Looking back on 2015

The front garden in 2015.
A female black swallowtail butterfly.
The Garden
We experienced a very dry summer this year, which caused me to lose an arborvitae because I didn't water it enough. There was some destruction early on from a family of groundhogs, but using Repellex Systemic regularly encouraged them to move along. (It's a granular deterrent that makes the plants taste bad, but applying it at the right time is key. It won't work if you apply today and the groundhog chomps tomorrow.) But despite the lack of rain, the garden's flowers looked the best yet. Now it's New Year's Eve and we've only had our first coating of (slushy) snow here this week after a very seasonable and warm late autumn into early winter.

It was also a good year for butterflies, with a return of monarch butterflies to the garden and several black swallowtail caterpillars raised and released as butterflies here as well.

The Edible Garden
This year I only kept stats on fruit tree totals. There were 3 pounds of Satsuma plums, 27 pounds of Shiro plums and more than 130 pounds of Kieffer pears! This year I also grew about four beds of garlic as well as several grow bags of tomatoes. Even though the grow bags were propped up on bricks in the driveway, I think it was still too hot for the tomato plants, which didn't produce as much fruit as last year. The only herb I managed to dry and save this year was basil after my oregano appeared to have a fungus.

The Blog
Shiro plums after harvest.
Despite hoping to double my coverage of gardening events in 2015, I only managed to log 12 datelines. (In 2014, I had 26 datelines for this site.) This was directly related to my enrollment in graduate school in May, causing me to have less free time. Needless to say, although the quantity decreased, the quality did not. Among my favorites:

Showy lady's slippers in bloom.
In addition, joining the Garden Writers Association this year helped me make some awesome connections! This year I was able to review some great products, include the CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator and the Patio Party Hibiscus. I'm in the process of additional reviews, including two plant varieties from J. Berry Nursery (the final step for my trial is observing how they overwinter in Zone 6b).

I was also able to visit many more public and private gardens than in previous years, as well as protected nature areas, such as Eshqua Bog in Vermont to see the showy lady's slippers. 

Most of my trips have not yet been featured on this site. Instead, they will be part of a larger blog feature, which will be debuting in 2016. (Stay tuned!) 

How did your garden fare in 2015? What are you looking forward to for 2016?


  1. Looking forward to a better garden crop next year, and maybe some garden tours with my favorite garden blogger!


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