Summer has arrived

It’s the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and I have weather on my mind. My heart goes out to those, including some of my offspring, in areas of the country that have been hit so hard by storms over the last few months and are about to be hit again by another deluge of rain, flooding, hail and/or tornadoes…. and high temperatures.

Lady's Mantle - June 2019

In New Hampshire, we’ve been fortunate. We’ve had plenty of rain accompanying our cool temperatures. Gardens around here can handle what nature has doled out so far.

June 2019

In fact, for ornamental gardeners it’s been amazing to have steady rainfall every couple of days this spring. My favorite garden color green dominates the landscape, from the lime green of Japanese Spikenard ‘Sun King’ and lady’s mantle to the blue green of hostas.  The lushness of the landscape has been fed by our life-giving spring rains and plants from perennials to shrubs to grasses and vines have exploded in growth.

June 2019

Temperatures in New England have been cool but I fear that as soon as the heat of summer hits us, the door will be open for an assortment of bacteria and fungi that thrive in heat and the moisture we’re having. And, for sure, there will be an increase of unwelcome insects… like slugs and worse. Already arriving this week are newly hatched LARGE mosquitoes that chase us indoors at dusk. Sigh….

Aralia 'Sun King' - June 2019

Rain is a welcome treat right now, but too much rain during the summer months can cause plenty of problems for us in the garden. We will simply enjoy it while we can.

A Day of Firsts

First day of summer and First garden tomato….
Nothing better than a garden grown tomato to celebrate Summer Solstice!



As news from around the world seems to be spinning out of control, I recently told the mainstream media to buzz off for a bit! My garden (as well as family, friends and neighbors, and volunteering) provided an offline pause that was needed to rest the mind.

This year every inch of the garden is extra healthy and bursting with greenery and blooms due to an abundance of cool weather and rain we had this spring. What a difference a year makes!  I find myself beating the bounds of our tiny garden often, doing a little weeding, deadheading, adding or transplanting a few plants, composting, or just watching the birds rather than being online. What a tonic!

We all know that in spite of news headlines, there really are wonderful things going on everywhere. You just have to look for it, then stay engaged in what matters to you. As the Brits say, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  It’s a very good thing…

Happy First Day of Summer

Sunrise over the North River

Happy Summer Solstice, Happy Midsummer, Happy St. John’s Day or Happy First Day of Summer as the sun rises a tad north of due East today. The word ‘solstice’ derives from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stop,” as the sun seems to stop overhead at its most northern point at noon today to give us more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere than any other day of the year and the longest day of the year. From this point on, the days will begin to be shorter…. and hotter!  Whether you celebrate with bonfires, feasts, or trips to the beach today, take time to appreciate this celestial event.

Check out today’s Google Doodle welcoming the Summer Solstice with the floral doodle called the “First Day of Summer” by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

Summer Solstice 2010


The summer solstice (‘sol + stice’ from Latin, meaning ‘sun’ + ‘stand still’) arrives in the northern hemisphere this morning, June 21, at 7:28 am.  It is the longest day of the year and a day was held in reverence by ancient people as a season of rebirth and renewal, the start of the summer growing season.

Around the world, the day is celebrated with bonfires, parades, maypole dances, parties and more. At Stonehenge, thousands gathered at sunset last night at the ancient pillars of stones as they awaited daybreak. Last year over 36,000 converged to keep vigil from sunset until they celebrate the rising sun aligning with the Heel Stone, following the rituals that many believe ancient pagans celebrated.

Annual New York Times summer solstice yoga

At New York City’s annual Solstice in Times Square, hundreds of celebrants will greet the summer solstice with tranquility and transcendence in perhaps the world’s largest yoga class. Amidst the city’s noises and activity, a sense of community in this gathering brings unanimity in honoring the season of growing.

This morning I will watch the sunrise, then join a community of neighborhood friends for breakfast and the first of our summer art activities.  For me, the act of artistic creation is the beginning of another growing season where ideas and skills germinate and grow.

How will you spend the longest day of the year?  Happy summer solstice!

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester