I’m beyond delighted with the garden in these sweet early days of June. As I sit on the patio in the morning with a cup of tea on the basin wall, I hear the waterfalls and watch bees gather pollen from the pickerel weed in the stream. The gardenia is in full bloom, filling the air with its fragrance.

The red glass square in the trellis sometimes catches the light, glowing red next to the matching monarda: geometry and wild Seussian splendor.

Butterfly Milkweed with Mountain Mint

More pollinators visit as the sun warms the plants. I watched a Brown-Belted Bumblebee (Bombus griseocollis) lick a pitcher-plant leaf (Sarracenia leucophylla) for about five minutes, never getting so close to the throat of the carnivorous plant to get caught. Later, I was lucky enough to see two Blue Dasher Dragonflies mating on a lotus leaf in the pond.

I found out through iNaturalist that at least three types of Bumblebees visit the garden. I thought they were all the Common Eastern Bumblebee, but Joel Neylon pointed out that one of my observations is of a Two-Spotted Bumblebee and another is a Brown-Belted Bumblebee. He wrote a guide to identifying the three most common bumblebees in the Eastern US and Canada. Thanks, Joel and everyone at iNat!

Update: I mentioned this post on Facebook and Beth Snoke Harris added more bee corrections. I’ve updated the labels in the row just above the dragonflies. Beth suggests using the USDA guide Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States. She’s the guiding force for Raleigh’s Beeloved Community Garden, so she must know her bees!

Rain Garden

The Swamp Milkweed is just starting to bloom. The Iris is done blooming but has thumb-sized seedpods. I’m delighted that one clump of the new White-Topped Sedge is blooming.

Sun Curve

I’d hoped to have the bright color and humor of Monarda fistulosa in Sun Curve, but the two I got seem to look more like mints than anything else. I’m going to ask for verification from the online experts. Most of the color right now comes from the big yellow striped leaves of the Bengal Tiger Canna. Those who look closely will see a wide range of shape and texture.

Water Feature

The lotus finally emerged and the pickerel weed is blooming prolifically.

The Water Lettuce is multiplying rapidly. The ones shown in the photo below started out as two rosettes about a month ago. Water Lettuce shades out algae and sends out long roots which offer shelter to the tadpoles and keep the water crystal clear. Alas, it turns out be be an invasive species in North Carolina. I’ll check with the experts to see if it’s OK to keep in a land-locked water feature like mine.

The ponds and stream now also have hundreds of snails and tadpoles. The frogs started singing every night beginning May 1st.

Other Highlights

A visiting fox family evidently reduced the rabbit population so much that a golden grass from the JC Raulston Arboretum grew long enough to show its graceful form. Four dwarf gardenias bloom beneath the Doublefile Viburnum. A mystery volunteer near the viewing platform looks like an elongated Lamb’s Ear. And daylilies are blooming all around the garden.