The Year in the Garden: 2017

Between opening our new building and expanding our inventory, 2017 was a whirlwind for us at the nursery. With all the unusual weather, it was a whirlwind for the garden too! Wondering why your garden stayed green til October? Lamenting the short, late foliage season? Here’s a breakdown of what happened and why.


January and early February were cold and snowy. Snow fall can be a pain, but it’s essential for maintaining the local ecosystem, which thrives on moisture even in the winter. Most years, cold and snow are consistent right on until April, but in 2017, we had an unseasonably warm February, with temperatures hitting the 60’s.Fruit tree blossoms in early spring at Kalleco Nursery in Tillson, NYWhile this was a nice reprieve from winter for us, it impacted the landscape pretty seriously, especially when it dropped back down into freezing temps in March.


Our usual early bloomers like Heleborus and Crocus, which had woken up during the February warmth, died off and never bloomed again. It also led to a later season for Hydrangeas. Our usual early bloomers like Heleborus and Crocus, which had woken up during the February warmth, died off and never bloomed again. It’s other major impact were our beloved hydrangeas. Spring varieties like “Mophead” had their buds killed off in the March freeze, leading to none of those gorgeous blue and pink blooms in June or July. Fall hydrangeas had a great year, but more on that later.

Spring Into Summer

Spring did finally arrive, late in April, with lots of rain. The cooler temperatures and the precipitation made for a lovely May, full of sunny days. It also re-invigorated gardens, so May through July we were treated to a incredible blooming period for spring and summer perennials. This was also a gift for the bees and other pollinators, which flourished in such lively gardens. By late summer, the hydrangea had recovered from early damage and we had those neon blooms well into August.Red and pink echinacea in the summer, available at Rosendale Nursery Kalleco Nursery Corp.

Summer Into Fall

August was cool, which led to some early leaf changing. But all that came to a halt when we had an extended Indian summer in September and October. Temperatures climbed as high as the 80’s, but hung around the high 70’s throughout the first half of fall. This meant an extended bloom period for cooler weather perennials, and plenty of time to get a second show out of your Echinacea, Dianthus and others.

Red and orange fall mums and decorative fall peppers at Ulster County nursery Kalleco Nursery in Tillson.

Unfortunately, it also lessened the usual autumnal color show. Dry weather meant the maples, the primary source of the reds and oranges we treasure, dried up and dropped their leaves while they were still green. Wetland areas did get a nice golden period, and later in the fall we were able to see some russets and rich browns with our oaks and elms. But if you felt like the foliage season was short this year, you’re right, it was.

Winterberry in late fall at Kalleco Nursery, Ulster County garden center.Late Fall

By November we were back on track. Gardens were ready to be cut back and put to rest by mid-November. Our first snows showed up in December, which is a good prospectus for the coming winter. As we said before, more snow means more moisture, which can lead to an early spring!

Kalleco Nursery, Ulster County and Hudson Valley nursery.

So that was 2017. Now we’re deep in winter, shivering away and probably dreaming about spring. What’re you hoping for this year? What’re you most looking forward to about the coming growing season?