|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 you...my 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|
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 Fridays, Macro Monday 2, Our World Tuesday, Travel Tuesday, Pictorial Tuesday, My 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.