Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Monthly Garden Wrap-up

Black-capped Chickadee checking out the bird box

Whew, what a year it's been! I know it's been tough at times for a lot of people, myself included, but as I look back on this year in my garden, it's saying to me, "Spend more time here." So I plan to do just that in 2017. Meanwhile, I decided to scroll through my pics of the garden and post one from each month. One that will fairly represent what was happening out there. And I have two non-garden photos at the end of one of the things that kept me so busy this year!

American Goldfinches

January was all about the birds apparently. There were a few bulbs popping but most of my garden pictures were of birds - checking out potential nest sites and eating, eating, eating, especially the goldfinches that descend en masse, eat more and more, and then leave on a nice spring day just like that!

Hellebore, variety unknown

While the bulbs really started to pop in February, the hellebores were giving me much delight.

'Pink Charm' daffodil

Ugh, it's hard to pick just one March photo when so much was starting to happen in the garden - lots of daffodils, clusiana tulips, freesia, still more birds, spring ephemerals like 'Louisiana Blue' phlox and blue-eyed grass. But I chose this photo of a new-to-me daff, 'Pink Charm'. I also like the little crab spider hiding along the corolla.

Gulf Coast penstemon in foreground, 'Little Women' rose in background

By April the garden was in full swing. Roses were the highlight but also doing great - clematis, penstemon, gaura, verbena, sacred lotus, and succulents. And Indigo Buntings passing through.

'Cherry Brandy' gaura

May usually starts to signal the transition to summer and 2016 was no exception. The gaura tried to outdo itself, daylilies started to bloom, as well as cosmos, giant coneflower, and veronica. And the last of the migrating birds were seen - Baltimore orioles and Rose-breasted grosbeaks with the goldfinches leaving the month before. I even saw a family of five racoons, one mom and four babies, in the yard!

Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

June brings the most daylilies into flower and the purple coneflower runneth over (does anyone else keep trying to call them pink coneflowers because they're well, pink?). So I chose this pic with both. I'm sorry I don't know the names of the daylilies but I couldn't find them in my journal. I'm hoping they still have tags out there! Though this pic really represents most of the garden in June, I wish I could have shown you two new flowers for me this year - 'Red Velvet' lily (gorgeous) and 'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia (yummy)!

Surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera)

Come July I don't spend much time in the garden cause it's just too darn hot. This July the taps also turned off - no rain at all. But I was surprised by a surprise lily! I had planted three a few years ago but this is the only one I got this year.

'Baby Joe' Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium (or is it Eutrochium?) 'Baby Joe')

The drought continued into mid August when we finally got a surprising several days of rain. August means the ornamental grasses start to put on some blooms but it's when the various Joe Pye weeds that I have are at their peak. The peak doesn't last that long but I know it's much appreciated by the various pollinators. One of the few hydrangeas I have, Mystical Flame (H. paniculata 'Bokratorch'), was also at its peak but the blooms of it and the oakleaf hydrangea quickly turned brown because of lack of rain. Rattlesnake master and black-eyed Susans continued to bloom through August.

'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia

I'll let this dahlia pic represent all the dahlias that were blooming in September (they continued through October as well). Excessive heat meant that this 'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia wasn't showing off the white tips it normally has. Here's the weird thing about this September through the entire fall - a lot of my plants either kept blooming, such as the 'Autumn Minaret' daylily, or re-bloomed for the first time ever, such as my sacred lotus. I attribute it to the surprise August rains but who knows.

Monarch on dahlia

October brought a plethora of butterflies so they were the true highlights of the garden! Especially monarchs. I only saw a few because we're not exactly in the middle of their migration path (we're kind of on the edge). I grow several different kinds of milkweed for them but oh well, I'll keep on trying.

Lots of daffodils to plant!

For some reason I took no photos of the garden in November. I did some traveling then yet that's no excuse. But I did snap a phone pic of all the daffodils I was trying to plant - 100 mixed daffs from ColorBlends. It kept raining though, so I kept having to wait until it was dry enough to plant. I still have about 30 left to go in the ground, oy! 😝

'Bloodgood' maple in foreground, yellowing elm and oakleaf hydrangea in background

December is when we get the best fall color so that's the real start of the December garden. A couple days after I took this pic of the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple, whoosh, the leaves were all dropped in a storm.

Ruston Farmers Market new building with mural by Louisiana Tech art students

Ribbon cutting of the new building

Here's what really kept me busy this year and consequently out of the garden - our farmers market moved from a parking lot into a new space - an old, unused city-owned building! Lots of work and money on the part of the community made it happen. So there's at least one great thing for 2016!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2016. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. Congratulations on the payoff for all your hard work! Happy New Year, Jean.

  2. Congrats on the market success. Am I imagining it or did we talk at the Chicago Fling in 2009 about a potential Farmers Market where you live?

    1. Ha, you're probably right! The market had started just the year before so it was still quite new. :-)

  3. Lovely post Jean - I hope your 2017 year is just as good.

  4. What an accomplishment. A farmers market - undercover! Congratulations. We now have a monthly Winter Market (4 months) with an amazing array of veggies and other products including frozen meat, syrups, cheese and baked treats.


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