There's little pastel prettiness about June if you plant your garden for a blast of strong spring color. Deeply saturated colors look so good when the days are cool and overcast, which is most days this record-breaking soggy month. Even on sunny days in mid-June the sky is usually a washy blue, streaked with haze. Intense colors always look better to me on such days than paler, sweeter tones.
What's so fun, always, about arranging flowers is taking what you have scattered about in the garden and bringing it together to create something new and more intense. Gathered together, softened with a bit of green leaf or flower, colors and textures play off each other in unexpected and lively ways that just don't happen in the open air with so much distance and foliage between them.
Here's a bouquet I pulled together for Museo Gallery's June opening. The entire show is in dramatic black-and-white, so I used a matte white vase and piled on the intensity of color and variety of texture, from frilled ruby peonies to starry lavender allium and odd, spiky little Rudbeckia 'Green Wizard' that literally lasts for weeks when cut for the vase. It's one of those plants that disappears in the garden, for its flower petals are just the same shade as its unfortunately large leaves - but it shines in the vase, where the velvety brown cones and pure green flowers are almost otherworldly...
There's some honeysuckle in there for perfume, some airy little ruby-colored Astrantia major 'Hadspen Blood' to echo the deep color of the peonies, some euphorbia to lighten it up both texturally and color-wise, and a couple of delphinium spikes just opening up, their vertical line a contrast to the blowsiness of the peonies.
And with a garden backdrop, where the natural light plays up the blues of delphinium and purple allium - the little grassy spikes are from the Bowles' Golden Grass that is seeding its pretty self all over my garden.