Habit

Quality is not an act, it is a habit. ~ Aristotle

I have been getting into the habit recently of strolling my gardens every day after my long work day…to catch the blooms and take in the sights, sounds and smells.  I recently braved the mosquitoes and went outside at dusk to see the fireflies or what we called lightning bugs as a kid.  They were everywhere, and looked like a night sky of twinkling stars.  One of my fondest memories from early childhood is that of running and catching fireflies marveling at how they glow.

The deer have an annoyingly bad habit these days of jumping the fence and eating the dogwood bushes.  As you can see this is the same doe that was looking into the yard from the meadow a while back.  Now she is looking into the meadow from inside the yard.  I don’t mind if they chomp on the dogwood bushes.  It keeps them pruned so I don’t have to.  I think I have sprayed everything else with a safe deer repellent.  I have to go about half way across the yard before she decides to jump back over the fence.  I don’t think she will be changing her habit of visiting my yard anytime soon and come winter she will bring her young one to find the dogwood bushes yet again.

On a positive note, today I spotted the robins in the front tree again.  After 2 failed attempts, we felt the area was not safe from predators (snakes and other birds) and we took down the nest.  They left the area or so we thought.  They have been flying back and forth from the tree today, and I suspect they are building another nest.  Perhaps it is habit for them, perhaps it is shear tenacity or something born in them, but whatever they put my work efforts to shame.  They do not give up, and put in whatever labor is necessary.  I admire that.

So as I think of our robins, I think of my garden and life.  Of how I am trying to do so much that I am just spinning in place or completely paralyzed.  This past week an unfinished post was scheduled in error and posted for about 12 hours until I took it down.  Embarrassed, I realized something needs to change.  I need to take another personal inventory and cultivate better habits.  They say it takes 21 days to develop a good or new habit.  Even longer to make it part of your routine.  As a child, I was a nail-biter.  That habit is gone, but it took many years.  We can all list our bad habits or habits we wish to change.  I can sit and watch old movies for hours and lose track of time as I veg out on the couch.  I got out of the habit of exercising (walking and biking) and desperately need to get back to it.  But deciding on what to change, how to change it and taking it slow are the keys.

So for the rest of July I will start on one personal habit and one garden habit.  Perhaps adding a new habit or tweaking one each month.  Personally, I will read and write more and stay away from the TV limiting my time by slowly reducing it.

As for the garden, I will attempt a half hour of weeding each day.  I think that may help even with the drought, some of the weeds will come out easily.  The front and side beds are weeded, mulched but still need deadheading and occasional weeding.  The back beds are weed covered; some worse than others.  Try as I might, I cannot get to it all, but I will keep working at it.

With little to no rain this summer here are what is still growing in the garden these days.

Shasta daisies galore of all kinds are growing profusely.  I have a habit of collecting many different types of plants.  Shastas are one of these plants.  I just love the many sizes and different flowers.  Some look like coconut (bottom left) and some look like you cut their petals with scissors (bottom right and top right).

 

 

Daylilies are another plant I love to collect.  I have more that are not shown here, but the bright colors are charming and make my summer garden come to life.  Of course the deer got to many so they will probably not flower this year.  I have daylilies everywhere I can tuck them in.  They grow in any conditions and faithfully bloom for a month sometimes more if they are re-bloomers.

 

 

This garden I call my Red Garden.  It is just out side the fence next to the pergola on the right side of the house.  It gets hot sun and stays pretty dry.  The monarda against fence is a fuchsia color and the red phlox has not bloomed yet.  The astilbes there glow fiery red even in this hot, dry spot.  There is a honeysuckle that has red stems and has red and yellow blossoms.  The newest addition is the echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’.  It is a gorgeous bright red flower.

 

The veg garden has its ups and downs.  I check it daily; a good garden habit.  Unfortunately we are experiencing some tomato blight that I hope I can keep at bay with Neem Oil.  Two tomatoes from last year seeded themselves and are growing nicely in the big veg bed.  I moved the hybrids to the new smaller bed where the blight now is appearing.  I never seem to have much luck with hybrids.  I am noticing the blight on the container tomatoes suddenly too.

The good news is I have changed over the large bed yet again.  I pulled the 24 heads of garlic we grew, and planted more scallions (top center).  I also planted curly endive, more beets and mild mustard greens.  I have summer lettuces coming up and the carrots are showing top growth.

My first attempt at eggplants may yield some fruit  as you can see in the picture top left. Purple (top right) and wax beans (bottom center) are flowering and setting up beans I hope to pick soon.  I transplanted these and am thrilled they are doing well so far.  Pumpkins are flowering (bottom left) and the cayenne peppers are growing strong (bottom right).  My other peppers look awful and some have died back and are re-growing.  I have no idea what I am doing wrong with them, but I will keep trying.  My sweet poatoes may also be getting blight and I am spraying them with Neem Oil.

 

The meadow continues its slow change to yellow.  As the echinacea and asters come up it will add some purple and pink.  The center bottom picture is native monarda that grows in the meadow too.  We are slowly taking out the large overgrown weeds and replacing them with Obedient plant.  In the fall, I also hope to seed the other half of the garden where it is still very weedy with natives liatris, blanket flower, yarrow and coreopsis to add more variety.  Don’t you just love all the different rudbeckias in the meadow?

 

Today is my reluctant garden helper/copy editor’s birthday (a.k.a. my wonderful husband Robert).  Without his help in the garden and with the blog, I would have nothing growing.  He faithfully waters, mulches and weeds the garden.  And nothing gets published without his OK.  Friday will be another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at May Dreams  Gardens, and Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.  Check out what is blooming around the world.  Hopefully I will remember to link in.

 

 

 

Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you. ~ Frank Crane

 


Special Note: 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.


38 comments

  1. Alistair says:

    Quoting Aristotle, you never fail to impress me Donna. As for habit, regarding exercise, yes something which I was obsessed with when I was very much younger. These days when I probably need it all the more, I am content enough to think that the energy spent in gardening is all which is required. Love your photography Donna, not so keen on collages though.

    • Donna says:

      I do think gardening should be enough but we shall see…I am happy you love my photography…I often think it is so-so…I completely understand your preference and will make sure I include a better balance of pictures to collages 🙂

  2. Donna says:

    I agree with Alistair, your photos are wonderful, so please show more of them by themselves. The collages get a bit too small to view, even if enlarged.

    We have the same Shasta. Your daylily and Shasta daisies are lovely. Crazy Daisy is new in my garden and really grows well. In fact they all do, as does the daylily in these waterless weeks. The rain missed us again, and our last forecasted rain is tonight for a while. So we will see. It seems feast or famine here on the rains.

    As for the post that arrived early, I and another blogger had posts, post themselves. Very strange. I contacted WP and they said they could not figure out the problem. But I swear I did nothing to post. I saw the odd post of yours. I thought it was a Blotanical error and gave it a pick of one to see if it was real. So many picked it too.

    • Donna says:

      Glad to know it may not have been me that made the post publish…sometimes I think I have lost my mind…The rain continues to miss us and we are in a drought with tomato blight starting…seems for me when there is little rain I have more blight which makes no sense…at least the weeds can’t grow out of control too much without the water either…as for the collages, I am pleased that you think my photos wonderful enough to post by themselves…sometimes collages make it easier to see many varieties of a plant or show the evolution of a garden, but I will make sure I add stand alone photos more with each post since many folks like them too…

      • Judy Wilken MS says:

        Hello Donna,

        I got your comment about my healthy living poster from Bill Brikiatis’ Suburban Hobby farmer. Thanks so much.
        So many people are commenting on this poster. Doctors are picking it up fast. Some restaurants are ordering it now that the National Restaurant Association just released their Kids Live Well Initiative. Garden Centers are buying it for children programs. It was such a joy to create.
        I do like your photos so much. They are so crisp and clean. I also think the collage you have created are wonderful and do give you more room to see transitions.
        Judy Wilken

        • Donna says:

          Judy welcome and I am so glad the poster is taking off…such a great poster and important topic…I am also glad you are enjoying the post and pics…

  3. Ginny Tarleton says:

    Your garden is amazing – you have so much color and variety – and veggies, too!
    I have struggled with wanting to do more than I have time for for many years. I’d always thought that that problem might go away after the children left home but not so – it is worse – I spend a lot of time visiting them or having them visit us. I gave up TV 10 or so years ago – occasionally I will watch a special but we might go weeks in our house without turning the set on. And the housework suffers as I always choose the garden over the house if I have to choose. The best habit to cultivate and one I’m working on is to accept that you can’t do it all.

    • Donna says:

      Ginny I like your habit and will endeavor to cultivate it as well…I never choose housework over the garden if I can help it although I did finally clutter clear my green room which is my refuge…glad you enjoyed the garden…it is not so awash in color because the flowers are not blooming as much as I’d like with the drought except for the hydrangeas…all are flowering this year…

  4. Elephant's Eye says:

    I LIKE your collages. I would rather see your view of your garden, thru your eyes, than scroll down a seemingly endless list of similar flowers. Your Red Border comes to life in a collage!

    We succeeded in going for our weekly walk last Sunday, first time in forever, making a new habit.

    TV and the daily newspaper went when I started reading blogs. There is only so much time in a day.

    • Donna says:

      Diana I am so glad you enjoyed the post and pics…I know once I start some new habits the old ones will give way…so far I am making a bit of a headway.

  5. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I love your meadow period (as you say in the US!). I try to replace bad habits with good habits, sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not, but I don’t beat myself up about it.

    • Donna says:

      I knew you would enjoy the pics of the meadow..it is awash with color and I cannot get enough of it…I think you are right…the key is to keep trying with habits and to not beat yourself up about it…thx!!

  6. Holley says:

    I think summer is a good time to reflect about our gardens, and our habits. It’s so hot here, but I’m still trying to find some time to go out in the garden and work. I want to move some thing when it gets cooler. And yes, I need to exercise more – an easy habit to let slide. Love your red garden plants, and your meadow is very impressive! Your daisies look refreshing!

    • Donna says:

      Holley I agree that summer forces reflection as we wander the garden or try to do some work in the heat…we are able to sit and contemplate the garden as it unfolds instead of in our imagination as we are forced to do in winter…so very glad you enjoyed the garden. The red garden continues to bloom even more and I have ideas to add more red blooms there…

  7. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Hi Donna – I too struggle with breaking bad habits, not spending enough time excercising, too much time at the computer or watching TV, bla bla bla … But, we are only human! I think you are too hard on yourself sometimes – life is meant to be enjoyed and if the garden doesn’t get weeded today … well the weeds will still be there tomorrow. Take a walk, smell the flowers, enjoy your garden – because it is so beautiful! I love your daylilies (and the collages! 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Christine you are such a kind and gentle person…always sending me kind sweet in your comments reminding me to not be so hard on myself…I am so grateful for your comments…I am able to sit and look past the weeds these days…it isn’t the worst that could happen that weeds are left to languish in the garden… 🙂

  8. Jean says:

    Donna, I love your daylilies. I am particularly smitten by the gold one with the orange eyezone in the top left corner; do you know its name?

    • Donna says:

      Jean I think that one is actually Rocket City and is more orange in real life than gold. I will check it out though to make sure. My latest yellow daylilies have been Going Bananas which is a great performer and has more pastel large yellow flowers and the variegated daylily ‘Golden Zebra’. Gorgeous golden almost butterscotch colored flowers…

  9. Cathy says:

    Such a profound post… I read it through twice. You’ve articulated so many things I have been feeling and thinking about.

    Reading your posts, sometimes it feels like you’ve been inside my head and written the things I feel at my core yet have not been able to put into words.

    • Donna says:

      Cathy your comment leaves me speechless…I am happy to know that it does mean so much…a great gardening friend once told me that I write about the gardener’s soul…in putting down the words that flow from my heart and soul, I guess it does seem to come out this way at times…

  10. Sheila says:

    Donna, you have a lot going on – inside and outside! So much I can identify with. I highly recommend giving up TV – I stopped watching about 2 years ago and it helped change my life for the better. TV just was compulsive eye candy and I would wind up getting anxious about all the bad news, envious of random people I will never meet, craving consumer goods that are not necessary, etc.

    That’s a beautiful photo of the deer – despite the damage they cause, they are pretty. I saw two fawns chasing each other in the neighbor’s back yard the other day and they were so cute. They’re cuter, though, now that I have the deer fence 🙂 Gorgeous daylilies – I keep wanting to get more (many, many more) but am holding back because we may move.

    • Donna says:

      Sheila thx for the pep talk….TV is a habit to break and I am doing well weening myself away from it…glad you enjoyed the pics and post…if you move or not and want some daylilies, I will gladly send some when I get to dividing a few clumps…probably next year.

    • Donna says:

      Thx and glad you could return to visit…I actually have several more daylilies but they have either not bloomed yet or the visiting deer ate them before I caught them…Happy GBBD!!

  11. Dorothy says:

    I like your collages…very artistically done! I’ve never had shasta daisies but after seeing your post, I think I will give them a try. Also loved the daylilies!

    • Donna says:

      Dorothy aren’t you sweet…welcome to my gardens and blog!! Shastas are so much fun and so easy to grow…and with all the bloom differences they really make a statement in the yard…the critters don’t like them either…one of the few non-natives I grow that I just love…

  12. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    I loved this post. It was so fully in musings about wildlife in the garden, what to do about them, about our habits (so many of mine are bad), and what works well during drought. Your gardens are beautiful. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

    • Donna says:

      Dee, thx and I always enjoy your visits. I have been away from reading too many blogs but promise to catch up with yours…you have had heat and drought as well, right? At least some things are growing…are you heading to the Fling this year? I have a new job and will not be able to get away…

  13. Island Threads says:

    Donna you really are too hard on your self, you do so much, I think winding down by walking around your garden is a good healthy habit, no one is perfect we all have our good and bad habits that’s living,
    I absolutly adore your first photo with the light looking as if it is coming from the centre of the flower, daylily?
    the photo of the deer is lovely and she clearly knows she is safe with you if you can get quite close before she runs, I understand about her making your garden her local food bar! there are deer on the moor at the back of my house, there are deer all over the islands but they don’t seem to came near the houses, though a recent radio programme said there are urban deer in Glasgow!
    I love, love your shaster daisies I must look for and buy more, as always it is a pleasure to see your wonderful meadow which really is a meadow unlike mine,
    I think you have a lovely balance of photos, you usually have some single close ups, some collages and some long shots showing plants in situ next to each other, it’s your blog do what you want,
    did your under gardener have a nice birthday I hope you spoilt him and you both did something nice and relaxing together,
    you sound a bit somber in parts of the post but the comments have worked their magic as you sound brighter in your replies to comments,
    take care, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Frances it appears you know me like a book as we say here in the US. Yes I was being hard on myself and a bit somber…the blog is like a journal for me and all you wonderful gardening friends and just friends do so help me keep it all in perspective. I did a bit of clutter clearing indoors and got myself back on track. Even wrote 2 posts in 5 hours today…now to tackle the weeds…I definitely am taking small steps to make the changes I know I need to make, and waiting to see where the road leads….so glad you enjoyed the posts and pics…the shasta daisy are fun to grow and the meadow is my love too…yes the hubby had a wonderful day although the heat kept us from our plans that day, but we will make it up soon and go enjoy ourselves as we had planned…take care of yourself as well. 🙂

  14. Jen says:

    Hi Donna, I just love connecting the dots finally. Saw you on FB, and as a new commenter on my blog. And here I am now.

    I love your blog, my what a gorgeous collection of daylilies you have. [This type is too small for me, LOL, and I can’t spell correctly because I can’t see the l’s and the i’s.

    Oh and I adore the Shasta Daisies. Frilly!!! Oh frilly.

    Thanks for visiting, nice to meet you.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    • Donna says:

      Jen I have long loved your blog and have read it many times…I was a bit shy about commenting but am glad I did…so glad you visited and that you enjoyed the post. I have been so busy with life that my reading of blogs has diminished but I hope to be back to reading them more consistently…come back any time!! I will definitely comment from now on when I read your wonderful posts!!

  15. Larry says:

    Daylily season has just begun for us and I am totally into them just now! Yours are very beautiful. One thing I love about gardening is that I get to obsess over different plant groups at various times during the season! My first attempt at hybridizing daylilies are coming into fruition… making each morning a new delight! Lovely gardens and flowers you have… enjoyed the visit very much! Larry

    • Donna says:

      Larry how wonderful to be hybridizing daylilies…I find nature has done its own hybridizing with some plants in my garden..it is always exciting to see what has changed each year in the garden…can’t wait to see pictures of your new plants…I love your blog and gardens…so glad you could visit and do come back again!!

  16. One says:

    Donna, Thanks for an enjoyable and meaningful read. I tried being a vegetarian for 21 days after attending Anthony’s Robbins talk a decade ago. I was successful for 3 weeks. 🙂

    Your garden is beautiful with so many blooms at this time of the year.

    Congrats! Your caption has been selected and posted with links to your site today.

    • Donna says:

      Thx for your kind words. I agree that habits can change for a few weeks but you will slide back if it is not the right time or your heart is not in it…I have taken it slow and am making a bit of progress. I actually am enjoying some changes and that is the trick. How wonderful you liked my caption. I love your blog and especially the captions. I will be sure to visit today!!

  17. Tootsie says:

    thanks for linking in this week. I am always in awe of all the different flowers everyone flaunts. It is a pleasure to tour and see all the gorgeous blooms…and I always enjoy stopping by here! I hope you will link in again soon!
    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´Glenda/Tootsie
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

    • Donna says:

      Glenda I so enjoy your blog and thx for hosting FF…it is always a pleasure and honor when you are able to visit…I know how busy you get and am glad you enjoyed the flaunt…

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