We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves,
or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.
–  Charles Schaefer

Today is Labor Day here in the US.  It is a National holiday, but I wonder how many Americans know how it became a holiday.  What is Labor Day and how did it get started?  Most would say it is a holiday to honor workers, and that is true.  Actually Labor Day was created to honor the labor movement.  The first large observance of Labor Day was on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York (what is now the AFL-CIO).  It became a federal holiday in 1894, when President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement after the Pullman Strike which was a nasty bit of violence most Americans may have studied briefly in school.

But today, Labor Day is more the symbolic end of summer (even though we have 2 weeks left).  We mark it with play.  We have picnics and last days at beaches (which close here on Labor Day in NY).  For many in the Northeast US, school starts right after Labor Day.  It is a day in which we are reminded to rest and relax; but also to play.

I really love this word-PLAY…something we seldom consider as adults as we get caught up in the hectic world of work.  So why play?  Besides having fun, we disengage our minds from our problems, stress, worries.  I found I left little time in my life to play and was very stressed a few years back.  I had forgotten about play.  It seemed childish.  Why do I need to play?  I have hobbies if I gave myself time to engage in them. I have an important job to do.  Really?  More important than enjoying your life?

That’s when it hit me.  I had stopped playing.  Some days I crave play. I know I need play when I get a bit grouchy.  Play not only helps improve our mood, but it let’s us be more creative.  I remember playing as a child for hours-making believe we were cowboys or playing grocery store.  How about that empty appliance box that would keep us more entertained for weeks than any toys because we used our imaginations.  Creative play is the play I love best.  Play can be anything from watching a comedy, to riding your bike, to experimenting with art supplies.

My favorite type of play these days is gardening.  Sometimes I view it as a chore when I look at the whole yard full of weeds and think will I ever get it done.  I have decided not to let this overwhelm me or take away my favorite play activity.  Just get out there and have fun.  Take pictures, wander around, assess the garden and pull some weeds.  Plant some flowers and seeds and pick some veggies.  Now that is fun. I have been weeding in the heat and humidity and loving it.  As I clear the debris, my outlook improves and my view of the garden becomes clearer.  I see changes that need to be made so that the garden flows better.

Today is also Hope Grows Day at Sweet Bean Gardening where I am joining Hanni and her wonderful meme which happens every 5th of the month.  As I contemplate play this month this is my hope– to play more, worry less, learn more and not to stress.

When I think of play in the garden I think of the critters that keep me laughing or mesmerized.  This past month the pollinators have been very busy in the garden.  Here are a few playful critter pics…I apologize for the quality since my point and shoot and the woman who works it are limited in their ability…


 Hummers getting every last drop out of the monarda.  Thankfully they revived with rain in August.

This bee was so drunk with pollen i couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  As soon as the sunflower opened he was in it and covered.  He could barely fly away.



This dragonfly is so big, he looks like a bi-plane.  He loved to perch on top of the cattails in the pond.  Love his coloring.




Ants are particularly fascinating to watch.  They are so patient in their work.  Ants in my garden love the lobelia.  Have you ever seen ants tend their larvae.  Fascinating….The ants took over my new veg bed and I have given them a wide berth as they tend to the colony.  Have you ever upset an ant hill?  You’ll know it once they crawl up your legs, arms and everywhere biting….did I say I give them a wide berth…



Monarchs have been very prevalent in the garden this year as compared to other years.  Maybe the milkweed and butterfly weed has helped.  They seemed to enjoy the echinacea and the Obedient plant as pictured at the top of the page.  Here a lovely butterfly is enjoying the black-eyed susans.  Soon the birds will be at those seed heads.  I plan to study more about butterflies to see who else we can attract into the garden to stay.



I wasn’t sure if this was a butterfly or a moth.  Tend to think butterfly.  Well it is the smallest one I have seen in the garden.  It is the size of a dime.  I know it looks similar to the one pictured above, but believe me it is not the same.  So lucky to have captured an image.


Thanks for coming out to the garden to play today.  Next week is a special post.  It will be the one year anniversary of my blog on 9/13.  I can hardly believe it…it seems like only yesterday….



The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
Arnold Toynbee 





Special Note: All flowers pictured here are from my garden.  Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time this Friday where she hosts Fertilizer Friday.  I’ll be flaunting mine.

Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.  Stop by to read my new post!


Book Update-For those that have asked, my 2 poems are being published in the book, The Moment I Knew in early September.  Publication is delayed due to a minor glitch with publication, but we are told it should be out in a couple of weeks.  I will keep you posted. You can see the announcement in my blog post.  Information about sale of the book is forthcoming.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

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:

    You definitely are playing every time you are out with your camera. Being creative and enjoying, relaxing, yet scurrying form bloom to bloom capturing fast moving critters that think you are out to get them. Them playing hide and seek with you. Gardening is play like you said too, but I find it more on the work side of things, but the getting dirty, playing in the dirt aspect reminds me of play as a kid. And your dragonfly does look like a biplane. That is playful too!

    • Donna says:

      Great you came by to play Donna…your pics motivated my play…your passion for designing and gardening may seem like work but I suspect you love that work…it shows in your blog and posts..inspirational, educational…your blog is definitely play!!

  2. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Your post definitely demonstrates a sense of play. I particularly enjoyed the pollinators working, but playing, among your garden blooms. I like play, too. And I think as we get older, we forget how to play. I have to keep reminding myself how important it is.

    • Donna says:

      Michelle so glad you joined in for the play in the garden with the critters…I have to constantly remind myself with this new job that there must be time for play. I am determined to find time in each day as fall and winter approach.

    • Donna says:

      Diana it does seem crazy but the State and County Park beaches close as school starts. There are no lifeguards and you are not allowed to swim in those areas. Of course you could sit on the beach and walk on the beach. It is a crazy term we use that as I am explaining it does seem a bit odd. Since most go to the beach to swim and lay in the sun, with summer ending we say they close. In reality it is the swimming that ceases. Thanks for asking that question. The saying we Americans have that sometimes make little sense…

  3. One says:

    You do have lots of wonderful critters in your garden, I could play the entire day with them and then spending the entire night playing with the photos I have taken of them. Dangerous! I better get some work done.

    How do we blur the line between working and playing?

    • Donna says:

      You definitely would be playing for hours with my garden critters…I think the hard lesson is in blurring that line. Making an effort to do this brings our lives more satisfaction. Blurring the line is an individual journey. For me it is having time to play outside of work. The best way is to have a job that is play and your passion. Also shifting your perspective to one of finding the play in work can also help. I am working toward a job that is my passion but it will take a couple of years. For now I will play in my garden.

  4. Carolyn♥ says:

    Your posts are always wonderfully thought provoking, Donna. I must admit that some of the most physically hard work I do is in the garden, but I also consider it as “play” I enjoy it so much.

    Thank you for your several sweet comments to my posts of late… I will never catch up in my thank yous, but do know I appreciate so much your kind words. I hope you are feeling a sense of peace in your life now sweet friend.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Carolyn and I know how it is getting behind…no thank yous are necessary. There are parts of my life that are at peace but some aspects I am still searching for that right path…I keep hoping to find it soon….it is in the patience and the lessons…..when I am ready it will flow into place and I have faith that I will find it!! I think of you often and hope that you are finding some peace as well!!

  5. Sheila says:

    Hi Donna, nice to catch up on your blog! I’ve been away for two weeks without much Internet access. I like what you say about play – it’s what renews me. Gardening and photography are both forms of play for me, though it’s harder to see them as play in the midsummer heat.

    • Donna says:

      Sheila so happy you could catch up….hope your time away was enjoyable. Being disconnected can have advantages 😉 That summer’s heat certainly made the garden seem a chore this year, but the fun and play are coming!!!

  6. b-a-g says:

    Just thinking about your last quotation… I don’t think I would want to turn a hobby into a job. The pressure of meeting deadlines to pay the bills, would take the pleasure away.

    • Donna says:

      I agree…hobbies should not be job…the real meaning behind the quote is to make sure your job is your passion…then you can enjoy it more. My current job is too far from my passion and I need to find a way to connect with the passion or I fear I will not sustain it…

  7. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Being a rather ‘type A’ personality, I learned a number of years ago the value of play. I used to joke that an hour in the garden had to be much cheaper, and much more effective than therapy 😉 Sometimes though I forget to play outside of the garden too. You’ve reminded me that I have 3 blank canvases here that I intended to ‘play’ on a couple of years ago. I haven’t painted in some time, but maybe I should see if the paints are still good, and see what transpires!

    • Donna says:

      I think that sounds like a fine idea…love to see the canvas when you are done playing…I also need to get back to my sketch pad and play more…:)

  8. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    A great reminder of the value of staying playful. I agree that the antics of the critters in the garden can help there, as can gardening itself. I remember going on holiday with my BIL and his wife a few years ago to a place with a pool. BIL was like a child, in the best of ways, inventing new games to play. It made me realise how serious I had become, how out-of-touch with the playful in life. There is always so much stuff dragging us down, but gardens, critters, BILs and of course children are invaluable at helping to remind us. Thank you for the prod, I have become very serious again of late. The daft doves in the garden helped, but this was even better!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Janet thank you for the wonderful comment. I am glad it spoke to you. I needed a prod as well and gave myself a kick. We do need to surround ourselves with those we know will keep us going in a positive, fun filled direction….

  9. Beth says:

    Donna, Love your critter pictures! Especially the hummers and the bee. I liked seeing your pink obedient plant too. Mine is just starting to bloom…seems a bit late to me, but then maybe it’s because it’s not in full sun. At any rate, bloomers now are welcome as much of the garden is winding down.

    • Donna says:

      Rebecca thx so much…so glad you enjoyed the post…that dragonfly has been incredible this summer. He posed for so long I couldn’t miss the picture!!

  10. Andrea says:

    I didn’t read the long text because we dont relate to that, but i looked at the lovely photos. That dragonfly stunningly looks like the Wright brothers’ model.

  11. Liane says:

    We love to play! I don’t do it often enough but compared to several years ago I have come a long way. Today we played at the Golden Harvest Festival at Beaver Lake. You should head out there if you do not have plans for tomorrow!

    • Donna says:

      I love that festival but haven’t been in 10 years or so…my play for today is weeding and writing…but I need to get that festival back on the schedule 🙂

  12. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    My favourite type of play these days is gardening too! I haven’t had the TV on during the day on weekends in ages! That’s a really good thing (in my opinion). Fresh air and excercise whilst doing something we love … sounds like “play” to me 🙂

    Please don’t forget to tell us when we can order the book via Amazon! I’m going to buy as soon as its available.

    • Donna says:

      Christine that is a good thing…I am working on more gardening/play less TV as well. We, the authors just got our copy of the book yesterday so it is finally ut and I will have ordering info in my post tomorrow. Very little gardening got done yesterday once the mail came 😉

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