Garden Journal-The Oddities of June

Echinacea pallida

“Inside each one of us is a beautiful flower garden.  This is the garden of the soul.  With each lesson we learn, the garden grows.  As we learn together, our individual gardens form a tranquil paradise.”
–  Sri Chinmoy

To say this has been a crazy year for me is putting it mildly.  I started a new full time job which takes 10 hours out of my day (including 2 hours of travel time daily). I began

Endless Summer teeming with blooms

writing this blog, starting writing poetry and even embarked on a garden design business…oh and then there is the gardening.  I had prepared myself to keep it all in balance, and be able to manage everything, but just recently I realized my life had begun to get out of a balance again.  At least this time I was able to recognize the signs early.  I listened to my intuition; “my gut feelings”.   I just read recently this wonderful quote from the Tiny Buddha blog I read daily that helps focus my life…”Today if things get overwhelming, take a deep breath and remind yourself: Your circumstances are temporary, but your peace can endure if you choose to nurture it.”  The post talked about the fact that we all lose that balance now and again.  So OK let’s look at what’s been going on again.


  1. Crazy schedule at work with non-stop deadlines and things that must get done all at once–will be looking at ways I can control the schedule and craziness, but I only have so much control.
  2. Insomnia again….which leads to weight gain and migraines and other health issues if I don’t get it in check.
  3. Migraines for sure have crept up again and they are some of the worst I have had in several months.
  4. No time for relaxing in the garden, day trips, reading blogs I love, enjoying the company of friends….
  5. And a bit of depression because I am out of balance.

So time to take that deep breath….I will be working in the next few weeks on cultivating some new habits in my life to get it back on track, but for now I have had to check out and unplug a bit.  I am on the computer for 8 hours a day at work and I find it difficult to come home from work and get back on it to read blogs, or plug into social media.  Instead I head outside to take stock of my gardens with camera in hand.  But that has not been enough to take my mind off the craziness so sleep can come.

Red Baneberry fruit

I have vacation time to take starting in July with some I did not take this year.  There is much to be said for taking time for yourself.  So I am using my vacation time this summer creatively.  Instead of taking a week or 2 all at one time, I will be taking every Friday off from June 24th to Sept 2nd with a couple of Mondays here and there for special occasions.  I think the long weekend will allow me time to read, write, garden and even get in a day trip now and then to some interesting nurseries and gardens.  It will allow me time to rest, relax and cultivate the new habits I am planning; regaining that balance and peace of mind.

The Frogs

So this June, as my life has taken an odd turn so has my garden.  It started with the animals.  The frogs in the garden this year have been talking non-stop.  They actually bark…yes I said bark.  It sounds like a dog parking 24/7, 7 days a week and especially if it is raining.  This incessant barking coincides with their personalities…brash and challenging….they talk to us, and back talk.  We give them their space.  I thought a collage of their personalities would be in order….


We have named one of the frogs Jaws because he is the one who is constantly opening his mouth and making noise.  He has been quite active with the females in the pond too.  And he has another annoying habit we just witnessed.   He waits for the birds who fly to the shore of the pond to bath, and then he attacks them.  He scares off quite a few birds and he gives us dirty looks as well.  I think he imagines himself King of this pond and he is protecting his territory.  Here’s a brave robin bathing with Jaws looking on lower right.  The robin didn’t get too close and was quick about it.  Click on the photo to see the encounter close up!!



The Ducks

And if the frogs weren’t enough, the ducks finally paid us a late visit in early June.  The images are a bit fuzzy due to the distance and time of morning, but you get the idea.  

I have never seen a duck standing on a picket fence.  It is quite a feat to balance there.  I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn’t fallen down a rabbit hole.  He was surveying the garden and eyeing our pond.  Next thing we knew the pair was on the the roof of the gazebo wandering around looking to see if there was an opening for nesting.  I also think they were chasing bugs on the roof…I don’t think I will ever see this sight again.  They visited the pond briefly and then flew off to the pond behind the meadow.

The Deer


We hadn’t seen the deer for quite a long time, and suddenly the last week or so we have seen solitary does.  This one wandered into the meadow for a meal.  I never saw the little surprise hiding in the tall flowers until they were leaving…a Bambi.  I have yet to be able to capture a good picture of the baby since she keeps it hidden in the tall grasses or flowers…we can see it jumping and playing, but it is still too far for a good picture.  Of course she is eyeing the garden.  She’ll be back inside the fence some night.  Better get out my Deer Out spray and start spraying the lilies, hostas etc.  This is the only repellent I have found effective for deer and rabbits.  It lasts a long time, is all natural, is not a pepper spray, does not taste good to the animals and isn’t too bad of a smell when sprayed.

I’ll leave you with a few images of the gardens in bloom this June that are presentable….the weeding begins in earnest soon….then I can show you a bit more.


Small front garden



Side garden view from front porch



Shade garden in summer



Patio garden looking toward pond


“Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Listen hard.  Practice wellness.  Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no regret.  Continue to learn.  Appreciate your friends.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is.”
–  Mary Anne Hershey


Special Note: Here’s a shot of what I discovered the day after writing this post….boy do I know my neighborhood deer…they enjoyed phlox, lilies, daylilies, geraniums, coneflowers and hostas.  Needless to say I was out spraying everything.  Monthly around this time (usually the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.  I hope you can join me for my most recent post and interview.

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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. Sheila Read says:

    Donna, I’m amazed with all you have going … I think it’s an excellent idea to take Fridays off. I happened to take Friday off to attend a festival this week and it made all the difference to feeling more sane. I, too, get fried from being on the computer for work all day and then the last thing I want to do is get back online to blog or read others’ blogs, though it means so much to me when I do …

    Your garden is beautiful. I like the frogs. Somehow I find frogs’ croaking comforting, even though they’re loud. We only hear tree frogs in the uplands after a rainstorm.

    • Donna says:

      The blogging and reading was my respite until recently I had to unplug for sanity…glad you enjoyed the garden…we love the frogs and find them soothing but this year they are not croaking but making an annoying barking noise…I would love to hear the tree frogs but Jaws and his friends are drowning them out…

  2. debsgarden says:

    Barking frogs? We once had a pet lizard that barked, but fortunately not unless he was irritated about something. We kept him happy. There is a hawk that claims my garden as his territory and he screeches continuously. I told my husband it was his singing voice, but unlike songbirds, he can’t carry a tune.

    It is hard to keep life in balance and find calm and inner peace amidst the daily grind. I suspect that what you need is rest. Enjoy your Fridays off!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Deb…I do need rest and some good emotional outlets…4 hrs of weeding one side of the house was absolutely grueling but the garden looks lovely…I need to get my gardens in order..when they are neglected I am neglected…I am my garden

  3. Heather says:

    So nice to see all your blooms and wildlife! Sorry to hear you suffer from migraines 🙁 Hope your garden helps gets you balanced again.

  4. tina says:

    Donna, I hope you get things in balance. I’ve always admired those jobs where folks could work just 4 day work weeks (many dentists in my town keep these hours so all of their staff enjoys short work weeks). Sounds like you have it and I think those short weeks will make all the difference more so than the long work weeks. Your critters are all so pretty. I’m sure they keep you on your toes there amused by all their antics, good and bad.

    • Donna says:

      Tina, as a school administrator who works at the district office level with grants I can do this for the summer which has not been the norm for me in past jobs…wish I could work part time but that will come soon enough as I retire out of the education system in a few years…the animals actually do keep me going…

  5. Hanni says:

    Oh, glad that you are resting and that you have recognized the “too busy” note. Often its good to just stop – even when the things you have going are good things. 🙂 Hope you can enjoy your garden more in the coming days, Donna!

    • Donna says:

      You are so right…things seem to be chugging along and then ooppss we go off track…I know I will love being in the garden and doing other things I love as soon as I can get into a better routine…thx for the good wishes…missed you and your blog and other friends…

  6. dona says:

    I felt quite surprised when reading your post, dear Donna! It seems we’re exactly on the same wavelengthlooks… Or is it a global epidemic disease? 😀

    • Donna says:

      I think it may be global or perhaps our names and the fact that we are Italian puts us in touch through those wavelengths!!! Hope things go well for you dear Dona…

      • dona says:

        I was thinking it would be great to meet you someday.
        Things are getting quite better, actually I’m having a couple of family problems, but, thanks God, nothing too serious. Thanks again for your support. 😡

  7. Holley says:

    Taking Fridays off to have long weekends is a wonderful idea! So nice you are able to do that. I hope Fridays is a special day to you – gardening, writing, relaxing. I love to hear the frogs, but I never heard of one attacking birds! He really must be a king! Perhaps you should kiss him! 😉 Your garden looks amazing!

    • Donna says:

      Holley thank you…the gardens I am willing to show are looking nice…now for the hard work to weed and attack the horsetail…I don’t think the frogs want me near them…I plan to enjoy as many Fridays as possible…

  8. The Sage Butterfly says:

    I can relate to being torn in 10 different directions and feeling stressed, confused, and tired. I was actually in that position a couple of times this year. I am always amazed how I get in that position, but…such is life… I hope things slow down a bit for you so you have time to breathe in the blooms, the wildlife, and the peace of the garden.

    • Donna says:

      Thx so much…I have some decisions to make and directions to move in…it is all part of the journey…I learn from it every day…my garden is my solace and the need to weed will force me out in it and I will enjoy every moment…

  9. Donna says:

    I am sorry to here your health has been affected. You do need to slow down a bit. The long weekends will be nice to regenerate. It does look like you took some time to enjoy by all the photos you took. It is relaxing by the water for and and beast. Too bad your very talented duck did not stay longer.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Donna I will slow it down. Work just keeps getting busier which I didn’t think possible, but it will be a crazy push for a few more weeks and then I hope a slow down finally so I can breathe. That duck is indeed talented when I think of how he got up there and then was able to balance so easily between the pickets…

  10. Toni - Signature Gardens says:

    Enjoyed this post. Been there. Do take care of yourself. When we try to do too much, we end up being able to do nothing. It is hard to find balance when there are so many good things and so little time. It does look like you’ve got a lot of wonderful things going on in your garden right now. Oh, those hostas, how beautiful. And the Endless Summer — Wow! Wonder if mine will ever bloom like that. And the purples are so deep purple when they are not beat down by 100 degree heat for a month like they are in my garden. Enjoy your Fridays 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Toni so glad you enjoyed the post. I think the hydrangea enjoyed the wet spring and the lack of any real frost this spring so none of the buds were killed. The purples are particularly stunning this year. The lavenders especially. Boy can the heat just bleach color out of plants. Some of my lovely hosta were deer food but I hope the spraying does the trick.

  11. PlantPostings says:

    Donna: I’m glad you’re taking some control and using vacation days on Fridays. That’s a great plan. I’ve been dealing with similar issues lately, relating to work and home life. I decided to change my summer hours to earlier in the day, and winter hours to later in the day to avoid the crazy rush-hour commute. Take care! I understand your need for balance–I’m living it, too.

  12. Masha says:

    I am sorry you have been feeling out of sorts lately, and I hope your garden provides you with some peace of mind because it is so beautiful. Perhaps it might also help to know that you are not alone – I have had to deal with a lot too this year, the latest of it has been a foot injury. I have been hobbling about for a week now facing things that used to be easy taking lots of time and pain to accomplish (such as taking pictures for the blog…). It will pass though, I know it will!

    • Donna says:

      Masha, I am so sorry to hear about your foot injury, but how funny these things do not stop us. I have to be careful not to overdo it in the garden or I will injure my shoulder. Make sure you slow it down a bit too and take more time out to rest your foot…

  13. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna,
    What an honest post…thanks for sharing a bit. I definitely feel ‘overwhelmed’ with life at times, so much that I can’t focus on anything and keep jumping from one thing to another, getting frustrated that I’m not accomplishing anything! Anyway, take it easy on your Fridays and don’t “plan” or pack too much into your day to relax. (That is something I would do and would then be even more exhausted.) I think it takes self-discipline at times to get ourselves off the constant motion train and into a state of relaxation so we can be thoughtful, happy and healthy. Thanks so much for sharing the Tiny Buddha site, I’m going to check it out. Be restful….

    • Donna says:

      I am glad you enjoyed the post. I feel much the same way many days unable to focus thinking about all I have to do and then I get nothing done. Your advice about not doing too much on Fridays is great advice for me since I would try to cram so much in and then I would never get the rest I need. I hope you love Tiny Buddha…

    • Donna says:

      You know that hydrangea has my jaw dropping. I have 2 and I used to have 3 but they grew so big every year I had to move one out. They still are growing big but this year the number of flowers is overwhelming…I marvel at the sight every day…glad you enjoyed it…

  14. Cathy says:

    Donna, I just love it all — the flora, the fauna… well, until they ate everything in sight! I would have cried. But that duck on the fence is absolutely amazing! What a terrific picture!

    • Donna says:

      Cathy so glad you enjoyed the garden. I was in shock with the deer damage. You know she was back yesterday at dusk inside the fence munching on a dogwood bush that I did not spray since I don’t mind the deer doing the pruning on them…they grow so fast…and she did not want to go. My husband was half way to her before she was forced to flee. The duck is the best. If I hadn’t seen it, I would have thought it was a joke or a cartoon. Wish I could have gotten closer but the pic was taken inside the house or he would have flown… 🙂

      • Cathy says:

        The only thing that saves us is a 5 foot fence LOL. And a lot of chicken wire. We lined the fence with it and buried it 18 inches down. And even at that we have issues. But Toughie keeps them in check for the most part. He’s a neurologically disabled Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who thinks he’s a cat!

        • Donna says:

          The only fence here would have been a big ugly 6 ft privacy fence and then we would never see nature again…so we live with it

          • Cathy says:

            We had no choice as we abut a 55 acre conservation area and there is rabies endemic here and fishercats and coyotes are in that area as well. Although our dogs are vaccinated, we were not taking any chances with our own safety. The coyotes especially have become very aggressive in this area.

            We put picket fending along three sides and chain link across the back. With Virginia creeper and brambles against it, you hardly see it, and for the most part, it has kept the dogs safely in and the wildlife happily on their side of the fence. The woodchucks were digging their way into the garden until our little neurologically disabled Cavalier decided he was a cat. At first the fence was like the elephant in the room. Now we don’t even notice it. Even more interesting, guests who comment on the view of the conservation area outside the fence also don’t notice it!

  15. Alistair says:

    Take it easy Donna, enjoy your Fridays and don’t burn out. Unique shot of the duck on your picket fence. We also have a lot of frogs at the moment, glad they are not barkers.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Alistair. Years ago I would never have recognized the signals so I am glad now I can see where I might be headed. I promise not to burn out. The duck was one of the oddest and funniest pictures I had ever witnessed. And heaven help you if any of your frogs start barking…

      • Cathy says:

        Not to worry, Alistair. If they do start barking, give us a jingle. My DH is a psychiatrist. (It helps to be married to one when you really HAVE lost your mind LOL.)

  16. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Hi Donna – I hear you and I feel for you! I am going through something similar, lots of stress at work, 14 hour work days, bla bla bla. I have found that if I don’t sleep properly, everything seems to suffer (the weight, headaches, moods etc). So TRY to sleep! (easier said than done, I know!). But if you are well rested then everything else seems more bearable.

    Your garden is looking divine! If there are a few weeds … so what! There is more than enough beauty there so one can ignore a few weeds 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Oh Christine you are a dear…my body does need the sleep so I am getting better at getting close to 8 hrs. So glad you liked the garden. There are more than a few weeds since they have been neglected due to our wet spring, but we will get to them in due time. I look past them at this point. 🙂

  17. b-a-g says:

    Donna – Great frog pictures and I like the bucket-on-a-hook planting idea.
    Are you aware that migraines can sometimes be triggered by certain foods eg. chocolate, cheese, citrus ?
    Please take care.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you and so glad you enjoyed the frogs. I have heard that they are triggered by foods but never paid attention to that…I think it would help if I do next time.

  18. Diana says:

    Donna, I’m sure you will find that balance: identifying the need to do so was a great beginning. Years ago when I was in the corporate world, I did the administrative work for several sales people, and invariably they would walk in about 3 or 4 pm Friday and dump a boat load of orders on my desk that had to be processed. I worked myself over, trying to get it all done week after week, headaches, stress…. ’til finally I decided to go talk with them. Thankfully that is all it took for them to realize “THEY” had to prioritize and could help by getting orders in on Thursday.

    Your garden is lovely and I am especially fond of the view toward the pond. Beautiful! Is that Arundo donax ‘Variegata’ that I see? Just remember (and I’m certain you know) that you are what is most important and that includes your health, that which comes first.

    PS: you come visit anytime. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Diana you hit the nail on the head. My work place needs to get better organized and I am hoping to help them do that. You have a good eye. That wonderful grass is indeed Arundo donax ‘Variegata’. I planted it at the top of the pond in the hot sun and stones at least 4 years ago, and it grows great to about 8 feet or more. I am even using the dried reeds for my tomato and pea supports. It does not seem to move around because the soil is drier at that point. It is a tremendous focal point. I have always wanted to visit your neck of the woods so I will cherish the invite and add it to our list…

  19. Lucy Corrander says:

    Hello Fellow Insomniac.

    Part of the answer is to love the night.

    Not sure I have much hope of tranquil paradise but the photos are lovely and I like the idea of lots of long weekends. Time right away from home is important too.

    Your post has the tone of fresh beginnings – so I’ll wish you a Happy New Yea.


    • Donna says:

      Thx Lucy for the wonderful wishes…I do love the night which is why sometimes I will stay up…my schedule can get so mixed up…I will make sure I spend time away as well.

    • Donna says:

      Shyrlene, I am happy you enjoyed the post and thx for your sweet thoughts…resting this weekend and hope to gather strength as the summer moves along…

  20. JC says:

    Food makes me drool. So does your garden! I can’t help drooling while looking at your beautiful garden!
    Wish mine is like yours!

    • Donna says:

      JC what a nice surprise. I have not revisited this post since June but it was fun to see the garden again…your comment is so kind and I am glad you enjoyed the garden. Soon after that a drought hit and things did not bloom as nicely as I would have hoped. Thank you for sharing in my garden today!! This garden is almost 7 years old in some places and has gone through lots of revamping…I promise to visit your blog in return and check out your garden which I am sure is coming along nicely…

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