Friday, January 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up January: Let the Gardening Season Begin!

Welcome to my January Garden!
Welcome to 2021 and the beginning of a new gardening year! As we left off from the previous Bloom Day, snow had graced the landscape on the 16th of December, creating a winter wonderland that lasted well into the final week of the month, until it melted away on the evening of the 24th. The winter temperatures have now settled into the upper 30's to low 40's, but I continue to venture out for some brisk walks in the garden. Put on something warm and come along on a tour of my January, Long Island garden to see what it has to offer!
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
January starts of the gardening season with Hellebore 'Shooting Star', one of the earlier blooming varieties of Helleborous x hybridus. Large pink buds open into pinkish white blooms with green highlights as the  flowers mature. 
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
Here is a closer look at one of the buds opening. The blooms will last for months.
Crape Myrtle Winter Bark
Crape Myrtle has its own interest in January. Here is a look at its multi-colored exfoliating bark.
Nellie Stevens Holly Winter Berries!
These bright red berries can be seen from across the property on Nellie Steven's Holly. I am a true believer in finding something of interest for every month of the year. (Shameless plug: That is what my newest book, Gardening by Month is all about!)
Winter Structure-Weeping Japanese Maple
Here is Weeping Japanese Maple, which I love just as much in winter as I do in summer due to its beautiful structure!
Weeping Norway Spruce
In the driveway border, Weeping Norway Spruce gracefully displays is evergreen foliage...
Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress 'Nana' and Blue 'Montgomery' Globe Spruce
while dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress and Blue Globe Montgomery Spruce add color to the landscape with their vibrant hues of gold and blue.
Skip Laurel and Evergreen Golden Sedge
Tucked away under Skip Laurel are these dwarf Golden Sedge, which were added last summer. I am getting more and more focused on winter interest as the years go by.
Dwarf Conifer Container Garden
Container gardening with dwarf evergreens is fun in every season, and I still get to enjoy these outdoor in wintertime. Left to right are Hinoki Cypress 'Nana, Juniperus 'Compressa' and Variegated Boxwood.
Secret Shade Garden
Let's venture out to the back shade garden. It is rather peaceful this time of year.
Rosemary in January!
In the herb garden, this Rosemary is a nice element to have, as my husband frequency uses sprigs for cooking.
Welcoming Party!
While various plantings bring interest to the winter garden, wildlife visitors are always welcomed. This little guy visits everyday and enjoys the seed that the birds throw down from the feeder. Today he came right up to the patio to visit!
Garden Visitor!
As we await spring, the indoor garden continues to bring joy on those super cold days. 
Indoor Blooms-Orchid
I can admire blooms of orchid and Thanksgiving Cactus, which just keep on giving!
Thanksgiving Cactus Still Blooming!
Here is one of the mature Jade Plants on the plant room window sill, accompanied by more Thanksgiving Cactus, newly propagated Jade and Aloe.
Indoor Garden Room
Friends tell me that I have no more room for plants....but I reply, "There's always room for something new!"
January Garden-Thank you for Visiting!
Thank you for visiting my January garden. As always, I enjoy hearing from you and seeing what's growing in your neck of the woods! 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 FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsImage-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays and Garden Affair at Jaipur Garden
There's a New Book in Town: Book Launching-Published January 3rd! 😊
Have you ever wondered if you could have interest in the garden twelve months a year? The answer is a definitive yes! I am proud to share the launching of my fourth book, Gardening by Month: A Monthly Guide to Planning the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic Garden . It takes you on a journey through each month of the year, while providing that perfect mix of gardening interest along the way, whether it be berries, bark, blooms or foliage. Colorful photographs are accompanied by care tips for each selection with suggested monthly maintenance tips. Gardening by Month is now up and live on Amazon! More details to follow!📚 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Long Island Gardening Year in Review: 2020

2020 Gardening Year in Review
As you read this, it is a new year...that of 2021. It is a time for happier and healthier days and new adventures to look forward to. As I look back, I am a thankful for the support of family and friends and also for the relationships I have built over the years with colleagues. As with many, the garden became even more an important necessity of life, bringing purpose, tranquility and peace. Welcome to a summary of my 2020 Long Island, zone 7a garden. For full posts, click on the individual links under each photo.
Similar to last year, January was once again one of the mildest on record, with some days in the 50's and warm enough to go outside without a winter's coat. I would venture out into the garden regularly, even though it was winter. There were days in the lower digits of course, with a first dusting of snow on the 8th, but the milder days left me dreaming more about spring and what awaited outdoors. The much needed feeling of seeing something coming to life was accomplished by Hellebores, as they started to bud and bloom!
By February, Hellebores were in full bloom and even perennials started to show their presence in the back garden beds. It was one of the mildest winters on record here in the northeast. According to the words of Dali Lama, "Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day." This quote is so true, as one of the first things I did each morning was to gaze upon my garden, which always brings joy.
By March, word of the pandemic had come out, but with the start of spring, there was much excitement all around the garden as plants awakened from their winters sleep. After a couple of days of cold temperatures in the 40's here in the northeast, the trend was  a stretch of upper 50's, bringing in spring at full speed ahead. Normally, my season would have been starting up, but things were on hold in the horticultural industry, and no one knew for long long. That didn’t stop the flowers from blooming though.
By April, co-vid really started to settle in as a reality. Not being able to travel to the homes of clients, I escaped to the garden as a place of refuge, solitude and peace. I kept myself occupied up to four to five hours a day doing what I love most...pruning, weeding, planting and putting my hands in the dirt. The dirtier my hands and the infamous purple Crocs became was an indication of the total productivity for that day. Life was good in the garden.
The month of May came in like a lion, but not in a way you would imagine. For the first time in over a century, May 9th brought in a cold front with a daytime high of 46 degrees accompanied by snow squalls. Yes...I said snow squalls in May! Thankfully, it was a short visit, returning to normal conditions in the 60's the following day. After the loss of two Weeping Birch that had lived out their lifespan, and after much decision making, I chose two Lavender Twist Redbuds to be added to the front garden bed. I did have the birch trees for may good years, and the blooms on the Redbuds (photo above, bottom right) are beautiful. I look forward to many years of enjoyment with them. As the gardening season was well underway, some of the restrictions had been lifted on the 15th, allowing those of us in the horticultural industry to visit the properties of clients once again. 
As the month of June arrived, it almost seemed as if "Mother Nature" had thrown a switch transforming cooler temperatures in the 60's to a sudden jump into the 70's and low 80's. With the sudden surge in warmth and frequent thunderstorms, the garden had jumped into high gear. This is one of my favorite times to be in the garden, my own and the gardens of others, as there is always something new to see! As you can see, Allium Globemaster and Peony (top right and top left) produced tons of blooms!
July arrived with temperatures rising up into the upper 80's and 90's, and the "dog days" of summer had arrived. The July garden was now in its third major phase of blooms as Crape Myrtle, Hydrangea, Echinacea and Rudbeckia made their appearance along with ongoing blooms from May and June, and  hydrangea blooms were bountiful this year!
August brought in another rollercoaster ride with Tropical Storm Isaias on the 4th, bringing high winds gusting to 60 miles per hour, followed by the power going out at 3 pm, and not returning until three days later. There were trees and branches down everywhere, and I cringed as I watched the garden with each gust of wind. Thankfully, the garden pulled through without harm and all was well again, but there was a week of clean up to keep one busy!
By September, temperatures had moderated into the upper 70's, blue skies were frequent and humid days had vanished. Cooler breezes rushed in during mornings and evenings and the the garden started to transition into fall mode with blooms of Butterfly Bush, Crape Myrtle, Daylily and Sedum continuing. 
The autumn colors were beautiful his year. As the daytime temperatures dropped into the 60's, it was the perfect time for working in the garden. Montauk Daisies, Butterfly Bush, and Chrysanthemums were all in bloom! I would take frequent walks to the pond down the street or walk around the local arboretum to admire all the fall views and enjoy some quality time outdoors. Another new addition to the back garden bed was this St. John's Wort (top right), which is bringing with it a lot of interest.
As the pandemic continued and a presidential election was underway, the month of November had been anything but ordinary. I spent much of my time working for hours at a time outside in the garden and continuing those walks. The daytime temperatures were like a rollercoaster, with 50's and 60's, then a first frost, then several days in the mid to upper 70's with a high of 76 ℉ on the 8th. Taking advantage of the warmer days, I had gotten many of the seasonal chores done in the garden and continued working at the properties of clients. 
December came in like a lamb with mild temperatures in the 50's and suddenly turned overnight to daytime highs in the upper 30's to low 40's! Then came a return of spring for several days with one day reaching a record 59 degrees, followed by Winter Storm Gail on the 16th with 6 inches of snow here on Long Island, just enough to blanket everything in white! Until then, I continued to spend much time in the garden. The remainder of the snow stuck around just long enough until Christmas Eve day. This was the first snow we had had in December in a long time.
Winter's First Snow
Book Announcement!!!
So what does one do during the year of a pandemic? I have been working on a new book for sometime, but it really came to be during this past year, as I had the time to think and reflect. It's called Gardening by Month, and is due to come out very soon! As the title indicates, it is a reference that organizes plants with interest by month for the northeast and mid-Atlantic planting regions. Whether it be blooms, bark, berries and some other feature, you can have something to look forward to 12 months a year in your garden. Watch for the release date on Amazon, which should be sometime this month!

I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for January Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! Here's to a happy and healthy New Year! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Our World TuesdayTravel Tuesday, Pictorial TuesdayMy Corner of the World, Friday Photo Journal,  Image-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Garden Affair at Jaipur Garden.)
~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee @A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2021. All rights reserved.