My name is Bill Hodgeman, and I’ve been gardening on my property in Sunderland, Massachusetts, since 2015.
My neighborhood was a swamp for thousands of years, then before it was developed, a lot of clay was brought in from Connecticut. So the ground is very nutritious, somewhat poorly draining, and difficult during periods of drought. I have brought in a lot of composted manure to make the soil more pliable. As a result, things grow very well—often quite a bit larger than advertised! But I love gardening here.
In June, I try to work with a restrained color palette. The front of my sunny borders is dominated by May Night salvia (Salvia nemorosa ‘Mainacht’, Zones 4–9 ), ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 4–9) and lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis, Zones 3–8) this time of year. Peonies (Paeonia hybrids, Zones 3–8), poppies (Papaver orientale, Zones 3–7), bluestar (Amsonia, Zones 5–8), and baptisia (Baptisia, Zones 3–9) provide repeating, contrasting elements. The effect is quite lush! You’ll notice ‘Diabolo’ ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’, Zones 3–7) and Ogon spireas (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, Zones 4–8) in some of the pictures as well.
The color from the big masses of purple ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint is echoed by the darker purple May Night salvia and contrasts with the brilliant orange poppies.
White Oriental poppies with contrasting dark centers.
Blue baptisia and bluestar in the foreground, with the dark leaves of ‘Diabolo’ ninebark in the back.
Detail of a peony blossom opening.
A yellow peony (looks like the variety ‘Bartzella’) with the soft yellow-green flowers of lady’s mantle.
Spires of May Night salvia in a sea of lady’s mantle.
Ogon spirea has bright yellow-green foliage. Here it contrasts with the dark foliage of ‘Diabolo’ behind it.
Another mass of Ogon spirea sets off the plants around it.
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