Goodbye 2016

The gardening word for 2016 is inconsistent.

It’s been too cold and it’s been too hot. It’s been too dry and then we get four and half inches of rain in a few hours. Critters have tested my patience. The garden, however, continues to flourish, and my Arranger and I are looking forward to 2017 and the joy of seeing in bloom our irises, peonies, hydrangeas, vitex, clematis, spirea, azaleas, crape myrtles, and …….

As the years pile up (I am most grateful) and the back gets weaker, I have been changing the garden to require less maintenance. I am still pleased with what we have and optimistic about its future.

Let me share with you some monthly memories of 2016 in some of my favorite photographs.

img_0054The neighborhood girls came to our rescue when it snowed in January; they shoveled out our walk and driveway. Sweet!






img_0229Our annual February visit to the Charlotte Home and Garden Show gave us visions of plants and landscapes and all kinds of things to buy. This was clearly one of the treats. Also sweet!





img_0343Among the first bulbs to bloom in number in March are the ipheion along the path on the side of the house. They continue to multiply like crazy and are easy to divide and move around.






img_0608Each year I can hardly wait until the peonies bloom in April. My new favorite is ‘Bartzella,’ one of the “new” Itoh peonies, which are crosses of herbaceous and tree peonies.






img_0772More peonies…the old fashioned kind…opened in May. Many of them are heirlooms that came from my grandmother via my Aunt Martha.






dscn2735A striking bearded iris, ‘Sunny Disposition,’ brightened up the garden in June…and it bloomed again later in the year. I am grateful to my gardening/writing buddy Stepheny for introducing me to these new irises.




I built this planter last summer, and it was in its glory this July…crape myrtle, heuchera, carex.






img_1425Just plain old garden phlox lights up the garden in August. This particular batch has moved over ten times in three gardens and is still going strong. Deadheading the first blooms reliably produces a second flush that carries on into fall.




img_1526How can I ever forget this very special day in September when my first grandchild was married. Of course, she was the most beautiful bride ever…I mean ever! More beautiful than any flower in my garden.





img_1879Pink muhly grass has become one of my favorites in our garden well into October. It may lose its color to tan, but it makes a statement even in winter.






img_1993Probably my favorite Crape Myrtle is ‘Catawba.’ Its summer color is fantastic, and it can make a  November day magic.






img_2133Who would believe that you can bring in cut flowers from the garden in December? Thanks to reblooming iris ‘Clarence’ and Camellia japonica ‘Debutante,’ these were some of the many Vases on Monday that my Arranger created this year.





2016 was a good year for us. I am proud to say that I marked one thing off my bucket list: I finished reading ALL of Shakespeare’s plays…every last one!

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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39 Responses to Goodbye 2016

  1. Cathy says:

    A great achievement – both creating such a lovely garden and readling all those plays! Happy New Year John!


  2. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Cathy. It probably took me about six year or more to finally get through all the plays. Now, of course, I can’t remember them all. Happy New Year.


  3. Hi John, you have had a wonderful 2016. Your granddaughter is beautiful. I like all the gardening you’ve done. Wow, what an accomplishment to finish reading all the Shakespeare plays. Have a Blessed, Happy 2017!


  4. Cheers to the beautiful bride and a good year. Best wishes for more of the same in 2017!


  5. FlowerAlley says:

    Wonderful post. Always a joy to see.


  6. pbmgarden says:

    Nice way to wrap up the year with this great review. ‘Bartzella’ is a lovely peony and having the heirloom one is very special. Happy New Year!


  7. Lindy Le Coq says:

    I’m taking notes on flowers to add to my gardens — Happy New Year!


  8. Hello from Paris (France)
    I wish you a very good new year 2017, to be happy, taking nice pictures, pictures from the garden … 😀


  9. Let’s hope for ‘consistency’ in the coming year…the right amount of rain, the right amount of sun, but let’s all wish for an abundance of peace and happiness. Happy New Year…and yes, your granddaughter is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amy says:

    Wow, your granddaughter is so beautiful, John! Gorgeous smile. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing! Happy 2017 to you and yours!


  11. Always a delight to view your garden treasures. Blessings for your new year!


  12. bittster says:

    Happy New Year!
    Your review of the highlights of 2016 does a great job of washing away any doubts that the garden always shines through. Those are the reasons that gardening is so enjoyable!


  13. Timelesslady says:

    What a lovely post…I enjoyed your garden photographs and must say your grand-daughter is the prettiest of all.


  14. rxfrazier says:

    Happy New Year, John! Best to you and yours and, especially, your fabulous garden.


  15. Dawn in MI says:

    What a great year in your garden! Plus a wedding! 🙂


  16. Hi John, you have had a wonderful 2016. Your granddaughter is beautiful. I must say you do not look that old to have first granddaughter who got married. The garden and all the photo’s are so beautiful. I imagine 2017 will be as blessed as last year.


  17. jazzytower says:

    Ah, yes:) You did have a wonderful 2016:) Your garden sounds wonderful. Love that planter..and way to go with that entry on your bucket list:) That’s quite and accomplishment. Your grand daughter is a beauty. A fabulous 2017 to you and thanks for your support in the past year.


  18. aj vosse says:

    Happy New Year! May all seedlings grow into beauty! 😉


  19. Greetings John, you have had a great 2016. Your granddaughter is lovely. I like all the cultivating you’ve done. Stunning, what an achievement to wrap up all the Shakespeare plays. Have a Blessed, Happy 2017!


  20. Beautiful!! Your first grandchild is a stunning bride!


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