Garden Journal-The Promise of June




“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” –  Aldo Leopold

May has come and gone, and with it my hopes and dreams have been mixed.  The weather was abysmal and then hot, hot, hot and now it has turned cooler and drier.  Just in time for my weeding to happen and now, the ground in many places is like cement.  You just can’t win.  My regular day job continues to consume 10 hours of my day not leaving me much time except weekends to do any gardening, blogging, reading of blogs or designing.  I am so far behind I may catch up in the fall.  I caution you…this is a long post since much has been happening recently and I am blogging only once a week.

The wonders of the plants blooming gives me great joy.  I am constantly doing a happy dance seeing each plant bloom as if for the first time.  I never take any of

Weigelas in bloom

my plants for granted for I never know if I will see them again.  Those that are gone are sometimes replaced with another of the same plant, and still others are being replaced with more native, hardy plants for less upkeep.  I have lots I am planting to fix areas that flooded.  Many plants were lost, but it gives me a chance to make needed changes in the garden. For now let’s look at what I was hoping for in May.  Of course this coincides nicely with Hanni and her Hope Grows Day meme at Sweet Bean Gardening where last month I said in May I was hoping for lots of fruits, flowers, songs and birth.



I thought I would first show a few flowers growing of which I have many varieties.  Most of these finally flowered in late May and the first week in June.  In the first picture above are a few of the alliums I have growing.  Below are some of the many bearded irises flowering.  Some are still not quite out yet.  They were doing well until the heat hit, and them some faded and others finally flowered.




Lastly some of the columbines put on a less than stellar show.


I have many Barlow varieties and a few others.  The Barlows (bottom left/right, top left and center) did not like the cold rainy weather followed by intense heat.  They flowered and then were gone.  Others like Cameo (top right), native (not pictured) and Pagoda varieties are still blooming.


Fruits and Veggies


The veggie garden looks pretty good, but with the very hot weather recently some things bolted, and some things sprouted.  I had an early harvest now waiting for more to grow as I replenished my small patch with more seeds of radish, arugula, and carrots.  Rest of tomatoes finally in.  They are taking a long time to acclimate.  I did not have room to grow them from seed so I bought organic, mostly heirloom plants from a grower.  Half are in the new 4×4 raised bed with some eggplants, and some are in huge green plastic containers on the patio.

The bottom right picture is my newest raised bed/container garden.  It is a small pond that we drilled holes into the bottom.  We placed it at the back of the garden in the flooded area, and have the hot peppers (cayenne and Hatch green chiles) in it hoping they are far enough away from the sweet peppers on the patio.  The hot peppers were grown from seed by me in early spring, and I have more seedlings in pots with flowers in the front of the house too.  The pepper growing in the top center picture is a sweet one.  I think it is Tangerine Sweet Pimento.  I also bought the many different varieties of sweet peppers from the same grower as the tomatoes.

Moving clockwise from the lower right are the peas.  Yes it is a mess.  I threw a few peas in the ground in a few areas near the fence, and the weeds have kept them from growing much especially the grass which is growing nicely inside my fence.  They are finally flowering so I am hopeful.  They were planted mid April but with the cold, wet weather they did not grow very well.

Vaccinium ‘Tophat’

Next are the strawberries also in a weed infested plot.  Can you sense the theme here?  Despite the weeds they are growing nicely and we have them netted.  I will be moving some raspberries as well as perennials that seeded themselves there.  I did have the patch cleared out in fall; at least I thought I did.  One blueberry is finally flowering and I may get a bit of fruit.

Bottom left is some curly parsley I threw in with rosemary seeds to be transplanted for critters.  I love Italian parsley which is pictured above top left with some kale growing in a container on the patio.  Below that is the grapevine we planted in the fall.  It was on sale and quite a bargain.  In the spring it looked dead so when buds formed I was ecstatic.  We will train it up the iron arbor and net part of it for us while we leave a bit for the birds.

The center picture is one of my grow bags (I have 2 going) with slightly sandy fertile soil for sweet potatoes.  I like the yellow variety so I planted 12 O’Henry.  Someone once told me that our growing season was too short to grow these, but I aim to prove them wrong.  They look healthy and are putting out new leaves.  I expect to harvest this fall.  I have planted bush beans in the middle of them since I am limited on room and I like to push the envelope; yellow wax and a purple variety called Royal Burgundy.  You can see them growing in the picture next to the pepper.

Below the bean sprout is a pumpkin putting out leaves.  I desperately wanted to grow pumpkins so I left room around the new 4×4 raised bed to plant seeds.  There is space to move around the bed after making small berms of fertile soil on top of the ugly, hard, slippery clay.  I plunked in both a cooking and carving variety, and they have all sprouted.  It will be interesting how the vines grow all over, and what I get.  I do love to experiment with growing conditions and making room where there is precious little.




Did you know I absolutely love my meadow?  Well I do.  The background is the late March/early April meadow with early bulbs growing and the tangled mess left from last years meadow still needing to be cleared.  Fast forward to May with the daisies and lupines in full flower, and looking incredible as they wave on the breeze.  I could have planted more grass there.  I chose instead to plant a meadow from seed…I think it was the right choice.



Now that’s a pond!  The water lilies have caught up and finally bloomed at the end of May.  There are about 20 pink flowers, and the yellow variety has just bloomed.  We thinned the cattails much to the frogs chagrin.  The plants surrounding the edge of the pond need a bit of weeding as does the whole area.  The frog pictured is doing his thing calling  females.  We love the pond, and it has about 10 frogs and a few snakes we keep moving from the filter.




We have continued to have our share of wildlife visitors to the garden.  The turtles showed up in the front yard as they moved to and from the green area pond behind our meadow to the woods across the street.  Top left is our resident snapping turtle.  This one is fairly young still, but I am guessing she was moving to her nesting spot.  She drew quite a crowd.  Our kind neighbor, who knew about snappers, picked her up and moved her to the woods.  No small feat since they can take off a finger and do serious damage if you don’t know what you are doing.  The turtle bottom left is an Eastern Painted Turtle.

The frogs are being very frisky in the pond so we should see eggs soon.  Very cool to watch them become tadpoles.  The ladybug is one of 900 I introduced to the garden this week.  They should be laying eggs, and helping me rid the garden of pests.  More on them in a later post.  Now onto the birds.  The swallow pictured above has a nest in the box behind the gazebo, and they should have little ones already.  You can’t get to close or they will attack.  One set of sparrows in the bluebird houses already nested, and the little ones have flown.  There is still one family waiting to hatch in the other house.  I have been too busy at work to have much time to observe the wrens in their house, and if they are still there.  We hope to see others nest in the box all summer.  Still no bluebirds in the houses.

Poor Red Robin


I was hoping to have good news to report.  And by the pictures you must be saying; “What now?”  It was good news up until Friday morning.  The robins laid another full clutch of eggs 2 weeks to the day after she lost the first clutch.  She was a dutiful mother never leaving the nest for more than a few minutes, and staying close by if she did.  And 2 weeks later the eggs finally hatched although she threw one out of the nest that was non-fertile.  You can see the eggs and little ones above.  About 12 hours after they hatched, the little ones and the mother were gone.  We do not know what happened, but there were no egg traces or feathers and the nest was in tact.  Maybe another bird, maybe a snake, maybe she moved them?  We will never know, and are greatly saddened again.  Nature can seem so cruel and heart breaking.  For now we are leaving the nest.  I can’t bear to take it down.  And the Chipping sparrows are interested in the other dwarf willow.  Perhaps they will nest and raise a brood.


So what are my hopes for June? The garden should be showing off all her blooms.  The pond should be brimming with tadpoles, and the meadow should be wearing her summer colors.  My biggest hope is that my garden will be bursting with fruits and veggies.  I do also hope more birds will nest successfully, and that we will continue to be visited by more critters.  We did have an unusual visit, but I am keeping that for a later post.   Oh I almost forgot….my roses will be in full bloom in June.  Here’s a glimpse of my June hope.


A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. ~ Leo Buscaglia



Special Note: Come visit Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time this week.  Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.

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All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.



  1. Donna says:

    My gosh Donna, you do not have to write another post for a month. I could spend the next 30 days coming back to this one to admire all your beautiful photographs. The meadow is my favorite, so peaceful and it brings back childhood memories, what more can you ask for from a plot of dirt turned into a storybook tale. The pond is a great place to relax and enjoy the lilies and frogs too, I could conjure up a story and let my imagination run wild, finding great illustrative imagery also.

    • Donna says:

      I was pretty drained just doing the collages….I am finding I may need to post more so the posts are not so long…the actual writing takes me little time…I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures …your comments are always so positive…I wish I had more time to enjoy the gardens fully as peaceful inspiration…

  2. Sheila Read says:

    Wow, you have so much going on in your garden! It’s beautiful – no need to be apologetic about weeds. I love the photo of the frog doing his mating call. I am so jealous of your pond …

    • Donna says:

      The pond is a great garden and we love it…it is a new adventure every year…no fish just natural critters…glad you like it

  3. Ginny Tarleton says:

    The photos are all a feast for the eyes, but my favorites are those of the pond. Oh, how I would love to have a pond.
    I know what a struggle it is to keep up while working 10 hours a day – that’s about my work schedule, too. Using photo collages was a great way to show your readers a lot without requiring a lot of scrolling down the pages – but I would enjoy your post even without the photos because you write so well!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Ginny you are too kind, but thx for those sweet words of praise…the pond has been worth all the effort….I miss it in the winter…

  4. The Sage Butterfly says:

    I am in awe! Your garden is lovely. I particularly like your meadow…what a difference when it transforms! I am so sorry to hear about your robin’s nest…strange. For me, this year has been about accepting those losses as a part of the nature cycle…I’m trying… There are successes, at any rate. The pond is beautiful! BTW…I love Leo Buscaglia. I grew up reading his books and watching his specials on PBS.

    • Donna says:

      Leo is one of my favorites too…I understand about accepting losses too…my favorite gardens are the meadow and the pond…both labors of love and so rewarding on so many levels…so glad you enjoyed the post!! Of course I am not showing any long shots with flowers still not filling out the gardens or the weedy beds… eventually I hope to display the bad and the ugly along with the good…ha, ha!!

  5. One says:

    The wildlife definitely captured my attention. You have so much activity going on in your garden that I am feeling excited. Do keep us updated.

    • Donna says:

      I will definitely keep you updated…the wildlife is never ending and we learn new things every year…of course you know about critters in the garden…your post are a beautiful display of the critters in your garden…

  6. Ronnie Tyler says:

    Goodness me, Donna! I am surprised you have time to work as well as looking after such a large garden. Mine is miniscul and takes me all weekend and most evenings. Thank you for showing us how it is going/growing. I love the multi pics and if you don’t mind may try and do the same, they are very effective. – Ronnie

    • Donna says:

      Ronnie I am so behind that is why I do not show full shots of beds….they are a mess…it is hard to keep up with it all…glad you enjoyed the post….the collages are done either with a Mac computer app called Collage Creator or on the website Both are easy to use and I don’t mind a bit….they are a creative way to display gardens…enjoy using them!!

  7. b-a-g says:

    Donna – Your irises, columbines & water lilies are stunning. So sad to read about the robin and her babies. Looking forward to seeing what the ladybugs get up to.

    • Donna says:

      I hope the ladybugs stay and do their thing..They are supposed to lay eggs and eat the nasty bugs…well if they don’t stay, I just spent a lot of money to help another garden…

  8. Hanni says:

    Oh dear, I am so sorry about your robins. It seems like I am reading on many blogs about losses this year. 🙁

    Your pond looks amazing! I could definitely sit there and relax for a while. I hope you’ll be able to soon – it sounds like you are crazy busy.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your meadow. I’ve heard it is difficult to plant a meadow – did you find it so? Our yard is large enough I would like to have a bit of a mini-meadow.

    • Donna says:

      Hanni you have to plant a meadow…Of course I did it the hard way, but you can start in sections and keep adding in areas…I sort of did that…perhaps a post on how I did it? It takes some prep, amending and then the seed…lots and lots of seed or plants…you are welcome to email any questions ….I absolutely love mine!!

  9. Cathy says:

    Donna, what a wonderful tour of the flora and fauna in your garden!

    Our robins fared better than our sparrows did last year. The mother flew off with them this morning! Just two, but we were happy to follow their progress from afar.

    We love our frog but not our snake. I am so terrified of them — truly phobic.

    Your blooms are way ahead of ours – our iris are just starting – but our weather sounds earily like yours: a very wet, cool spring and then a heat wave. The cilantro bolted, the lettuce looks ready to, and I just wish the basil here would perk up. But I LOVE your swimming pool planter. What a cool looking planter and a great idea for repurposing!

    • Donna says:

      Cathy so wonderful to hear of a success for a robin…snakes are not my fav but I pretend they are not in the garden until I see them…so glad you liked the refurbished pond planter….I will plant veggies in just about anything at this point to get more room…it has become another addiction…hope your weather perks up for your veg garden soon…hot, hot, hot here again…

  10. dona says:

    A wonderful festival of plants, flowers and colours! BTW: Noted that there’s just one month gap between blooming time there and here.

    • Donna says:

      Dona, so glad you enjoyed it and how interesting that we are a month apart in bloom time…I so want to get back to Italy for another visit…it has been too long..

  11. Heather says:

    Love your garden visitors, especially the turtles. The snappers are on the move in our neighborhood too. Always have to remind our dog to steer clear. You make me want to add a pond to our yard, we have plenty of toads but no frogs.


    • Donna says:

      Heather, seems it is nesting time for the snappers all over…I can never find my toads…I usually happen upon them while weeding but I know they are around…you would love a pond…well worth it..

  12. Alistair says:

    Phew Donna, you are a busy woman, your garden is looking just terrific. I love your pond, and Water lilies so early in the season. Your meadow looks just marvellous, sometimes I think we don’t show one another enough pictures of our gardens.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair, you are too kind…I will show the veg garden, the pond and the meadow but the others are a mess at the moment overcome by weeds…eventually I hope to get it under control so I can show a bit more of the different garden areas…

  13. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Donna, There is so much going on in your garden that I need a nap after just reading your account :-). Maybe you should remove the robin’s nest so that she doesn’t come back again. It doesn’t seem like a good site for nesting. The columbine in the right in your photo–do you think it is a cross with the native? I saw it at Chanticleer recently and was wondering because of the unique colors. Carolyn

    • Donna says:

      We thought it was well protected Carolyn but we will probably remove the nest..such a shame..the columbine is supposed to be a cameo but it is not…I am not sure which it is but it is not one that I think is a cross with a native although who knows…it is highly unusual and it has been growing for a few years and it seeds itself like a native..gorgeous color..I will harvest the seed and if you’d like some I’d be happy to send it…

  14. Stacy says:

    The transformation in your meadow is really breathtaking! Wow. And summer meadows in NY are the stuff poems are made of–enjoy yours to the full! Your frogs look so… speculative. They make me want to tidy my hair and stand up straight, not to mention mind some p’s and q’s…

    I’m so impressed at the wide variety you grow within each species!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Stacy..yes the frogs have quite an attitude this year…the meadow is such a love of mine and makes my neighbors wonder what I am doing..I’d rip out grass and have gardens and more meadow if I could…

  15. PlantPostings says:

    I love the meadow and the pond! They both look so peaceful. I’m surprised you found time to create such a wonderful, beautiful, detailed post! Don’t work too hard during the week–but it’s great to have the garden for an outlet on the weekends, isn’t it?

    • Donna says:

      No one needs to ask what I do every weekend…they know I am in the garden or in front of the computer…I am so glad you enjoyed the post and the pond/meadow…I am having trouble even keeping up with blog reading during the week…

  16. debsgarden says:

    Poor robin! I would be so sad! But I really enjoyed the tour of your garden. I love all of your columbines, and your meadow is my dream! Your collages are wonderful, and I know how time consuming it is to make them. Thanks for a great post.

    • Donna says:

      Deb thx for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post….I am a plant collector which can be a problem sometimes…collages are great fun to make..

  17. Catherine/ A Gardener in Progress says:

    I really enjoyed getting caught up on your garden. Love the meadow! It reminds me a little of a book I was just reading to my youngest about a lady who sprinkles lupines everywhere. Your pond is gorgeous! I saw the first two waterlily buds in mine yesterday. We’ve had weird stuff going on with nesting birds around here too. They started and stopped several nests and then just disappeared.
    Looking forward to seeing what else will be blooming in your garden this month.

    • Donna says:

      Catherine we had the same with birds starting and stopping…such strange goings on….I was shocked to see my pond pop to life so fast …and the meadow too…I love native lupines and they take a few years to grow in so the meadow is looking particularly spectacular finally…what is the name of the book? I love kids books and I can see myself sprinkling glad you stopped by!!

  18. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna! I absolutely love this post. It tells and shows me so much about your garden. What a great “tour” so to speak of all the areas you have created. Your pond is “to die for!” I also like your photo of the ladybug and the ones of the meadow. The meadow really seems to be a special place…I would love to see it in person but the photos do a great job of conveying its spirit. Thank you for doing such a comprehensive post. P.S. I also enjoyed seeing what food you are growing this year!

    • Donna says:

      I am so glad you stopped by and enjoyed yourself…you are welcome anytime if you are ever this way 🙂 The veg garden is just 2 yrs old now and I keep expanding it little by little with containers…I love leaning over the fence and just observing the meadow…I try to leave it alone and not venture in it since there is a lot of wildlife there…it seems too sacred to step into…it is meant to observe and cherish more at least for me…

  19. thevioletfern says:

    Beautiful! I really love all the areas of your garden … the meadow, the pond, the veggies … now I wish I had more space! For a meadow! I think meadows are so peaceful. I love to watch the wind wave over them. You have created such a wonderful space.

    • Donna says:

      Thx so are welcome anytime you are down this way…email me and I’ll send my contact info…give a call if you are close since I am literally right off 81 S at the Brewerton exit at Oneida Lake…you would enjoy the meadow…

  20. Diana says:

    Donna, your garden photos are divine!… beautiful, so much color and those veggies especially warm my heart. 😉

    It is so sad about the birds. We have a problem here where the Stellar’s Jays come in and rob the eggs (finch) from nests. I have a hard time controlling myself with those arrogant and fearless bullies. Don’t know if you have anything similar or perhaps a hawk.

    Have a wonderful week, take it slow and enjoy your days.

    • Donna says:

      Diana thx for those kind words…I think the first clutch she lost was another bird…can’t imagine this time…we have too many grackles that are hanging around now and they can be thugs..come back anytime to visit again!!

  21. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Wow Donna! Your garden is looking absolutely wonderful, how I envy you right now. Your Irises and Columbines and beautiful and your pond … well it reminds me that I have SERIOUS work to do on mine! Beautiful, beautiful, thanks for sharing.

    • Donna says:

      Christine take it one step at a time like you are…plan it out in your head and then a bit on paper…it will flow from your heart and soul and you will love…I am so glad you liked the tour and enjoyed the post…

  22. Jack says:

    Donna, You mentioned that in your recent post I could find how you used that Mac app on Artist – oil to see how you did it. I can not find the pictures unless I am looking in the wrong place. Please advise. Did like seeing all you columbine, mine just started blooming yesterday. Jack

    • Donna says:

      It was a subtle pic…the first collage in the post of the alliums…the background pic is manipulated in Artista-Oil…then in my May Wildflowers post 2 weeks ago it is also the background picture in the first collage…once you make the pic you save it and then you can of course use it in collages, print, post whatever…email me if you need other info…it is fun to play with

  23. Tatyana says:

    What a great post for us to enjoy your garden and for you to remember what was going in your garden this May-June! I wasn’t lucky with heirlooms last year, so I planted only one of them this season. Last year wasn’t good for any tomatoes although. I hope this summer will be better (here, I looked at the window – it’s cloudy and cool again!).

    • Donna says:

      I grew some from seed and they did OK but thought I would try some more but I have a few tried and true ones going as well. Some years i have lost all to blight. I heard your weather was not great…ours is wavering again…so glad you enjoyed the post…

  24. Alison Kerr | Loving Nature's Garden says:

    Donna, you clearly love your garden and have put a LOT into it. Like you, I’ve had less time for my garden than I’d like. I’m hoping my robins will fare better than yours did – I think they may have 2 babies in the nest, as of today. No matter that things are not perfect in the garden, we can enjoy our moments there, for sure!

    • Donna says:

      Oh I hope your robins are successful…love to hear about the successes…thx for your perspective…yes our moments in the garden are a delight even if it is not the amt of time we’d like!!

  25. catmint says:

    Dear Donna, what an lot you manage to fit into your life and your garden! The garden is wonderful, so multi facetted! And the quotes fit perfectly, I especially love the one by LB.

    • Donna says:

      I think we can manage it because we do not have children. Our child is the garden. We care for it daily as a family. So glad you enjoyed all that is happening in my garden and I love Leo B as well…

  26. Becky says:

    All of your photographs are wonderful . That yellow and burgundy iris is stunning. I guess it would have to be my favorite.

  27. Kate/ Beyond the Brambles says:

    What a lot of thought you put into this post. I especially enjoyed the Leopold quote and the iris mosaic. Now that I know your garden that much more, I’ll enjoy checking up on things here throughout the season. I am veeerry curious to see how your meadow will come along. As the grasses and wildflowers begin to bloom here, I’ve been dreaming of making a meadow garden of my own.

    • Donna says:

      Kate you are welcome in my garden anytime…the meadow has been planted over a succession of about 4-5 years mostly from seed. Wait until you see it change as the rudbeckias, asters, monarda and so much more bloom…it is definitely worth the effort to grow a meadow…once it is established it is less labor…I promised I would post on how I did it…

  28. Jean says:

    Donna, I love the quote from Aldo Leopold, which so much captures my experience of the exuberance of the June garden. At this time of year, I’m always reminded of the song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel” (which was set in Maine) — “June is busting out all over.” It must be frustrating to have to work such long hours at this time of year. I’m always grateful to have downtime in June and July, so that I can take those long, loving daily morning walks around the garden.

    • Donna says:

      I think of the same song in June…it is very frustrating because right now in K-12 education it is the busiest time…and especially with my job…I hope to take long weekends this summer to make up for lack of time now…I do miss being in the garden to just enjoy it in the mornings without thinking of all the things I have to do each weekend..

  29. Eliza @ Appalachian Feet says:

    I bet a lot of us relate to you on weediness and lack of time! I took on so many tasks this spring that I feel like that even though I’ve had most of my days to work on it.

    We also had a parallel to your missing robins. We had a cardinal nest in the Asian pear tree and one day offspring and both parents had completely vanished. I didn’t see feathers or any sign of a struggle.

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