Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up January 2019-The Hidden Beauty of Winter

January Garden
Welcome to my Long Island winter garden for the month of January. For this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up, I am going to step out of the box a bit and take you on stroll through my garden, then venture further beyond into the winter landscape. On a winters walk, one can experience all the hidden treasures that nature has to offer. As an avid lifetime gardener, I always try to look for the beauty present in all seasons and even though the landscape has mostly gone to sleep for the winter months, there is still much to be seen. Let's take a stroll.
Here is Weeping Pussy Willow, 'Gold Mop' Cypress and Juniperus 'Blue Star' leading from the patio to pool area, each supplying winter interest.
Skyland's Oriental Spruce Seed Cones are lovely in January.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker is a welcomed guest at the feeding station.
The birdbath is waiting for visitors.
A Mockingbird looks from above from the budding Magnolia tree.
Even something as simple as Sweet Flag in front of Moss Covered Rock can be beautiful.
Even the bronzing of Western Arborvitae foliage with Golden Sedge and Azalea (Right) provides color in winter.
Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress and Blue Globe Spruce at Pool Garden with Skyland's Oriental Spruce and Weeping Norway Spruce in the backdrop add evergreen winter interest.
Nellie Stevens Holly displays bright red berries, which are enjoyed by wintering birds.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' Buds are forming for winter blooms.

Birch Trees
I cannot remember such a mild start to January for quite some time. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride with temperatures fluctuating from the 50's some days to 30's the next, so there have been warmer days here and there for walks around the community. Within walking distance from my home is a wetland area that is part of the Town of Islip (Suffolk County, Long Island, New York) Open-Space Preservation Program. Since the late 1990's, Suffolk County legislature has put aside greater funding for the preservation of over 12,000 acres of natural area on the island and continues to protect our natural resources to this day. I must say that I am proud to be a member of a community that values saving the natural habitat of many a species. Come along! The first encounter that gets my attention are these Birch trees with their beautiful white bark, which is striking in winter.
Holly Berries

Holly berries appear bright red in winter and are a favorite food of American robins, cedar waxwings, eastern bluebirds, hermit thrush, northern mockingbirds and gray catbirds. 
Swans at Mill Pond

Mill pond is part of the Brown's River Estuary System, which is a shallow three foot deep pond located on the north side of Montauk Highway just east of the Long Island Railroad overpass in the town of Sayville. The six acre pond is the home to Largemouth bass, sunfish and many other inhabitants including ducks and swans. The pond is a seasonal migratory stopover for many species of wildlife.
Shelf (Bracket) Fungi

These shelf (bracket) fungi are commonly found growing on rotting trees or fallen logs in moist woodlands. The sporophores can produce specimens growing up to 16 inches or more in diameter. There are many variations in color on these shelf (bracket) fungi. Although their appearance does signal the eventual demise of the tree, their interesting structure almost looks like artwork. 
Pine Needles

Eastern white pine is a native to the northeastern United States and originally covered much of the north-central and eastern forests of North America. Pines provide a habitat for a number of woodland creatures.
Rose of Sharon Seed Pod

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a profusely flowering member of the hibiscus family which is hardy in USDA zones 5-8. The flowers turn into seed pods which become brown and dry when they are ripe. The pods will then split open to disperse their seeds, leaving the winter interest seen here.
American Sycamore Tree Bark

American Sycamore is known for its lovely bark and production of round seed balls in late autumn that hang from the smaller branches. Did you know that the sycamore tree is considered as a symbol of protection and hope? In many areas of the world it is also looked upon as a symbol of strength, eternity, and divinity. The wood of the American sycamore has a variety of uses,including lumber, paneling, interior trim, furniture parts and butcher blocks. The inner bark has been known to treat dysentery, colds, lung ailments and cough. 
American Sycamore Gum Seed Pod

There are more park and preserves all over Long Island. Here is a handy guide: Guide to Long Island Parks and Preserves.
January Garden

I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my January garden and beyond. Please feel free to stay a while and catch up on some of my other posts. Special thanks go out to our hostess 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. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled RoseImage-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party on the 17th with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop on Wednesdays.

Check out my newest book Dream, Garden, Grow!-a collection of musings as I share memories of childhood and how I grew to become a lifetime gardener. Packed with stories about life, gardening, medicinal uses of plants, garden folklore, seasonal interest, sustainable and indoor gardening, you'll laugh and learn as you explore what makes a gardening addict and the meaning behind mysterious gnomes and garden fairies. While exploring, also learn about moon gardens, witty garden jargon and tried and true gardening tips. Whether you are a gardener or not, have a "green thumb" or "brown", Dream, Garden, Grow will not only entertain and amuse but will teach you inspiring gardening pointers along the way. 

  ~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2019. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

This Month in the Garden: Welcome to My Long Island Garden Year in Review-A Look Back at 2018

January 2018
Happy New Year and welcome to A Guide to Northeastern Gardening's Year in Review! Looking back to 2018, it was a memorable and eventful year. 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, such as such as Skylands Oriental Spruce and Coral Bark Maple appear even more majestic. Even the Magnolia gave hope for a new season with its buds already forming.
February 2018
February brought slight indication of the seasons changing as daylight hours gradually become longer and temperatures rose up into the 30's and 40's. After winter storm Kalani on the 30th of January with 4.4 inches of snowfall, it was a relatively quiet time as the garden rested for winter. Cones on Skylands Spruce had grown more pronounced and Holly berries gleamed red against the blue sky.
March 2018
Saying that the month of March was unpredictable would be an understatement. March came in like a lion on the 2nd. with one of the worst storms we have had in a while, bringing in high winds and torrential rains for the northeast. The rains brought renewal to the garden and with temperatures in the 40's and 50's, the landscape started to become alive. On the 7th, our first thunder snow in years brought thunder, lightening and 6 inches of snow, followed by sunshine, blue skies and melting on the 8th. As the snow quickly melted, Hellebores were in full bloom and bulbs of hyacinth started to emerge.
April 2018
April arrived and it was springtime at last. This year had resulted as one of the most roller coaster journeys I can remember. A freezing start to winter was followed by one of the mildest months of February on record. It was the calm before the storm as spring arrived with strong winds, freezing cold temperatures in the 30's and four snow storms within three weeks. The storms continued into April, with the last covering of white occurring on April 2nd. Finally, as mid-April had arrived, blooms appeared everywhere including crocus, daffodils and hyacinths with Weeping pussy Willow catkins exploding with pollen.
May 2018
The garden came alive with a succession of new growth, buds and blooms daily as the merry month of May rolled in. After one of the coldest April's on record, May brought temperatures in the 70's with blue skies, accompanied by occasional spring showers to help the flowers grow. The Kwanzan Cherry in its second year had already gotten larger and was loaded with beautiful pink blooms, which I could not get enough of, while the fragrance of viburnum blossoms filled the air. Sedum foliage emerged into full form and ajuga blooms displayed an array of color with their deep purple-blue blooms. A favorite, May Night Salvia was also starting its bloom by the end of the month.
June 2018
The month of June was glorious with clear skies for the most part, temperatures in the 70's and lots of blooms everywhere. It was a busy milestone month, as my gardens were selected by the Sayville Garden Club to be one of six private gardens on display to be visited by the public. I had been prepping away getting ready for the big event on the 16th, which was a huge success! Visitors observed blooms of Peony Bartella, Allium Globemaster, Salvia May Night, Nepeta, Coreopsis, Daylily, Kousa Dogwood and Double Knock Out Roses as they walked among my gardens. As one of the participants, I also got to see the other five gardens on the tour, each unique and all so beautiful.
July 2018
The month of July arrived with a week long heat wave of extensive humidity and temperatures in the upper 80's and lower 90's. This is typical for July here in the zone 7a garden, but I must say that the cold front following with clear skies and comfortable temperatures brought much relief. The heat did bring on continued blooms to enjoy, including those of astilbe, coneflowers, hydrangea, daylily, coreopsis and nepeta. The garden was in all its glory!
August 2018
With temperatures in the upper 80's and lower 90's, humidity and frequent thunderstorms, the "dog days of summer" had officially arrived by the month of August. It had been an unusual August weather wise with almost daily torrential rains and flooding for the eastern seaboard, so I had to run out in between showers to tend to the garden. With all the rain, the landscape was indeed green, filled with blooms of butterfly bush, Black Eyed Susan, Lillium Stargazer, Astilbe Sprite, roses, coneflowers, sedum and Crape Myrtle.
September 2018
After a hot and humid start to September with several days in the upper 80's to lower 90's, a cold front had set in bringing showers and cooler temperatures. The garden had started looking more autumn-like as late summer blooms of Sedum Brilliant, Hydrangea Tardivia, Stella D' Oro Daylily and butterfly bush set in, along with a few lingering raindrops on roses. Hurricane season was underway with hurricane Florence impacting the lower eastern seaboard on the 14th.  
October 2018
Towards the beginning of October, temperatures were still hovering in the low to mid-70's. Overnight on the 11th, the rumbling of thunder could be heard with what was the last thunderstorm of the season. The cold front accompanied by torrential rains brought in the true feeling that the fall season had arrived. The days following became cool and crisp with temperatures in the upper 50's and lower 60's, and the foliage started to turn color. 
November 2018
With daytime temperatures in the 50's and a good amount of rainfall, the November garden transitioned into an array of color. This year ended up as having one of the most beautiful fall foliage changes I have seen in years. The rains and cooler temperatures had created the perfect conditions for a colorful show. By mid-November the temperatures plummeted into the 30's and on November 15th, the first surprise snow of the season came in late day bringing four inches of snow, which quickly melted by the next day. I cannot recall the last time we had snow that early. Could this be a sign of the winter ahead?
December 2018
After the garden tour on June 16th, the month of December brought in yet another milestone with the publishing of my third book, Dream, Garden, Grow! The book was supposed to keep me busy during the winter months, but moved along a lot quicker than expected and made its debut on December 3rd. By then, the gardening season had ended with daytime temperatures dropping into the 30's and 40's, accompanied by some rains and the first few snow flurries of the season on the 13th. Upon the official arrival of winter, torrential rains pounded the northeast with temperatures reaching 60 degrees, quickly returning back to the typical 30's to 40's for December. The garden had officially gone into its winter hibernation only to await its renewal in spring. For now, this gardener will continue to take walks in the garden on those milder days to see what nature has to offer and dream of spring with blooms to come. I hope you had a wonderful 2018 gardening season (and please do share!) and wish you all the best for a very Happy 2019 with gardens that thrive! 

~As Always...Happy Gardening ~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,©Copyright 2010-2019. All rights reserved.