Exterior & Garden The Victorian House

How Our Garden Blooms in June

Queen Anne Victorian House, Front Garden

First, may I point out that we have a new 9×12 area of grass? Because I finally found sod for sale, and I bought it, tilled the soil (by hand with a long-handled murder weapon, basically), and laid it all out on Saturday. Not my favorite way to spend the day, but if it takes, it will have been worth it. These are the ‘after’ shots I wanted to show you a couple of weeks ago!

Freshly Laid Sod in the Front Garden

New Sod

Look at that somewhat boring expanse of lawn. Glorious. Let us bask in the additional glory of the other yard work that has happened!

I’ve already…

  • Weeded the perennial border. I’ll have to do continual maintenance as always, but the spring cleanup is done.

  • Continued pruning and rejuvenating the boxwoods. They’re shrinking down in size, I swear.

  • Replaced the climbing rose’s trellis. I was very proud of my handiwork! Until I broke the oldest, most profusely flowering cane. (I may have uttered a few choice words.)

  • Cleaned out and replanted the smaller side of the yard. Weeks of work sound so easy in a simple sentence.

  • Laid that sod! It took me about six hours to till the soil, level it, and lay the new grass. I’ve been dutifully watering it and am hoping it takes.

Front Garden with Victorian Wrought Iron Fence

But there’s always more to do.

  • Reshape the overgrown yew on the side of the house. It’s yellowing, and I’m not sure if it’s because the roots are staying to wet, or if it needs fertilizer.

  • Repaint the front porch. The stairs especially need it.

  • Put up a new hook in the center of the arch for a hanging basket. Such a simple thing, but I haven’t done it yet! Also, I think I should stick to giant ferns in that spot. I tried to make the planter look cute, and it is from up close, but from the street it’s underwhelming. The scale is off with little plants.

  • Figure out what I want to plant along the front of the wrought iron fence. It’s kind of hodge-podge and bare in spots right now.

  • Edge. I found eight pieces of rope edging under the front porch (!), but it won’t go terribly far. The edging can always wait for another year. You know, when I magically replace all of the cement sidewalks with beautiful old brick walkways? (Yeah. Not in the plans, but it would be pretty. They’re probably a pain to shovel in the winter anyways.)

  • New wooden fence. Oof, ours is falling apart.

  • Do I want a little bench in the front yard? Like, embrace the full-on whimsy of a tête-à-tête bench? Could be cute in front of the giant bush (no idea what kind it is) between our house and the neighbor’s.

I took all of the photos for this post this morning, but I should have taken more when the irises were at their peak! This was about a week ago (during the free bullfighting show for passers by — exciting entertainment offered here).

Free Bullfighting Show!

I found a plastic tag in the dirt when I was working on the new trellis, and now I know that we have a John Davis climbing rose. Super cold-hardy and disease resistant. Also forgiving with rose-novices like myself! I mostly know what I’m doing now, but I definitely did not for a while there. Although I did break the main cane, like I said, so… yeah.

John Davis Climbing Rose

This shot would have been 33% prettier with way more blooms, had I not messed up. Also, that bottom left corner is where all the irises were blooming. Flowers come, flowers go. More will pop up through the summer as others fade, but I think things may be at their peak now. The roses will still be nice for a few weeks, and then it’s phlox, sedum, various hydrangeas, and Rose of Sharon.

New Trellis for the Climbing Rose on the Front Porch

The siding on the porch needs a good scrub, and new paint on the porch and stairs. I’m into the trellis though! The old one was wooden and cute, but it was broken beyond repair and I like the new trellis’ arch mimics the Queen Anne arches in the architecture.

The Lovely Victorian

The other side of the porch, for good measure. We spend a ton of time out here.

Front Porch, Queen Anne Victorian

Lots more pictures coming your way! Ready? And… go!

August picked out this lamb’s ear and we planted it last year. This year, it’s huge! And it had babies. Maybe some of these near the fence?

Lamb's Ear and a Blue Gazing Ball

What is even going on here. Autumn sweet clematis doing its thing and growing all over that fence, pink peonies, a couple of extra boxwoods in pots that need to find a home, and the giant bush between our yard and the neighbor’s. Any idea what it is? I don’t remember it flowering or doing anything but existing in a crazy jumbled mass. This is maybe not my favorite part.

Autumn Sweet Clematis, Pink Peonies, Boxwood, and a Giant Mystery Bush

Another question for you. What’s this? It’s new this year, and I didn’t plant it, but it’s pretty. I think the flowers close up each night?

White Flowers and a Bee

John Davis climbing rose. There’s another around the side of the house, as you transition from the side yard to the back.

John Davis Climbing Rose

The peonies are so pretty! Almost done for the year.Pink Peonies

I planted a few more peonies last year too. They’re small, but they did bloom. The clematis climbing the horse hitch is new, too, and I fill those turquoise planters with annuals each year (right now it’s geraniums and potato vine).

Near the Garden Gate

Foxglove. I planted a couple last year, and they didn’t pop up again, so I’m retrying. I know they’re biennial, but there was nothing.


Catmint, sedum, and daylilies. My catmint is flopping over. Probably means it needs to be divided, right? Another contender to go along the front fence (or to be given away).

Catmint, Sedum, and Daylilies

Plenty more. The aliums are on their way out.

Perennial Border

Purple Alium

Spirea beneath the bow windows cover the foundation. They die to the ground in winter, but come back more and more each year. Same with the variety of hydrangea next to them (that I didn’t take a photo of because it’s not in bloom yet).


Any idea what variety of rose this is? It’s like a mini tree. With scary, scary, deadly thorns. That my kids run by and nearly run into! But it’s pretty when it’s blooming. It reblooms a little too.

Rose Bush

And last, more roses.


It looks like the dog rose of my botanical print, yes? Kismet!

Beautiful Pink Roses

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  • heather
    June 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Th white flowering plant with the bee is spiderwort. Each bloom lasts a day.

  • Susanne
    June 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I was just going to post the same thing! Since you like purple, check out the “Sweet Kate” variety in the link below https://makingitlovely.com/2017/06/06/how-our-garden-blooms-in-june/

  • Geneviève Thiffault
    June 6, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Gardening is so addictive! I’m glad we get to see your garden evolving, it is already beautiful. Keep up the good work!

    About your yew, well, I am only an amateur gardener, but we have two of those in our backyard and even though we got almost twice as much rain as usual in April and May, they are still doing great. Our soil is clay, so it doesn’t drain well. My first thought is that the water might not be the problem for yours. As for that other mysterious bush, maybe with a close up picture, we could be able to find what it is. I am pretty curious actually. :)

  • Britt Lauren (@BrittLaurenD)
    June 6, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    We planted wild flowers in early spring and just seeing them bloom is exciting! Makes me even want to garden more. Your front looks lovely and inviting!

  • Arli
    June 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    What a gorgeous garden!

  • Chris
    June 7, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Love seeing your garden! It is amazing how lush and colorful it is. I live in SoCal and we have our own wonderful plants, but it is is amazing to see and learn about all of yours!

  • h
    June 7, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    The white one is, I believe, spiderwort! Or tradescantia. It’s more typically blue/purple but I love the white blossoms, they’re so soft looking! We used to have some when I was growing up in Vermont; my mom hates it but I think it’s pretty. When we moved to Chicago I went on a bit of a pilgrimage to find a store that sold it and now have a thriving clump in our front yard. The flowers close at night and it has quite a long bloom season.

  • Barbara
    June 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Just so you know, most foxglove are bi-annuals. You should see flowers again next year.

  • Sarah
    June 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I bought a small “Sweet Kate” spiderwort at the farmer’s market about 3 years ago for a few dollars, its grown so much I was able to divide it and now have it in about 4 different spots in my yard. I’ve also been able to give a ton away.

  • Beth Fioritto
    July 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Also a fun fact, spiderwort is native and the bees love it. We also got some spiderwort (with purple flowers) on accident and it’s one of my favorite plants in my garden. Keeps making more so I keep dividing it to put in other places. I’ve heard it does well in problem areas where other plants don’t thrive, both in sun and shade, wet and dry spots. Handy to have in the garden, and pollinator-friendly.

  • MaryMargaret
    July 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Hi. What is the John Davis rose climbing on? Is there a trellis or is it attached somehow to the porch?

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