If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies; like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate. ~Fernand Lequenne


This is a busy week for me and around the blogging world.  It is Wildflower Wednesday@Clay and Limestone with Gail, and Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd (part of the Foliage Followup that happens after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day) with Christina@Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides.  I’ll be linking in with both these wonderful blogs.


Book Giveaway:  Let me first announce the winners of the book, The Moment I Knew.  Here’s a link to the post about the book and contest.  I decided to give away 2 books.  One to the a US reader and one to an International reader.  Congrats and I hope you like the book.  The winners (who were randomly drawn) are:

US:  Tina@In The Garden

International:  Laura@Patio Patch

Big News:  This week I received a surprise email from Carole Brown regarding my posting on Beautiful Wildlife Gardens.  To my astonishment, Carole has asked me to be part of the weekly team.  Of course that means 2 posts a month.  My immediate answer after I could actually move was…heck YES!!  So I am moving my guest posting from the first Saturday of the month to every other Thursday, starting this Thursday which is of course Thanksgiving here in the US.  If you get a chance, please join me there for a regular every other Thursday post.  Actually you will not regret heading on over and subscribing to this wonderful blog to get a daily dose of some beautiful wildlife gardens.



As you read this, I am on my way to visit family in Arizona for Thanksgiving.  I have not seen my family in 2 years.  My health prevented the trip last year.  Being a reformed workaholic, my body has yet to heal completely from the abuse I put it through.  For 6 years I worked 60 hour weeks, at a minimum.  I have worked through the stress and the many of the health issues that cropped up.  But a few problems still remain; migraines, joint/back issues and weight gain.  We all know what weight can do to your blood pressure, immune system and joints.  It’s a never ending cycle that all comes from prolonged stress.

But I have made great strides these past 18 months dealing with the stress, but my weight is still an issue that I am determined to beat.  That is my 30-Day Challenge.  If you haven’t seen the video about this Challenge you should.  Many wonderful bloggers have been doing their own Challenges this month.  My challenge is to finally control the stress eating, the sugar, the gluten and on and on with the things that are not good for my body.  My body has been telling me it doesn’t like these things although my brain is saying something else.  I have completed 2 weeks on a  healthy eating plan that is full of wonderful and delicious foods.   I am enjoying it and I will be continuing to eat this way for the rest of my life.  The next step; exercise, but that is the next Challenge.

So to say I am thankful for my health being returned to me is an understatement.  And as I have been focused on my health the past 18 months, I have also been focusing on the health of my garden.  The parallels are astounding.  What really drove the point home for me was when I recently  received an email from the folks at The Pond Blog about an interesting post, Surprising Ways Gardening Can Make Your Life Better.  The graphic is on my sidebar and below.


Obviously the mental and physical benefits from gardening are easy to see.  I blog about them often.  You can look the graphic over at your leisure. It is chock full of interesting information.  This year I have paid closer attention to the health of my garden especially the soil.  We added compost to enhance the soil, and at the same time we were reusing refuse.  Just like our bodies, our gardens need good nutrition.  We are chemical free in the garden and in the body practicing organic methods of growing veggies and fruit.  One other very healthy garden habit has been to make a conscious effort to plant more native plants in the garden.  And what a perfect time to talk about natives than Wildflower Wednesday.


Native Wildflowers

So let’s take a look at these natives at the end of the season.  The rudbeckia, at the beginning of the post, was peeking out of the foliage making sure I noticed her.  The helenium above continues to squeak out a blossom now and again.  I am grateful to these natives for  braving the cold weather to keep giving their blessed blooms.


Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting) is an unusual native.  The gray-green foliage makes it seem more of an exotic.  The spent flowers are still beautiful.  The flowers are actually bright yellow enclosed by white papery bracts that are often mistaken for petals.  Here the papery white is all that is left still making them a beautiful dried flower.


Phlox paniculata succumbed to the recent freeze, frosts and snow.  The poor soggy petals melted in the sun.  I am sad to see her go.



Gaillardia is frozen solid like a popsicle, but that is not stopping her.  This plant is continuing its blooming all over the garden.


Native Foliage

One of the added benefits of native plants is the fall foliage show.


OK technically this is not foliage.  It is the stems of cornus sericea (red-osier or red-twigged dogwood).  This magical bush bears leaves on mostly green wood during the growing season.  As the leaves change, the stems of this plant turn dark red.  It is a stunning contrast against the snow.  It is not a fussy plant tolerating wet, poor soil.  It grows upwards of 8ft tall.  The deer rather enjoy this bush, but since it is so prolific, I have never found their year round munching to deter this plant.  So I let the deer prune this plant for me all winter.


Although the blooms have faded on Obedient plant she is still putting out color.  I do not remember this plant’s foliage turning a lovely burgundy/purple color last year.  This plant is just as beautiful in its decline as when it is blooming, maybe more so.



Clethra or Summersweet is out doing itself with the warm days and cold nights.  The yellow foliage is tinged with red as are the seed heads and stems.  It is a riot of color that makes me smile.


This young native bald cypress tree is ‘Peve Minaret’ getting only 6 ft high.  When I first bought this plant, it was a twig almost resembling the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  It is now over 4 ft high and branching out nicely.  It loves it in the wet area of the garden.  I thought it was dying when it was changing color not realizing it drops all its needles.  The needle-like foliage turns from bright green to bronze, and then lives up to its name and becomes bald going back to resembling a twig.  The color change is incredible.

Fothergilla gardenii is a must for your fall garden.  As a native it adapts to many different soil types.  Preferring acidic soil, it grows in the neutral, dry shady clay conditions in my garden.  These conditions are keeping it to a 3 ft dwarf size.  The blueish green foliage and bottle brush type white flowers come in spring, but the big show is in fall.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone in the US and goodbye my native beauties…see you in spring!!!!

Hardy Geranium




Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.~ Buddha




As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.  So drop by to check out all the wonderful flowers this Friday.


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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. tina says:

    Thank you for my book! I look forward to receiving and am hoping reading it will give me some much needed calm so I can work on my stressors as well. The 30 day challenge sounds like a good idea for all. Have a great trip to Arizona and rest and enjoy each day while you are on vacation!

  2. Donna says:

    I really hope your health gets in order. Life is so much more pleasant when you are feeling your best. Have a restful vacation and enjoy your time in Arizona. I never did see that poster on gardening health, thanks for adding that.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Donna. Resting at the gate with mechanical difficulties. 2 yrs ago I would have been in stressed out panic mode now I am reading and replying to my blog. So right that when you have your health you have what you need from there.

  3. Amy/Go Away, I'm Gardening! says:

    Your fall photos are beautiful. I really like the gaillardia with the blue sky.
    I have been trying to eat healthier, too. Not easy…especially certain times of the day. I do feel much better without all that sugar, etc.
    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!!

  4. Sheila says:

    6 years of 60 hour weeks? That stresses me just reading it. Congratulations for stepping off the work treadmill and finding balance in your life.

    Fothergilla is a wonderful native shrub – and relatively deer-resistant, too. I like the gaillardia popsicle 🙂

    • Donna says:

      It wasn’t easy stepping off. I so wanted to prove myself and I never say never. Now I say, “hey wait and let’s look at this”. Made some promises to myself I am keeping. Glad you enjoyed the natives.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Christine I am blushing…you my dear teach me too…glad you enjoyed the post and the color…wait till you see the red-twig with winter snow…

  5. Alistair says:

    Donna, congratulations on being chosen as part of the team on Beautiful Wildlife Gardens. I also just got a call from the writer of a weekly gardening page of a national sunday newspaper, can you believe she wants to do an article on my blogging. Still a lot of good stuff to see in your garden. Take care, see you at the gym, no repugnant illnesses, not sure about the body, a bit gangly.

    • Donna says:

      I can believe she wants to talk about your blogging…you have a fantastic blog with a big following…so glad to see it is coming into the light even more…you take care too…if I try the gym I’ll be wheezing, no illnesses just bad lungs and a pudgy body…I think I’ll take a walk outside 🙂

  6. HolleyGarden says:

    Donna, so sorry I’ve behind in reading blog posts lately. I’m trying to catch up! So glad you’re getting to see and enjoy your family! Good going, girl, on putting your health a priority. I’m glad you touched upon the subject of weight, too. I think a lot of us could use to lose a pound or two, and although I think gardeners are some of the healthiest eaters, it’s still a daily commitment. I’m going to go check out that challenge!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Holley I have been so far behind so many times so not to worry…hope you enjoy the posts. The challenge video is wonderful and inspirational…anything in 30 days…I am in the middle of 3 weeks and going strong…wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. Laura @ PatioPatch says:

    Thank you for your honest sharing Donna as well as the welcome and beautiful display of foliage and wildflowers.
    Although too lazy to be a workaholic (the word makes me tired) I can empathise fully with your struggle. Having more recently kicked nicotine into touch am now having to include very physical exercise and portion control lest my weight balloons. Having not run for many years it’s been interesting to find I still can even though my knees are not so certain.
    So pleased and grateful to win the book, Donna – look forward to reading it. Congrats on the BWG spot and very Happy Thanksgiving with your family.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Laura…overcoming any addiction is a struggle but if we are determined we can get there…we can cheer each other on…I think you will love the book….

  8. Island Threads says:

    I love the round up of natives in your garden Donna so much colour and beauty, congratulations on all your achievements, our health is very important and needs our consideration, as we get older we do spread a bit natrually but need to kerb just how much, my weakness is chocolate I’m without doubt a chocaholic, I set my self little task and rewards, like if I have been walking or done some heavy gardening I give myself a treat of chocolate 😉

    I hope your mechcanical problem is sorted and you are on your way or arrived, quite a contrast of scenery for you, I loved Arizona’s stark raw beauty, have a wonderful holiday with your family, rest and relax, Frances x

    • Donna says:

      Thx Frances…I also have a weakness for chocolate…hard to just eat a little…we were delayed an hour and a half but made it in and enjoying family!! We are planing a trip up to the White Mountains…might be a blog post in it…

  9. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens says:

    You really have made some great strides in 2011–keep it up. Fothergilla gardenii is a dwarf fothergilla that only gets to a maximum of 3′. I have just been photographing mine and the neighbor’s because as you point out its fall color is really late. Still shining when most leaves are already fallen around here.

  10. Ginny says:

    So glad you are visiting family for Thanksgiving – I hope it’s a rejuvenating and relaxing time for you. It is hard to take care of ourselves when all of our energies are expended on stress and work! I think the ill effects of stress take much more time to undo than to do – I guess that is true of weight gain for whatever reason. I wish you the best in your efforts!
    I’m going to have to spend some more time looking at that graphic! There are SO many parallels in gardening and life!

  11. Cat says:

    Donna, it’s great that you’re feeling so much better. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I’m making healthier choices. I hope your time with your family is extra special this year and wishing you all a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Health is something I’m now thankful for each Thanksgiving, having had my own challenge in recent years. It’s important to take notice of what your body is telling you, and preserve your health, if only so you can spend time in the garden unimpeded!

    I love Cornus sericea. It’s native here too, and the deer do work on it by the creek, but like yours, they never seem to do much harm to it. I have some inside the deer fence though, and it’s definitely more robust without the deer! Our twigs don’t seem to get as red as yours though. Do you cut yours down to the ground regularly, or do the deer do that enough? 😉

    • Donna says:

      Thx Clare and I certainly do not want to be impeded in the garden. My cornus is not cut to the ground ever. It can get cut to 3ft by me or the deer but then I let it grow up to 5 feet in summer. Just a bit of trimming that’s all.

  13. Christina says:

    Hi Donna, thanks for joining in GBFD, I love the autumn colours of the Fothergilla and the geranium isn’t to be forgotten either. I’ll try to check out your wild flower posts and maybe join in sometimes when there are wild flowers around. Christina

    • Donna says:

      Christina how wonderful to have you visit. I plan to be part of GBFD as much as possible. I would love to see your wildflowers and have you link in with Gail on Wildflower Wednesdays. She keeps a list of the Wednesdays on the sidebar of her blog, but it is usually the 3rd Wed. of the month. Glad you enjoyed your visit and hope you come back again soon.

  14. Gail says:

    What a fantastic offering for WW et al! The foliage/stems/fall color on natives is lovely right now. It makes my garden transition nicely to browns of winter. Congrats on writing for Beautiful Wildlife~Carole and the team are the bestest! xogail

    • Donna says:

      Thx Gail…the natives give the best color for such a long time…I love the team at BWG…you all have taught me so much…have a wonderful holiday!!

  15. Alberto@Altroverde says:

    Dear Donna, you have some beautiful pics there! What’s your secret with clethra? I have one that is stuck in there since last year, I tried and moved it recently. I hope you will enjoy your family reunion for Thanksgiving!

    • Donna says:

      Alberto, my successful Clethra loves to be in moist soil and have a bit of shade. Those that are in drier conditions do not do as well. Weather has been beautiful and the last of the family has arrived…now the feasting begins for days…off to Italian restaurant tomorrow but it can never compare to the real thing in Italy…

  16. Wife Mother Gardener says:

    I did not realize that Clethra had such a beautiful autumn color! I killed a couple of young C. bushes a few years ago, and so decided to plant something else. Maybe they are worth another try?

    Congrats on writing for BWG!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Julie..Clethra is gorgeous in the fall…make sure they get a bit of shade and lots of water…they like a moist area but well-drained…I say try again..the scent and critters that you also get are worth it…

  17. b-a-g says:

    Donna – Your plants always look unusual to me, probably because they’re native to the US. I don’t think I’ve ever seen dogwood in the UK. Happy Thanksgiving – we don’t have it in the UK but it sounds like a good celebration to adopt.

    • Donna says:

      B-A-G, those natives can be a bit unusual but many are found all over the US. I do love the fact that we can travel all over the world through our blogs to find new and beautiful flowers or some familiar favorites…the dogwood is not so much to look at during the summer, but once the bark turns red it is outstanding in the winter…Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday…I think you would love it there in the UK!!

  18. Stacy says:

    Donna, what a wonderful post, for all sorts of reasons! I can’t speak too highly about the physical benefits (and emotional and spiritual…) of gardening, but then that would be preaching to the choir. Making huge life changes, like your whole approach to work and stress and diet, say, can be so hard to do, but you seem to be tackling every challenge with panache. Have a wonderful time with your family in AZ, and happy Thanksgiving!

    • Donna says:

      Stacy I am so glad you liked the post. It has been a hard journey but one I am glad to be on. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family….the weather has been wonderful so far and glad to see family!!!!

    • Donna says:

      Catharine I am glad you love the poster. it was just so well done with lots of new info…it all made such good sense…pass it on!!!

  19. Barbie says:

    I love the autumn colours in your garden. I also feel the same about the health of your garden is linked to your own wellbeing. I am also on a health eating plan with no carbs, no milk, no sugar and feel better for it. I support you and think of you on your quest for good health. You deserve it!

  20. Pam's English Garden says:

    Dear Donna, I enjoyed this thought-provoking posting. Congratulations to the winners of your books, and to you on your new blogadventure. Love your colorful natives and wish I hadn’t cut back my obedient plant now I see yours. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don’t worry too much about the diet today. P. x

    • Donna says:

      Dearest Pam, I just made a visit to your blog to see you are back in England. So glad you could visit with me today. I have decided to wait to cut back many plants now until spring because of the new fall color I am finding. The critters like it better too…I hope you are able to celebrate Thanksgiving…wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and actually I am finding great ways to still enjoy lots of wonderful food this day and still stay on my challenge. Take Care Pam!

    • Donna says:

      I think so..very powerful connection…I hope to visit some garden blogger friends this spring and possibly summer. Perhaps we may be able to connect…always wanted to visit England and the beautiful cottage gardeners..hopefully someday!!

  21. Jean says:

    Donna, This is an inspiring post. Congratulations on your well-deserved regular gig at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens. Two plants that you feature here — red twig dogwood and fothergilla — are on my wish list to add to my garden. I always notice the bright red of the dogwood when I am driving around in winter and early spring; and I would love to be able to look out at it in my own garden. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Donna says:

      Jean you will love those shrubs. I am still pinching myself being asked to post for BWG. So glad you enjoyed the post and wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

  22. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    Donna, There really is nothing like the winter color from a mass of red twig dogwoods. I just wish the deer in my garden didn’t find them so tasty. Congrats on your invitation to join Carole’s team over at BWG, it is well-deserved.

  23. Foxglove Lane says:

    Donna, I love how you share your experience both at a personal level and also in relation to nature, planting and your love of gardening. I am in total awe at your energy and output! Good luck with the new venture and well done you are awesome:~) PS I have been getting you mixed up with another Donna!!

    • Donna says:

      I am so honored you visited the garden and enjoyed the post..there are a few Donna bloggers out there…I was and am your mentor for Blotanical but had to take sone time off from the site due to new job issues…I do apologize and hope you found your way. It seems you have more readers and I am glad because you have an amazing blog. I hope you will visit again soon….

  24. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    Good luck with your challenge; I do hope it goes well 🙂

    I’d love to also join in, I think my main thing is the exercise as I don’t tend to stuff myself with lots of sugary things… Some of us are blessed with thin bodies with almost no hard word yet you and I obviously have to work hard to keep the weight down.
    I used to walk to my previous job before I left to study, so that was 20 miles a week I walked and yet never seemed to lose any weight! So frustrating.

    • Donna says:

      Liz how great of you to join in for a challenge…exercise will be my next challenge once I get the healthy eating down for 30 days and on a schedule. It is hard work once you reach your 50s. I used to diet and not lose and now I know it is about playing with different foods, calories and exercise…

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