One of my favorite things to do since I have started garden blogging is to keep a monthly diary capturing the year as a whole, so that it would be possible to go back, re-visit and compare happenings in the landscape. The year of 2015 certainly did prove to be more unusual than those of the past with very erratic weather patterns and seasons out of sync like I have not experienced in a long time. After a very mild November and December of 2014, the first two weeks of 2015 proved to be bitter cold with temperatures plummeting into the single digits and chill factors below zero. On January 6th we got our first light dusting of snow (about an inch or two) which reoccurred on the 9th. The year of 2015 came in fiercely, looking and feeling a lot more like winter.
By mid-February several storms had passed and the late arriving winter conditions were in full swing. After Blizzard Juno on January 27th delivering 20 inches of snow, and with temperatures in the 20's, the gardens had been covered in a blanket of crystal white. While yet another blizzard warning was in effect for here on Long Island, the snow was too deep to walk out into the property without sinking knee deep. The garden was a winter wonderland, magical, with nature’s artwork.
March was no ordinary month. While spring temperatures should have been right around the corner, March came in like a lion with snowfall on the first, followed by winter storm Thor on the fifth, adding another 19.7 inches of snow onto the landscape. Our winter snow accumulation had reached a grand total of 56.6 inches, enforced with record low temperatures. With snow still embracing the landscape, spring initially seemed to be so far away. March went out like a lion with snow once again on the 29th.
The month of April started with a layer of white blanketing the first buds and foliage. It had been the snowiest March on record for Long Island which brought a white covered landscape into spring. The transition from a season of dormancy to one of new life had been slow moving. By the end of April temperatures had finally started climbing into the low 50's and memories of the past winter gradually faded from mind as crocus, daffodils and hyacinths started to emerge.
The month of May arrived with a warming trend that rapidly turned into a premature summer. With temperatures rising into the 80's for a few days, an explosion of intense color suddenly made its way throughout the garden. By mid-May the warmer temperatures had settled into a regular pattern with upper 60 to mid 70 degree days. The prior burst of heat was just enough to set the garden back on track and all the blooms seemed to be arriving at once!
June came in with 80 degree days and an abundance of color in the garden. Something can be said for two record cold winters in a row and the way perennials perform. It could be my imagination but this years blooms seemed to be an intense explosion of color like I have never experienced before, especially magnified for the purple blooms of May Night Salvia and Allium. As Spirea and Peony also jumped in all was right again in the landscape and the thought of snow seemed so far away. June was certainly "busting out all over" in 2015!
By the start of July temperatures were cooler than normal, ranging in the upper 70's to low 80's. Hydrangea, Astilbe Visions and Coneflowers all kicked into bloom joining the ranks of other perennials already in bloom from the month before. The cooler temperatures were a benefit, for as the month progressed, things took a turn for the worse with record high temperatures in the 90’s and virtually no rain. The blooms were able to hold out and by the end of July we received some very much needed rain, which helped to rejuvenate the gardens.
Once August rolled around the 90 degree temperatures finally broke as severe storms moved into the area mid-month, lowering temperatures into the more normal 80 degree range. It was time for Crape Myrtles, Platycodon and Hydrangea Tardivia to flower. Despite the drought the gardens managed to thrive with the overall cooler than normal conditions the month before.
Even with the few passing showers rejuvenating the garden the drought still continued into a warm September. The long dry spell was finally broken on the 10th with a day of torrential rain, making up slightly for the moisture that was so desperately needed. By mid-month there had been hints of autumn, signaled by late blooming Sedum and temperatures fluctuating between the 70's and 80's with cool breezes off the water...the seasons were starting to change.
The start of October remained on the mild side with temperatures in the 70's as autumn was underway. With the rain replenishing the landscape all the changing colors of the garden become more and more vibrant by the day. By the end of October as temperatures started to drop into the 60's, blooms from late summer held out as long as they could, as hues of orange and yellow appeared in the landscape. The combination of the two seasons, summer going out and fall coming in were spectacular. On the 20th we received our first overnight frost.
The month of November brought temperatures in the mid to upper 50's, usual for the time of year. On some days there was an invigorating chill in the air and the landscape had turned into a piece of colorful artwork. The fall changing of the leaves was indeed spectacular this year with all the right conditions leading up to it. The seasons seemed to be finally following a more normal pattern.