Monday, January 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow Up January 2018: A New Gardening Year Begins!

January Long Island Garden

Welcome to my Long Island January garden! As we enter a brand new year, it is time to venture outside for the first Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up post of the season. After all, as author Marie Husten put it, "The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31st." The focus is mostly on foliage and structure at this time of year, but you may encounter some blooms, or buds along the way. Come along, and you might want to bundle up. It's cold outside!
Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce with Coral Bark Maple in Backdrop
January started off with the first blizzard of the winter season with Winter Storm Grayson on the 4th, with 14.6 inches of snow for our area. We've had some of the coldest days on record with temperatures in the teens, with a slight relief on the 9th with temperatures that actually got above freezing! The nice thing about the colder months is that the cone bearing evergreens and trees known for their decorative bark, like this Skyland's Spruce and Coral Bark Maple (photo above) appear even more majestic.
Skyland's Spruce Seed Cone
The seed cones on the Skyland's Spruce always amaze me. They are such an attribute to the already brilliant golden foliage, and I love when they reach full size during the winter months. 
Song Sparrow
Here is a little song sparrow watching over the garden. There is a greater appreciation for wildlife that is brave enough to stick around and take the cold. These little sparrows fluff up their feathers to keep warm and they love to nestle in the spruce which is right near our back door.
Blue Atlas Cedar Foliage
As I had mentioned, evergreens really become the main focal point in winter, so I have many of them in a variety of different colors, shapes and forms. These are the seed cones on the Blue Atlas Cedar which exists in the front of the property.
Another Friendly Visitor
Here's another friendly visitor coming for the seed I threw outside. I couldn't get to the feeder for a couple of days, and these little guys are hungry.
Coral Bark Maple 'Sangu Kaku' Wintertime
In the front property, the Coral Bark Maple is doing what its names implies. The colder the temperatures, the brighter red the bark becomes.
Evergreens in Winter
Evergreens in the backyard are covered in a layer of snow, still left over from winter storm Grayson. There is 'Montgomery' Globe Blue Spruce in the front, with Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress (to the right), Mugo  PIne (to the left) and Weeping White Pine (in the backdrop-center).
On top of the Weeping Pussy Willow is a very personable Mockingbird who just loves being photographed. This is his one-legged pose, while he tucks the other one up to keep warm.
Weeping White Pine
As we move around closer to the pool area, here is the Weeping Pine White a little more close up. You can see the pine cones hanging from its branches. This pine was planted with the original pool scape in 1996, and had matured to a 6 foot high by 10 foot wide tree.
Song Sparrow
Another sparrow visitor joins us!
Magnolia Royal Star Buds Forming!
The thing I enjoy most about Bloom Day is that Carol from May Dreams Gardens really gets us to look more closely at everything around us. I have gained a deeper appreciation for the little changes that take place in the garden, especially during the winter months. Here is the one of the slightest signs of spring...Magnolia buds.
Magnolia Royal Stat Bud
 When viewed close up, the fuzzy looking buds resemble catkins of a Pussy Willow tree.
Weeping Norway Spruce
Back in the "Secret Garden", the Weeping Norway Spruce that exits there has really matured. I just noticed the other day that it has grown into a shape that resembles an elephant, with its trunk to the left, ears (center) and tail to the right. Look closely and you will see!
Driveway Entry
Here's another snowy view of the driveway garden with lamppost, golden Skyland's Spruce (left) and blue-green Blue Atlas Cedar (right)
Back Patio Gardens
Here are the two Weeping Norway Spruce by the back patio and pool area, all covered in snow. To give some perspective, the Royal Star Magnolia we visited before is in the back (left of the shed) and the mountain lake pool exists to the left of that.
Front Walkway-A lot of snow!
Did I mention we got a little snow? Here's a view to give you some perspective. I am sure many of you got a lot more snow than this. It is pretty, but by the end of the winter this gardener will have had enough!
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
Here is the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar by the front walkway...
Garden Whimsy
and here is a little garden whimsy. 
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
The Hellebores were in full bud and ready to burst open right before the snow, so I am cheating just a little and including a view from last year. I hope to see them soon and maybe next Bloom Day I can get a new photo.
Garden Wear!
This is the gardening attire for January. You can tell it's serious business when these babies come out!
Happy New Gardening Year!
Happy new gardening year...Make it a good one! I leave you with these words as I look forward to springtime with warmer temperatures and renewal in the garden. We have to get through a whole lot of winter yet, but one can dream...can't they?
Welcome Bear!
Thanks for Visiting!
I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, Wednesday Around the WorldDishing It & Digging It and Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday. 

Winter Reading:

~Enjoy the beauty of the season...and As Always...Happy Gardening!~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Long Island Garden: A Year in Review!

🌺 January 2017
~Welcome and Happy New Year! It's time once again to reflect on the year gone past in my Long Island garden. Come along for the highlights of 2017!~

The year of 2017 was full of unexpected weather surprises and new additions to the garden. January started off normal enough, with temperatures in the 30's, and a light dusting of snow on the 6th, but uncertainly was on the way. Although the forecast had predicted just another 2-4 inches of snowfall, winter storm Helena brought 7.4 inches of snow to blanket the landscape, and the garden turned into a winter wonderland. Since the garden was now at rest and there was time on hand, I happily celebrated the publishing of my second book. "Landscape Design Combinations" on the 13th!
🌺 February 2017
Winter continued as February came along, bringing unpredictable temperatures that fluctuated anywhere between 20 degrees to temperatures in the 50's, depending on the week. On the 9th, Winter Storm Niko arrived by surprise, bringing blizzard force winds and another 15 inches of accumulating snow to Long Island. Warmer temperatures and rains followed, quickly washing away much of the snow, and the future was looking promising.
🌺 March 2017
As milder temperatures returned with hyacinths and catkins, the wrath of March brought back winter-like conditions. While I had already been out working in the garden during the milder days, the middle of the month brought about some of the coldest days of the winter with a snowfall on the 10th, followed by wind chills of -10 to -15 below zero. Just five days before the official start of spring, both the gardens and the gardener were confused!
🌺 April 
Finally, the month of April brought relief and the garden started to come alive with colorful blooms! After one of the coldest arrivals of spring, early April brought in some rainy days, followed by sunny blue skies and 70 degree temperatures, just in time to bring the garden out of its dormancy. Now I know as gardeners. we often can't help ourselves from talking about the weather, but isn't that what makes the flowers grow? April erased memories of the unpredictable winter with the excitement of spring in the air.
🌺 May 2017
May brought normal temperatures for the time of year, moderating into the 60's as colorful blooms sprung up everywhere and the gardening season was in full swing. Warmer days brought two exciting new additions to the back gardens, including a second golden 'Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce (right of center) and a 7-8' Kwanzan Cherry (left of center), with magnificent pink blooms. I was like  a kid in a candy shop...overwhelmed with excitement with my two new trees! As you can see above, we also had the pleasure of a mother dove and her baby in the Globe Spruce, right outside our window.
🌺 June 2017
June brought temperatures into the 70's and 80's with vibrant blooms, and Iris pallida Aureo Marginata joined the left driveway garden. The perennials seemed bigger and brighter when compared to other years, perhaps due to the colder than usual spring. As any gardener would understand, I so much enjoy adding a new perennial every once in a while, just to keep the garden changing and have more to look forward to. The Japanese Dogwood 'Greensleeves' (top and bottom left) and Bartella Peony (bottom right) both had a banner year!
🌺 July 2017
July brought some heat with temperatures staying consistent in the 80's with some days in the 90's, but it never stayed hot for long. Sunny skies were around for most days, with an occasional thunderstorm to bring rain for nurturing the blooms. The Hydrangeas were back with beautiful blooms after a couple of rough years, which brought great joy.
🌺 August 2017
The month of August was similar to July, bringing a combination of warm days in the 90's, followed by rain showers and cooler days in the 80's. Overall, it was a relatively comfortable summer season for both the garden and its visitors. I noticed that some of the late summer blooms were a bit delayed, but only by a couple of weeks.
🌺 September 2017
September rolled around, bringing continued blooms of Crape Myrtle, Buddleia, Daylily, Sedum and Liriope to name a few. Temperatures had now dropped into the 70's by day and 50's and 60's by night with a very active Atlantic hurricane season. We carefully watched each storm, especially Hurricane Irma. As with the winter months, September was very unpredictable with tropical storms lurking around every corner. Over the past couple of years, it has been very noticeable that the seasonal patterns are definitely changing. 
🌺 October 2017
The month of October was one of the warmest I can remember, with temperatures in the 80's on some days. Signs of autumn continued to push forward, but leaves continued to remain on trees all the way through November. The Monarchs were here and it almost felt like an extended summer, with an autumn that never arrived. This was a good thing for a gardener, because the late summer perennials had much longer to stick around and produce blooms.
🌺 November 2017
Now with all this talk about weather, November brought temperatures to produce 50 degree days with cool autumn evenings in the 30's and 40's. For a couple of nights, temperatures dropped down into the 20's, signaling that winter was not far behind. There were still blooms on perennials, which I do not recall during the month of November, but the seasons did seem to be getting back on track.
🌺 December 2017

The  month of December brought temperatures in the 30's-40's by day and 20's-30's by night, with our first snowfall on the 9th with three more snowfalls to follow. Blustery winds with temperatures hardly getting above 30 signaled that winter had arrived. The month continued with an unusual day in the 50's which melted all the snow, followed by a return of seasonal weather. For the last week of the year, it was scarves and mittens to venture outside, with a record low of 9 degrees and wind chill of -4 to bring in the second coldest New Year's Eve on record. 

💮 Good-bye 2017: Video Year in Review! 💮

The year 2017 was certainly an exciting one with the celebration of my second book on January 13th and several new additions to the garden. Now that winter has finally set in, my love of gardening moves indoors. I do gaze out the window often and take that occasional walk outdoors to take it all in and dream of spring. After Marie Huston put it..."The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31" I go with that thought and garden on! As 2017 has come to a close, I wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy 2018! Happy New Year! 😊

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved

Monday, January 1, 2018

This Month in the Garden: A Historical Visit to the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The NYBG Holiday Train Show
I had the pleasure of finally getting to see the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in Brooklyn, New York. A display of 150 historical landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials can be seen under the dome of the Conservatory from the end of November to mid-January. Model locomotives travel on nearly a half a mile of track alongside Midtown Manhattan’s landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and Yankee Stadium. In addition  to the display for 2017 are replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. The amount of thought and creativity that has gone into these replicas is extraordinary. While compiling this post, I also included some of the fascinating history behind these iconic landmarks.
New York Botanical Garden December

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in Brooklyn, New York. 
About the Artist: Artist and creator of the Train Show, Paul Busse resides in Alexandria, Kentucky, where he and his wife, Margaret, run their design company Applied Imagination, Paul’s imagination using natural elements to re-create landscapes had become greatly recognized when he mounted the first Holiday Train Show for The New York Botanical Garden in 1992. Since then, he has produced special exhibits for many other venues around the country.
The Enid A Haupt Conservatory 1901-1902
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (1902) is a known New York City landmark and major part of the New York Botanical Garden. The Victorian-style glasshouse is the home to "A World of Plants", a display showcasing plants from around the world, including tropical rain forests, desert environments, palms and aquatic and carnivorous plants.
Pennsylvania Station Built 1910, Demolished 1963
The history of the Pennsylvania Railroad started when it was chartered by the state legislature in April of 1846 to provide direct rail access between the capital in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. As demand for travel increased, the Pennsylvania Railroad expanded along the east coast. With a need to provide transportation across the Hudson, Pennsylvania Station, designed by McKim, Mead, and Whitecon was constructed and completed by 1910. Widely praised for its Beaux-Arts style architecture, the building was considered to be one of the jewels of New York City, and provided the first access into New York City's downtown area, Manhattan Island. Unfortunately, during the post war years, as trains were abandoned for highways and airliners, a critical decision was made, and In 1963, the original upper floor of Penn Station was demolished. Today, the original below-ground terminal remains and continues to serve millions of commuters annually.  
Rockefeller Estate 1913 
Kykuit, also known as Rockefeller Estate is a 40-room mansion in Pocantico Hills, Westchester County, New York. Built by order of oil tycoon, capitalist and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller at the end of the 19th century,  the estate is protected under the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The home was altered in 1913 to its current appearance. 
Coney Island
Between 1880 and World War II, Coney Island became the birthplace of the largest amusement area in the United States, attracting several million visitors per year. It is the seaside destination known for its infamous Nathan's hot dogs, boardwalks, shopping, restaurants, and the well known Cyclone Roller Coaster, which features over 2,640 feet of track, 12 drops and 27 elevation changes!
Yankee Stadium Bronx Built 1923, Demolished 2010
Yankee Stadium was one of the most historic landmarks to baseball fans across the world. Since its opening more than eight decades ago, the original Yankee Stadium was home to  legendary players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, and in later years, Alex Rodriquez and Derek Jeter. In June of 2005, the Yankees announced plans for a new stadium and on September 21, 2008, the Yankees played their last regular season game. The new Yankee Stadium opened across from East 161st Street in April  of 2009.
Some of the Model Trains

Park Avenue Armory 1881
The Park Avenue Armory (once the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard) is a historic landmark on New York's Upper East Side, built between 1877 and 1881 by the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861. The Regiment included prominent Gilded Age families including the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Van Rensselaers, Stewarts, Harrimans and Livingstons. Constructed as both a military facility and social club, the first floor reception rooms and company rooms on the second floor were designed by some of the most prominent designers and artists of the day including Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 2000, the building was listed as one of the most endangered historic sites in the world,  but was taken on and revitalized by a non-profit group called the Park Avenue Armory; hence the name. The location, now an art center, is the home of New York's most dedicated visual and performing arts.
 Grant's Tomb 1891-1897 General Grant National Memorial, Manhattan
Grant's Tomb, formally known as General Grant National Memorial, is the largest mausoleum in North America and final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902). Completed in 1897, the tomb is located in Riverside Park in Upper Manhattan.
William A. Clark Manor Gilded Age Mansion
Built in 1897 by millionaire mining and railroad tycoon William A Clark, the  Clark Manor Mansion was one of the largest residences in the New York City, with over 100 rooms and 6 stories. The Fifth Avenue mansion was sold shortly after William's death in 1925, and  in 1927 was demolished to make way for a luxury apartment building.
Empire State and Chrysler Buildings
In 1928, The Chrysler Building, a 1,046 foot structure, was built by Walter Chrysler. It was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Being the 28th tallest building in the world and 5th tallest structure in the United States, the Empire State Building is an icon in itself. Construction on the 1,454 foot tall  building started on March 17, 1930 with the building officially opening on May 1, 1931, thirteen and a half months after the first steel beam was erected. In 1986, the building and its street floor interior were designated as a National Historical Landmark
Into the Rainforest
As you come to the end of the Train Show exhibit, venture through the doors to the rest of the Conservatory, where you will see the aquatic plants exhibit, Tropical Rain forest, palms from around the world and Desert Garden rooms. After the show and gardens, you may choose to end the day with a leisurely lunch in any of the fine cafe locations near the Conservatory.
Water Feature and Aquatic Plants

Tropical Rain forest Bromeliad

Desert Garden

Tropical Blooms

Lotus Flower in Conservatory 

Replica of Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
For tickets and more information, visit NYBG Holiday Train Show

 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – Monday, January 15, 2018

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy New Year!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved