Gardens Eye Journal-September 2012

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always
been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~Henry James


I wasn’t sure what would be going on in the August garden, but I can say it feels more like late July heat and looks like late September as if fall has descended on the garden already.  This has been a most interesting and challenging summer, and as it comes to a close I am hoping to have a bit of a cool off and some needed rain.  But like all the rest of the seasons so far this year, we will no doubt see extremes.  Nevertheless I will have to garden in whatever weather there is as I have too many projects that must be done before November including planting and moving of plants.

For this month’s journal, I will be joining in with the many memes that are happening this time of the month:  Walk in Garden@This Grandmother’s GardenFirst View@Town Mouse & Country MouseGarden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening BlogBest and Worst of My Garden@Bumble Lush,  Salad Days@Veg Plotting on the 4th Friday of the month and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.


Weather Report

As I write this, we are entering September and summer here has not loosened her grip.  I am so surprised by the heat (90 degree temps continue) and drought that continues here.  We are probably approaching 9 inches behind in our rainfall with a scant 2 inches of rain falling in August.  The drought maps say we are between a moderate to severe (if you garden or farm) drought.  But there is hope.  Hurricane Issac is headed here by Tuesday and I expect a good soaking.  A few inches would help greatly.  The drought forecast is also showing we will be back on track as fall ends so I expect that to mean significant rain this fall….just give me weekends in the garden.  Although I have been known to garden and plant in rain as long as it is not a downpour.

The sunlight is softening the sky later now with peach and orange colors, and when I get a chance on weekends I love to watch the sunrise in the garden as it takes a good couple of hours to break through or above the trees.

So let’s see what has been happening in the garden; the good, the bad and the downright ugly.  Sorry this is a long post.



What’s Growing

I have not been able to get to tending the front and side gardens, and not much has changed there except they look a bit overgrown and ratty in spots.  So I am concentrating on the back gardens this month.  In September I will have had time to get them under control, I hope.


Back Gardens


This is the more wild area at the back of the garden.  I created a watering hole for insects here as we water the round bed and can keep it filled.  I know someone had blogged about this and for the life of me I cannot remember who it was…so if you remember let me know so I can give them a shout out.  I have not weeded this area, but it isn’t as bad as in past years due in large part to the drought.  Yes that is my gazing ball…sorry I love these remnants of Victorian gardens.



And what is this mess you might ask?  Well this is the untended garden bed around the giant ash trees.  We haven’t really taken much care here for 2 years so it is a Worst.  We always seem to run out of time, but the garden helper has been working on it some.  But you know things happen for a reason and this bed will likely be upended in the next few years.  I will post about that at a later date.  Not a pretty story.  In between the grass and weeds are hosta and all assortment of bulbs.  That shrub is a native bayberry.



This is a prettier area on the other side of the pond waterfall.  I am redoing it a bit since it is dry in summer and wet in spring.  The phlox finally bloomed with the little rain we had and the poor hydrangea in the middle perked up a bit.



Moving a bit to the left of the above bed is a wonderful hardy hibiscus, rudbeckia and a volunteer goldenrod.  The burnet behind the hibiscus had not flowered yet.  I’ll be showing it below.  Right next to this, as the bed continues around, is common milkweed.  I’ll have to do a feature of this bed sometime in the future as it a circular bed on an incline as it travels around the pond.  The growing conditions are as diverse as they could be from one end to the other and top to bottom.



 This border is on the left side of the back garden along the fence.  As you can see little is blooming, but at least it is green.  It should be full of color still but anything that did bloom faded quickly.  It also needs a good weeding and thinning.  This is the last part of the back gardens I need to weed.  Looks like a Worst right now.





 This Sanguisorba officinalis or Great Burnet is not a native to my part of North America, but it is native much further North and in Europe and Northern Asia.  It is a very interesting plant and one I enjoy seeing every fall.  You can see pollinators love it.



This my late flowering Meadow Rue or Thalictrum rochebrunianum.  It has come through the drought like a trooper and is towering in the garden although not as tall as in years past.  It seems to love the drier sunnier areas.



This was a new addition to the circular raised bed, orange crocosmia.  It is lovelier than ‘Lucifer’ I think.





 The few Obedient plant or Physostegia virginiana that bloomed are exciting the pollinators and hummers.  Usually these not so well behaved natives are blooming all over the garden in massive drifts.  This year they are either dried up or just not blooming except for in the meadow where they seem very happy.  I moved a few out there last year and they are beginning to bloom.  They will create a wonderful effect by next year I bet.  This is the view of the flower the critters see.



Here’s another pollinator/hummer favorite, lobelia.  Like the Obedient plant, they love water so any that bloom this year are a bonus.  I have many different colors of this plant- plum, purple, blue and red.  See the happy bee zeroing in on his target.  I was happy to see more helenium blooming as well.  The picture at the beginning of the post is Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’ (I think).


I couldn’t resist showing off my hardy hibiscus ‘Kopper King’.  The light shines through it all morning long.  It blooms later than the others and I love the coloring of the bloom and foliage.  This was a special gift from a dear friend who entrusted this plant to me when she moved to the SW.  I have divided it and spread it around the garden.



A little rain helped coax the phlox to bloom.  I hope they last.  Perhaps with some rain this week they will decide to stick around and bloom some more.  The different colors are welcome all over the gardens.



The meadow has been blooming away and here are a few gems I found when I was out cutting off teasel.  It is into its goldenrod phase now with a few other surprises still mixed in and blooming.






The pond has been very clear these days which is another indication fall weather is here although the temps are high.  The algae should be still growing with all the heat, but it has stopped.



And the water lilies are bouncing back.



Veg Beds Update

Well the harvest continues.  Here’s just a bit of what we have been eating.

More long Asian eggplants


Raspberries again


Roasted green chiles



Heirloom tomatoes


And lots of cherry tomatoes until early blight (in August mind you) hit these plants out of no where.

And here are the last of the blue potatoes.  Gorgeous in flower, firm wonderful potatoes harvested and colorful,  flavorful to eat.




 Enjoy some of the August critters (top left clockwise).  Robins were still hanging around.  Lots of dragonflies too.  This cute little hummer found a great perch on the tomato ladder after he drank his fill from the coral bells on the patio.    Black swallowtails still visiting.  Lots of different pollinators to identify.  Frogs have been prolific and all over the garden.  The entire back garden and meadow is now their domain.  And this Cedar Waxwing was by to take a dip with his friends before departing South.




Gardens Eye Verse

So that is it.  Whew, lot’s going on still even with many spent blooms.  I will bet September will see a resurgence of flowers that I thought were done…and I love surprises.  I leave you with a bit of my poetry to take us into late summer and fall.  Hope you enjoy it!


As Summer turns her face to Fall

The birds, the bees, the butterflies call.

Eat, drink and fly for all too soon-

The cooler winds will blow past the Harvest Moon.

Donna Donabella


It is time for  Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned.  Click the link to learn more.  Beth@PlantPostings will be wrapping up this past season with lessons we have learned in our gardens, and I will be setting the stage for next season’s celebrations (fall up N and spring down S of the equator).  What do you love to do in the this upcoming season?  What holidays or rituals make it a wonderful season for you?  How does your garden grow and what favorite plants will be blooming?  I hope you will be joining us.  Just create a post and link in with both or one of us between September 1st and the 20th, and around the 21st we will reveal those lessons and celebrations.



Next up on the blog:  September is forecast to be way too busy for me both in the garden and on the blog.   Next Monday will be Garden Lessons Learned especially in the veg garden.  On the 13th I will share a special GDDB as I celebrate my second blog anniversary, and I will have another wonderful garden book to share on the 17th.  Stay tuned for Seasonal Celebrations revealed on the 21st, and I end the month sharing another favorite native wildflower.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month on the 3rd Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. The next one will be on the 18th.

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

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2012.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.





    • Donna says:

      Thanks Christina. The beginning of the month does seem to get a bit long winded for me as I am assessing the whole place with all the gardens. I appreciate your stopping by!

  1. Jen says:

    Hi Donna, lovely post so full of information, and ideas, thoughts and observations….

    I am still having such trouble with the comment form, lol, I keep forgetting where to click to leave a comment, and rush all around the blog post clicking and trying to remember what it was last time, and then just as I am about to give up, lol, I find it again.

    Silly me….

    We have not had rain here since June, if you except the one moment it rained for a few hours, but the roads didn’t even get wet. It’s normal for up here, I guess…we have to live with it either way.

    It certainly has been a challenging year, for so many people. Glad to hear that you hung in there and didn’t give up.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    • Donna says:

      Sorry about the difficulty with commenting..this is an old template and sometime I will be updating the template…that is why at the end of the post I try to make sure I put in a reminder about how to comment.

      So glad you hung in there Jen and left such a gracious comment!

  2. Island Threads says:

    Donna such a lot going on in your garden, I liked the tour of your back garden and the long border against your lovely white fence, the meadow must still look lovely too with the native flowers, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances. The meadow is fading in some spots because it needs rain and I hope to see the asters soon. We had short shower that may encourage some flowers even though it was only .6 inches…the flowers respond to even small amounts now.

  3. Rae Desaulniers says:

    Enjoyed the tour of your back garden. I too have had to neglect my front and side gardens. Luckily, they are fairly well-behaved, and other than the weedy lawn pretty well look good despite me! Thanks for picking my post!

  4. Cathy says:

    A lovely poem Donna – and a lovely post altogether! The thalictrum is amazing, so late in the year and after so much heat. Some great shots and I like the way you’ve put them together again in collages. 😀

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Cathy it does mean a lot when folks mention the poem. I enjoy putting collages together as you can tell. My garden has bloomed bravely.

  5. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    I had to scroll back up to check the Helenium, I agree, Mardi Gras. I need to add some Meadow Rue to my garden, have never grown it…but what a pretty flower. I tried to do some Crocosmia, but the hillside I planted the corms (?) is pretty hostile…..they never showed up.
    You had a great harvest! Good eating.

    • Donna says:

      Janet it took some of my crocosmia 2 years to show…the ones in this post were planted in a raised bed and bloomed right away…so you never know. My cooler weather veggies are already growing and ready to be harvested after a few weeks even in the heat we are having…so strange.

  6. Foxglove Lane says:

    Spoiled for choice; the hint of golden autumn colour or the roasted chillis?? Maybe just the scent of a plain old juicy tomato? One way or another I feel I know your garden so well and love to visit with you to find myself being led around by your chatty informative style. A true pleasure, always but laced with a fair old dollop of garden envy:~))

    • Donna says:

      Oh you are too kind. I would love to take you on an in person tour followed by some iced tea on the patio. And maybe a nice bag full of garden veggies to go 🙂 I am a bit chatty but I hope folks forgive me.

  7. Alistair says:

    Hi Donna, 3rd day of September and we have had the warmest day of the Summer 78f. Its now 10.30 in the evening, feeling relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the goings on in your garden. That Thalictrum rochebrunianum looks very interesting and an unusually late bloomer. Some of the Summer flowering plants have been as much as three weeks later in coming into flower this year, our perennial Phlox has still not bloomed. The water in your pond does indeed look very clear.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair, how unusual to have this warm weather in September…so glad you enjoyed the post. I have been late getting back to folks with work these days. You might like Thalictrum rochebrunianum as it blooms late but I can’t believe your phlox has not bloomed although mine finally bloomed in spots with a bit of rain.

  8. Donna says:

    Your garden is still doing well despite the dry summer. Love the sunny sunflowers. They say so much to the end of summer. I like the poem too.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Donna…you are one of the consistent commenters especially regarding my poetry which is a very personal artistic it means even more to me!

      Yes the garden is blooming a bit and mostly green although I have lost bushes, plants and a tree…but we reassess and make a plan and move on in the garden.

  9. The Sage Butterfly says:

    We have had a very dry summer as well. It has been a struggle to keep everything healthy. Your garden looks like it has fared very well during the drought. It must be due to your very good care. I hope for you and for me and for all of us that September brings rain and cooler weather.

    • Donna says:

      We are supposed to get a few cool days finally starting tomorrow but still not much rain in the forecast if any…then later in the week the temps are going back to the 80s…I think the wet, cool spring helped the plants a bit. Leaves are changing and flowers fading after a few days of blooming…not sure what I may be able to find for GBBD.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful perennials, Donna. Most of them are new too me… I may just look them up to see if they might like living in my gardens. Thank you for linking to me. Our nights are cooling down, days won’t be far behind. Hope you find some relief.

    • Donna says:

      I have a feeling we won’t cool down for good until October but even a little cool down will be welcome…I hope you find some new flowers to grow Carolyn.

  11. HolleyGarden says:

    Love the long views of your garden. It had begun to cool down here, but it has turned hot again, although there are signs of autumn’s approach. I, too, look forward to cooler days to spend outside in the garden. The photo of your Kopper King is absolutely gorgeous. And I’m impressed with your tomatoes!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Holley but I wish the tomatoes had produced even more, but they were pretty looking heirlooms. We should be eating them every day but with the lack of rain and heat, they only produced modestly. But compared to last year, I will take it. Seems we are still roller coastering with temps…mostly hot but I’ll take even one day on the weekends with cool temps for gardening.

  12. Carver says:

    I love gardens to be a bit on the wild one so your wilder areas look fantastic to me. Great seeing what you have growing. I miss being more of an active gardener, particularly growing vegetables which I did for over 30 years but no longer have the energy for. Great seeing all your fresh produce.

    • Donna says:

      So glad t hear those wild areas are fantastic to someone else besides me and the critters…I bet you like them too because they support so many critters. Veg gardens do take so much energy for upkeep. They are a constant vigil through the spring and summer months.

  13. says:

    More good info and love reading all the info in the comments too. It has been a tough summer. Today we are finally getting some rain so I hope it will help the asters and goldenrod. I too can’t remember who talked about bees and drinking holes…but I too did it and the water places are busy everyday. I wonder if the obedient plants that you sent and we planted will make it…I have to get over there and check…Michelle

    • Donna says:

      I bet the Obedients will show up. They are hardy roots and mine took a hile to show in the meadow this year. Apparently you got much more rain than we did. .1 and .06 inches…a drop ;(

      • ramblingwoods says:

        The pond came up about a foot and we were lucky that we didn’t get the awfully damaging weather north and south of sorry you didn’t get what you needed..I am now thinking about plants again. I need the diversion….Michelle

        • Donna says:

          Glad to hear about the pond…I am still unable to do much with impending heat alter in the week and no rain at all in the next 10 days forecast. Happy planting.

  14. debsgarden says:

    I love the shots around your pond and meadow. You have so much going on in your garden, despite the drought you have had. As I write this, the tail end of Isacc has been pushed south, and we are getting a soaking from it, as well as you! I was out this morning planting in a light drizzle, though the rain is coming down much harder now. I have so much planned for fall; I can’t wait to get started!

    • Donna says:

      Well Isaac decided to pass us by and we got .1 inches from a different storm…I have lots planned too but am still having to hold off. Glad you enjoyed the gardens.

  15. Eileen says:

    Donna, you have such a beautiful yard and garden. The flowers and veggies look beautiful. I love the Great Burnet, such a pretty color. Lovely photos and post. Have a great week ahead.

  16. PlantPostings says:

    The Crocosmia and the Hibiscus are my favorites! I think you’re holding up quite well in the drought. And your pond is so impressive! I’d love to see more posts about the pond!

    • Donna says:

      We did not get the rain from Isaac Carolyn 🙁

      We are getting little drips of a tenth of inch or less every 7 days or so…and it is hot still…so weird.

  17. Heather says:

    Your garden looks wonderful – despite the drought. We’re in a tough dry period here too, but temps seem to be dropping. I’m running out of rain barrel water which is a first. Hopefully some rain is on its way for you. I just planted obedient plant this fall so am interested to see how fast it will spread.

    • Donna says:

      I think it took my Obedient 2 years to take over in the garden. In the meadow where conditions are a bit harsher, it will take 3 years it appears. The weather patterns continue with little to no rain and heat…

  18. Debbie / GardenofPossibilities says:

    Donna, Thanks for taking us along on the tour of your garden. My meadow rue, which blooms in July, has succumbed to the drought. I also have an orange crocosmia, mine is Emily MacKenzie, and the color is so rich and lush. Even though the color is so intense, I find it is easy to combine with lots of other late bloomers.

    • Donna says:

      Debbie I knew someone would recognize the crocosmia…once I read Emily MacKenzie I knew that was the name. I love this orange flower and agree it is great to combine with other late bloomers. The drought has claimed lots of flowers this year.

  19. tina@inthegarden says:

    You must have a remarkable vegetable garden to so consistently harvest so much. I think your long border lovely with all the textures. Beautiful and natural pond! It almost looks like heucheras in the bottom of it.

    • Donna says:

      So glad you like the pond Tina as you have seen so many…I have learned to succession plant in the veg garden so I can harvest in only a few beds and supplementing with container sand grow bags…those do look like heucheras growing on the bottom of the pond.

  20. catmint says:

    Hi Donna, long post, but you have a lot to show. The pond is wonderful and so important for attracting the critters. Your veggies are superb looking – and you still have time to write poetry! Thanks for interesting and varied post. cheers, cm

    • Donna says:

      Catmint, the poetry is a creative outlet for me…when the mood strikes it just flows…so glad you enjoyed the long post and hung in there to the end.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Barbie absolutely you must plant some eggplant. I have to start mine indoors because we have a short growing season, but they grow in similar conditions as tomatoes and peppers…they love heat. We love eating them so many ways.

  21. Mary Pellerito says:

    It was so hot this summer that my gardens were left pretty much on their own. I do want to put up a barrier fence around the vegetable garden to protect it against deer. We have a sprinkler system for the front gardens so they do get watered but rain does such a better job.

    • Donna says:

      Mary a barrier fence is a good way to help…my beds are too close to the fence to add another fence so we net them and it works…even though my garden was also left on its own, it came through OK…I hope it forgives me 🙂

  22. Beth says:

    Love your hardy hibiscus, phlox, and goldenrod – the tomatoes look nice too. You have a wonderful garden, and all of us have a spot or two that we cannot always keep up with. It’s an area for opportunity!

  23. James says:

    It took me so long to read your August post as I kept on getting distracted by the amazing and beautiful photographs which just jump out the screen at you.

    I’m inclined to agree that August can be a little sad as here in Northern Europe it usually means summer is closing. However, September definitely has its moments as well as one of the most beautiful times of the whole year so at least we have that to look forward to.

    So I went into September and again it’s a difficult read when your mouth is open in awe at the incredible pictures and can I congratulate you on your photography, truly stunning.

    From what you’re saying you’re still sweltering there even though it’s September but I think September is the first significant cooling and your hot days will be coming to an end bar a total freak of nature.

    I think you have covered it all expressing the beauty of the month of September, and also it’s a very busy time as November is not far away and there is so much to do to prepare for the winter.

    I look at many garden blogs and I especially enjoyed yours. Best of all are your photos, which even had me marveling at your weeds. Your posts are very informative and very beautiful.

  24. GirlSprout says:

    Donna, I think I’m in love with the hardy hibiscus. I’ve seen the huge flowers at one of the nurseries in town. Your photo of the Kopper King is luscious. I might have to buy one next year.

    • Donna says:

      If you can plant some look for ones that are made for the desert. Mine is a swamp variety that will take some dry but also likes the moist soil. I have seen a desert variety mentioned, Hibiscus coulteri, that is native to NM. Whatever you plant, you will surely love it!

  25. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Such a beautiful pond in your meadow Donna, as others have said, the clarity of the water really makes it. Is the crocosmia “Emily McKenzie”? I think it is my favourite crocosmia, and if I can just work out where to squeeze one in… You have so many good things popping in your garden, it must be a source of delight – and delightful meals…

    • Donna says:

      Yes Janet that is Emily MacKenzie. It has become my favorite as well and I may have to purchase some more to squeeze in as well. The harvest is enough for now as I have little time except weekends to tend the veg garden, but you are right a source of wonderful meals.

  26. Andrea says:

    I am smiling when you showed the part which is a bit untended with some weeds. We have mostly areas like those, so i don’t show wide angle shots, haha! Your garden is very wide and i know very difficult to manage well, there will always be a lack of time.

    I love that Sanquisorba, even if i don’t know it. And your vegies are doing very well.

    • Donna says:

      And your comment made me smile…as I know so many of us have areas that we just don’t have time to manage…we will eventually get to them if we can…it was a huge thing for me to let go and not worry about it…the veggies are doing so nicely right now.

  27. Grace says:

    I was unable to get my Sanguisorba to thrive. I’m so envious of yours. And your Thalictrum likes dry sun? I’ve got mine in dry shade and it didn’t bloom at all. I guess I’ll be moving some plants this fall. Your photos are OUTSTANDING. Love your verse too!

    • Donna says:

      Grace so glad you enjoyed the verse, photos and the plants. I have the Thalictrum in about 3 spots that like dry sun. The Sanguisorba took a couple of years but it loves it in a well drained sunny spot.

  28. Loredana Donovan says:

    Hi Donna, thank you for visiting my blog. I love gardening, nature, and poetry, and your blog is inspiring. I will add your url to my blogger reading list. 🙂 see you soon in Nature Notes! Have a great week!

    • Donna says:

      How very sweet of you Loredana…I am in the process of putting the blogs I read on a new page and will be adding yours as I love visiting..and I love your poetry.

Comments are closed.