Moving into June

So what is this about June being almost upon us? Six months into the year already I hear you mutter. How did that happen?

I love June in Seattle. In my New Zealand childhood, June signaled Old Man Winter was about to pounce. Goodbye to long swims at the beach and lazy picnics; it was time to get serious. In the Northern Hemisphere it’s time to let go a tad.

It turns out June is actually a busy month. This is true at Dunn Gardens, since it is one of our peak blooming times. June is introduced by a ballet of rhododendrons blooming over time in May. When walking the grounds you feel as if the fairies have been out dressing up the bushes to celebrate the sun, both actual and promised. Since the rhododendrons are big and showy they seem like the principals but there is an enchanting chorus around them that will be there in June. 

The pink flowering Cornus kousa, ‘Heart Throb’ has blooms that will remain for a full two months and then as an added attraction the leaves will burnish up for fall. Perennials such as Astrantia major, which has the unattractive common name of Masterwort settles and seeds in, but not too aggressively. Actea pachypoda is a great favorite that shows up late spring, early summer: Doll’s Eyes. As can be guessed by its common name it is an unusual looking plant and so fascinates visitors. In June the sun is high enough that the Acer griseum with its bark tapestry can show off to full glory. Without fail it is magical to see the rays pick up the texture of the curling skin of the tree to make it glisten.

June brings us many things besides blooms to enjoy: Father’s Day is one. It turns out it is also regarded as a month to create awareness. Perhaps that is because people are feeling receptive to new things in the warmer season. For some odd reason it is “Turkey Lovers Month.” Other foods that get their own national month in June are iced tea and papaya. The focus on things to eat has perhaps evolved because the folks in the northern end of the world are getting ready for picnics. We have one June 24th when families are invited to spread a blanket on our great lawn and enjoy some time together.

But lest you get lulled into thinking June is nothing more that a month for awareness of flowers and foods, we have news. You also have a chance to honor audiobooks and accordions. You could listen and/or play at the Dunn Gardens picnic should you be so inclined. You could also tune into the awareness promotions for lane courtesy, safety, smiling and rebuilding your life.  Going to a picnic would help with those I am thinking without the tedium of reading the literature about each.

If you wanted something a bit more active in June consider taking Jennifer Carlson’s class on Hawaiian flower arranging (June 27). June is a particularly important month for Hawaiians since it is when they celebrate Kamehameha Day. The latter was first established in 1871 to honor the memory of Kamehameha the Great (c. 1758-1819) who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 to became Hawai’i’s first King.

So June, named after Juno, a significant Roman goddess, is a month of promise and riches. We hope you will find something that appeals to your soul and celebrate it. We would, of course, like it even more if that happened in the Dunn Gardens. Feel free to visit us:


Open Saturday: June 2

Family Picnic: June 24

Hawaiian Flower Arranging: June 27