“Be not the slave of your own past- plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep,  and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

On September 13, 2010 Gardens Eye View was born, and my life was changed forever.  It was a Monday morning and I had finally decided to write a post and publish it.  How hard could it be?  Apparently for me very hard.  My friend Steven, who is a techie by trade, set up the blog for me a month earlier, but I was too afraid to put my writing out there.  After all what if it was awful?  But I took the plunge and wrote the first post in 30 minutes on the 13th and published it.  Thanks to the social media giant, Facebook, I was able to announce that I had started the blog.  Friends read that first post and the feedback was wonderful.

 Of course that is what friends and family do.  They support you in your endeavors.  They help in whatever way they can.  And I must say my friends and family have been so wonderful.  My husband was the first to actually read the blog because he is my editor.  He has to read it and approve it or it doesn’t get published.  He is a wonderful editor not because he likes what I write, but because if it wasn’t good enough to publish he would say so.  That is also what friends and family do.  They tell you the bad stuff too because they love you and care.

Little did I know what was in store as the year of the blog unfolded.  I found my voice quickly and knew I wanted to share lessons I had learned about life.  I wasn’t sure the way I connected them to the garden would resonate with readers.  And yes the readership was small at first.  But that was OK.  I was still establishing my style.  I continued to blog once a week on Mondays and I started adding quotes I liked in November.  And I obsessed about my readership.  Who was reading, how many, where did they live…I eventually gave that up because it wasn’t who I was.  I find it interesting from time to time to see what the readership is, but the stats aren’t the most important part of my blog; people are.

In November/December I found myself taking more chances and writing more.  I wrote 2 memoirs and both were well received; one was even a finalist.  The other I turned into a blog post on Perseverance.  About this same time, I discovered a group called Reflections from Women through a high school friend, Katrina.  On a lark I decided to enter 2 poems for consideration for publication in their upcoming book.  One I had discovered recently that I had written 40 years ago, and another I wrote quickly before the deadline.  They are now both published in the newly released book, The Moment I Knew.

Three amazing women entered my life during this time;  Janet Riehl, Matilda Butler and Terri Spahr Nelson.  Each giving me feedback and encouraging me to continue to write.  Recently Terri wrote a beautiful note she enclosed with my copy of the book, The Moment I Knew.  She said, “They (the poems) will undoubtedly call out to many women as they did for me.  Keep on writing.  Your writing is healing.”  Such amazing support has allowed me to find the right path as I have continued on this journey.  

And Katrina my high school friend, well she also entered her writing to the same book, The Moment I Knew.  We were encouraged by the feedback we had been receiving and I was so excited because I really hoped we both would be published.  How great would that be?  When Katrina found her work did not make it into the book she still was so incredibly supportive of me.  It brought tears to my eyes.  She remains a strong voice who encourages me onward.  

In December, I was accepted to Blotanical, a wonderful garden blogging community.  I started off slow and began to get my feet wet finding new blogs, new bloggers.  In early January I received an email from one of these bloggers, Jean.  She said she was featuring me in her January Blogs of the Month post.

To say Jean single handedly launched my blog out there is putting it mildly.  Her wonderful review of my blog introduced me to so many more readers.  Jean completely understood my blog too.  In a comment to me she said, “Donna, I was really delighted to discover your blog. I think you’ll find the garden blogging community at Blotanical enfolds you with warmth and friendship. The trick is to figure out how to develop all those wonderful blogging relationships while still continuing to write, to garden — oh yeah, and to deal with the rest of life’s responsibilities!”

And that has been a challenge of late.  I have had to slow down my reading of all the wonderful blogs I have come to love.  But this happens as our lives ebb and flow.  These wonderful bloggers understand and continue to support me all the more.  Thank you!!

And that takes me to this past spring.  Wonderful friends Liane and Steven (my techie friend) created an exciting new blog, Walkabout Chronicles.  They blog about life, loves, trips, inspirations and reflections.  And they asked me to contribute.  I didn’t hesitate to accept, and my first post was a reflection of my blog after 7 months. I knew adding another post into my busy schedule would mean I had to really discipline myself, but I was so honored and loved that I could branch out with my writing.

The support from Liane and Steven has been tremendous.  They never hesitate to promote my writing and I count them amongst my special friends.  Another recent blogging friend who is a wonderful supporter is Marcia Richards of Marcia Richards’ Blog.  She has a great blog that I love to follow.  She writes about life and the craft of writing.  Marcia is writing on a historical fiction novel.  I learn so much from Marcia and she recently asked me to participate in a fun blogging activity.  I promise to get to it soon Marcia.  And most recently I discovered fellow garden blogger, Grace of  Gardening With Grace also had her work published in the same book as me.  It is a very moving memoir not to be missed. 

And fellow bloggers Donna at Garden Walk Garden Talk and Alistair at Aberdeen Gardening have encouraged me to show more of my photos.  I have been finding my way with photography and hope to continue to learn and improve.  Donna is an inspiration with her beautiful photographs.  

So as the summer has waned and fall is upon us my blog enters its second year.  More life’s lessons; more garden posts.  I am undecided if there will be any big changes in the design or format.  I like how the posts have evolved from life lessons to adding garden journals posts.   And I love sharing my different gardens, my critter stories.

So to all who have been reading my blog this past year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.  You are such an important part of my life now; friends who have joined me on this wonderful adventure.


“Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to-letting a person be what he really is.”– Jim Morrison


Book Update-For those that have asked, you can order the book, The Moment I Knew,  from the publisher Sugati Publications where more of the proceeds go to the womens’ groups.  Free shipping from the publisher as well.  You can also order it from Amazon.  I hope you enjoy the book and I would love to hear your feedback on my poems.

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. Alistair says:

    Donna, congratulations on your blogs first birthday. There was never any doubt as to how your writing would be received. I know you will have been an inspiration to so many people who have great respect for you. Oh, and thanks for the mention.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair it has taken me a day to process all the wonderful things people are writing. I am flattered and overwhelmed with the out pouring of inspirational words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and kindness over this past year. Your comments, opinions and insight have sustained me as I have moved through this adventure.

  2. Ginny says:

    Donna, I am so glad you took the plunge and published that first post a year ago and I’m especially glad that you discovered blotanical, since that it where I found you. I have enjoyed your posts so much and look forward to many more.

  3. Becky says:

    The time has flown past so fast it hardly seems possible that you have been blogging for a year. Congratulations on your success. You deserve it all.

    • Donna says:

      Becky my NY blogging friend I lost touch with your last few posts and just took a quick peek. I see you sustained some water and damage to the garden, and I thought of you often during these last few storms. Your generosity is overwhelming and the lovely plants you gave me will have a good home in Brewerton. I will be blogging about those very plants soon so you will be getting a very well deserved shout out.

  4. Donna says:

    Congratulations on your first year of blogging and all your writing for publication. As I mentioned before, your writing is inspiring, heartfelt and deserving of the readership. It is very hard to start out in blogging and you were very lucky to have had help in Jean and those you consulted with on the blog development and at Blotanical. I went in totally blind and muddled for quite a while on all fronts, so I realize how important that must have been. Those individuals really deserved the call out. I wish you many more years of excellent writing and wonderful photographing. Thank you for mentioning me for having encouraged you. BTW, you should have mentioned our design business because that was keeping you very busy as well.

    • Donna says:

      Donna you are such a humble person of great talent. For someone who went in blind to blogging, you have taught us all how to do it well. I do so look forward to both your blogs. BTW 2 blogs that are so incredible is quite a feat my dear. I left out the design business since I am moving slow with that. I plan to devote much needed time this winter in getting ready for a real full throttle start. Thank you, thank you, thank you Donna!!!

  5. Sheila says:

    One of the things I like most about your blog is your courage in sharing your personal struggles and lessons. You were one of my first supporters as a new blogger and I have so appreciated your consistent comments, especially as I know you are so busy. Blogging is really about community – it’s no fun to write a blog if nobody reads it. So I’m thankful to blotanical and to bloggers like you who reach out to others.

    • Donna says:

      Sheila we connected so quickly and easily as kindred spirits. I love,love, love your blog and your wonderful thoughts on gardening and life too…I guess I never realized that my honesty with my struggles was reaching so many people until many readers started telling me. It seems that this was what I was put here on this Earth to do and I have not run out of thoughts, lessons and struggles. I hope to continue to grow in my garden and life with all of you wonderful friends. Thank you Sheila!!

    • Donna says:

      b-a-g, you have been a wonderful supporter for quite a while now. I look forward to your thoughtful comments. I also learn a lot from your blog. You make me think about my garden more thoughtfully and I have learned not to be afraid to try things because of your great experiments with plants. I hope to never lose touch with you!!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Esther it is a wonderful place to lose oneself…blogging is addictive and I am glad for the addiction. I thank you for your support this year!!

  6. Christine @ The Gardening Blog says:

    Dear Donna! Congrats on your first Blog-a-versary! Long may you continue to enjoy writing and inspiring as many people as you do! Spending time on your blog is always a joy for me! And thanks for the link – I just ordered the book from Amazon. YAY!! It takes about 2-3 weeks for books to arrive from USA, but I’ll let you know as soon as I have it.

    Thanks for these past months of being my “Blog Buddy”! Its been an absolute privilege and lots of fun getting to know you xxxx

    • Donna says:

      Christine you never fail to bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I hope one day to meet you even though we are worlds apart. You and your blog have come so far and I love watching you both grow. Thank you for buying the book. It means a lot to me. I do so hope you love it. So many gifted authors and their wonderful inspiring stories. My humble poems are a mere drop in the pond. Our friendship will only continue to grow through our blogs and I am so grateful for that.

      • Christine says:

        Hi Donna – I’ll let you know how I enjoy it – I got my confirmation today from Amazon that they shipped it! Yay! On my “list” of places to visit is New York – was supposed to be this year but I think it will more likely be late next year – and then absolutely would love, love to see you! How amazing that will be 🙂

        • Donna says:

          Oh Christine that would be wonderful. I am actually 5 hours outside of NYC if that was where you were going in NY, but who says we couldn’t meet there…of course where I live is lovely 🙂 …enjoy the book!!

  7. HolleyGarden says:

    Love that last quote by Jim Morrison. Congratulations on your book. What an accomplishment. And I know how you feel. Even though I’ve never met most of the blogging ‘friends’ I now have, I feel like they are true friends in every sense. Happy Blogaversary!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Holley for your continued friendship and support. When I found the Morrison quote I knew it was perfect for this post. What a wonderful world to have so many friends that care!!

  8. debsgarden says:

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments this year! i well remember finding your blog after Jean featured it on Blotanical. Your writing has enriched my life. I wish you the best with all your future endeavors!

    • Donna says:

      Deb how wonderful to say that about my writing. I have to get a tissue…you so touched my heart. I am so grateful for you and all your support and thankful we found each others blogs!!

  9. Liane says:

    Wow! I am so honored to have played a role in your amazing blogging journey and so very much appreciate you supporting Walkabout Chronicles as well. You are such an inspiration to me – your talent, your goodness, your compassion, your vulnerability and willingness to share that with others…
    I remember sitting at your house with Steven and talking about your ideas for the blog and your gardening business. You took a big leap with your blog and so many of us are better for it.

    Much love to you, my friend.


    • Donna says:

      I could not have taken that risk without you as a role model Liane. You put yourself out there as you have continued on your journey and I thank you for that inspiration of courage to begin my journey. We are forever linked and I can never thank you enough!! Much love to you and we have to get together soon…

  10. Jean says:

    Happy Blogaversary, Donna! Your blog has enriched my life, and I really appreciated this account of how taking a risk by putting your writing out there got you over a mental hurdle and enabled you to pursue so many other opportunities. All your successes are well deserved.

    • Donna says:

      Jean my friend I really do thank you for finding my blog. You have also enriched my life more than I can say and merely saying thank you just isn’t enough. You are incredible mentor and teacher and I have grown personally and professionally because of you!!!

  11. Steven says:


    My most sincere congratulations on the first birthday of your blog! I have never seen anyone dive in and generate such a success as you have with your site! But I guess I should have seen that coming since I have witnessed it first-hand in other parts of your world!

    Your prose, in addition to generating thought, interest, and emotion, always leaves us with some great examples of how we should all be blogging by finding the courage to put ourselves out there to benefit others.

    I am so pleased to have played a minor role in supporting your endeavor and I am grateful beyond words to be able to call you my friend!



    • Donna says:

      OK I had to reach for another tissue…wow!! You and I have been through a lot and your role has been anything but minor. Your willingness as a friend to quickly put together the blog and mentor me was amazing to me. You asked for nothing in return and a true friend you are. I am so pleased you have liked the evolution of the blog. Your opinion means so much to me. I hope to continue to evolve with the blog and add more too it in the coming months. I may even need a few lessons in photography if I ever get a real camera. But that is far into the future. So my friend I am too am grateful you are part of my journey and cannot wait until we get together soon!!

  12. Stacy says:

    Donna, congratulations on your blog’s first anniversary! So much more goes on behind a blog than we ever see–thoughts, personal experiences, discoveries, worries. You always share the process in ways that are honest and direct and beautiful. Your emphasis here on the support of others is lovely, especially when you could just be patting yourself on the back! Thanks for setting the example of encouraging us always to be our higher selves.

    • Donna says:

      Stacy thank you. My parents always taught us to give credit to those who have helped us and I have never forgotten that. I am not foolish to believe I could do this all on my own…we are a community and we all rely on one another…isn’t it lovely to have this wonderful community to help us!! BTW your blog is amazing and I enjoy reading all the lovely posts describing life in NM and learning from your struggles as well!!

  13. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Congratulations on the first year of your blog. You do a great job, and you know I enjoy reading your blog. It’s funny but my family hasn’t been very supportive of my blog. They don’t read it. Friends have been mildly supportive. It’s gardeners in the form of my nursery customers, Blotanical bloggers, and complete strangers who have really sustained it and me. However, like you, my husband pre-reads every post, whcih makes me feel more comfortable.

    • Donna says:

      Thank You Carolyn. You have been a wonderful supporter and it is funny how family really doesn’t read my blog much except my mom. I think 1 neighbor reads it and some friends at this point read it faithfully… but like you Botanical, gardeners and complete strangers sustain it …..I learn so much from you and your blog and cherish that. I still plan to visit but it will have to be in spring at this point.

  14. Marcia Richards says:

    Hey Donna, congratulations on your one-year anniversary! Thanks for the shout out! I’m so happy to have been of some support to you. I LOVE your blog! Your writing is well done and your photos are so beautiful! I’d love my own flourishing garden, but I’m so glad to have yours to enjoy. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own life circumstances and my writing, I haven’t been here as much as i’ve wanted to…that will go back to normal now. Happy journey into year #2!

    • Donna says:

      Marcia I am so grateful for our friendship and all your support. I do know how crazy you have been and how hard it is to manage it all so no worries. I know you are always with me in spirit. I so look forward to your posts too….

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Diana. I am still in disbelief that it has been one year full of incredible new friends and wonderful opportunities..thx for all your support!!

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