooting…. The first bloom of the year is over. It is now the season of growth. – Henry David Thoreau, June 1, 1853

By Judith Canty Graves

There is an unfolding of nature during the month of June. The prelude occurs during the earlier spring season, but the fullness of summer in the South starts in early June. Plants that were new and fresh in April and May now become more mature. Leaves on the trees are completely open and lush. The landscape around us is a vibrant green, slightly darker than the new green growth only a few weeks before.
In June, summer temperatures hit their stride, showing us the wonder and growth of plants everywhere. A succession of blooms open and then fade, uplifting our spirits. Even though the calendar tells us that the solstice begins June 20, in the Southern mountains we experience summer weather weeks earlier.

Days become longer and sunrise is earlier. The earth feels more alive, especially with insects buzzing and birds singing daily. Tree frogs are calling for mates. Tiny praying mantises start crawling around the yard after they hatch. We see and hear the changes around us. For gardeners, it sometimes feels challenging to keep up with June’s intense growth.

The early blooms of peonies, daffodils and irises have passed. Now the warmer days begin and the grass grows more slowly. The foliage of the macrophylla hydrangeas and the panicle hydrangeas becomes more lush. By June, the tiny hydrangea buds of May grow bigger with each passing day. I anticipate the large hydrangea blooms to come!

Ferns unfurl their magnificent leaves. The delicate fiddleheads, which appear in April and May, turn into graceful leaves. Different ferns have different rates of growth. Some are fully open by late April, but others take longer. By June all the ferns spread their glorious green leaves; hostas also are fully grown, with their magnificent colors and patterns.

In June I watch the seedlings I planted weeks ago become taller each day. Tomatoes, in particular, have darker green leaves and thicker stems. They produce tiny yellow flowers as signs of a future harvest bounty. Sunflowers and tithonias grow rapidly and seem established. Colorful calla lilies bloom with their curving shapes and striking spotted foliage.

Fireflies begin to flash their mating signals in the evenings. Late at night, in the dark, I see them twinkling up high in the trees. It is a magical sight. Bullfrogs croak loudly in ponds. Dragonflies are everywhere.

Although I have seen this before, it still seems miraculous. All the changes in the environment are a wonder. The genius of nature is on display every day as the plants, insects, animals and birds grow into maturity. April and May are the months of emergence, but June is the time of fulfilling growth as a new season begins.

Judith Canty Graves is an Asheville gardener with a background in photojournalism. Follow @TheObservantGardener on Instagram to see new garden photos daily.

Leave a Comment