June opens the gate to summer when the landscape is all abloom. I like this quote about June:
“In early June, the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.” - John Steinbeck
As a self-professed beauty-seeker, I'm constantly grabbing my phone/camera to capture something that's caught my eye. It's easy to find beautiful things in nature at this time of year when perennials and shrubs are flowering and foliage is still fresh. However, flowers fade and insects and weeds invade our little Edens, and we are challenged to look harder to find beauty.
Our theme for this month is ‘Seeking Beauty’. Now that we are in a more relaxed, restful mode of summer and spending more time outdoors, I hope you'll pause to watch the flight of a butterfly, enjoy a sunset, smell that rose, and pick flowers for a vase. Capture a beautiful moment with your camera or with pen and journal. Seek beauty. You won't have to look far - it's usually right in front of you. Each of those beautiful moments together weave a beauty-filled life. It's all about perspective and what you are hunting for. Make it a habit, because seeking beauty will often lead to other things like gratitude, wonder, and joy.
As you seek beauty this month, may grace surprise you along the way.
For me, it started several years ago when I read these words: “Have vessel, must find beauty." Life-changing words written by Ann Voskamp in her book, ‘One Thousand Gifts’ that a friend had given me. In her book, she writes that every time she picked a bouquet of flowers, she would have to hunt for a vase or vessel to put it in. One day she decide to leave the empty vase out on the table and go hunt for flowers. It no longer was ‘have beauty, must find a vessel", it had become ’have vessel, must find beauty." That small shift in perspective has had a huge impact on my life.
Basil for bruschetta, chives in salads, cilantro in salsas - fresh herbs at wonderful flavor to our recipes. Have you tried purple basil or purple sage? And what's so special about parsley that it was named 2021 Herb of the Year? Read on to learn more about these three herbs.
Doesn't it seem that the film that wins an Oscar for best picture is usually not very well-known? I think that’s what happened with this year’s Perennial Plant of the Year. The plant that has checked all the boxes and has won this year’s highest perennial honor is Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta.
Have you seen all the purple pots out front? I didn't intend to sell perennials when I opened Bella Botanica, but because some of you were asking me to, and the fact that I teach a class on perennials at Gateway Technical College, well, it seemed to make sense.
Given my location is close to two other perennial retailers, I knew I'd have to find a niche - something that would be different and unique. I immediately thought of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens located in Hebron, IL. I have long admired the work of owner, Brent Horvath. As a plant breeder, he has introduced many perennials over the last 30 years - all of which are in purple pots! So it was an easy and natural decision to carry only Brent's introductions.
His plants are improvements on old standbys, and have some pretty cool features. The next time you are here, ask, and I'll be happy to tell you all about them!
Perennials are the mainstay of the landscape - offering interest through the seasons. To achieve an attractive combination in the garden, there are a few quick pointers to keep in mind:
1. Make sure they have the same light requirements.
2. Learn about their growing habits to make sure they are compatible. How much they will spread?
3. Look at the leaves! Consider what the perennial will look like when not in bloom.
4. Choose perennials that bloom at different times.
5. Focus on leaf texture. Pair plants with broad leaves with plants that have fine texture such as ornamental grasses.
(See photo above. )
Have you ever found yourself in need of inspiration?
Our Spring Artist-in-Residence, Belinda Abendschein, shares what inspires her art in this brief chat I had with her recently. It may help you, too.
Also, for the month of June, Belinda's bird and leaf watercolor series are available at a special price. Don't miss this opportunity to add to your personal art collection.
Herb gardening cannot be mentioned without thinking of Rosalind Creasy. She is a pioneer in the edible landscape movement and has written 18 books about gardening and cooking. If you want just one book on the topic, The Kitchen Herb Garden is it! She offers design tips, growing and harvesting how-to's for each herb, and finishes with delicious recipes using them. It's a great introduction for the beginner herb gardener, and it available here at Bella Botanica.
COFFEE OF THE MONTH: Bloom
Spring represents all things good in life—light, growth, and perseverance. It's a magical, transformative time that is reflected in a cup of Bloom. You'll taste the fruitiness of plum and melon, paired with the rich sweetness of plum and cocoa.
Stone Creek Coffee is based in Milwaukee and has a story that will make you a fan even if you don't drink coffee. You can read it here.Save $2 on Bloom Coffee.
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Until next month, you can find me on Instagram @bellabotanicaboutique or if you are a fellow plant geek, follow along as I post plant pics @beautyseekr. Happy growing!