2016 Long Island Garden: A Year in Review

January 2016 Garden
As 2016 comes to an close, it is time to reflect on the past year in the garden. The year started off with no snow and milder than normal temperatures in the mid-upper 40’s, but “Mother Nature” works in mysterious ways, and decided to bring in winter towards the end of the month! On January 23rd, winter storm Jonas came our way and delivered 20.2 inches of snow, as the thermometer plummeted to daytime highs struggling to get out of the 30’s. The once green landscape had been covered in a blanket of snow. 
February 2016 Garden
February arrived with remains of snow on the ground and an early show of spring weather was predicted by the infamous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. More scientifically, the National Weather Service forecast had also called for the continuation of the “mild winter”. It was mild, after all, all the way up to the first, with only one significant snow in January. After that news we were hit out of the blue with another snowfall, winter storm Lexi on the 5th, bringing seven inches of glistening white to cover the landscape. Another snowfall followed on the 8th and temperatures had plummeted into the 20’s. As time went on in February, any remaining snow had melted and temperatures were back up into the mid-40’s. 
March 2016 Garden
Despite the few snow falls we experienced, the winter of 2016 went down as the mildest winter on record since 2003. March came about with windy days and temperatures rising into the 50’s and 60’s. Blooms started appearing in the landscape as crocus and hyacinth bulbs emerged from their sleep. The arrival of spring had come early, like all the forecasters had predicted. March was so much different from the year before, as in 2015 the gardens were covered under a blanket of snow.  It seemed as if an “early spring” was to be expected.
April 2016 Garden
The start of April brought in an unexpected last snow of the season, as much to say it was the last hurrah. The white covering on the ground quickly melted within the same day to expose the spring bulbs that had been well under way. After an unusually mild winter, the temperatures were much lower than usual for April. The official start of spring surprisingly ended up being one of the coldest on record, along with prolonged periods of rain.
May 2016 Garden
After a very chilly April and start of May, the temperatures finally started getting back to normal with highs up into the 60’s and 70’s. Spring was on full speed ahead as Viburnum, Azalea, Rhododendron, Salvia and spirea were all in bloom. The new gardening season was well underway, and the month of May was fabulous with all its bursts of color throughout the landscape.
June 2016 Garden
June came along with more colorful displays of blooms, as temperatures rose up into the mid to upper 70’s with some days in the 80’s. The perennials seemed to be bigger and brighter than usual after the snowfall in January and chilly spring. At this time, some of my favorites in the garden, including giant Allium, Knock Out Roses and Peony Bartella were all in bloom, and life was good!
July 2016 Garden
With July came a succession of more colorful blooms throughout the landscape. While June temperatures had remained in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s, the month of July brought a warming trend with some days reaching into the upper 80’s and low 90’s. The perennial borders had a continuous array of color, along with the arrival of new blooms daily. The month of July went by with some record temperatures and little rainfall.
August 2016 Garden
The month of August was a transitional time for the garden. There were subtle signs of fall approaching, as the early summer blooms had faded; however, a whole new wave of blooms and color were arriving for late summer interest. Heat waves came and went as temperatures lingered in the upper 80’s and 90’s for days, then slowly returned to what was normal for that time of year.
September 2016 Garden
September arrived as Hurricane Hermine was lingering off the eastern coastline. We were thankful that we had been spared from the storm making landfall, and the effects had brought the much needed rainfall that we have been waiting for. The temperatures had finally gone back down into the 80’s and the rains brought relief, revitalizing the garden.
October 2016 Garden
The month of October arrived as the temperatures declined into the 60’s, and there was a refreshing chill in the air, but still warm enough for the garden to keep on thriving. An array of both new and established blooms continued on in the garden, as roses, lilies, butterfly bush and viburnum continued to flower, joined by chrysanthemums, liriope and daisies. 
November 2016 Garden
As the temperatures dipped into the 50’s, November brought many changes as foliage that was once green turned to hues of orange and gold. I remember it being a lot colder in November growing up as a child, so temperatures in the 50’s were not all that bad, and still warm enough to be outside and enjoy the garden.
December 2016 Garden
December on Long Island brought in normal temperatures for the time of year in the 30’s and 40’s with a week or so in the 20’s, which felt much colder because we had been fortunate to have pretty mild temperatures all winter. With a lack of snow, except for one dusting, I could still go out into the garden and do some cutting back of perennials and weeding. It seems as if the gardening season gets longer every year, and this gardener does not mind a bit!

Overall, it was a wonderful year in the garden and now that winter has finally set in, my love of gardening moves indoors as I resume my writing. It keeps the mind fresh during the winter months and after publishing my first book last year, the desire to write is within me. As a matter of fact, my second book is actually nearing completion! During writing about my passion, I do take that occasional walk outdoors into my own garden and plan for those days ahead when the landscape awakens from its winters sleep. After all…as Marie Huston put it…The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31″…so I go with that thought and garden on!

As 2016 comes to a close, I wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy 2017! Happy New Year! 😊

As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: [email protected] Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved