Gardens Eye Journal-October 2012


“Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies  a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled.  The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season’s last crops.”  ~Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

Did you see the harvest moon?  It was gorgeous.  This full moon reminds me I have about 1 month left to plant in my garden before the ground freezes. We are having weekly rain and some weeks we have had almost daily light showers.  The ground is actually wet which is a change from the hard dry earth of summer.  So planting bulbs, moving plants and dividing plants is so much easier.  I can even go for hours without the oppressive heat and humidity of a few weeks ago.

So as September has come to a close, it is time to report how things have gone in the garden.  I will be joining several other gardeners and their great memes with my journal:  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

September has been most unusual, but that is just keeping with the same crazy weather we had this year.  I do not remember starting a school year in September with temps in the 80s and 90s.  The rain finally came right before the first day of fall.  And with the rain, came the cooler temps in the lower 80s, and 70s.  Now we are having 60s during the day and 40s and 50s at night.  This respite from the heat has given me and the garden a boost of energy.

The sky has been showing all sorts of gray storm clouds with colors brightening their undersides as the sun reflects off them.  Some evenings the sky is a gray pink (pictured here) or a muddy golden hue.  The sunrise is yellow, orange and purple as I drive to work with the sunset more pale shades of peach and purple.  I am loving the colors of fall; both the sky in fall as well as the leaves.



What’s Growing


Front Gardens

Since fall has come, the front gardens have finally received their needed clean up.  So I thought I would feature them.


The left front walk garden has a few things blooming including ‘Sienna Sunset’ coreopsis and an apricot and purple daylily which was a surprise.  The nicely trimmed trees are quickly losing their leaves early this fall.



Here is the right side of the front sidewalk.  Guara, asters and roses are still blooming.  The echinacea seed heads are being devoured by the birds so I leave them up all winter.



 This fairy rose is  just up the front walk across from the tree.  It dominated the area and has been blooming since the spring warm up in May.  You can see asters and agastache also here.

 These asters are just on the other side of the bushes and trees and cannot be seen from the front walk.

I rarely show this little bed. I call the Kidney Bed as it is shaped like a kidney.  This area of the lawn is full of weeds and needs a good bit of organic fertilizer,  but it is rebounding with the cool weather and rain.  This is where the cable TV and telephone cables are stored so we just try to hide them.  These are Diablo ninebark bushes.  We did have a small red beech tree here, but recently cut it down as it was dying.  This bed has lavender, sage, echinacea, geranium, sedum, daylily and  new small yellow rose not visible from this view.

The wall bed is along the left side of the house where there is a slope.  Not much growing except this Knockout rose, some Helianthus and the hardy geranium blooming again.  But we finally cleaned up this area as well.

Lastly at the street is the mailbox garden that needs a bit of edging.  We cleaned up the grass growing in it.  The catmint is still growing with an aster bloom or two.  Echinaceas, daylily and clematis are done but the moonbeam coreopsis is still blooming on the far side.  I added another small lavender here and hope to add a couple of the newer yellow gaillardias for a bit more summer bloom.




 This is Salvia reptans or West Texas Grass Sage.  It blooms in late summer and fall with these cobalt blue flowers and blue green foliage.  It is a prized plant that lives in my NY garden and grows 3 feet tall, but never quite as bushy as it would in a high desert.





 Natives still dominate the garden including the cattails at the top of the post.  I am saving my helianthus and aster blooms for future posts, but here are some natives that continued to bloom in September especially after the rains we had.  From top left clockwise is Full Moon coreopsis, yarrow reblooming, echinacea still going in spots, and my wonderful Pearly Everlasting in the white garden.





These gigantic  marigolds, grown from seed this year, have been sharing space with the eggplant and sweet potatoes.  The annual geraniums to the right were also blooming still into late September.





 Here is the best of the meadow; goldenrod and asters dominate for a pollinators delight.



Here we are looking out over the pond.  I love this view from the patio.  White guara and small grass in the foreground while asters , helianthus and roses bloom in the background.  And look at the lily pads.  Growing again just as profusely as in spring.




Veg Beds Update

As you can see the harvest in September was fabulous.  Lots of beans weekly, Hatch green chiles, a few more eggplant, okra and tomatoes.  But the best were the first pumpkins.  We have 5 small ones harvested and I am ecstatic…our first pumpkins…yesssss!



Here are the lettuces, carrots, beets and kale we planted in the reused potato bags in August.  The greens have been sweet and amazing in salads and it looks like we will have more as they just keep growing even after I cut them.  Once we harvest the sweet potatoes and final eggplants, I plan to reuse those bags for more greens like arugula, endive, spinach, beets and kale.  Then we will have greens galore through fall under a row cover for protection and close to the kitchen door.

I will also be bringing in many annual and perennial herbs I potted up so we can continue to enjoy them all winter long.  They will go under the grow lights and sit on warm heat mats in the basement.





 The pond is still clear and pond plants are revived for the frogs who dominate the critters in September.




This bumble bee was caught in a giant spider web recently.  I spotted it hanging in the web spinning around trying to get free.  I carefully cut the web with my finger until he dropped to the ground to safety.  Sorry Mister Spider but you will have to get your next meal elsewhere.  You can barely see the web, but this is a shot of the bee spinning.




Gardens Eye Verse


My garden is turning over to fall, and with it I hope you enjoy this little verse.


 Fall Colors

Flowers pale, but color remains

The sky’s on fire all through the gray.

Orange, yellow, red dominate the surrounds

High in the trees and low on the ground.

While fall rolls along, it soon will all fade

Back to brown and the rich shades of clay.

Donna Donabella


Next up on the blog:  Next week I will be sharing an interesting story about my trees.  On the 15th is GBBD which will probably be the last of the garden blooms.  And that same week I will share a very favorite butterfly book.  Towards the end of the month, I will share another favorite native wildflower for fall.

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 16th.

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.











  1. Flâneur Gardener says:

    I’ve been following the moon every morning and evening for the past week; it’s been really stunning, especially in the evening when it rose over the roof tops and chimneys of Copenhagen – though it then sets in the morning over the tree tops of our across-the-road cemetery, so it’s a tough call…

    I love the frog shot; I really need to create a larger shallow area in one of The Puddles so my toads will have that same chance to pose/lurk in the water.

    • Donna says:

      Your views of the moon sound lovely. We have been finally having rain so the views of the moon have been fleeting here. I love your Puddles. Creating one a bit deeper is a great idea so they can linger. I find my frogs all over the garden during the day as they are eating slugs and other insects…it is fun watching them.

  2. Cathy says:

    Sadly it was thick cloud for the harvest moon here. My garden has, however, benefitted from cooler days and rain, and has a new lease of life. The view across your pond is very pretty, and your pumpkins and veg look great! How lovely to still have salad leaves to harvest! Thanks for the lovely tour of your garden Donna!

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoyed the visit Cathy…I started those lettuces in August and have been harvesting them. Cooling off a lot so they are now under a row cover.

  3. Christina says:

    I enjoyed seeing all the different parts of your garden, I especially liked the pond view, I can see why it is a favourite! It does sound positively cold with you already; our days are varied, today started cold but is now pleasantly warm (about 30 °C) Christina

  4. Elaine says:

    There are so many beautiful things in the garden in fall, thanks for showcasing them! Yes, the moon was beautiful this weekend and your harvest looks scrumptious, enjoy that good food!

  5. Alistair says:

    Donna, I think this is the time of year which I would enjoy most of all in your garden, temperatures which I am used too. Thoroughly enjoy seeing so much of your garden and my favourite view also is your pond area.

    • Donna says:

      The cooler temps are a relief and I wish we had more even temps without the crazy extremes Alistair. The pond is wonderful throughout the seasons. When we have the windows open we can hear the waterfall indoors and the frogs calling each other.

  6. Cat says:

    I love your end of month wrap ups! The cattails have especially stolen my heart. Growing up we would always seek them out. I still love them and they bring back such good memories. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Donna says:

      It is amazing how a plant can elicit fond childhood memories…so happy to hear folks enjoy the end of the month wrap up. I will have to do a plant profile on cattails…they are amazing to watch grow.

  7. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Everything is coming along so nicely in your garden. Your veggies look wonderful. I have not tried growing pumpkin, but I have had some volunteers in the compost pile from the decorative gourds I put out in the fall. So many of your beds look so nice and full. I am looking forward to when my beds are that full as they age and spread.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Michelle…Pumpkins need lots of room I have found. As to my garden beds well many have been growing for 5 or so years. I think it is the native plants which seem to grow in so quickly.

  8. Island Threads says:

    Donna your garden is looking lovely and you have lots to eat too, I love the meadow it always seems to be my favourite, thanks for taking us around and including so many long shots, glad your weather has cooled a bit, it’s still warmer than my summer weather though 🙂 Frances

    • Donna says:

      Frances, I can’t even imagine that my cool fall is warmer than your summer….wow. The meadow is fading and I am hoping to get some great shots of the seed heads.

  9. HolleyGarden says:

    You’ve been very busy cleaning all the beds! I have not made it around my garden yet, and it’s already October! How did that happen! The Fairy rose is beautiful, your harvest is impressive, the containers are lovely, and the meadow is gorgeous, but it’s the view over the pond that takes my breath away! Looks like it belongs in a magazine. Just perfection.

    • Donna says:

      Holley how very sweet of you to say so. I weeded about a month ago and they look like I never touched them. As I plant bulbs, I am having to weed again and again…well with winter I will have a break with weeds until spring. I have to stop gardening about the beginning of November.

  10. catmint says:

    hi donna, so pleased that it’s cooling, both for your energy level and the garden. Pleased to see the catmint’s blooming away for you, even though others have drooped. Love the kidney shaped bed, lots of good looking shrubs that will soon fill it and love the dark coloured background hedge.

    • Donna says:

      I am hopeful the rose will fill in with other herbs and plants with the tree gone in the kidney garden. That catmint is amazing in the areas of the garden where heat is stored like near the road or near bricks.

  11. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    Your journal of the garden is one you will refer to over the years, it is nicely done. Love the pond garden, full and lush. I am surprised the yarrow is reblooming, wish mine was!!
    The veggie harvest is really wonderful. Those salad greens will be wonderful for a long time through the cool season.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Janet. I cut much of my yarrow back in August when it stopped blooming and it has resurged with the cooler weather. Just had lettuce greens for dinner tonight. Let’s see how long they last under cover now.

  12. Donna says:

    It is good you are getting the rains. I had to come back from PA four days early due to illness, but it did not look like it rained here, not that I went into the garden. In PA is was raining quite a bit. Your area it looks like the trees are changing. I saw a lot of color on the way back.

    • Donna says:

      Oh no I am sorry to hear that…yes we are having quite a leaf color change here with those cool nights and nice rains. Hope you feel better soon.

  13. GirlSprout says:

    The view of the pond is stunning. It’s amazing how gaura can grow on the edge of a pond and in the high desert. It’s green chile roasting time here in New Mexico. Donna, I wasn’t planning on growing any cool season crops. When does veggie gardening season end? Any thoughts?

    • Donna says:

      It is deceiving the gaura as it is in hot sunny stones at the edge so it is a good draining but hot spot. We have roasted the last of our chiles here.

      Usually in my zone 5 and I bet yours too, we plant in August and even September greens like beets, lettuce, kale, spinach etc and they last even through frosts. I cover them with a white cloth row cover when we have freezes. Carrots I start in August and they last too. I have not had luck growing late season radishes. I will be planting more grens in the other 2 grow bags to see if I can grow these greens even started in October.

      Our first frosts and freezes usually happen in October here. I am experimenting with the grow bags on the warmer brick patio to see how far into the season I can harvest.

  14. VP says:

    Hi Donna – good to see you back on Salad Days again and showing off such wonderful produce 🙂

    Thanks for joining in this month!

  15. Skeeter says:

    I love cattails so that first picture really jumped out at me! Ah, cooler temps is something I am waiting for down here in GA. We have had a few nice days which is wonderful but I am ready for the humidity to leave for the remainder of the year. I have been slowly getting to some of the gardens to pluck the summer weeds so thing are looking a bit cleaner here as well. Your pond picture looks more like a Spring shot then Fall. Wow, it looks so inviting…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Skeeter…hoping the heat and humidity are gone for you soon. The pond is looking amazing this year and it certainly looks renewed in this cooler weather.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Karin…the frogs have been friendly this year and just hanging out with us. I actually have to nudge them to move if I am weeding around the pond. Yes you can see a tall helianthus across the pond…I will be featuring them soon.

  16. Ginny says:

    I love all the views, but my favorite is the view of your pond. Having a pond in my garden is probably a dream that won’t come true for me – but I do love seeing photos of them in other gardens

  17. Helene says:

    What a great tour of your fabulous garden! And such zingy colours everywhere. Great to hear you finally have had some rain over there, perhaps it can be a bit more evenly spread out between the continents from now on? We can only wish 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Oh I hope we can even the rain out much better for our respective gardens…so glad you stopped by and enjoyed yourself!

  18. PlantPostings says:

    Donna: You have so many wonderful “rooms” in your garden! And everything looks so healthy! Those little pumpkins are so cute, and your camera “likes” vegetables. Great shots!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth. I can see you are already posting wonderful. I do love trying to have different rooms with themes…not all are where I want them so far but it is fun working on them…I was so happy to get a few pumpkins I didn’t care they were little…I think we need more room for them but I am running out of room…

  19. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, i envy you folks for being able to tend the garden, harvest the fruits and vegies and appreciate the changing conditions. I’ve not been home every weekend and the one wkend i was there, it was raining that i can’t do anything remarkable. It is really nice if you are always going home every night. I love the shape and color of your recycled bag, maybe it can still be used for another planting, it looks durable. And that last photo looks so homely and beautiful.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks and so glad you love the pictures of the gardens…I would find it difficult not to be home every night to see my garden. The grow bags will see their third season in the spring and I hope to get several more seasons of planting out of them…they are indeed durable!

  20. RamblingWoods says:

    Glad to see that you got rain and cooler weather in order to work in your garden. I like that you are leaving the coneflowers up. This year I am going to try to leave more and cut less now that I see there may be overwintering butterflies mixed in there like my little spicebush friend..I had hoped to do more this fall, but maybe next fall….Michelle

    • Donna says:

      I know what you mean…we can only do what we can and then our bodies tell us it is time to stop…the trick for me has been to listen when when my body talks.

  21. Heather says:

    So glad to hear you’re getting some replenishing rains. We desperately need rain, we’re now in a severe drought. Congrats on the pumpkins! I love your veggie basket.

  22. b-a-g says:

    Really jealous of your vegetables especially the chillies. The shot of the pond surrounded by plants is really beautiful. Is the pond actually in the meadow?

    • Donna says:

      No B-A-G, it is just off the patio close to the house. The last photo helps place things. The gazebo is just this side of the meadow. The back fence separates them. If you look in the lower right corner you see a large grass. That is the far edge of the pond. The picture was taken from the house. The veggies have been especially wonderful. The chiles seem to grow well in containers if you ever want to give them a try.

  23. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I’m pleased to hear you’re getting cooler temperatures now; just wish we had some warmer ones here!

    Time for bulb planting or moving and dividing! Although, tbh I don’t think I can here because the clay soil is too sodden it’s like digging into putty. I managed to get some bulbs planted but in some areas where it’s heavy clay it was definitely a struggle.

    Lots of yummy veg too, crops here this year have been dire and I think apple prices are going to be through the roof.

    • Donna says:

      I am sorry to hear your clay is too wet Liz to plant. My ground is wet but not sodden yet so I am hoping to finish up with the majority of planting this weekend. the cooler temps and rain every so often makes it a breeze. now if I just had more time to weed and if I could kneel by would we be much tidier here in the garden.

  24. Mark Willis says:

    Donna, the thing that really grabbed my attention in this post is that wonderful veg-harvesting basket with its separate compartments! It looks home-made, so maybe I’ll try making one for myself. I’ve never seen such a thing on sale… I’m primarily interested in edibles rather than ornamentals, so I was also having a very close look at your salad-growing arrangements – very much the sort of thing I like.
    Until now I had not been aware of your monthly link-up, but I think I will be participating again if that’s OK with you?

    • Donna says:

      Mark how wonderful to have you visit. The veggie harvesting basket is an antique that is indeed hand-made. The little baskets are also handmade and wooden. I would love to see someone make one…it is such a pride and joy for me. I would love for you to follow as I grow veggies….soon it will be inside as I will be growing salad greens under grow lights once the weather turns very cold. I follow many other blogger memes on the first Monday of the month through my journal post. I would love for you to join in with me or with any of them. I look forward to getting to know your blog Mark.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Barbie. I love being able to still harvest. Of course frosts warnings are up so I have covered the grow bags and bean bed…we shall see how everything does by the weekend.

  25. Country Mouse says:

    I loved the frog also – but the pond pic was my fav I think. I also like seeing the less perfected parts of a garden – so human and part of the evolution of the space somehow – friendly places, forgiving. Not sure why I had that reaction. I’ve been getting to my fall cleanup too – unfortunately not in time for the First Views meme! I’ll have to check out the nature notes meme – sounds interesting. Thanks for a very interesting post.

    • Donna says:

      I like your view of the less perfect places of my garden…they are human and evolving…hope you enjoy nature notes and I look forward to see your views of your garden…

  26. Jean says:

    I love your cattails photo. Like you, I am relieved by the arrival of cooler temperatures and enjoying the fall sunrises. These days, I leave home just before first light and walk east into the sunrise. It’s such a pleasure.

    • Donna says:

      That sounds like heaven Jean….I think I may do a whole post just on the cattails…they are so wonderful! Enjoy that wonderful fall garden before it is gone…

  27. Jerry Dennis says:

    Donna — Love your thoughts and images on the harvest moon, the changing season, and autumn gardens. If it’s not inappropriate, I’d like to mention that the quote you began with — “Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue…” is from Glenn Wolff’s and my book, It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes: Four Seasons of Natural Phenomena and Oddities of the Sky, which, coincidentally, has just been released in a newly updated edition. Feel free to quote it at will, in all seasons. Thanks!

    • Donna says:

      Jerry thank you for visiting and commenting. It is not inappropriate at all. Thanks for the update about the book. I am purchasing it and will do a book review in the coming new year. I may want to do a bit of an interview with you if that would be OK. I’ll let you know. I look forward to reading the book.

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